Excerpted from Dan Merkur, The Angelic Stone in English Alchemy
I have been remarking since 1990 that there is simply no evidence of Western spiritual alchemy in the history of religions prior to the Renaissance.
the English school can be traced back to the Elizabethan period and concerned itself with psychoactive substances
Elias Ashmole presented a coded discussion of psychoactives and spiritual alchemy
Ashmole indicated that differing from the mineral stone, and so from metallic
alchemy as a whole, are three further stones: vegetable, magical, and angelic.
Ashmole may have been indicating that the magical and
angelic stones were both vegetables.
Ashmole asserted that the angelical stone was edible. It could neither be seen, felt, nor weighed, but only tasted. It was equally explicitly psychoactive. It “affords the Apparition of Angells” and provided “a power of conversing with them, by Dreams and Revelations.” The angelical stone was called “the Food of Angels”--a biblical designation of manna. It was incorruptible, in the sense that the spiritual gifts of the angelical stone retained their integrity as gifts against the fire. Because the sun is fiery, the fire against which the angelic stone was
proof were presumably the magical beliefs that the solar, masculine, magical stone
encouraged. Ashmole also remarked that tasting the angelical stone provided access to
eternity, implicitly meaning the Eternal. His claim that its manifestations of glory were present to fleshly eyes indicated that these several spiritual gifts were experienced in the body.
To conclude: at least some English alchemical writers openly discussed psychoactive
drugs that they associated with mystical deaths, verbal revelations, and prophecies.