There are two different forms of magic in Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, for lack of a better word. Alchemy practiced in Amestris and Alkagestria practiced in Sin. Much more is known about alchemy than about alkagestria, mainly because it is known that only one character in the series can practice it, but also to some extent because it is a foreign technique that even the main characters claim they have never heard of. they are exposed to this themselves. Although both have very similar results, they are very different in their essence; in intent, origin and practice.
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood follows the story of two brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric, who go in search of the Philosopher’s stone. It’s a tool that Ed thinks he can use to return Al’s soul to his mortal body. Both Ed’s body, arm, and leg were lost in a tragic accident when the boys were still children. Out of grief over the loss of their mother, two boys broke the most important taboo in alchemy and tried to transmute a person.
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Origin and purpose of alkagestria
Where alchemy was invented by his father, alkahestria was invented by Van Hohenheim when he came to Sin from Xerxes. He helped the Sin people for two reasons. First, to create a counter for the Father who was in full control of Alchemy. Secondly, because the Xing people were so obsessed with prolonging life that they actually killed three generations of nobles trying to create an elixir of immortality. While Sin residents treat practices before the arrival of the Philosopher of the West as well as alkahetria, it was only when certain metaphysical practices were imbued with art that it really acquired any healing value. This makes it a relatively recent phenomenon in a world that is only four hundred years old.
Where alchemists are looking for the Philosopher’s Stone, an artifact that is rumored to be able to enhance the skills of any alchemist. Practitioners of alkahestria are looking for the Elixir of Life, a supposed potion of immortality. Because of this, Alkagestria is a powerful healing skill, gaining access to the body’s pathways, nourishing and cleansing them, they can heal everything from simple ailments to minor injuries. Something that alchemists in general struggle with a lot.
Users and how it is used
In the series, it is shown that only Mei Chang can practice Alkagestria, although Scar does use some of its principles naturally in his own alchemy, and it is implied that Van Hohenheim has extensive knowledge of this, given his role in its creation. However, Mei assures the audience that there are many practitioners in Sin, and even convinces Al at the end of the show to return with her to Sin to study alkahestria for himself.
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Alkagestria requires the user to have access to the Dragon Pulse or the natural qi of the Earth. They can do this through internal skills and the use of purification circles. In combination with other alkahestric markers, they also give them the unique ability to project transmutations over a long distance.
Real World Influence
Alkagestria is based on a very real concept of alkagest dating back to the 16th century. It was considered a mythological universal solvent. That is, they believed that there was a liquid in which all other things dissolved. The story of Alkahest is also connected with the story of Alkahest, since the person to whom the concept of Alkahest is attributed was Paracelsus, the same person on whom many other aspects of Van Hohenheim are based.
The Purification circles used in Alkagestria are also based on the concept of the real world. Unlike the usual hexagram used in alchemy, alkagestria uses a pentagram in a circle. This idea goes back to a Chinese philosophical concept called Wu Xing. This concept states that all five basic elements, Wood, Water, Fire, Metal and Earth, can be depicted as a five-pointed star inside a circle. This form demonstrates the interaction of all five elements, either generating or destroying. This philosophy is also closely related to medicine, both in how drugs are thought to work and in how they can explain the interaction of internal organs. This concept is also reflected in the name of the Sin country.
Alkahestria may have a shorter internal history than the history of alchemy, but its rich and varied connections with the real world more than compensate for any of its shortcomings. His attention to medicine and life combined with the use of the natural life energy of the universe makes him a very interesting and vital component in the universe of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. It also provides a necessary counterbalance to the largely destructive forces of Alchemy, and Mei’s apparent softness only reinforces this dichotomy of forces.