Introduction to Alchemy

Webster’s dictionary defines alchemy as: “any seemingly magical process of transmuting ordinary materials into something of true merit.” The roots of alchemy can be traced back to Egypt. The word alchemy may be derived from the Arabic “al kimiya” meaning “the magical craft of the black country.”

Ancient Egyptians were master metalworkers and believed that magic powers were contained in all matter. This is significant as we discover the double meanings behind elemental symbols. When Egypt was conquered by the Arabs, they took the science back with them to Spain. From there, the science of alchemy along with the knowledge of alchemy signs spread to England, France and Germany.

Alchemy can be credited for being the foundation of modern-day chemistry, but more than science, alchemy represents the spiritual progress of humanity. Ancient alchemists were evolved thinkers, combining efforts to transform matter to another form – all the while having an internal goal of transforming the heart and soul of mankind into another form.

Alchemy symbols provide us with understanding and clarity of thought when focused upon. When the mind focuses on symbols, answers inevitably come.

Source: What’s your sign?

Elemental Alchemy Symbols

Elemental alchemy symbols represent the raw self; having the capacity of being transmuted into a higher, incorruptible self.

The realm of alchemy is filled with hidden and double meanings. Just as each element has a physical representation, so too does it have a philosophical meaning in the alchemical school of thought. It should be noted that the ancient founders of alchemy were avidly loyal to their craft. So much so, that many of the surviving reference material is quite obscure. Alchemists shrouded much of their craft to assure the seeker is determined and devoted to learning. This technique is effective – as once a seeker delves into the world of alchemy; many are dissuaded by the complexity and obscurity surrounding alchemical meaning.

A few Elemental Alchemic Symbols with short description of each:

AlchemyAntimony Antimony: A metalloid, antimony, resembles metal in its appearance and physical properties, but does not chemically react as a metal. This elemental alchemy symbol represents animal tendencies found in humankind – a wild nature in all of us. 

AlchemyArsenic Arsenic: Arsenic is a chemical element. This is a poisonous metalloid that has three allotropic forms; yellow, black and gray. Arsenic and its compounds are used as pesticides, herbicides, insecticides and various alloys. The elemental alchemy symbol arsenic was used for medicinal and magical cures. A compound of arsenic and sulphur were said to induce trances of enlightenment and philosophical ascension and direction. [an old method not recommended to use in contemporary time] 

AlchemyCopper Copper: This is one of several alchemy symbols for copper (the other being traditional Venus symbol). Copper is a reddish-colored metal, with a high electrical and thermal conductivity (among pure metals at room temperature, only silver has a higher electrical conductivity). Copper may well be the oldest metal in use, as copper artifacts dating to 8700 BC have been found. Copper was associated with the goddess Aphrodite/Venus in mythology and alchemy, owing to its lustrous beauty, its ancient use in producing mirrors, and its association with Cyprus, which was sacred to the goddess. The elemental alchemy symbol for copper is also the planetary symbol for Venus. As such, this symbol embodies such characteristics as love, balance, feminine beauty, and artistic creativity.


Aphrodite by Linz Archer found on Journeying to the Goddess WordPress blog

AlchemyGold Gold: A soft, shiny, yellow, heavy, malleable, ductile (trivalent and univalent) transition metal. One of the more valued elements, gold represents perfection in all matter, on any level. It also symbolizes humankind’s goal to obtain perfection in mind and spirit. [to reach the ‘golden light’ enlightenment, higher consciousness, consciousness of Being] 

AlchemyIron Iron: Iron is a most abundant metal, and is believed to be the tenth most abundant element in the universe. In alchemy, iron is representative of the planet mars in astrology. As such, iron rules physical strength, and symbolizes predominantly male energy. It is also noteworthy that the symbol for iron is also one in the same symbol for male. Philosophically, iron represents a need to temper primal urges while at the same to embracing the fire within. 

AlchemyLead Lead: Lead has a bright luster and is a dense, ductile, very soft, highly malleable, bluish-white metal that has poor electrical conductivity. This true metal is highly resistant to corrosion. As an alchemy symbol, lead is the ruler of the dark, lusterless prime matter. It is Governed by Saturn and combined with sliver it is said to create a purified element called the Philosophic Mercury.

AlchemyMagnesium Magnesium: Magnesium is a fairly strong, silvery-white, light-weight metal (one third lighter than aluminum) that slightly tarnishes when exposed to air. It is difficult to ignite in bulk, though it is easy to light if it is shaved into thin strips. Once ignited, it is difficult to extinguish. It is the difficulty of extinguishing that makes this elemental alchemy symbol so appealing because it represents eternity, infinite flame, and ascension.

AlchemyPhosphorus Phosphorus: Common phosphorus forms a waxy white solid that has a characteristic disagreeable smell. Pure forms of the element are colorless and transparent. This non-metal is not soluble in water, but it is soluble in carbon disulfide. Pure phosphorus ignites spontaneously in air and burns to phosphorus pentoxide. The elemental alchemy symbol phosphorus traps light, and thus it is reputed that the alchemy symbol for phosphorus represents spiritual illumination.

AlchemyPlatinum Platinum: The metal is a beautiful silvery-white when pure, and malleable and ductile. The metal is corrosion-resistant. In the realm of philosophical elemental alchemy symbols, platinum was revered for its endurance. Platinum represents determination, grit, and seeing our manifestations to completion.

AlchemySilver Silver: Silver is a very ductile and malleable (slightly harder than gold) univalent coinage metal with a brilliant white metallic luster that can take a high degree of polish. It has the highest electrical conductivity of all metals, even higher than copper, but its greater cost has prevented it from being widely used in place of copper for electrical purposes. In alchemy, silver is one of the three base metals often used as prima material at the inception of a work. Further, the alchemy symbol of silver is associated with the moon. As such, silver holds philosophical traits of the feminine persuasion as well as attributes of intuition, inner wisdom, and contemplation. Furthermore, profound artistic expression can be harness by using silver. 

AlchemySulfur Sulfur: It is an abundant, tasteless, odorless, multivalent non-metal. Sulfur, in its native form, is a yellow crystalline solid. In nature, it can be found as the pure element or as sulfide and sulfate minerals. It is an essential element for life and is found in several amino acids. Also considered a transcendent elemental alchemy symbol – sulfur represents the multiplicity of human nature and the eternal aspiration to reach enlightenment. As indicated by the symbol, sulfur represents the triad of ascension – which can be viewed as a holy trinity. Sulfur is also one of the three heavenly substances in alchemical science (the other two being salt, and mercury.

AlchemyTin Tin: Tin is a malleable, ductile, highly crystalline, silvery-white metal whose crystal structure causes a “tin cry” when a bar of tin is bent (caused by crystals breaking). Tin acts as a catalyst when oxygen is in solution and helps accelerate chemical attack. Tin as an elemental alchemy symbol is representative of the planet Jupiter. Being ruled by Jupiter, puts tin in connection with breath, and can be philosophically viewed as the breath of life. Tin also adds a philosophical lesson to life that standing alone it is weaker than if it is combined with another alchemy symbol element.

AlchemyZinc Zinc: Zinc is a moderately reactive metal that will combine with oxygen and other non- metals, and will react with dilute acids to release hydrogen. Alchemists prepared philosopher’s wool by burning the metal zinc in air. Philosopher’s wool was zinc oxide, which was also sometimes called nix alba (white snow).

P.S: More to come on Alchemy, its connection to Psychology, and Astrology. Stay tuned ❤

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alchemyfromrealitysandwhichdotcomFound at:

One thought on “Introduction to Alchemy

  1. Pingback: Year 5 – Dreams, Creative Expressions, Psychology & Alchemy, Affirmations, Accomplishments | Inside A Soul

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