There are seven basic metals in Alchemy which for centuries was closely related to astrology. The refinement of these metals was a symbolic process that showed parallels with the strive for human perfection.
The seven classical planets are related to the seven base metals of alchemy as follows:
In antiquity a different classification system was used, with Venus associated with tin, Mercury with iron, Jupiter with bronze and Mars with alloyed metals.
There are strict rules in Alchemy regarding the process of transforming base metals into precious ones. Lead/Saturn, which in astrology also stands for the material principle, forms the basis. The sought after goal was to create gold/Sun, the symbol for the spiritual and divine principle in astrology. The planets also showed alchemists the way to achieve their other sought after goal, the philosopher's stone. This stone was a legendary substance capable of turning base metals into precious ones that alchemist's believed could be created in seven stages out of virgin soil.
In the astrology of the Middle-Ages these relationships were not only of interest to alchemists but had much wider practical significance.
The following classification links the twelve signs of the zodiac with metals:
- Aries : Iron, steel
- Taurus : Copper, bronze, brass, platinum
- Gemini : Quicksilver (mercury), gold
- Cancer : Silver
- Leo : Gold
- Virgo : Quicksilver (mercury), gold
- Libra : Copper, gold
- Scorpio : Iron, steel
- Sagittarius : Tin, wrought iron
- Capricorn : Lead
- Aquarius : Uranium and all other radioactive elements
- Pisces : Tin
- Wikipedia: Alchemy
- alchemywebsite.com (Adam McLean)
- Golden Moments - When alchemists made Gold (Nick Kollerstrom, orig. 1992)
- The Traditional Association of the Moon and Silver (Kollerstrom)
- The Traditional Association of the Sun and Gold (Kollerstrom)
- Planets, Colors and Metals (Patrice Guinard, 2000)
- Kollerstrom, Nick: The metal-planet relationship: A study of celestial influence. 173 pages. Borderland Sciences Research Foundation, 1993 ISBN 978-0945685142
Notes and References
- From Occultus philosophia, 1613
- Source: Hubble telescope