Alchemy Link

Alchemy is an ancient practice shrouded in mystery and secrecy, it has origins within many philosophical traditions including Dharmic faiths, Taoism and early Christianity. It's practitioners sought the power to heal and to accumulate wealth by transforming base metals into gold, a quest that has captured the imagination of people for thousands of years.
The Philosopher's Stone
This is a legendary substance also known as the elixir of life which is said to contain immense powers including the key to wealth, immortality and the cosmos. According to legend it is not a naturally occurring substance but has to be created by "seekers of truth". Around the year 700CE some middle eastern philosophers were thought to have discovered the secret ingredients and the chemical processes required to create it. These people became known as "Alchemists" and the study of alchemy became part of scientific study of the day.

Alchemists believe in a "universal spirit" where base metals contain secret properties and are all in various stages of a natural development process leading to the ultimate conversion to gold and the attainment of spiritual perfection. The theory was that this natural transformation process using base metals (such as lead or tin) could be replicated, leading to the limitless production of gold.

Origin of Science
Alchemy in many ways facilitated the beginnings of modern chemistry, the experimentation techniques and analysis of results helped to develop a general scientific principle. Alchemists believe that nature contains secrets which can only be revealed through laboratory examination and experimentation. In the realm of medicine they discovered such things as the circulation of the blood supply and championed mineral and metal based medicines.
Base Metals
According to Alchemy each base metal is aligned to a celestial body and contains properties which are linked to various parts of the body. The table below shows these associations.

MetalPlanetBody PartAssociation
GoldThe SunHeart, spinal column, visionEnergy, self, vitality, success
SilverThe MoonAll fluids, brain, female organsWater, fertility, conception, emotions, instinct, cultural heritage
CopperVenusSkin, sexual organs, kidneysHerbalism, odours, magic, arts
IronMarsAdrenalin, male organs, muscular system, bloodViolent energy, motion, power
TinJupiterLiver, digestion, bodily energy, stomachGood health, wealth, ceremony
MercuryMercuryNerves, speech, hearing, throatCommunication, commerice, astrology, writing
LeadSaturnBones, spleen, hair, jointsOld age, disease, learning

Three Primes (tria prima) are related to the Law of the Triangle, in which two components come together to produce the third. These primes are:

Sulfur - The fluid connecting the High and the Low, sulfur was used to denote the expansive force, evaporation and dissolution
Mercury - The ever-present spirit of life, mercury was believed to transcend it's liquid form and become solid. This "evolution" was also applied to other areas, as mercury was thought to transcend life/death and heaven/earth
Salt - Base matter, salt represents the contractive and crystallisation force

Tarot Connection
Alchemists believe that the elements of air, water, fire and earth are the building blocks of all matter. They also believe (alike to Tarot) that these elements represent different personality types. Below is a table showing the Alchemy association and personality type relating to each element. The similarities to Tarot are very strong which suggests that Alchemy was hugely influential in the development of Tarot.

FireFire is the energy which breaks down all things and therefore represents the creative impulse in all forms but lacks physical existenceMasculineHyperactive, volatile, lacking substance
WaterWater has the power to dissolve and as such presents a unifying power which allows composite entities to uniteFeminineQuiet, moody, in touch with emotions
AirAir focuses on the both the intellectual and spiritual, it allows for an increase in learning capacity or to heighten spiritual levelsMasculineChangeable, irritable, optimistic, full of integrity
EarthEarth is the principle of all structure and all material things and provides the nutrition needed for growthFeminineApathetic, stable, passive, stubborn and practical
Updated: 19/11/2023