Electronic Dictionary T-Z
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Tin is one of the seven
metals of the alchemists. It is associated with the operation of Dissolution and
the element Water. Pewter (a mixture of lead and tin) represents a metallic
state between the operations of Calcination and Dissolution.
The key to understanding
alchemy is to realize that alchemical thought is extremely dynamic and takes
places on three levels at once: the physical, the psychological, and the
spiritual. Thus turning lead into gold meant not only physically changing the
base metal into the noble metal, but also transforming base habits and emotions
into golden thoughts and feelings, as well as transmuting our dark and ignoble
souls into the golden light of spirit. By developing this ability to think and
work on all three levels of reality at once (becoming "thrice-greatest"), the
alchemists created a spiritual technology that applied not only to their
laboratories but also to their own personalities and to their relationships with
other people -- and with God.
Trees symbolize the
processes of transformation. A tree of moons signifies the Lesser or Lunar Work;
a tree of suns signifies the Greater or Solar Work.
The triangle represents
the three heavenly principles or substances of Sulfur, Mercury, and Salt.
Grind a solid into a powder.
Pulverize with a mortar and pestle. Crush. A process just after Calcination,
when the ashes are ground into a fine powder for
Vitriol was the most
important liquid in alchemy. It was the one in which all other reactions took
place. Vitriol was distilled from an oily, green substance that formed naturally
from the weathering of sulfur-bearing gravel. This Green Vitriol is symbolized
by the Green Lion in drawings. After the Green Vitriol (copper sulfate) was
collected, it was heated and broken down into iron compounds and sulfuric acid.
The acid was separated out by distillation. The first distillation produced a
brown liquid that stunk like rotten eggs, but further distillation yielded a
nearly odorless, yellow oil called simply Vitriol. The acid readily dissolves
human tissue and is severely corrosive to most metals, although it has no effect
on gold. White Vitriol is zinc sulfate; Blue Vitriol is copper sulfate.
Water is one of the Four
Elements of alchemy. Water in the alchemical sense carries the archetypal
properties of cleansing and purification. It is associated with the operation of
Dissolution and represented by the metal tin.
The White Phase (Leukosis) is
the second stage of the Great Work and takes place during
Wine is symbolic of the
process of Fermentation and the spiritization of matter.
(see Yellow Phase)
The Yellow Phase (or
Xanthosis) of alchemy is an intermediate stage that takes place between the
Black and White phases of the Great Work. The term was used by Alexandrian
alchemists to describe changes that took place during the Fermentation
Last updated: December 31, 1969
According to the Doctrine
of Correspondences in the Emerald Tablet ("As Above, so Below"), the stars must
find expression on earth and in mankind. In alchemy, it was essential to consult
the zodiac before commencing any of the major operations.
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