Alchemy has always been a mysterious, even obscure, art. Even the derivation of the word alchemy itself is uncertain. The most widely explanation is from Khem, the native name of Egypt, with the Arabic prefix al meaning either black or derived from the root meaning wise. Alchemy would therefore be the art from the Land of the Wise, or the wise art.
In the last issue of “Paracelsus – Health & Healing” the roles and attributes of Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sun and Venus have been examined. Now we continue with Mercury and Moon, and conclude these descriptions of the seven ruling planetary bodies with a summarised list of correspondences.
Mercury, The Virgin
The appearance of the White Queen is heralded by Mercury and his crowing cockerels. Although a pure virgin, she has conceived the royal child of the Sun. She is the albedo, the Elixir, one stage away from absolute perfection, but quite incorrubtible.
As the planet and god, Mercury should not be confused with the mercury of the sulfur-mercury duad. As a planetary entity, Mercury is androgynous, containing all opposites within itself. It rules mental processes, language, communication, adaptability, and the intellect. It is a free operator, independent of a polar opposite, although it does have an antagonistic relationship with Saturn. This is symbolized by a child (Mercury) killing a dragon (Saturn), initiating the Great Work by dispatching the forces that imprison the prima materia.
The Moon, The Red King
Luna, the ruler of Cancer, the mother, arrives in a chariot drawn be two midwives. She has given birth to the Red King, the sum of all perfection, the Stone itself, whose golden orb and scepter, robe of royal purple and golden aura proclaim his absolute majesty.
Often called by its Latin name Luna, or Diana, the Moon is the bride of the Sun. It is also mercury to the Sun’s sulfur, the cold, moist, passive, feminine principle that receives the seed of sulfur and bears the hermaphroditic child. It is feminine, nurturing, reflective, and changeable. The Moon is most closely associated with the alchemical process of coagulation and conjunction and is a symbol for the White Lion or the White Stone, the Elixir of Immortality.
|Principles||inhibition, concentration||harmony, justice||energy|
|Day of the week||Saturday||Thursday||Tuesday|
|Zodiacal sign||Capricorn||Sagittarius, Pisces||Aries and Scorpio|
|Colours||iridescent black, purple, nigredo, the black stage||mauve, blue, purple. |
In the Great Work it is the colour gray.
|Deities||Cronos/Saturn, Ceridwen||Zeus/Jupiter/Jove, Sobek, Math, Dagda||Ares/Mars, Tiu/Tyr, Bishamon, all war gods|
|Creatures||tortoise, beaver, vole, worm, heron, crow, ant, termite||whale, dolphin, fish, elephant, horse, eagle, water birds, bee||fox, ram, robin, sparrow, scorpion, all stinging insects other than bees|
|Stones||onyx, jet, diamond, obsidian, black coral, coal||sapphire, lapis lazuli, amethyst, turquoise, tanzanite, all blue and purple stones||ruby, garnet, bloodstone (heliotrope), carnelian, red coral|
|Incense||myrrh, spikenard (Aralia racemosa), harmal (Peganum harmala), copal, aloe, fenugreek||myrrh, sandalwood, benzoin, gum mastic, cedar, fennel, nutmeg||cypress, aloe, tobacco, pine, red cedar|
|Plants||most irises, cornflower, maize||lilac, scarlet pimpernel, carnation, hyacinth, hyssop||anemones, geranium, madder, yellow gentian, honeysuckle|
|Trees||beech, holly, poplar, Scotch pine, yew||oak, ash, maple, horse chestnut, cedar||thorn trees, pines, savin (Juniperus sabina), cypress, rhododendron|
|Healing plants||equisetum, comfrey, verbascum, heartsease (Viola tricolor), red root (Ceanothus americanus), uva ursi||arnica, borage, lemon balm, sage, ginseng, comfrey, mullein, Echinacea, dandelion||hawthorn, nettle, sarsaparilla, vomic nut, basil|
|Body parts||bone structure, teeth, tendons, joints, spleen||liver, arteries, digestive organs, buttocks, right ear, outer sex organs, feet||muscular system, red blood corpuscles, sex organs, gall, astral body|
|Body functions||all hardening and aging processes, blood circulation in tissues||immune system, sugar economy, energy conservation, cell formation, food assimilation||body heat, kundalini, blood formation|
|Mental functions||long-term memory||memory, humor||left-brain activity|
|Malfunctions||rheumatism, depression, lethargy, aging||cancer, cirrhosis, stomach ulcers||fevers, inflammation, high blood pressure, hemorrhage|
|Virtues||discipline, sincerity, humility, perseverance, acceptance, wisdom||generosity, fairness, benevolence, mercy, compassion||courage, determination, passion, protection|
|Vices||melancholy, crankiness, distrust, isolation, inflexibility, meanness||vanity, self-indulgence, greediness, materialism||wrath, impulsiveness, ruthlessness, brutality, destructiveness|
|Keyword||saturnine||jovial (from Jove, Jupiter’s alternative name)||martial|
Excerpts from: Melville, Francis: The Book of Alchemy. Fair Winds Press 2002.
Compiled by Simone Anliker.