Unicode Alchemical Symbols


From p5 of Kirchweger, Anton Joseph (1723) Aurea catena Homeri oder eine Beschreibung von dem Ursprung der Natur und natürlichen Dingen
I just really like this image. Think too of the sun's journey: The sun, winged as it flies across the sky having been birthed by the fixed sea. Only to be swallowed up and devoured at the end of the day - impregnating the sea again for the pregnant night when it will once again give birth to the day time sun.


Alchemy Timeline

A timeline showing the different people, manuscripts, discoveries, etc. from alchemy. (work in progress)
Check out Prelude to Chemistry pp34. which has a lot of this information.

Some thoughts on reading Alchemy

Cf. §396 The Alchemical Mind
Do we create, or have we created the unconscious? Does it matter? xRef Memories Dreams Reflections p235
When Jung or anyone talks of the sun as a symbol it is important to see that the sun is not a symbol. Rather, over time man in his unconscious perceptions has placed affect onto the sun in seeking to understand and represent his unconscious or the content coming to mind. Therefore when we read it is important to remember this as where the symbol comes from as well as all alchemical images/symbols. These were complex people (there is no original thought). The you can talk of the symbol, and the sun as a symbol. Reading alchemy or any other 'symbolic' material associated with Jungian or analytical psychology it is important to know how to read it. Imagine you are trying to understand what is in your head and the processes feelings that you are going through. We so often say how something is like something else. How we feel like something. This is important because we are trying to describe what is going on in our heads and our hearts. What we go through is really difficult to comprehend. The alchemist pointed out that there is the microcosm = us, and the macrocosm = the world, the universe. That is why we seem to be able to symbolically 'match' up what is going on inside of us with what we see in the world and are therefore able to say things like we are feeling 'like' this or that. In this way, things become symbolic. Which leads us back to the first question about how the unconscious and how the content we have in our unconscious come about. How the symbols that we talk about have become engrained within our unconscious dialogue. Why is Alchemy important?

The golden chain

Aurea Catena or Homeric chain in alchemy is the series of great wise men beginning with Hermes Trismegistus, which links earth with heaven.

Hermes Trismegistus
Zosimos of Panoplis CW13
Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa (1486-1535)
Paracelsus (1493-1541) CW13



Alchemical symbols from Wikipedia

See also the Alchemical Hieroglyphs

Three Primes

According to Paracelsus, the Three Primes or Tria Prima are:

Salt (base matter)
Mercury (fluid connection between the High and the Low)
Sulfur (omnipresent spirit of life)

The four basic elements

Western alchemy makes use of the Hellenic elements. The symbols used for these are:

Seven planetary metals

Seven metals are associated with the seven classical planets, and seven deities, all figuring heavily in alchemical symbolism. Although the metals occasionally have a glyph of their own, the planet's symbol is used most often, and the symbolic and mythological septenary is consistent with Western astrology. The planetary symbolism is limited to the seven wandering stars visible to the naked eye, and the extra-Saturnarian planets such as Neptune are not used.

Lead dominated by Saturn ♄ ( )
Tin dominated by Jupiter ♃ ( )
Iron dominated by Mars ♂( )
Gold dominated by Sol ☉ ☼ ( )
Copper dominated by Venus ♀ (also: )
Mercury (quicksilver) dominated by Mercury ☿ ( )
Silver dominated by Luna ☽ ( )

The Monas Hieroglyphica is an alchemical symbol devised by John Dee as a combination of the planetary metal glyphs.

Alchemical processes and the Zodiac signs

The alchemical magnum opus was sometimes expressed as a series of chemical operations. In cases where these numbered twelve, each could be assigned one of the Zodiac signs as a form of cryptography. The following example can be found in Pernety's 1758 Mytho-Hermetic Dictionary:

Calcination (Aries )
Congelation (Taurus )
Fixation (Gemini )
Dissolution (Cancer )
Digestion (Leo )
Distillation (Virgo )
Sublimation (Libra )
Separation (Scorpio )
Incineration (Sagittarius )
Fermentation (Capricorn )
Multiplication (Aquarius )
Projection (Pisces )

Dates Sign Planet ruler Element Humour Cross
22 Dec - 20 Jan Capricorn Saturn (passive) Earth phlegmatic cardinal
21 Jan - 19 Feb Aquarius Saturn (active) Air sanguine fixed
20 Feb - 20 Mar Pisces Jupiter (passive) Water melancholy mutable
21 Mar - 20 Apr Aries Mars (active) Fire choleric cardinal
21 Apr - 21 May Taurus Venus (passive) Earth phlegmatic fixed
22 May - 21 Jun Gemini Mercury (active) Air sanguine mutable
22 Jun - 22 Jul Cancer Moon Water melancholy cardinal
23 Jul - 23 Aug Leo Sun Fire choleric fixed
24 Aug - 23 Sep Virgo Mercury (passive) Earth phlegmatic mutable
24 Sep - 23 Oct Libra Venus (active) Air sanguine cardinal
24 Oct - 22 Nov Scorpio Mars (passive) Water melancholy fixed
23 Nov - 21 Dec Sagittarius Jupiter (active) Fire choleric mutable

Quotes and references from the wiki

A list of references from the text throughout the site where Δ is used to annotate the reference.

p111 “Jung pointed out that 'Saturn is the father and origin of Mercurius, therefore the latter is called “Saturn's child”.'”
Transformation of the Psyche

§3 “But, as things are at present, it seems to me imperative that they should broaden the basis of this analysis by a comparative study of the historical material, ... For, just as psychological knowledge furthers our understanding of the historical material, so, conversely, the historical material can throw new light on individual psychological problems.”
It great here how Jung explains why he directs his attention to the historical material to 'gain fresh insight' into the psychological material. Hence the living hell that is trying to follow the encyclopaedic material that is Jung :)
Symbols of Transformation, Collected Works Vol. 5

§245 “The fiery furnace, like the fiery tripod in Faust, is a mother-symbol. ... The alchemical athanor, or melting-pot, signifies the body, while the alembic or cucurbita, the Hermetic vessel, represents the uterus.”
Symbols of Transformation, Collected Works Vol. 5

§588 (Cf. para 587) “Through introversion, as numerous historical witnesses testify, one is fertilised, inspired, regenerated, and reborn.” Cf. the example of Prajapati creating the world the an 'introversion' motif. §589f Prajapati . Also, see footnote 169 on page 381. This idea of introversion, 'Self-incubation' or 'self-castigation', the act of 'self-abnegation'...is similar to the alchemical view of the closed alembic (i.e. us, and the boiling of libido, our own heat to create) for the purpose of rebirth and creativity.
Symbols of Transformation, Collected Works Vol. 5

§113 “It may be superfluous to point out here... He is in fact an unconscious exponent of the autonomous psyche and its development, just like the Medieval alchemist or the classical neoplatonist. Hence one could say, with a grain of salt, that history could be constructed just as easily from one's own unconscious as from the actual texts.”
Psychology and Alchemy, Collected Works Vol. 12

§140 “The mystical side of alchemy, as distinct from its historical aspect, is essentially a psychological problem. To all appearances, it is a concretisation, in projected and symbolic form, of the process of individuation.”
Alchemical Studies, Collected Works Vol. 13

§157 “With the triumph of Christianity under Constantine the old pagan ideas did not vanish but lived on in the strange arcane terminology of philosophical alchemy. Its chief figure was Hermes or Mercurius, in his dual significance as quicksilver and the world soul, with his companion figures Sol (= gold) and Luna (= silver). The alchemical operation consisted essentially in separating the prima materia, the so-called chaos, into the active principle, the soul, and the passive principle, the body, which were then reunited in personified form in the coniunctio or “chymical marriage.” In other words, the coniunctio was allegorised as the hierosgamos, the ritual cohabitation of Sol and Luna. From this union sprang the filius sapientiae or filius philosophorum, the transformed Mercurius, who was thought of as hermaphroditic in token of his rounded perfection. [Cf. fig. B2]“
filius = child of, a son, sapientiae = good taste, good sense, discernment, discretion, prudence, intelligence, forethought, sedes sapientiae = throne of wisdom. Philosophorum = philosophy.
The image/figure Jung is cross referencing is shown below, it's on p153.

Alchemical Studies, Collected Works Vol. 13

§158 ”... the Aurora consurgens (a treatise falsely ascribed to St. Thomas Aquinas) on account of its “blasphemous character”...“
I write this here as I think it interesting that, at least at the time of Jung writing this, he does not attribute the Aurora Consurgens to St. Thomas Aquinas. Whereas, in reading Transformation of the Psyche we find the authors agreeing with Marie Louise Von Franz that it was most likely an expulsion of unconscious content by Aquinas in his last days, perhaps when he was ill towards the end of his life and perhaps going a bit nuts.
Alchemical Studies, Collected Works Vol. 13

§171 “The idea that the art can make something higher than nature is typically alchemical.”
Alchemical Studies, Collected Works Vol. 13

§178 “It is characteristic of Paracelsan thinking, and of alchemy in general, that there are no clear-cut concepts, so that one concept can take the place of another ad infinitum.”
Alchemical Studies, Collected Works Vol. 13

§183 “And of the worthless prima materia they [the alchemists] say: “Despise not the ash, for it is the diadem of they heart, and the ash of things that endure.”“
Square brackets mine
Alchemical Studies, Collected Works Vol. 13

§187 “When this is purified by the fire in the sun,77 the pure water78 comes forth, and, having returned to simplicity,79 it [the quaternity as unity] will show the adept the fulfilment of the mysteries.”
77 The sun is the birthplace of the “spiritual fire,” mentioned above. Light symbols always refer psychologically to consciousness or to a content that is becoming conscious.
78 The aqua pura is the aqua permanens of the Latin and Arabic alchemists and the <greek test here> of the Greeks. It is the spiritus mercurialis in water form, which in turn serves to extract the “soul” of the substance. The spiritus mercurialis corresponds to the spiritual fire, hence aqua = ignis. Although these terms are used indiscriminately, they are not the same, since fire is active, spiritual, emotional, close to consciousness, whereas water is passive, material, cool, and of the nature of the unconscious. Both are necessary to the alchemical process since this is concerned with the union of opposites. Cf. Psychology and Alchemy, Fig. 4.
Alchemical Studies, Collected Works Vol. 13

Σ §187 “In these relations between four, three, two, and one is found, says Dorn, the “culmination of all knowledge and of the mystic art, and the infallible midpoint of the centre (infallibile medii centrum).”80 The One is the midpoint of the circle, the centre of the triad, and it is also the “novenary foetus” (foetus novenarius), i.e., it is as the number nine to the ogdoad, or as the quintessence to the quaternity.81
81 Dorn, “Duellum animi cum corpore,” Theatr. chem., I (1659), p. 482. This number symbolism refers to the axiom of Maria: “One becomes Two, Two becomes Three, and out of the Third comes One as the Fourth” (Berthelot, Alch. grecs, VI, v, 6). This axiom runs through the whole of alchemy, and is not unconnected with the Christian speculations regarding the Trinity. Cf. my “Psychology and Religion,” p. 60, and “A Psychological Approach to the Dogma of the Trinity, ” pp. 164ff.
Theatrum Chemicum (= Theatr. chem. ).
Alchemical Studies, Collected Works Vol. 13

§198 “Not separation of the natures but union of the natures was the goal of alchemy.”
This is in the context of Nature, and the lumen naturae. The rest of the paragraph is a good read on the nature of Nature, and Nature worship in some way.
...“It strives not for isolation but for union, for the wedding feast followed by death and rebirth.”...I like that, it continues...“Paracelsus's “exaltation in May” is this marriage, the “gamonymus” or hierosgamos of light and darkness in the shape of Sol and Luna. Here the opposites unite what the light from above had sternly divided.”
gamo- [ Gr. gamos, marriage ]
heiro- [ Gr. hieros, holy ]

Alchemical Studies, Collected Works Vol. 13

§212 ”...the alchemical opus, which always remains the same as a general procedure though its goal may vary: sometimes it is the production of gold (chrysopoea), sometimes the elixir, sometimes the aurum potabile or, finally, the mysterious filius unicus. Also, the artifex can have a selfish or an idealistic attitude towards the work.”
If the procedure is the same, I wonder if the procedures and rituals would still work if undertaken in this day and age, not dissimilar to the church rituals. I've always thought the rituals were there for the good reason of teaching the discipline and thought. After that, for the work to go deeper, people must look inside. But its important to have the ritual because if there was nothing there people could say, “I'll just do the work in my head”, but I don't think we can do that all the time, we need something to be structuring us, procedure'ing us...so to speak, even if its just the learning, or praying...setting time aside.
Alchemical Studies, Collected Works Vol. 13

§231 “But one should not imagine Paracelsus or any other alchemist settling down to invent an arcane terminology that would make the new doctrine a kind of private code. {Alchemy} Such and undertaking would presuppose the existence of definite views and clearly defined concepts. But there is no question of that: non of the alchemists ever had any clear idea of what his philosophy was really about.
Alchemical Studies, Collected Works Vol. 13

§237 “I had long been aware that alchemy is not only the mother of chemistry, but is also the forerunner of our modern psychology of the unconscious. Thus Paracelsus appears as a pioneer not only of chemical medicine but of empirical psychology and psychotherapy.”
Alchemical Studies, Collected Works Vol. 13

§286 ”...the alchemical projections represent collective contents that stand in painful contrast - or rather, in compensatory relation - to our highest rational convictions and values. they give the strange answers of the natural psyche to the ultimate questions which reason has left untouched. Let us, however, not delude ourselves: no more than we can separate the constituents of character from the astronomical determinants of time are we able to separate that unruly and evasivev Mercurius from the autonomy of matter . Something of the projection-carrier always clings to the projection ... In these projections we encounter the phenomenology of an “objective” spirit, a true matrix of psychic experience, the most appropriate symbol for which is matter . Nowhere and never has man controlled matter without closely observing its behaviour and paying heed to its laws, ...The same is true of that objective spirit which today we call the unconscious: ... If a man puts his hand to the opus, he repeats, as the alchemists say, God's work of creation. The struggle with the unformed, with the chaos of Tiamat, is in truth a primordial experience.”
Emphasis mine.
Tiamat = Chaos monster involved in creation.
I find this paragraph very interesting and the ideas of matter in relation to the projections of Alchemy. Jung is not wrong in the creation element of the opus, and how that must have resonated with the unconscious, the creator and created aspects. The creation myths able to bear out in a way with the working of matter = alchemy. This is a very interesting perspective on the alchemical desire, and how rich then must have been the potential for projections.

Alchemical Studies, Collected Works Vol. 13

is used to annotate the reference.

\s*([^\n\r]+).*)/i'?? +aker:books_and_literature _sprender $noRef ??~~

Hartmann, Franz (1894) The Life of Philippus Theophrastus Bombast of Hohenheim, known by the name of Paracelsus, and the Substance of his teachings. Kegan Paul, Trench Trubner & Co Ltd, London.
Books & Literature

Henderson, J. L. and Sherwood, D. N. (2003) Transformation of the Psyche. The Symbolic Alchemy of the Splendor Solis. Routledge, London & New York
Books & Literature

Read, J. (1939) 2nd Ed. Prelude to Chemistry. G. Bell & Sons Ltd. Reprinted by lithography in Great Britain by Jarrold & Sons Ltd, Norwich.
Books & Literature

von Franz, Marie-Louise (1980) Alchemy, An introduction to the Symbolism and the Psychology. Inner City Books.
Books & Literature

Rulandus, M. (1612) A Lexicon of Alchemy or Alchemical Dictionary. Translated by Arthur E. Waite. John M. Watkins London (1893 / 1964)
Books & Literature

Aurora Consurgens. circa 15th century.
Books & Literature

The Planets and their Children. - A Blockbook (woodcut) of Medieval Popular Astrology
Books & Literature

Occulta Philosophia Early 16th Century.
Written around 1509 - 1510 (printed 1533), The Three books of Occult Philosphy (De Occulta Philosophia libri III) were written by Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa, who lived September 15, 1486 - February 18, 1535.
Books & Literature

The Splendor Solis Circa AD 1532-1535. Attributed to Salomon Trismosin
cRef. Henderson, J. L. and Sherwood, D. N. (2003) Transformation of the Psyche . The Symbolic Alchemy of the Splendor Solis . Routledge, London & New York
Books & Literature

Stoltzius Von Stoltzenbert, Daniel. (1624) 'Viridarium Chymicum' - The Chemical Pleasure-Garden
Books & Literature

Baulot, Isaac. (1677) 'Mutus Liber' - the 'silent book'. Printed in La Rochelle under the editorship of Pierre Savouret.
Books & Literature

Ashmole, Elias, (1652) Theatrum Chemicum Britannicum : containing severall poeticall pieces of our famous English philosophers, who have written the hermetique mysteries in their owne ancient language. London : Printed by J. Grismond for Nath: Brooke, at the angel in Cornhill
Books & Literature

Valentine, Basil (1671) The last will and testament of Basil Valentine, monke of the order of St. Bennet : which, being alone, he hid under a table of marble, behind the high-altar of the cathedral church, in the imperial city of Erford : leaving it there to be found by him, whom Gods providence should make worthy of it : to which is added two treatises, the first declaring his manual operations, the second shewing things natural and supernatural. Publisher: London : Printed by S.G. and B.G. for Edward Brewster
Books & Literature

Valentine, Basil (1893) The triumphal chariot of antimony London : J. Elliott and Co.
Books & Literature

Valentine, Basil The Twelve keys of Basil Valentine
Books & Literature

Maier, Michael (1687) Secretioris Naturae Secretorum Scrutinium Chymicum : per oculis et intellectui accurat㋠accommodata, figuris cupro appositissim㋠incisa, ingeniosissima emblemata, hisque confines, & ad rem egregiã facientes sententias, doctissimaque item epigrammata, illustratum.
Books & Literature

Maier, M. Ed. (1568? - 1622) The Golden Tripod, or, Three Choice Chemical Tracts, namely: That of Basilius Valentinus, a Monk of the Benedictine Order; called Practica, with twelve Keys and Appendix; The Crede-Mihi, or Ordinal, of Thomas Norton, an English Sage; The testament of a certain Cremer, Abbot of Westminster.
Books & Literature

Maier, Michael (1617) Atalanta Fugiens. First published in Latin in 1617
Books & Literature

Maier, Michael (1617) Symbola Aureae Mensae Duodecim Nationum
Books & Literature

Ripley, George (1588) Ripley Scrowle. London, British Museum, MS Add. 5025, Four scrolls drawn in Lubeck 1588.
Books & Literature

Waite, Arthur Edmund (1893) Hermetic Museum. Restored and Enlarged; Most Faithfully Instructing All Disciples of the Sopho-Spagyric Art How That Greatest and Truest Medicine of THE PHILOSPOPHER'S STONE MAY BE FOUND AND HELD. Now First Done Into English From The Latin Original Published at Frankfort in the Year 1678 Containing Twenty-two most celebrated Chemical Tracts. Published in London, 1893 Arthur Edmund Waite
Books & Literature

Waite, A. E., (1896) The Turba Philosophorum; or, Assembly of the sages, called also the book of truth in the art and the third Pythagorical synod. Publisher London, G. Redway
Books & Literature

Reusner, Hieronymus (1582) Pandora Published Basel 1582
Books & Literature

Bonus, Petrus (1546) Pretiosa Margarita Novella Published 1546 by Apvd Aldi filios in Venice. Written in Latin
Books & Literature

Trismosin, Salomon (1604) Avrevm vellvs, oder, Guldin Schatz und Kunst-Kammer Published 1708 by Bey Christian Liebezeit in der St. Joh. Kirch in Hamburg . Written in German
Books & Literature

(1550) Rosarium Philosophorum Jacob (Offizin, Frankfurt a.M.) Stiftung der Werke von C.G.Jung, Zürich
Books & Literature

Alchemical books and texts

You could leave a comment if you were logged in.