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Alchemy Symbols and Their Meanings

blog.prepscholar.com

Alchemy is an area of study, sometimes described as a science, sometimes described as a branch of philosophy, that was practiced in Europe, Asia, and Africa. Alchemy originated in the early centuries AD, primarily in Egypt, Greece, and Rome, but eventually spread as far as India, China, and Engla...

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The symbol for the philosopher's stone

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Since the beginning of alchemy, alchemists have used symbols to represent different elements. Alchemy symbols sometimes contain hints of the qualities the element was thought to have, as well as the history of the element. Using symbols helped alchemists keep their work secret fr...

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The Three Primes

The three primes, also known as the tria prima, were named by Paracelsus, a Swiss philosopher, in the 16th century. He believed the tria prima contained all the poisons that caused disease, and that by studying them, alchemists could learn how to cure disease. He also believed th...

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Mercury

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Mercury (which is also one of the seven planetary metals) can mean both the element and the planet. In either case, this alchemy symbol represents the mind, as well as a state that could transcend death. In ancient times, mercury was known as quicksilver, and it was believed to b...

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Salt is now known to be a chemical compound comprised of sodium and chloride, but alchemists believed it was a single element. Salt represents the body, as well as physical matter in general, crystallization, and condensation.

Salt is often impure when first collected, but...

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Salt

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Sulfur

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Sulfur represents properties such as dryness, heat, and masculinity. In alchemy, it could also represent evaporation, expansion, and dissolution. In terms of human body, it represented the soul. In terms of the tria prima, sulfur was seen as the middling element connecting salt (...

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