|The Western sky in May 2012 ( 24th May)|
I have been reading about alchemy and the Khem as it was known in ancient times. I find this all very interesting as it has great bearing on what the planets are doing in the sky and the relation to this in the earths response. The symbols of the seven metals interest me a lot too. Mercury being the astrological symbol of Jupiter.
Cymist = chemist
Mercury, called quicksilver by the ancients was used to make red mercuric oxide by heating the element in a solution of nitric acid. The reaction of quicksilver in nitric acid is striking as a thick red vapor hovers over the surface and bright red crystals precipitate to the bottom. Alchemists were convinced that mercury transcended both the solid and liquid states, both earth and heaven, both life and death.
The art of alchemy was handed down through the centuries from Egypt and Arabia to Greece and Rome, and finally to western and central Europe. The word is derived from the Arabian phrase "al-kimia," which refers to the preparation of the Stone or Elixir by the Egyptians. The Arabic root "kimia" comes from the Coptic "khem" that alluded to the fertile black soil of the Nile delta. Esoterically and hieroglyphically, the word refers to the dark mystery of the primordial or First Matter (the Khem).
Simplified, the aims of the alchemists were threefold: to find the Stone of Knowledge (The Philosophers' Stone), to discover the medium of Eternal Youth and Health, and to discover the transmutation of metals. To the medieval alchemist’s mind the different elements were but the same original substance in varying degrees of purity. Gold was the purest of all and silver followed closely.
In the early days of alchemy, the astronomical signs of the planets were also used as alchemical symbols. Then in the centuries of medieval persecution and suppression every alchemist invented his own secret symbols. Charlatans, quacks and cheats took over and alchemy became, along with sorcery and witchcraft, infamous for fraud and extortion. In the 18th century scientists tried to pry loose the real achievements in chemistry, pharmacology and medicine from this confusing cornucopia of science and magic.