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Alchemical Dictionary

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Alchemy - ancient esoteric practice, generally thought of as ‘the mother of chemistry and medicine’ and based on the doctrine of transmuting base metals into gold. Its new interpretation reveals knowledge of great psychological and magical significance.

Anima - the feminine principle in men, in Jungian psychology.

Anima Mundi - the "world soul". She is the animating principle that is said to inhabit all things. Anima Mundi is also said to exist in blood, which is an early symbol for the soul.

Animus - the masculine principle in women, in Jungian psychology.

(The) Axiom of Maria Prophetissa - "One becomes Two, Two becomes Three, and out of the Third comes the One as the Fourth". This enigmatic statement, emphasizing the antagonism between numbers three and four, has been used in Alchemy for almost two thousand years.

Coagulatio - the third, "equilibrium" stage between Nigredo and Solutio. Coagulatio consists of eight sub-stages Separatio, Fermentatio, Illuminatio, Nutrimentum, Fixatio, Multiplicatio, Revificatio, and Sublimatio. Coagulatio is associated with the independence of Sol and Luna, and its main color is yellow-green.

Coniunctio, also referred to as the chymical wedding - union of Sol and Luna which produces Mercurius.

Corpus Glorificatum - the final immutable Philosopher’s Stone with red transparent tincture.

Corpus Mundum - the purified body, associated with the success of freeing the ego-consciousness from the contamination with the unconscious, reminiscent of Sol’s independence.

Corpus Subtile - the subtle body, associated with the diamond body in Eastern mysticism.

Duplex, Merurius - most frequently-found description of Mercurius, as the embodiment of the union of striking opposites.

(The) Emerald Tablet - famous alchemical treatise, associated with Hermes Trismegistus. The Emerald Tablet outlines some of the basic alchemical beliefs.

Filius Macrocosmi, the Cosmic Son - one of the manifestations of the Philosopher’s Stone and Mercurius.

Filius Microcosmi, the Son of Man - Christ, as the counterpart of the Philosopher’s Stone and Mercurius.

Formal Quaternity - associated with number seven. It is the product of the synthesis of Sol, Luna, the Elements, and specially selected Fire, according to Robert Fludd.

(The) Four Elements - the four basic constituents of all matter in various philosophical theories.

Fourteen Principles of Hermetic Wisdom - health, humility, holiness, chastity, virtue, victory, faith, hope, charity, goodness, patience, temperance, a spiritual discipline, understanding, obedience. These principles, however, do not seem to be omnipresent.

Greater Work - the last two phases of alchemical transmutation, embodied in the stages of Coagulatio and Rubedo.

Hermes Trismegistus - "three-times as powerful" or "thrice-born" Hermes. The famous alchemical Emerald Tablet is attributed to him.

Lady Alchymia, also known as the Anima Mercurii - the guiding presence in Alchemy.

Lesser Work - the first half of alchemical transmutation, embodied in the phases of Nigredo and Solutio.

Luna - the Moon in coniunctio; she has corresponding dark and watery characteristics, and her metal is silver or quicksilver. She is associated with the unconsious and the Anima in Jungian psychology.

Magnum Opus, "the Great Work" - another name for the alchemical processes.

Mandala - a combination of triangles, squares and circles in regular pattern, as a symbol of totality in world cultures.

Melusina - associated with Luna, Anima Mundi, Virgo, Lillith, and Morgana. As Anima Mundi, she animates all things. Melusina resembles a mermaid and has a fish-like or snake-like tail.

Mercurius - hermaphroditic, bisexual, androgenous product of Coniunctio. Mercurius is the being at all levels simultaneously, an omnipresent embodiment of all existent opposites.

Nigredo, also known as Mortificatio - the first stage of alchemical transmutation, with the motto "black blacker than black". Nigredo is the corruption that must take place before growth, the chaos that gives birth to cosmos. The Old King’s death and Sol’s and Luna’s first encounter also take place in Nigredo.

(The) Old King - the old state of consciousness. The Old King must die in Nigredo for alchemical transmutation to begin.

Peacock Tail - emergence of all colors of the rainbow, which accompanies the production of the White Stone and is reminiscent of dispersion in Optics.

(The) Philosopher’s Stone, also referred to as the Lapis Philosophorum - the "catalyst" for the gold-production in alchemical transmutations. Often, the Philosopher’s Stone is more important than the alchemical gold. It is extracted from the Prima Materia, and in its final immutable and perfect stage, it can grant magical powers to the owner.

(The) Philosophical Egg - a common symbol for the Vessel. The Philosophical Egg is synonymous with the Uroboros, the Mercurial Serpent, as well as water, because it "surrounds everything within it and has in itself all that is necessary" (which is also one of the attributes of God).

(The) Philosophical Tree, Arbor Philosophica - a common alchemical symbol, associated with the seven planets known at the time. These planets correspond to the seven metals - gold, sometimes substituted by sulphur, silver, copper, iron, mercury, lead, and tin, which were said to "grow" on the Philosophical Tree. The fruit of this Tree is the eternal and incorruptible Mercurial manifestation as the Philosopher’s Stone.

Prima Materia, also known as the basic moisture, the seed of all things, the root of itself, and the Massa Confusa, among others. The Prima Materia is the primordial chaos from which all things originate; it is needed for the extraction of the Philosopher’s Stone. Prima Materia is said to be filthy and divine simultaneously.

Quadratura Circuli, "squaring the circle" - one of the methods of obtaining Philosopher’s Stone, which involves "making a circle out of a man and a woman, deriving form it a square, and from a square a triangle, then making a circle".

Quaternus, Mercurius - Mercurial manifestation as the synthesized quaternity of the Philosopher’s Stone.

Quinta Essentia, the quintessence, or the "light of nature", according to Paracelsus - sometimes considered to be the "fifth element", as seen in Leonardo’s Microcosmic Man pentagram. Mercurius is often described as the quintessence, which holds the four elements together. In this interpretation, the Quinta Essentia is depicted in the middle of the Four Elements.

(The) Red King - Sol’s frequently used persona.

Rubedo - final (fourth) alchemical stage, associated with red-purple. In this stage the Philosopher’s Stone gains powers for infinite multiplication. Rubedo’s two main sub-stages are Multiplicatio and Projectio.

Senex, Mercurius - initial Saturnine substance, associated with the Christian Devil.

Sol - the Sun in coniunctio; he has corresponding fiery characteristics, and his metal is gold or sulphur. He is associated with consciousness and the Animus in Jungian psychology.

Solutio, also referred to as Albedo or Baptisma - the second stage of alchemical transmutation which embodies "whiteness beyond blackness". Solutio is the opposite of Nigredo, it has a spiritual, celestial quality, and is associated with the first production of the White Stone.

Soror (or frater) Mysterium - a companion in the work of the alchemist.

Tetraktys - a fourfold triangle, adding up to ten. Tetraktys can be derived from the Axiom of Maria Prophetissa because it "begins with unity and ends with quaternity"; it’s been considered sacred from the times of the Pythagoreans.

Trinus, Mercurius - Mercurial manifestation as the counterpart of the Triune Christian godhead.

Uroboros - the tail-eating serpent, the symbol for the One and the All, is most often associated with Mercurius and is present in Coagulatio stage of alchemical transmutation. Uroboros devours and gives birth to itself.

(The) Vessel - the "uterus" of spiritual renewal and rebirth. According to Maria Prophetissa, no alchemical transmutation can take place without the knowledge of the vessel, while in Jung’s view, the Vessel is the person herself/himself.

(The) White Queen - Luna’s frequently used persona.

Yantra - a form of a mandala, used in Eastern meditation. A yantra consists of nine interlinking triangles, pointing upward and downward, and representing the union of Shiva and Shakti, spiritual and material

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