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Alchemical Study Group - The Elements

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6?


Some mystics talk about six och seven elements. Do you know more about why? And what do you think about this idea?

(earth, mineral, water, wind, fire and sky and the seventh pseudoelement - spirit!)

/T
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ligator
Some mystics talk about six och seven elements. Do you know more about why? And what do you think about this idea?

(earth, mineral, water, wind, fire and sky and the seventh pseudoelement - spirit!)

/T
I've never heard of this before, though I have heard of the Eastern five elements.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leisa
I've been looking around for how the stages were related to elements and seasons without a lot of success.

If I had to relate seasons to stages it would be like this:

Nigredo-Winter
Albedo-Spring
Citrinatas-Summer
Rubedo-Fall

But for Elements not as sure:

Nigredo - Earth (Starting Point)
Albedo - Water (Washing)
Citrinatas - Air ??? (Heat added)
Rubedo - Fire ??? (Reddening)

Any Ideas or Sources?
From my understanding of alchemy there were only three phases and not four when purifying oneself so I doubt there is any links between elements and the phases.
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I came across a table a while back in one of my medieval books (originally sourced The Survival of the Pagan Gods, tr. B.F. Sessions; from The Two Cities, Malcolm Barber, p427), it is a good overview of all types of associations related to astrology. But here is the kicker, it also includes the elements.

Astrological Signs by Antiochus of Athens, circa second century AD

Code:
Signs of     Seasons Ages of    Elements Winds  Qualities   Conditions Humours      Temperaments Colours
Zodiac               Life
ARIES
TAURUS       Spring  Childhood  Air      South  hot-moist   liquid     blood        sanguine     red
GEMINI

CANCER
LEO          Summer  Youth      Fire     East   hot-dry     gaseous    yellow bile  choleric     yellow
VIRGO

LIBRA
SCORPIO      Autumn  Maturity   Earth    North  cold-dry    dense      black bile   melancholic  black
SAGITTARIUS

CAPRICORNUS
AQUARIUS     Winter  Old Age    Water    West   cold-moist  solid      phlegm       phlegmatic   white
PISCES
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I have to say that is the most unusual association of elements to zodiac signs that I have ever seen. Also very strange that the condition related to air is 'liquid' and to water is 'solid'.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sapienza
I have to say that is the most unusual association of elements to zodiac signs that I have ever seen. Also very strange that the condition related to air is 'liquid' and to water is 'solid'.
I do agree that it's strange, and I have double checked--what is in the book is what's on the screen. There is only one thing I've added, that is who created the table and the era (Antiochus of Athens, circa second century AD).

I feel that to find out more about elements means digging into the few sources I've got and trying to come to some understanding rather than just referring to tables. Maybe I'll get to it sometime...
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenny
I've never heard of this before, though I have heard of the Eastern five elements.
Thank you Kenny for starting this thread. I started with a big overview http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classical_element -- there are quite a few ancient systems out there based on different classifications of "elements". The four tarot uses seem to be the only ones every culture agrees on.

My little understanding of it is that elements represent spirit vibrating into manifestation. Earth is the most dense, water lighter and faster, fire lighter and faster still, air even finer and faster...(then you get into the spiritual elements which are not really elements anymore since they are beyond the dimension of the physical senses) but these are the ones tarot uses.

People can be earthy, phlegmatic, firey, or airheads you know? So the elements also relate to psychological archetypes. I think this is the strategy used in astrology because the 12 zodiac signs are subdivided into these 4 broad personality types, the old healing schools used it and Jung made a study of it...

In terms of reading cards I wonder what is most important to know anyway when pulling say a certain percentage from a particular suit.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elvenstar View Post
There's an interesting discussion on the elements and alchemy here.
You posted this in 2008 and may not be around, but I wanted to thank you for this link. Great reading.
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Uniting the 4 elements to create the Philosopher's Stone is the body of the great work.

The elements are used to separate the stone material into its three components (Salt, Sulphur, Mercury) These three components (Tria Prima) are then continually purified until they can be combined into the stone.

Fire burns away impurities
Earth is what is left behind after the fire
Water washes and purifies the earth remnants
Air is when water is heated and it starts to evaporate.

All of these processes are used again in what is considered a cycle.

As stated in prior entries, in people the elements are psychological components that must be addressed, refined and transformed into a better state of consciousness.
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