Planetary Symbols and the Green Language   Leave a comment

Oct 14, 2010

The subject of the Planetary glyphs, and what they mean, recently arose on the Solomonic group.  You can see these seven Planetary symbols here:

As I learned it, these symbols are part of the alchemical Green Language.  Many of you likely know that alchemists associated the seven metals with the seven planets, and used the glyphs of the planets to represent the metals.  Each glyph is composed of two or three alchemical symbols combined to represent the inherent virtues of its metal:

The Circle = Sol, Gold and heaviness/hardness.
The Crescent = Luna, Silver and lightness/softness.
The Cross = Corrosion.

-The symbol of lead (Saturn) is the Cross of Corrosion with the Lunar Crescent beneath it.  It shows the highly corrosive nature of lead, but Luna grants it its pliability and silver color.

-The symbol of tin (Jupiter) is the Lunar Crescent with the Cross of Corrosion appended to it.  The Luna gives tin its flimsiness and its silver color.  The cross is demoted now, showing that it is a lesser trait than it was in lead.  Indeed, tin is not corrosive itself, but will suffer corrosion quite easily.

-The symbol of iron (Mars) is the Circle of Sol with the Cross of Corrosion appended to it.  Sol gives this metal its “hard as steel” attribute.  The Cross (slightly modified into an arrow in most cases) indicates that steel, like tin, easily corrodes.  However, note the Cross here is higher than it was in the glyph of tin, as steel corrodes much faster than tin.

-The symbol of gold (Sol) is the Circle.  Pretty simple.  A small dot is usually added to the center to better communicate that the glyph is Sol is intended.  Gold is therefore quite heavy, and has a golden sheen that mimics sunlight.

-The symbol of copper (Venus) is the Circle of Sol with the Cross of Corrosion beneath it.  Copper gets its radiant brazen color from Sol, and when compared to lead and tin, copper is on the hard side of the scale.  However, it has that Cross of Corrosion appended to it, showing that it, too, easily corrodes.

-The symbol of mercury (Mercury) is the Circle of Sol crowned with the Lunar Crescent, seated upon the Cross of Corrosion.  Mercury is, of course, the primary Element of the alchemical arts.  It’s symbol is the unification of Sol and Luna, Gold and Silver, the Mother and the Father.  Luna is uppermost to demonstrate the extremely fluid nature of mercury (plus its silvery color), while Sol is central to the glyph because Mercury carries the seed of gold.  The Cross placed lowermost usually means the metal itself is not corrosive but will break down easily.  However, in this case, Mercury is highly corrosive.  I suspect the Cross is beneath simply because the alchemists did not want to place it above the unified glyphs of Sol and Luna.

-The symbol of silver (Luna) is straightforward: it is the Crescent.  Silver is therefore very soft and pliable, and has that wonderful silvery sheen.

I learned this orally, so I’m afraid I can’t cite a historical source for this information.  I am on the look out for any alchemical text that explicitly outlines the above.


Posted November 24, 2010 by kheph777 in alchemy, hermetic

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