Alchemy was a medieval form of chemistry practiced throughout Europe, Africa, and Asia.
Alchemists studied the reactions elements made when brought in contact with each other. The main goal was to turn base metals into noble metals (primarily gold).
If you are interested in learning more about chemicals, these alchemy symbols will teach you about transformation, creation, and combination.
An upright triangle with a horizontal bar represents the element of air (it is the inverse of the symbol of earth). This symbol is associated with the colors blue, white, and gray. It is also associated with warmth and wetness.
Antimony is a lustrous gray metalloid. In addition to these two symbols, antimony was sometimes symbolized by the wolf because it represents man’s free spirit or animal nature.
Arsenic represents transformation. It is a well-known poison that can transform one physical appearance into another.
The symbol for bismuth looks like an eight with the top cut off. Little is known about this element, but it was confused for tin and lead until the 18th century.
Copper was associated with the planet Venus, which was linked to the goddess of love. Because of this, copper is sometimes represented by the same symbol as ‘female.’
A downward pointing triangle with a horizontal bar across the center represents the element of earth. It is associated with the colors green and brown. It is also associated with cold and dryness.
A simple triangle is the symbol for the element of fire because the shape looks like a flame or a campfire. This symbol is associated with the colors red and orange. It is also associated with heat and dryness. It is considered masculine.
The symbol for gold is a stylized sun. Gold represented physical, mental, and spiritual perfection.
Iron is the most common element on Earth. It shares the same symbol as the symbol for ‘male.’ It is also the symbol associated with the planet Mars.
Lead is soft and malleable with a low melting point. It is the first and oldest of the seven metals. Its symbol was associated with the planet Saturn.
Once ignited, magnesium is difficult to extinguish. That is why it represents eternity, infinite flame, and ascension.
Mercury, which is also known as quicksilver or hydrargyrum, represents a life force. It also represents a state that can transcend death or the Earth.
This symbol represents the Philosopher’s Stone, which is a legendary substance. According to legend, it was supposed to be able to transmute base metals into gold. It was also thought of as an elixir of life that could cause immortality.
When Venus glowed brightly at dawn, it was called Phosphorus. This is because phosphorus seemed capable of holding light and would appear to glow green in the dark.
Alchemists thought platinum was an amalgam of silver (moon) and gold (sun), which is why the symbol is a combination of the moon and the sun.
Potassium Carbonate is a white salt that is soluble in water. It forms a strongly alkaline solution. Alchemists would sometimes refer to it as the salt of tartar.
Salt has its own symbol because it is essential for life. In alchemy, it represents condensation, crystallization, and the essence of things in nature.
These symbols represent silver, which is one of the seven base metals. It is considered feminine and associated with the moon. That is why it represents intuition, inner wisdom, and contemplation.
Sulfur represents evaporation and dissolution. Along with mercury and salt, it makes up the three primes of alchemy, which can also be thought of as the three points of a triangle. It was associated with heat, dryness, and masculinity.
Tin is associated with the planet Jupiter. It is considered the breath of life. Since it is a catalyst, tin also teaches a philosophical lesson that something standing alone is weaker than if it is combined with another alchemy symbol element.
The opposite of fire, this symbol is a triangle turned upside down. It represents air and resembles a cup or a glass. It is associated with the color blue. It is also associated with wetness and coldness. It is considered feminine.
This is the symbol for zinc, an element that is chemically similar to magnesium. Alchemists would sometimes refer to it as Philosophers’ wool.