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Alchemy Of Life

The Elements
Alchemy is a word based on the ancient Egypt 'al khem qem'. Al Kem means a mixture to create, qem is to form from primary substance. In Latin, Alchemy is 'all composition'.
The alchemical traditions associate certain elements of nature to the life of the world or the Divine Universe. In order for life to exist in any form, these four elements must exist. And there are only four elements in life: Air, Fire, Water, and Earth.
The Alchemical Theory goes something like this:
When a substance is heated, a spirit comes out, and the substance will condense upon itself. When in this condensed state, the substance can be manipulated and molded. As it cools, the spirit returns to the substance filling it with life and a renewed purpose based on it's new shape. The substance represents the earth, the heat represents the fire, the spirit is air and the cooling is water. Thus you need all the basic elements of nature to move forward, change and grow. Life and living are both based on this form of change and manipulation.
In esoteric terms, the principles of Alchemy explain the relationships between total creation and the position of the parts which compose it. All parts are created from each other part, without all parts, there is nothingness. Some use this principle as evidence of the interconnected form of all energy within the Divine Universe. Without you, the Universe cannot exist. You, and I and all things seen and unseen are needed to make up what the Divine Universe is.
Another example can describe this principle;
Air feeds fire, fire dies by water, water is contained by earth, and earth creates the air. The cycle is meant to show the interconnection of all things, and the cycle of birth, life, change and transition.
If the principle is a cycle, how can the elements be defined and related in esoteric terms?
The first element of the alchemical tradition.
Air is the essence of intuition and learning, the element of the nature of the mind.
Astrological Signs: Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius.
Represented by: Feathers, Birds, incense, fans, flags, flowing garments and sheer material.
Season: Winter
Color: White
The second element of the alchemical tradition.
Fire is the essence of purification and change, the element of the nature of the will.
Astrological Signs: Aries, Leo and Sagittarius.
Represented by: Fire, candles, lights, dragons and the sun.
Season: Spring
Color: Yellow and Green
The third element of the alchemical tradition.
Water is the essence of love and fertility, the element of the nature of emotions.
Astrological Signs: Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces.
Represented by: Water, lavender fragrance, Fish, coral and sponges.
Season: Summer
Color: Blue
The fourth element of the alchemical tradition.
Earth is the essence of grounding and stability, the element of the nature of balance.
Astrological Signs: Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn.
Represented by: Dirt, sand, sage, Gnomes and goblins, a staff or stake, trees and plants.
Season: Autumn
Color: Red
The Elemental Body
Even the physical body is related to the alchemical approach. We can match chakra centers of the body to the alchemical elements to learn more about our self, our physical and spiritual health and to merge energies for spiritual work.
 Air  is associated with the Crown Chakra
 Water  is associated with the Thyroid
 Fire  is associated with the  Adrenals & Solar Plexus
 Earth  is associated with the  Root
This has been in our culture for eons and we can even see how these associations have permeated our culture and lives in some of our common anticdotes.
  • When someone is ditzy, we often call them an "air head"; relating to air and the crown chakra.
  • When someone speaks well, we often call them a "fluent speaker" or someone with a "fluid voice"; relating to fluid flow of water and the thyroid or throat chakra.
  • Someone who has a strong drive is said to have "a fire in their belly"; relating the change and will of fire to the solar plexus/adrenals.
  • When someone is making a home for them self and their family we often say they are "putting down roots"; relating to the root and earth.
Knowing about these associations can help you work on opening or healing chakra centers, by establishing the right use of energy in conjunction with an elemental circle. Or even help you choose stones or colors and candles for magikal workings or supports in energy for certain workings.
An Alchemists Alter:
If you would like to create a Magik circle that incorporates the alchemical elements, here's are some suggestions for setting up the directional altars. You should read Elements & Their Cardinal Directions article for more information about elements and their associations to the directions.
Where The Cold Wind Blows
White Candles, White Goose feather, or fan, Gardenia incense, a small statue of a bird, or a clear quartz crystal. Items can be placed upon a white or cream colored cloth. If you want to enhance the color of the North, you might place a very light colored lavender cloth under a white lace covering.
Where The Great Earth Rises
Red Candles, a bowl of earth, a small tree, a garnet or red agate stone sitting upon a pink cloth. If you want to enhance the color of the West, you might place a very light colored pink lace over the darker pink cloth. Poulucci incense is a wonderful scent for the Earth as well.
Where The Warm Sun Rises
Yellow or Green Candles, a smudge stick of sage and cedar, a small statue of a dragon, an emerald or malachite stone , a gold colored table cloth. If you want to enhance the color of the East, you might place a dark green cloth under a yellow lace covering.
Where The Warm Water Flows
Blue Candles, a bowl of sea salt or sea water, a small statue of a fish or sea mammal, like a whale or dolphin, and an aquamarine crystal and a blue table cloth. If you want to enhance the color of the South, you might place a very light colored blue lace covering over the darker blue cloth. Sandlewood is the perfect scent for the south.
Additional Reading

Source: 1, s1, s2, s4, s5, s6, s7, s11, s14
Created:  04.04.1999            Updated: 10.14.2009