To the alchemist, there was no area of life where the planets were not involved. The Greeks had a personified view of the planets – as each was a being in their own right, and played a part in every level relating to man and nature.
Traditionally, the alchemy planet symbols were depicted as seven in number. This is significant as this number corresponds to the seven major organs of the human body, the seven energy centers of (wo)man (think chakras), and most interestingly, the seven major metals in alchemy.
In considering the gravity of alchemy planet symbols and meanings, I like to refer to this quote by Paracelsus, Alchemist and Visionary (1493-1541)
"Just as the sun shines through a glass...the sun and the moon and all planets, as well as all the stars and the whole chaos, are in man."
This quote by Paracelsus sums up a broader understanding of the alchemical perspective of planetary symbolism. Indeed, no operation or alchemical process was conducted without first consulting the planets and stars. Astrology played an enormous role in the alchemical traditions.
Depicted below are the seven planet symbols and a brief explanation of their characteristics in the alchemy tradition.
|Jupiter: To temper Saturn's dark moods, Jupiter was summoned to counter with its optimistic characteristics. Jupiter alchemy planet symbols were evident in practices needing a higher, finer frequency. This is due to the fact that Jupiter universally recognized as the planet of the higher mind. Additionally, it represents generosity, goodness and opportunity. More about Jupiter here.|
|Mars: Mars alchemy planet symbols are shared with the sign of iron, and it is also noteworthy that this is the same sign for man or maleness. As such, alchemical Mars rules physical strength, and symbolizes predominantly male energy. Philosophically, Mars represents a need to temper primal urges while at the same to embracing the fire within. Click here for more symbolic details about Mars|
|Mercury: When Mercury alchemy planet symbols are seen in ancient texts, it represents fluidity, transformation, and intellect. As the only common metal liquid at ordinary temperatures, Mercury was highly interesting to alchemists, as it easily fused with other metals. Alchemical Mercury is the "essence," salt is the "body," and sulfur is the "oil" clinging to Mercury. See full page on Mercury symbolism here.|
|Moon: Alchemically speaking, the moon represents Silver, the Lesser Work, or Mercury. It reaches stronger potential when joined with the sun, or Gold in the Greater Work. In more practical terms, the moon represents fertility, resurrection, occult power, immortality and intuition. The moon is a feminine property and alchemists would incorporate it with the sun (gold) to assure balance. I've written more about moon symbolism here.|
|Saturn: Saturn alchemy planet symbols are seen in texts as governing the metal lead, which is one of the symbols for dark prime matter. Understood as having nefarious overtones, Saturn plays an important role in more sinister alchemical processes. On the other hand, Saturn represents order, strictures, and a gravitational pull to balance and moderation. Alchemist's understood that Saturn had a very "take matters into hand" energy and utilized this essence in practice as well. More on Saturn symbolism here.|
|Sun: Although not a planet, its importance was so great it was counted among the seven. This alchemy planet symbol was utilized focus on the act of creation. Specifically, creating desired effects in their practice – both physically and philosophically. The symbol also denotes creative energy, conscious self, and enlightenment. I've written more on the symbolism of the sun here.|
I hope you have enjoyed these basic alchemy planet symbols and the meanings connected to them.
An Important Note About Signs, Symbols and Their Meanings
Signs and symbols cultivate their meanings according to culture, context, passage of time in society as well as mass societal opinion. What's cool and highly important is that signs and symbols earn their most powerful meanings from our own personal perspectives.
This website strives to provide you with the best, time-honored information when defining signs and symbols. However, in the final analysis, "Beauty (and symbolism) is in the eye of the beholder."
Having said that, it's in our best interest to invest the time to do personal research on symbolic events happening to us. This website is just one perspective in an ocean of variety and diversity in the realm of symbolism. So dive in! There is a whole universe of deeper meanings to explore! You can start your research by clicking on the links at the end or to the side of this page. Odds are good I've got a follow-up article about this symbolic topic. ;)
As always, thanks for your willingness to learn more about the language of symbolism. It's a language that is universal and everywhere. It's super-groovy to travel with you on your symbolic path, and maybe offer a little translation along the way. Thanks for reading and exploring!