Animal Alchemy Symbols
Animals have long held mystique and fascination for every population, culture and tradition. Alchemy is no different in that great symbolism
was placed upon certain animals.
As mentioned before, true alchemical practices was (and still is) a highly guarded one. Concrete facts are hard to come by. All of the information on my alchemy pages is well researched, but there are still some gray areas in the annals of alchemy.
This being the case, let your imagination wander a bit, back to the ages when alchemy had its very strongest heart beat. Immerse yourself in that ancient era and get your
own feel for each animal alchemy symbol.
In short, enjoy yourself as you peruse these animal alchemy symbols and their meanings. Let their presence seep into your consciousness and allow them to present their own personal message to you in a meaningful way.
Common Animal Meanings in Alchemy
As animal alchemy symbols, foxes are the cultivators of the Elixir of Life. They were also thought to be able to transform themselves into human form at night and visit the elderly, giving them sips of the mystical Elixer to prolong their life and health. As a solar animal,
the fox is symbol of fire and all this meaning entails. I've written another page on this website about other persepectives and symbolic information on the fox here.
Alchemically speaking, the ibis is the harbinger of lunar functions, cycles of time, measure and movement. To say the least, its role in alchemical symbolism should not go
unnoticed by any practitioner. Great importance was placed on the moon, and the ibis would be depicted on alchemical scripts as a sort of placation for successful transmutations.
The lion animal alchemy symbol is held in the highest regards of the tradition. So much so that it symbolizes gold or the sun - the very highest characteristics of ascension and enlightenment. Furthermore, due to its virility, strength, and perceived courage, the lion was seen as the ultimate protector of alchemical secrets, as well as keeper of the underworld. For more information on the lion, go to my Lion Symbolic Meanings page here.
Alchemical legend has it that the stomach of the ostrich was capable of digesting anything. Therefore, "ostrich" was the name given to any one of the acids used in the processes of transmuting ordinary gold and ordinary silver
into their philosophic counterparts.
Representative of glory, immortality, royalty, and incorruptibility. Obviously, a possessor of some of the most admired human characteristics, the peacock is a symbol of
integrity and the beauty that can be achieved when we endeavor to better ourselves. See see peacock tail
for further alchemical meaning on the peacock. You may also be interested in the symbolic meaning of feathers
or the symbolic meaning of finding feathers
on your path. I've also written a page on peacock symbolism here.
This animal alchemy symbol is the archetypal bird. It rises, reborn, out of its own ashes, representing the alchemical process of death and rebirth. The phoenix is a highly used emblem in alchemy, representing the purifying and transforming fire, the chemical element sulfur (see Elemental Alchemy Symbol Meaning here)
and the color red. Embroidered, the phoenix reminds us of our ability to regenerate from within, and our power in transformation.
Or rather, the Raven King in alchemical terms, the raven was the taboo bird in all
alchemical traditions. It was said that three Raven Kings were associated with the bird's
transforming powers of death and decay. Further, the raven was hailed for it's ability to decompose everything in its path. This was considered an attribute because putrefaction must take place so that the body can be joined with the soul. Although an emblem of death in the alchemical realm, the
raven was also long relied upon for its connection with the ethereal, darker forces at work
and would often be invoked during difficult transmutations and particularly complicated
operations. Learn more about the Raven by observing the symbolic meaning of Raven tracks.
I've also written a page about the Native American perspective of the Raven here.
Lastly, check out my full-page on Symbolic Raven Meaning here.
This symbol represents the cyclical nature of alchemic work. The serpent swallowing its
own tail is symbolic of cycles, eternal, and indivisible processes found in alchemical
practices. Alchemists' were also quite keen on matters of nature, and would often indicate
the Uroboros when the concept of rebirth, regeneration needed to be conveyed. Most
importantly, this powerful animal alchemy symbol stands for the maxim "one is all"
which is ultimately the hugest of philosophies to grasp. The Uroboros sets the souls intention on fathoming the "one is all" concept, and provides a focus to aid in
rebirth, and acceptance of the endless cycles of life. The Uroboros is a also a sublime alchemical symbol meaning infinity. I've written more about the symbolic Uroboros on my blog here.