Angels are invisible forces, mediators between God or the Source of Life and the World. They are purely spiritual creatures, sometimes having ethereal body, playing the role of messengers, guardians, protectors, etc. Angels form the Army of God, his Court, his House. They play an important role in the Bible. They are organised in hierarchies of seven Orders, nine Choirs and three Triades. Their hierarchy depends on their proximity to the throne. Six-winged angels are called Seraphs. They surround the throne of God. The three main Archangels are Michael (winner of the dragons), Gabriel (messenger and initiator) and Raphael (guide of the doctors and travelers). In alchemy, the angel symbolizes sublimation, the ascension of a volatile (spiritual) principle.
One of the ideas of the alchemy is that every human being is a hermaphrodite – within every man there is a spiritual woman and within every woman there is a spiritual man. In addition, there is also a dragon. Every ordinary man leads a dragon and every man must eventually slay that dragon. In alchemy the Sun-male is often called the King and the Moon-female – the Queen. The King and the Queen together are sometimes as lovers, sometimes as a hermaphrodite. It’s a symbol of harmony, whole man and whole woman.
The symbols of the four elements: Air as a chameleon (in medieval times it was believed that the chameleon ate only air) or the form of a bird; Fire as a salamander; Water as a fish, sometimes as water flowing in a stream or from a water jug; Earth as a squirrel. Spirit and soul were often visualized as linked with Water, while the body was associated with Earth.
Seven metals in Alchemy: gold, silver, mercury, copper, iron, tin and lead. Each of these was linked to a particular planet: gold – Sun; silver – Moon; mercury – Mercury; copper – Venus; iron – Mars; tin – Jupiter; lead – Saturn. Seven days of the week were also associated with the planets and metals. It was believed that the planets and metals existed inside every human being. The balance between these made up the human temperament, personality and even physical appearance. It was believed that there are seven different types of person, linked with the seven planets or metals.
The fire was called the Sun or the Inner Sun which symbolized the inner search. The lion represents a lower part of man – the beast – which needs to be refined by the light of the Sun. The image of the Green Lion eating the Sun was used to denote this inner work. When the Green lion has taken the Sun into its being – then the inner process of transmutation is completed. The sequence of the work is the following: “Old Lion”, “Ordinary Lion”, “Red Lion”. The symbolism of the lion is derived from astrology. The Lion or Leo is ruled by the Sun, which rules the human heart.
Alchemy was a science of the soul that’s why the images of the sea, sea creatures and fish appear frequently. In occult symbolism the sea has always been an image of the soul or spirit.The fishtail in occult images is usually a sign of the initiate. The image of the siren is usually intended to indicate a state in which the alchemist has reached the point of breaking through into the other world. The story of Jonah being swallowed by a large fish can be explained as a man who gives up his own lower personality, dies to the world and is then reborn into the world as a new man. This rebirth of soul was the main goal of the alchemists. The water is a symbol of a higher level of consciousness, the Quintessence.