And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:

And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.

And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.

And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,

And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. (OldT:Genesis 1:14-18)

From the earliest times men have looked to the skies for explanations of their own lives, and the idea of the influence of the planets was widespread. Gradually, over centuries, in places such as Mesopotamia and Greece, a complex astrological system was built up. Its ideas permeated all aspects of daily life.

The basis of astrology can be summed up in the phrase so often quoted in occult literature, and in particular in alchemy: "as above, so below." This meant everything in the Universe, of Macrocosm, had its parallel in the earthly world, or Microcosm. Everything worked in an ordered harmonious system, and everything was permeated by a Universal Spirit. It was this Spirit, which held the secret of the Universe, that the alchemists were trying to capture and compress into the Philosopher's Stone.

The system of correspondences, or connections, between the seven planets known to the Ancient World and all aspects of life was also extremely important. Tangible objects such as metals, animals, and plants, concepts such as colors, and abstract ideas such as love and wisdom were accorded to different planets, among which the ancients included the Sun and Moon. For example, some of the correspondences of Venus were copper, the color green, the dove and the sparrow, and the power of love. Alchemists made great use of this system of correspondences. Knowledge of the mysterious links between different things under the protection of the same planet was considered invaluable in many experiments. It also provided a ready-made symbolism or code in which one name could be substituted for another. Alchemists delighted in shrouding their writings with mystery and obscurity because they were always afraid the information would fall into the hands of the wrong people. Perhaps they also enjoyed secrecy for its own sake.

[From Alchemy, the Ancient Science by Neil Powell; pages 30 and 33. Boldface added.]

Agrippa von Nettesheim, Occult Alchemist

In his occult work Agrippa writes that God created three worlds out of the void--the earthly kingdom of the elements, the heavenly kingdom of the constellations, and the spiritual kingdom of the angels. The composition of each of these kingdoms reflects that of all the others. And all is filled with the world- soul, the Spiritus Mundi.

This Spiritus Mundi is the reservoir of all power of souls, the essence of heavenly and supernatural forces. It is not apart of the four terrestrial elements, but a fifth outside them. As the foundation of all qualities it is above earthly forms of expression and alongside the earthly substances.

The removal of this quintessence from gold and its projection into baser metals was for Agrippa the theoretical method of making gold. He says that he was successful in doing it. But he was never able by this method to produce more than one ounce of gold from one ounce of gold. For, so his theory told him, in one ounce of gold there can only be so much quintessence as suffices for one ounce of gold.

His alchemical failures gave Agrippa von Netteheim no need to fear any temporal prince. Only the spiritual princes were constantly after him. So, to make himself safe from them, he entered the army and went to war in northern Italy. There he lectured at the universities of the conquered Italian cities. At Pavia he interpreted the crucial work in alchemy, the Tabula Smaragdina of Hermes Trismegistos, before the University, and was admitted by the senate to the doctorates of Law and Medicine.

[From The Goldmakers, by K. K. Doberer; pages 87 to 89.]

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