Ancient Alchemy Signs and Symbols

Posted on 08/16/2010
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The study of alchemy has been a time honored tradition of interested individuals for at least the past 2,500 years. The ancient practice focused primarily on trying to change base metals like iron or lead into gold and trying to discover an “elixir of life.” The practical aspects and techniques of alchemy actually became the foundation for what is now inorganic chemistry even though the identification of a method that turned other metals into gold or a liquid that allowed eternal life (at least extended longevity) were never found. However, it was also a type of philosophy unto itself whereby the practitioners were attempting to achieve a type of ultimate wisdom and improve their souls in the process of mystical scientific discoveries. A complex yet interconnected system of various philosophies and schools dedicated to these practices spans several thousand years and the entire globe as the Mesopotamians, Greco-Romans, ancient Egyptians, Persians, ancient Chinese, medieval Islamic peoples, and medieval Europeans all practiced a form of alchemy at some point in their history. Alchemists developed system of symbols for their work trying to achieve inner transformations through the philosophical and deeper spiritual meanings of these symbols. These designs became very important to the alchemists of medieval Europe as they needed to disguise their sciences from the very powerful and very intolerant Christian church who warred against them because they thought the ascension offered by alchemy was a way to achieve salvation outside of their chosen methodologies. Yet, the figures that are pictorial depictions have special meanings unto themselves for the entire study of alchemy.

Abracadabra

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The charm of “abracadabra” actually has its origins from the Hebrew initials for father, son, and holy spirit and is used as a charm in Kabbalah. Its link to alchemy though goes back almost as far as its first uses in those religions. Abracadabra is an ancient alchemy symbol that was utilized as an antidote for multiple illnesses and used to inspire natural healing processes. In order to perform these tasks, abracadabra was written on a piece of parchment in its special upside down triangle formation and was then suspended from the neck of the person who needed healing by a simple thread.

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