The Alchemy web site on Levity.comSilver and the Moon
By Nick Kollerstrom
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The pure silvery Moon was associated with the chaste Moon goddesses, Artemis, 'the Huntress with the Silver Bow', and Diana, whose images were cast from silver. The silversmiths of Ephesus who made such images are referred to in the New Testament.
Today, in the delicate chemistry of silver we may trace its Moon-nature. It is a metal which requires darkness for its reactions. A photographer needs darkness in his studio to work with this metal. Special bottles and pipettes made of dark glass are used for solutions of silver, and its salts are quickly spoilt by exposure to the light of day.
Silver and gold are the two metals which show an intimate connection with light in their chemistry, although in opposite ways. The Sun produces the different colours of day, whereas the Moon shining only by reflected light gives the black, white and grey tones of a moonlit scene. Gold itself produces the different colours, one feels its outgoing radiance, whereas silver receives light images passively, it is precipitated from solution by light. The silver images of photography are only in black white and grey, and for colour film salts other than silver must be used.
Astrologers associate the Moon with the faculty of imagination, of fantasy, as for example in imaginative writers or dreamy poets. The same property is seen in the way silver is able to create images. In photography it creates a memory-image of the past, in mirrors it gives an image of what is in present time before it. Today, most mirrors are made by coating glass with silver. When looking at a mirror we never feel we are looking at a sheet of silver. There is a certain receptiveness and passivity here, and similarly when looking at a photograph it never occurs to us that we are really looking at the differential precipitation of colloidal silver. We are not aware at all of the metal but only of the image it provides.
Silver is used by the cinema industry to form its 'images of the silver screen'. Silver has always been the staple metal used for making films, in colour as well as in black and white, and the film industry is a major drain on the world's silver reserves. From an astrological viewpoint, one can say that the dreams and fantasies which the cinema manufactures are somewhat lunar in nature, because the Moon is associated with dreams and the imagination. By its delicate and receptive Moon nature, the metal silver, in celluloid, will faithfully record light images.
The metal chromatography techniques developed by Kolisko are another example of the image-forming powers of silver. Here the varying images built up by the precipitation of colloidal silver are produced not by light but by the changing conditions of the cosmos itself. Properly used, this technique is an empirical method of investigating the correspondences here described. Silver's Moon-quality of receptiveness here manifests remarkably.
A nice point was made by the reviewer of Agnes Fyfe's work Die Signatur der Venus im Pflanzenreich (The signature of Venus in the plant-realm) (1). This follows on from Fyfe's previous work, The Signature of Mercury in the Plant-Realm. The reviewer pointed out that Kolisko's work used 'above the Sun' metals, iron, tin, and lead, whereas Fyfe's work with plant sap uses the 'below the Sun' metals, copper and mercury. So all seven of the metals have now been used for recording chromatographically cosmic events of their associated planets. In both cases silver is normally used for manifesting the images, although in the latter case gold can be used if primarily colour rather than form is desired.
Silver is a mirror-creating element: a solution of silver in a test-tube readily precipitates a mirror onto the glass, this being the school chemistry test for silver in solution. As a metal it has the highest electrical and thermal conductivity of them all, as well as being the best reflector of visible light known.
Most of the world's silver occurs dissolved in the oceans, reminding us of the Moon's connection with water-processes. Silver iodide is used to make rain, by sprinkling it as a fine dust onto rainclouds, which leads to condensation. Shakespeare called the Moon 'Pale governess of floods', and rainfall as well as the tides has been shown to vary with the lunar cycle.
In the 1950s, ionic silver began to be used as a bacteriocide for water purifying systems, in the form of a precipitate on carbon granules. A U.S. Navy study, using ships passing through contaminated waters, found that a silver concentration of ten parts per billion made the water safe for drinking (homeopathically, a D8 concentration), and this method is nowadays used by shipping companies. Good domestic water-purifying systems nowadays contain, as well as an ion-exchange system, a silver tube which acts as a bacteriocide.
It has long been known that water carried in silver flagons stays fresh. Settlers moving across the American West would purify a container of water by leaving a silver dollar in it overnight. At the John Hopkins University of Maryland, researchers kept a community swimming pool clean just with a carbon-silver purifier. A report concluded, 'During the time the silver-carbon filter was in operation, there were no cases of ear infections or eye irritations. Bathers and, in particular, swim teams enjoyed the clean, crystal clear silver-treated water without the usual disinfectants that sting, irritate the eyes, bleach swimsuits and affect hair colour'.(2) Here we see silver's bacteriocide action, its action as the Moon-metal upon water, maintaining its quality. But, silver's Moon-quality of purity can be appreciated in other ways, as in the special sound of silver bells.
From such considerations we see how the following adjectives apply to silver:
Reflective, image-forming (imaginative), receptive, impressionable, sensitive, pure
Are these lunar traits? I think they are. Compare them with a list of traits which the Gauquelins obtained in their attempt to define a 'lunar personality':
Doux, impressionable, nonchalant, parle bien, reveur, sensible, spirituel, subtil, sportif (pas) (3)
-a modal personality which they found most pronounced in imaginative writers, poets and dramatists.
Photography is the main use for silver, despite competition from digital cameras. The firm Britannia Refined Metals in Kent extracts around 500 tonnes of silver from crude lead per annum, using lead shipped over from Australia. It refines the silver to 99.9% purity and then sells it to London bullion markets. The illustration below shows trading at the London Metal Exchange. They are trading silver, as shown by the crescent-Moon glyph! The LME is the worlds largest centre of trading for non-ferrous metals. Metal-dealers have always used the traditional alchemical glyphs.
Silvers Healing Powers