The Three Primes
The fire is Mercury; what is burnt is Sulfur; and all ash is Salt
Building Blocks of The Universe
According to alchemical philosophy, the Three Prime Essentials emerge into creation from a common source — The First Matter – at the beginning of creation.
The First Matter – The Primal One Thing
The First Matter gave the universe its properties and existed before time & space. It borderlines between manifested and unmanifested reality. It is chaotic and fluid, constantly changing into its opposite in a cosmic play of creation and destruction. The spinning forces of darkness and light, each containing the seed of the other and constantly changing into one another. It is everything and nothing at once. It is the primordial chaos that contains all possibilities. It is the spiritized essence or soul of a substance that gives it its identity, form, and function.
The First Matter cannot be created nor destroyed. It can only be transformed!
Salt, on the other hand, is the static result or resolving force created by the union of Sulfur and Mercury. Salt is associated with the Philosopher’s Child and considered the principle of form or structure. Salt is active anywhere a new body is formed.
The easily ignited Sulfur stands for our inner passion and willpower. While the fluid force of the Mercury represents our ever-changing thoughts and powers of visualization and imagination. The hermaphroditic Salt of their union is the Philosopher’s Stone – a perfected state of consciousness that combines passion and feeling with thought and imagination.
All created things consist of Sulfur, Mercury, and Salt – and the alchemical procedures can break everything down into these three principles:
Salt – The Base Matter – The Body
Salt represents fixity, materialization, and the formation of bodies and embodies those characteristics that we associate with the idea of mass or matter. It is the imperfect and corrupted matter at the beginning of The Great Work, that must be destroyed and dissolved to release its essences, so they can be purified and reconstituted into the perfected new Salt.
Sulfur – The Omnipresent Essence of life – The Spirit
It is the active masculine principle – associated with the Sun. Sulfur is the flammable oily material extracted from substances, such as the essential oils of plants. The Sulfur unites the two contraries, the body and the spirit, and changes them into one essence.
Mercury – The Fluid Connection between Above & Below – Mind/Soul
Or Quicksilver is the passive feminine principle – associated with the Moon.
Mercury is like the basic blueprint of a thing, the carrier of its image or ideal form that comes into being through the interaction of Sulfur and Salt. Mercury embodied those characteristics that we now associate with the concept of light and mind.
The Elements, the fundamental principles of matter, have their origin in the Three Essentials. The archetypal force of Sulfur gives rise to the Fire Element. Mercury, in keeping with its dual nature, produces both the Air and Water Elements. And finally, the Salt principle is the source of the Earth Element.
“When the Three become One, the Great Elixir is made.”
Both the Imagination of Mercury and the Will of Sulfur must be called into action,” said a nineteenth-century Golden Dawn member. “They are co-equal in the Work. When the two are conjoined and the Imagination creates an image and the Will directs and uses that image, then marvelous magical effects can be obtained.”
Alchemy & Creativity
Creativity is a big part of the alchemical journey of self-development. It can be a powerful tool, especially working with symbolism and ancient sigils and the transmutation circle designs. Below is an example of an Alchemical Transmutation Circle working with The Three Primes. See more Alchemy inspired art by SheeArtworks.
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