This meditative emblem first published in as an illustration for the book Azoth of the Philosophers by the legendary German alchemist Basil Valentine. The word is meant to embrace the full meaning of the One Thing, which is both the chaotic First Matter at the beginning of the Work and the perfected Stone at its conclusion. At the center of this striking drawing is the face of a bearded alchemist at the beginning of the Work. Like looking into a mirror, this is where the adept fixes his or her attention to meditate on the mandala. Within the downward-pointing triangle superimposed over the face of the alchemist is the goal of the Work, the divine man in which the forces from Above and Below have come together.
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Azoth was considered to be a universal medication or universal solvent, and was sought for in alchemy. Its symbol was the Caduceus. The term, while originally a term for an occult formula sought by alchemists much like the philosopher's stone , became a poetic word for the element mercury. Azoth was believed to be the essential agent of transformation in alchemy. It is the name given by ancient alchemists to mercury, the animating spirit hidden in all matter that makes transmutation possible.
The Azoth is related to the Ain Soph ultimate substance of the Kabbalah. Hall explained this connection:. The universe is surrounded by the sphere of light or stars.
Schamayim, who is this fiery Androgyne , divides. His Fire becomes Solar fire and his Water becomes Lunar water in our universe. Schamayim is the Universal Mercury or Azoth—the measureless spirit of life. That original spiritual fiery water comes through Edem "vapor" in Hebrew and pours itself into the four main rivers of the four Elements.
This comprises the River of Living Water—the Azoth—or fiery mercurial essence, that flows out from the throne of God and Lamb. In this Edem vaporous essence or mist is the first or spiritual Earth, the incomprehensible and intangible dust out of which God formed Adam Kadmon, the spiritual body of man, which must become fully revealed through time.
In his book Transcendental Magic , Eliphas Levi wrote:. The Azoth or Universal Medicine is, for the soul, supreme reason and absolute justice; for the mind, it is mathematical and practical truth; for the body it is the quintessence, which is a combination of gold and light. In the superior or spiritual world, it is the First Matter of the Great Work, the source of the enthusiasm and activity of the alchemist. In the intermediate or mental world, it is intelligence and industry. In the inferior or material world, it is physical labor.
Sulfur, Mercury, and Salt, which, volatilized and fixed alternately, compose the Azoth of the sages. Believed to be the Universal Solvent, Universal Cure, and Elixir of Life elixir vitae , the Azoth is said to embody all medicines, as well as the first principles of all other substances.
In lateth-century Paracelsianism , Paracelsus d. The first part of the pseudo-Paracelsian Archidoxis magica first printed in bears the title Liber Azoth , containing various magic sigils and recipes intended to protect against illnesses and injuries.
The Azoth is believed to be not the animating energy spiritus animatus of the body, and the inspiration and enthusiasm that moves the mind. The Azoth is believed to be the mysterious evolutionary force responsible for the drive towards physical and spiritual perfection. Thus, the concept of the Azoth is analogous to the light of nature or mind of God. Because the Azoth is believed to contain the complete information of the whole universe, it is also used as another word for the Philosopher's Stone.
One of the hints for the theoretical preparation of the Stone is Ignis et Azoth tibi sufficiunt "Fire and Azoth are sufficient". There are scores of esoteric drawings depicting the Azoth and how it is used in the Great Work of alchemy. John Dee. In this way permeation and totality of beginning and end symbolised the supreme wholeness and the universal synthesis of opposites as a 'cancellation' i. Crowley further made reference in his works referring to Azoth as " the fluid", calling it the universal solvent or universal medicine of the medieval alchemical philosophers, as a unifier or unification of a certain extreme instance beholden to a contradict, unreconcilable nature if otherwise sought apart of the philosophical ideal of Azoth.
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Azoth of the Philosophers
As a visual guide to the operations of alchemy, we will use an alchemical mandala actually used by the alchemists in trying to understand the relationships between the processes of transformation. Thus the word is meant to convey the idea of the absolutely complete and full meaning of the First Matter and its transformations. At the center of this striking drawing is the face of a bearded alchemist at the beginning of the Work. Like looking into a mirror, this is where the adept fixes his or her attention to begin meditation at the center of the mandala. The downward-pointing triangle superimposed over the face of the alchemist represents Water in its highest sense as divine grace or the gift of life pouring down from Above. Therefore, within the triangle we see the face of God, and the drawing clearly implies that the face of God and the face of the alchemist are the same. Of course, this idea was considered blasphemy to the medieval Church, which explains why this drawing was circulated secretly in so many different forms during the Middle Ages.
Come join us in the Great Work of personal and global transformation and discover your Azoth! Azoth is the essential agent of transformation in alchemy. It is the name given by ancient alchemists to Mercury, the animating spirit hidden in all matter that makes transmutation possible. The spelling consists of the initial letter of the English, Greek and Hebrew alphabets followed by the final letters of the English alphabet Z , the Greek alphabet Omega and the Hebrew alphabet Tau. The word Azoth is also related to the Ain Soph ultimate substance of the Kabbalah. Manley P.