Zosimus and Alchemy

Zosimus (lived in Alexandria about 300) combined Hermetic theosophy with alchemical practical aims and left behind a 28-volume encyclopedia which he dedicated to his sister Theosebia. The idea of ​​salvation is the backbone of Zosimo’s alchemy. It contains elements of Egyptian magic, Greek philosophy, Neoplatonism, Babylonian astrology, pagan mythology and Christian theology.

According to Zosimus, alchemy is both a spiritual process and signifies the purification of the soul and a means by which the soul can more easily ascend according to the divine plans of existence.

The first altar is located in the temple of punishment with cauldrons of boiling water in which the bodies are exposed to torture because it is a necessary intervention during the transformation of the body into a state of spirit. The initiate must descend to the altar down seven steps. A priest is standing by the altar. When the alchemist stands at the altar, a mysterious voice announces that the descent is over and the ascent is about to begin. It goes up the stairs, which are also seven in number. This means ascending through the seven celestial zones ruled by the seven planets. When those seven steps are crossed, after that, it is possible to ascend to the last one which represents the Ogdoan – the eighth region ruled by the fixed stars.

Zosimus also frequently mentions the heavenly serpent biting its own tail and affirms that people still wear talismans made of electra (corresponding to Jupiter) to protect themselves from lightning, injuries and other troubles. When a man looks at the reflection of his image in a mirror made of electricity, he immediately realizes how he must purify himself. This mirror represents God’s mind. However, in order to reach this mirror, it is necessary to rise into the cosmos, because it is located above the “seven doors” (seven planets). According to Zosimus, the alphabet represents the Divine letter by which the mystery of the cosmos can be revealed. Greco-Egyptian alchemy outlived Alexandria, from there it was transferred to Constantinople, and later to the Arab world.

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