Hebrew god and Saturn

In Zosimos' day Saturn was regarded as a Hebrew god, presumably on account of the keeping holy of the SabbathSaturday means `Saturn's Day'and also on account of the Gnostic parallel with the supreme archon Ialdabaoth (`child of chaos') who, as,may be grouped together with Baal, Kronos, and Saturn:


The later Arabic designation of Zosimos as al-'Ibrî (the Hebrew) does not of course prove that he himself was a Jew, but it is clear from his writings that he was acquainted with Jewish traditions

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The parallel between the Hebrew god and Saturn is of considerable importance as regards the alchemical idea of the transformation of the God of the Old Testament into the God of the New. The alchemists naturally attached great significance to Saturn, for, besides being the outermost planet, the supreme archon (the Harranites named him “Primas”), and the demiurge Ialdabaoth, he was also the spiritus niger who lies captive in the darkness of matter, the deity or that part of the deity which has been swallowed up in his own creation. He is the dark god who reverts to his original luminous state in the mystery of alchemical transmutation. As the Aurora consurgens [Part I] says: “Blessed is he that shall find this science and into whom the prudence of Saturn floweth”

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Throughout the visions it is clear that sacrificer and sacrificed are one and the same. This idea of the unity of the prima and ultima materia of that which redeems and that which is to be redeemed, pervades the whole of alchemy from beginning to end. “Unus est lapis, una medicina, unum vas, unum regimen, unaque dispositio” is the key formula to its enigmatic language. Greek alchemy expresses the same idea.Its symbol is the uroboros, the tail-eating serpent. In our vision it is the priest as sacrificer who devours himself as the sacrifice

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This recalls the saying of St. John Chrysostom that in the Eucharist Christ drinks his own blood. By the same token, one might add, he eats his own flesh. The grisly repast in the dream of Zosimos reminds us of the orgiastic meals in the Dionysus cult, when sacrificial animals were torn to pieces and eaten. They represent Dionysus Zagreus being torn to pieces by the Titans, from whose mangled remains the(god) arises

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Zosimos tells us that the vision represents or explains the “production of the waters.” The visions themselves only show the transformation into pneuma. In the language of the alchemists, however, spirit and water are synonymous, as they are in the language of the early Christians, for whom water meant the spiritus veritatis. In the “Book of Krates” we read: “You make the bodies to liquefy, so that they mingle and become an homogeneous liquid; this is then named the `divine water'” ( Berthelot, La Chimie au moyen áge, III, p. 53 ). The passage corresponds to the Zosimos text, which says that the priest would “change the bodies into blood.” For the alchemists, water and blood are identical. This transformation is the same as the solutio or liquefactio, which is a synonym for the sublimatio, for “water” is also “fire”

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