To lessen the confusion between Fire and Water
and to accentuate the difference between
Earth and Air, the Alchemists coloured their symbols…
… Alchemy is one of the oldest techniques known to mankind.
The Ancient who first cast a weather eye at the heavens,
licked a finger and held it aloft in the sky,
in order to ascertain which way the wind did blow… was an ‘Alchemist’.
One of the first things the Alchemists noticed about the elements was their mutability…
They seemed to be caught up in an endless round of transmutation,
and were forever striving to become each other.
That apart, they were incredibly stable in themselves, and also incredibly dynamic!
Small wonder then that the equilateral triangle,
with its base-line and its point,
presented itself as such a fitting symbol of their being.
These and other observations led the Alchemists to conceive a set of qualities
for the Magical Elements which would explain their transmutation from one to the other.
Earth is Cold and Dry… Water is Cold and Moist…
Air is Moist and Hot… Fire is Hot and Dry…
Make Earth Hot to get Fire. Make Earth Moist to get Water.
Earth cannot become Air without first becoming Fire or Water and vice versa.
Similarly, Fire cannot become Water without first becoming Earth or Air and vice versa.
All of which, upon consideration, is an extremely subtle conception
to be entertained by mere ‘primitives’.