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by Peter Morrell

Materia Medica remedy tre, 1998 - Peter Morrell

There are seven metals in the ancient alchemical system of healing, which have
resurfaced from time to time in medical thought. With growing interest in this
area, this article gives merely an outline of them, their links with disease and
materia medica and thus hopefully an introductory portait of their perennial
relevance to natural healing.

The article is basically divided into two parts - first a part that describes the 7 metals
and their symbolic links; second a discussion of how this knowledge can be applied
to heal your life.
The seven metals are
They correspond respectively to the planets sun, moon, mercury, venus, mars, jupiter
and saturn. These in turn correspond with certain key qualities or personalities
described in detail in astrology and Hermetic science. Stated simplistically and for
brevity, mars is seen as masculine and active, venus is feminine, artistic and passive,
jupiter the theorizer, saturn the lord of death, mercury the communicator, sun the day-
king and moon the night goddess.
They are also deemed to correspond to the parts of the body as follows
sun - gold - aurum - heart and spine
moon - silver - argentum - brain and fluids
mercury - mercury - hydrargyrum - nervous system, lungs
venus - copper - cuprum - kidneys, nutrition
mars - iron - ferrum - blood, muscles and circulation
jupiter - tin - stannum - liver & gall bladder
saturn - lead - plumbum - skeleton and skin, hair, nails
Similarly the planets and metals correspond to certain colours. There are various
schemes. One such scheme is as follows:
sun - gold - golds, yellows
moon - silver - white, cream, greens
mercury - mercury - silver, grey, yellow
venus - copper - blues, pinks, pastel shades
mars - iron - reds & browns
jupiter - tin - oranges
saturn - lead - black, dark colours, purple, violet, indigo
Because foods can also be classified as the seven metals, one may change one's diet
so as to reduce foods that are harmful for you and increase your use of more helpful
foods. This applies generally, not just to considerations of which foods might be rich
in which metals. Some food correspondences are shown:
sun - sunflower seeds, oranges, eggs, grapes
moon - melons, cucumbers, yogurt, cheese, milk
mercury - cereals
venus - fruits, potato, chocolate, sweets, berries
mars - peppers, tomatoes, onion, garlic, curry, meats, black pudding
jupiter - nuts, seeds, lemons, apples
saturn - coffee, carob, aubergenes, olives

Guide to the seven metals

A brief outline of the metals is as follows:
A person who has excess Iron is hard, strong, active and assertive - an 'Iron Man'. It is
the masculine metal that will fight or argue if pushed, or even without pushing. They
make decisions quickly, they speak abruptly and forthrightly, they move quickly and
are always busy, moving on to new things. They gravitate naturally to military, metal-
working, butchering and police matters where they find others of their own kind and
a job they thoroughly enjoy. They think on the hoof, rarely reflecting on what they
do. They are activity centred, spending most of their time fully occupied. They like
sports of all kinds. Many business people fall also into this category. They are
accused of being hard, selfish and aggressive. Some incline to violence or criminality.
Iron is softened, domesticated and improved with silver, copper or gold. The iron
type needs to be less assertive and more kind, needs to be mellowed and made more
passive and receptive to others' needs. Nux vom and Coffea types abound here. Also
Sulphur and Ferrum met.
People with an excess of Copper, like venus, are mild and artistic, goes with the flow,
creates harmony, will never upset others needlessly. It is prominent in artists of all
kinds; they like sweet things, sloppy films.
Like silver people, with whom they match very well, they are inspired, poetic and
romantic. The copper type has the needs of others just as clearly in mind as their own.
They are kind, deep, generous and warm-hearted. They like their creature comforts,
food, etc and a romantic life. Copper people love life and people; they love to
socialise and mix with others. They have strong family ties and the presence and
companionship of friends and family are very important to them. jobs like designers,
film-makers, artists, actors, musicians. The copper type needs to develop more
confidence, more structure, more strength, more grit. Copper can be strengthened
either with iron or lead. Pulsatilla is a key remedy for copper types.
Persons with an excess of Lead are dark and heavy, rather sombre or gloomy, rather
depressed or maybe a control-freak; 'don't touch that, it's mine!', etc. They like coffee,
dark clothes, winter, night-time and gloomy or highly structured music. They tend to
be rather conservative and love structure and strict time guidelines, etc. They can be
uptight and intolerant especially of interference from others, which they dislike. They
are often too wrapped up in themselves to bother much about others. They fail to see
how others can't also lead a strict and orderly life. They tend to be very serious, to
think too much and to dwell in the past. Jobs like architects, bankers, accountants,
solicitors. They are rather conservative and set in their ways. They dislike change and
upset of any kind. Interested in politics. The lead type needs to loosen up a bit and
develop more spontaneous joy. It is chiefly mellowed and improved through gold,
copper, tin or silver. Close remedies are Calc, Plumbum, Alumina and Lycopodium.
Tin people are the theorizers; even when there is nothing to think about; they like to
speculate, maybe gamble a little, a flutter on the horses is not beyond them; they also
like travel and long journeys abroad. They might be accused of having a suspicious
mind and of seeing things that aren't there. Their love of theories comes from their
ability to clearly see patterns in events and data. These patterns are often not visible
to others. From these patterns and trends they build up theories to explain the world
around them. They are natural philosophers. They often have a well developed sense
of humour. Tin types need to develop more action and less thought, to live less in
themselves and more in the outer world. It is the inquisitiveness, expansiveness and
growth tendency of jupiter that makes tin people so obsessed with patterns and
information. They tend to be excessive and obsessive in the things they do. This also
stems from their great natural enthusiasm. jobs like university and college lecturers,
philosophers, bishops, clergy, professors, travel agents. Tin can be livened up a little
with iron, made more artistic with silver or copper and deepened with lead.
Chelidonium and other liver remedies are associated with Tin.
Mercury is the chatterbox, ceaselessly talking and gossiping, sometimes harmlessly,
sometimes bitchily. Mercury makes a good messenger, diplomat or go-between, yet
they can be two-faced and cannot keep a secret! They appear as all things to all
people, somewhat promiscuous in every sense and rather changeable. they love
books, letters, newspapers, magazines, journals, correspondence, reading, writing,
telephones, crosswords, languages, jobs like teachers and writers, servants, doctors,
diplomats, entertainers, Mercurius, Tuberc, Cann indica and Stramonium are related
Silver is the sensitive metal of the emotions and the more refined senses. Maybe they
are clairvoyant or just oversensitive; they like to be treated kindly and will not
tolerate any roughness. They do not get on with iron types, for example, who they
find far too rough and insensitive. Like copper they have a fine artistic sense and
prefer family and friends most. The lunar silver type is the most caring and
compassionate of all the metals; they like people and want to mother them and care
for them. In this sense they are the archetypal feminine type. People with excess
silver may find life rather painful and constantly on an emotional roller-coaster, as
they react to negative and positive things so intensely and with powerful emotion.
They need to develop some lead or iron to harden and protect them from the harsh
realities of life, by reducing the intensity of their emotional response. mothers,
childminders, nannies, nurses, teachers. Argentum, Pulsatilla and Ignatia are related
to the Silver type of person.
Gold is king, proud, refined and naturally superior. Vain, arrogant and somewhat
haughty, the sun type is nevertheless very warm-hearted and kind. Once you get past
the vanity, you see that they are kind givers who love to throw parties and splash out
on big shows. They are music lovers and especially like opera. They make loyal
friends, and though intent on big schemes, will always help others in need. Gold
people succeed very easily and are gifted as natural winners; they come top, come
first, get the gold medals, strive to win or win without even trying; they can be proud,
aloof, smiling, aim to succeed, become famous; kings, queens, bosses, directors,
music lovers, etc. Remedies like Aurum, Platina.

To utilise metal therapy directly, you need to search through your life and identify all
those qualities that mark you out as being lead, tin or silver, say. By checking your
likes and dislikes for example, you can eventually narrow this down. In this way you
will eventually discover your own unique metallic blend. You can build up through a
few days thinking a quite complete profile of yourself in relation to the qualities of
the 7 metals. This is quite easy. You just set yourself a questionnaire about colour and
food preferences, etc. Then you can determine where your metallic strengths and
weaknesses lie. The end-goal is to restore the metallic balance and acquire a more
even blend which likewise promotes a balance in health and well-being.
There is a very accurate but complex astrological method for determining the precise
blend of metals in one's make-up and for showing in numerical terms which metals
are strongest and weakest in one's make-up. But such a method is too complicated to
describe here.
There are three possible outcomes of your search. Firstly, you may find you have an
even blend of all the metals and no problems in life. Make the most of your good
fortune, you are unusual! Secondly, you might have several metals even, with one or
more deficient, in which case it is those deficient one's that you need to boost further.
Thirdly, it may turn out that you have all the metals even but one or more standing
out as having a much higher score. This indicates that you have an excess of this one
metal in your life. To reduce its effect upon you, you need to push it further away
from you by discarding all colours etc that relate to it and adopt qualities, colours,
etc, that are its opposite. This will neutralise its overall effect and restore the balance.
One's life contains two distinct kinds of 'metallic' things. There are things you like
and have by virtue of a metal excess, and there are those that you have due to a metal
deficiency. You must search for both. If you like blacks and dark blues, sleep easily,
but are hard to rouse and lack energy then you have a clear excess of lead. But you
may also feel brightened by reds, which is your second favourite colour. This
indicates a lack of iron. Thus this person should reduce the lead in their life and
heighten the iron. By making this kind of adjustment, they can compensate for the
lack of one and excess of another. They will lose their tiredness and gain a more
positive outlook, just through making quite subtle changes to the contents of their
As a general rule, men need to cultivate more silver or copper to tone down their
mars, and women need to develop more lead or iron to balance their copper and
It is well to bear in mind that although we all contain aspects of all the metals,
nevertheless, one or more will tend to be dominant (in excess or deficient) in any one

In a sense 'as above so below' the heart in the body is seen in alchemy as equivalent
to the gold of the earth and the sun of the heavens; brain of the body as silver in the
earth and moon in the heavens; nerves and lungs of the body as mercury in the rocks
and mercury in the heavens, etc. The reasoning behind these close correspondences is
that they share similar qualities and resonate with each other on many different levels.
A link is thereby established and repeatedly emphasised between man, the earth-
bound metals and the wider cosmos. In alchemy this link is seen as vital for gaining
any fundamental grasp of our nature, disharmonies in the body, the earth or the
cosmos. All are seen as intimately and inextricably interconnected. By identifying
deficiencies in one realm, for example, one can then apply the appropriate change or
re-tuning through the organ, metal or planet that corresponds. In this way adjustments
can be made in any realm and the harmony of interrelationships that constitutes 'man-
earth-cosmos' can be re-established.
It is inherent in this view of life, that any imbalance in the cosmos which has become
imprinted in your makeup will inevitably manifest as an imbalance within your life,
often as disease. The imbalance may lead you inexplicably and intuitively to favour a
particular food, colour, plant, metal, etc over others. By searching through these like
and dislike patterns in your life, you can begin to express that imbalance in terms of
the 7 metals. And then you can begin to deal with it.
This interrelationship means, amongst other things, that we uncontrollably attract into
our life that which is helpful or useful to us and which reflects our inner nature. This
includes people, relatives and friends, as well as objects, plants, pets, etc. The inner
and the outer natures cooperate, reflect and reinforce each other. Yet also, through the
polarity principle, we can attract that which is the exact opposite. To some extent this
is why we can become ill from the very thing that will heal us and be healed by that
which makes us unwell - contraries and similars being to this degree convergent. It
also means we can attract into our lives the very things that cause us ill-health. Yet, as
Louise Hay and Edward Bach both indicate in their little books, it is through
developing love (and especially self-love) that we can begin to liberate ourselves
from the negative in our life - which is perhaps the ultimate healing.
They both also point to the power of another great imponderable in healing - that of
belief. Belief has immense power. Whether we choose to 'rationally' scoff at it or
accept and use it as a tool in healing, the choice is ours. Not just belief in the
practitioner or the therapy, belief in yourself. In this sense, belief is the difference
between wanting to do something and actually doing it. It is the power of belief not
science, that built the Pyramids and Stonehenge and other wonders of the world. In
this sense too it is belief that sets the healthy apart from the sick.
A simple example of alchemical re-tuning would be to wear a tin or orange bracelet if
a person was prone to liver problems. Kidney complaints could be improved by
'bringing copper more intimately into your life'; nerve disorders through bringing
silver; heart through bringing gold, etc. This sounds deceptively simplistic, but it
conveys the essence of a profound teaching and its ordinary application in our
everyday life. Of course, the world is very complex and we must also take into
account not only the seven metals, but also certain plants, minerals and animals,
including homoeopathic remedies, as long as they are viewed or classified as 'aspects
of the seven metals' and thus used as agents of natural healing.
Many other methods exist. One might just place in one's home or garden the metal or
a mineral, plant or animal that corresponds and fill that 'gap in one's life' in that way.
If, for example, it turns out that you are an excessively 'lead or saturn type' person,
then you can reduce or eliminate the wearing of blacks and blues, stop eating black
cherries and drinking coffee, and start using brighter colours and eating other foods.
If however, you have a deficiency of saturn-lead, then you would take the reverse
steps, and bring this metal much more into the forefront of your life by so doing.
Through simple and harmless experimentation of this kind one can come to test the
usefulness of these ideas very easily and maybe come to know profound truths.
Thus the phrase 'bringing some metal more into your life' can be interpreted in many
different ways, each having the potential of bringing about the desired healing effect.
So it does not just mean the metal - it means the archetype the metal has come to
represent. It may mean a colour, a metal, a herb, a food, a crystal or an animal. Once
one's metallic deficiency or excess - or what we might term one's 'simillimum
metallicum' - has been identified, then one can explore different ways of bringing that
metal into your life and adjusting and exploring the right intensity or dosage of one's
intimacy with it. The essence can be placed under one's bed, made into a pillow, put
in your bath, placed on the tongue, held in one's hand, sewn into clothes, incorporated
into a bodily ornament or piece of jewellery, used as a lotion or ointment, or as tablets
in the mouth, etc. The possibilities here are endlessly exciting.
I recall with some shame now my own scepticism when told by a patient some years
ago about a local Muslim healer she had visited for her sick son, who mostly used
Islamic prayers written in Arabic on pieces of paper to be placed in the bath of the
sick person. I privately scoffed at this idea at the time, yet now I can see its more
subtle significance. Perhaps the lesson to learn here was that we do not know
everything and should always be open minded even towards the apparently ludicrous
- especially towards the ludicrous!
The method we adopt is largely immaterial, it is the process of linking and
correspondence that is important, and bringing it more closely into your life. By re-
establishing your intimate correspondence with that metal in some way, one initiates
a healing process, which is in reality a harmonisation of imbalances. The precise
method one uses to link up with the archetype is secondary, varies from individual to
individual and embraces all the healing arts available. A certain amount of harmless
experimentation is required with this technique to find for oneself what acts best.
One might meditate upon a certain colour, metal or flower, immerse oneself in a
certain phrase or poem that encapsulates the quality one seeks to acquire. These
might include acquiring a cat (gold), dog (mars), fish (tin), tortoise (lead) or horse
(tin) as a pet, wearing a certain colour more often, placing of crystals upon one's body
or the use of Flower essences or essential oils.
One can find in Britain simple remedies that are useful. They occur in fields, waste-
places and gardens. They can be prepared in homoeopathic form by the usual
methods or by flower essence preparation using spring water and pressed juice,
preserved with some vodka and then potentised in the usual way. Gems, crystals and
mineral remedies can be used directly or prepared using the Rae potentiser. Remedies
can also be introduced into your life by being with them, holding them, placing them
within your active environment. This especially applies to colours, crystals, metals,
plants and minerals. It is the original method of Bach with his flowers. It is also
worthwhile considering removing some elements from your life that might be
harmful to your health. Some colours, foods, fragrances, plants etc that you have
around you may be producing mild provings in your health or are counteracting more
subtle forces that would otherwise enhance your health.
For each remedy it is important to gain some insights about its healing properties,
some astrological links and also associated colours, etc. These will help people who
wish to meditate upon each remedy before using them. Perhaps the remedies a person
needs grow right outside their own house. And we attract to us the remedies we need.
So looking beyond the very commonest plants that are found in your garden -
including foreign plants - pick those unusual ones that only grow or thrive in your
garden. It is safe to assume that these plants are specifically attracted to you. Choose
those and make tinctures or a mixed tincture to potentise or as an oil to rub behind the
ears. This acts like the Bach remedies. They can also be brought closer to you by
bringing them indoors, placing them in the bedroom, etc.
All of these are perfectly valid methods of bringing the desired healing quality into
your life. They represent different methods of 'imbibing' a metal into one's psycho-
physical system. In this way they are all methods of 'bringing a metal into one's life'
and activating a healing response or re-tuning of one's life. They are also different
expressions of the same law of similars, which is the driving force behind
From the above it becomes possible I hope, to more fully appreciate the otherwise
silly sounding sentence that 'jupiter in the heavens is tin in the earth and the liver in
man'. It is a remarkable correspondence of qualities and functional processes that is
being revealed, an organic vision of universal wholeness, not a logical or scientific
It is surely exciting to feel that here is a system of very profound and yet relatively
simple natural healing. It can be explored by anyone truly interested in healing their
lives in the fullest sense. It recommends itself as safe, harmless, universal and
effective. Worth trying.

Send comments to Peter Morrell.

Copyright © Peter Morrell, 1998


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