Suns in alchemy
In alchemic and Hermetic traditions, suns () are employed to symbolize a variety of concepts, much like the sun in astrology. Suns can correspond to gold, citrinitas, generative masculine principles, imagery of 'the king' or Apollo, the fiery spirit or sulfur, the divine spark in man, nobility, or incorruptibility. Recurring images of specific solar motifs can be found in the form of a "Dark" or "Black Sun", or a green lion devouring a sun.
Sol niger (black sun) can refer to the first stage of the alchemical magnum opus, the nigredo (blackening). In a text ascribed to Marsilio Ficino three suns are described: black, white, and red, corresponding to the three most used alchemical color stages. Of the sol niger he writes:
The body must be dissolved in the subtlest middle air: The body is also dissolved by its own heat and humidity; where the soul, the middle nature holds the principality in the colour of blackness all in the glass: which blackness of Nature the ancient Philosophers called the crows head, or the black sun.
In popular culture
Sol niger imagery can be found in the recent works of musicians including:
- Boyd Rice
- Black Sun Empire
- "Alchemy of the Black Sun Cult", Goatwhore (2006)
- "Sol Niger Within", Fredrik Thordendal's Special Defects (1997)
- "Black Hole Sun", Soundgarden (1994)
- "A Thousand Suns", Linkin Park (2010 album cover)
- Alchemical symbol
- Black Sun (mythology)
- Classical planets in Western alchemy
- Five Suns (mythology)
- Solar symbol
- Pamela Smith.Merchants and Marvels: Commerce, Science, and Art in Early Modern Europe. Routledge. 2001. p.41
- Titus Burckhardt. Alchemy: Science of the Cosmos, Science of the Soul. Penguin. 1967. p.91
- Marsilius Ficinus, 'Liber de Arte Chemica'. Theatrum Chemicum, Vol 2, Geneva, 1702, p172-183. Transcribed by Justin von Budjoss. 
- Splendor Solis. 1582. Retrieved 2012-10-17. 
- Stanislas Klossowski de Rola. The Golden Game: Alchemical Engravings of the Seventeenth Century. 1988. p. 170, 180.
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