Classical planets in Western alchemy
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Alchemy in the Western World and other locations where it was widely practiced was (and in many cases still is) allied and intertwined with traditional Babylonian-Greek style astrology; in numerous ways they were built to complement each other in the search for hidden knowledge (knowledge that is not common i.e. the occult). Astrology has used the concept of classical elements from antiquity up until the present day today. Most modern astrologers use the four classical elements extensively, and indeed it is still viewed as a critical part of interpreting the astrological chart.
Planets and metals 
Traditionally, each of the seven "planets" in the solar system as known to the ancients was associated with, held dominion over, and "ruled" a certain metal (see also astrology and the classical elements).
The list of rulership is as follows:
- The Sun rules Gold ()
- The Moon, Silver ()
- Mercury, Quicksilver/Mercury ()
- Venus, Copper ()
- Mars, Iron ()
- Jupiter, Tin ()
- Saturn, Lead ()
||This article may contain original research. (November 2008)|
One interpretation of the alchemic planetary symbols considers the nature of spirit, mind and material in order of precedence. The circle in each symbol represents spirit, the semicircle or crescent represents mind and the cross or arrow represents the physical, material nature. Therefore Venus is spirit above matter, just as the goddess Venus represents beauty and aesthetic over utilitarian means. Whereas Mars is matter above spirit, as martial function and necessity precedes tranquility. Jupiter is mind controlling material, as the king of the gods over the earth, and Saturn is material controlling mind, the encroachment of time over the works of men. Mercury is mind above spirit over material; the intellectual inter-actions and conveyances of abstractions and ideals over the objects of being. The sun is pure spirit and the moon is pure mind. Earth is material and spirit in equal parts. One of the two modern symbols for Pluto used this interpretation, and was thus spirit above mind over material; presumably the hereafter terminating the affluence of men over the earth.
As other solar system bodies including Uranus, Neptune, and the former planets Ceres, Pallas, Juno, Vesta, Pluto and the centaurs were not discovered until relatively recently, there is no classical or traditional basis for these associations as there is for the ancient planets and metals. The metals were named after the planets instead of the metals dominating the planets.