Yliaster is the term coined by Paracelsus which refers to "Prime matter, consisting of body and soul". It is most likely a portmanteau of the Greek hyle (matter) and Latin astrum (star). To Paracelsus, the Iliaster represented the two basic compounds of the cosmos, matter representing "below", and the stars representing "above". Paracelsus says this of the Iliaster while describing how fossils are trapped in wood:
- Accordingly, the first body, the Yliaster, was nothing but a clod which contained all the chaos, all the waters, all minerals, all herbs, all stones, all gems. Only the supreme Master could release them and form them with tender solicitude, so that other things could be created from the rest.
- Fernando, Diana ALCHEMY: An Illustsrated A to Z, Blandford, 1998, pp. 181