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Henri Coton-Alvart: The Alchemical & Chemical Zodiac

Henri Coton-dit ‘Alvart’,

collection particulière,

Editions Le Mercure Dauphinois.


🌿Today’s sharing from the Blue House of Via-HYGEIA, is a substantial study by Henri Coton-Alvart, published in the 1999 collective publication, ‘Ces Hommes qui ont fait l’Alchimie du XXe siècle’ (The men who ‘made’ the Alchemy of the XX th century), by Genevieve Dubois Editions. From page 49 to 51🌿 The additional introductory text and the appendix text are by Henri La Croix-Haute, his disciple and close friend, excerpted from ‘Propos sur les ”Deux Lumières” de Henri Coton-Alvart (from ‘Considerations upon Henri Coton-Alvart’s “The Two Lights”), published by Le Mercure Dauphinois in 2001, page 39 to 41🌿All 3 texts are Via-HYGEIA English translations from the original French🌿 ‘…In regards to Alchemy, in conformity to the traditional rule of secrecy inherent to it, Henri Coton-Alvart remained discreet about the result of his long and perseverant endeavors and numerous  experiments. He always referred to the old Masters of the past, whose many works he copied from their original Latin or Greek and translated them himself. He could read English, German, Italian, Spanish and his wisdom placed him among the Pico della Mirandola, Marsilo Ficino, Erasmus or Paracelsus. When listening to him operating his prodigious memory, we had the impression that he was ‘rubbing shoulders’ with Nicolas Flamel, Cornelius Agrippa  or Eirenaeus Philalethes and that his influence, piercing the opacity and confusion of shadows, was emanating from sources out of time.‘ Henri La Croix-Haute, in the foreword to his ‘Propos sur les ‘”Deux Lumières'” d’Henri Coton-Alvart’🌿


A short introduction about the Zodiac

by Henri La Croix-Haute

When we consider the study of Astrology, born in Egypt and Chaldea, if we seek a metaphysical approach, the strait line and the square shape chosen as most convenient by the ancient astrologers to the human representation of the sky-the round shape, the ellipse et the curved line being specific to the Creator and the Universe: the planets are round, the planetary rhythms follow an ellipse around the sun with aphelia and perihelia in connection with the Earth.

When we examine the square shaped horoscopic charts, we see that the settings of the signs con-join or separate the domains of the Sun and of the Moon, the two major stars whose influence is the greatest upon Earth; Mercury, Jupiter and Saturn, each of them conjugate the mastery of their two signs: Saturn covers Time as a whole and vibratory currents; Jupiter rules by his expansion in Fire and Water (because all living being bears his mark); Mercury in his Air signs is the neighbor of the Sun and the Moon, Alchemy’s inseparable ternary; Mars and Venus, the Yin and Yang, rule together in the east and in the west of the horizontal line, that symbolizes the Earth where human beings live.

How could we not meditate a moment about the fore-knowledge of the ancient masters who, working on rudimentary objects, had intuitively perceived without knowing the chemical details, the atomic volume affinities of certain metals-showcased by the symbolic relationships given to the Gods of the Antiquity-the multivalent role of Mercury and the substitution of the duodenary by the septenary in order to elevate Man throughout the alchemical and mystical path?


The Alchemical and Chemical Zodiac

By Henri Coton-Alvart

During the Antiquity, the progressive teaching of any science was compared to a circular path that the student had to follow in its entirety in order to reach mastery. He was encouraged to start from the highest point of the circle to descend to the lowest point, in the many hells, journeying, for instajce, from the right side of the circle, then he would rise following the left side of the curve to come back to his point of origin, after the acquisition of consciousness, and he would stay there, in glory, sitting to the right side of the invisible God by his celestial throne. All of the initiatic documents  mention this cyclical path, up to the Christian Creed of the Nicaea Council included.

The circle was divided first by the early men in two parts separated by an horizontal diameter. The upper part was showing the diurnal path of the Sun, the region of light and life: the part below, dark, represented night, darkness and death, the nocturnal dwelling of the benevolent God. Soon, the consideration of the middle of each of these surfaces allowed to draw a vertical diameter, perpendicular to the first one, and the circle was then divided in four equal parts, limited by the four cardinal points. Then, the progression of the Moon, compared to the Sun’s, led a new division of each of these four quarters in three equal parts, which gave ultimately the idea of the twelve zodiacal signs. Furthermore, the annual return of the Sun to the same solstitial point allowed a final division of the circumference into 360 degrees. Our modern science has completely lost the meaning of these symbols represented by the XII zodiacal signs, because it reads them upside down and from a starting point arbitrarily chosen. A simple Ariadne tread will allow us to escape from this labyrinth.

Lets consider a circle divided in twelve parts-the face of a clock for instance-we then ascribe the zodiacal signs in such a manner that the summer solstice coincide with noon, the winter solstice with hour six and the spring equinox with hour three. The signs will then will come in a procession like this: Cancer will be between twelve and one; Taurus will be between 2 and 3, and so on until Leo who will come sit between eleven and twelve.

The diurnal and nocturnal houses of the planets will be hence placed symmetrically in connection with the vertical diameter: The Sun in Leo, The Moon in Cancer, diurnal Mercury in Gemini and Nocturnal Mercury in Virgo. Nocturnal Venus in Taurus and Diurnal Venus in Libra, and so on until Saturn in Aquarius and Capricorn, in concordance with the figure below:

The figure shows the result of the spreading of the colors in conformity with Traditional symbolism, described further below.


This being delineated, we would like to remind ourselves that Tradition assigns gold with the Sun, silver with the Moon, copper with Venus, iron with Mars, tin with Jupiter and lead with Saturn.

Modern Chemistry, on the other hand, considers two sorts of metallic salts: salts ‘a maxima’ have only one metallic atom, like Hg. I2 for instance, a formula that represents mercury iodide ‘a maxima’; then the salt ‘a minima’, whose kernel is composed of two atoms welded between them by the exchange of a valence such as Hg2 I2, the mercury proto-iodide, the cure of those ‘who were given a kick by Venus’ (note: syphilis).

If we compare now the ‘a maxima’ metals to the diurnal planets and the ‘a minima’ metals to the nocturnal planets, we can then spot in all the zodiacal signs the simple salts whose coloration will be distributed all around the circle, transforming it into an iridescent ring. Gold chloride and silver iodide will give a yellow surface in Leo and Cancer. The mercury proto-iodide will spot green in Virgo, while the orange of the bi-iodide will taint the Gemini. Copper’s Mercury protochloride will make in Libra sustain the color of hope and the copper iodine will sustain in Taurus the yellow zone. The iron blue protoxide will taint Scorpio’s region, and the sesquioxide blood color will remind us in Capricorn about the sacrifice of this mysterious lamb ‘that was immolated in order to create the World‘.

Until now, all of our colors were bold: The last four signs, leaning towards darkness, will see their nuances darken towards black, passing through purple. In Pisces, for instance, house of the nocturnal Jupiter, the tin protoxide boiled with ammonia will give a dark red color, cardinal red (pourpre)-an infra-red-so to say, meanwhile, in Sagittarius, the so-called Cassius purple precipitate will give a purplish hue in a humid environment. In Capricorn and Aquarius, we will spot a purplish red changing swiftly into black, due to the passing of hydrogen sulfide in an strong acidic environment in a lead salt solution.

Gold is the symbol is Goodness and Love; purple of Might; blue represents Wisdom and Gnosis. When the divinity wants to create, its love descends through the right part of the curb towards the hells, passing through red; it becomes might to vivify the inertia of the non-being. Then the generated individuals will have to climb back through the blue of faith or wisdom, the green of hope, so to be re-integrated in the gold of divine essence, love.

It is possible, a priori, to further classify the twelve demi-tones of the scale, without using the colored spectrum of the indicators. Then, the review of each consonants and vowels of the alphabets is timely-and this particular work gave us some quite unexpected results helping us to translate with Sanscrit some Hebrew roots. In applying this particular method to Hebrew proper nouns found in the Gospels, we had the surprise to see them take a meaning absolutely in compliance with the doctrine other keys made us have a glimpse of. In this second case, Jesus and John the Baptist were assimilated to the Gemini, to the verbs of each of these two aspects of polarized absolute. The first is similar to Mercury, the second to Mars. it is also Abel and Cain, Pollux and Castor, Remus and Romulus. The second immolates the first, then the immolated comes back to life and go through an apotheosis. Romulus sacrifices Remus, whose head is buried in the ground and is compared to a seed from which the Eternal City would rise. The ‘baptism’ of Jesus by John is the symbol of the first sacrifice of the Speech (Le Verbe) in order to create the world. Jesus is the lamb that desires and accept its sacrifice, and John is the one that kills it, that plunges it into the passivity of non-being, here symbolized by water. Hence, in Sanscrit, the root Yadj means sacrifice and the word yadj-van means the one who desires his sacrifice. This word was pronounced in Zend ‘yasouan‘, and this is how Daniel and the Jewish elders heard it from the mouth of Cyrus’ Mazdean priests. For Jewish ears, this word resonated like Yeshouah that presents in Hebrew a different meaning (which made the first meaning to be forgotten). On the other hand, in Sanscrit, the root han means to kill: it is the onomatopoeia of the woodsman who hit the root of the trees with his ax. In the perfect tense, this verb takes a doubling and gives jahanna, ‘i killed’-sound quite close of the Hebrew Yohannan. We are approaching here the transcendental meaning of the Gospel, which will be revealed at the End of Days…

These considerations have made us stray quite far from our original design to present a simple study of the Zodiac and we must apologize to our benevolent readers; but, on the other hand, if we have succeeded to sow some seeds of curiosity in these seemingly fuzzy and deep research, we would then be delighted.


French Original








About the 4 elements and the zodiac

By Henri La Croix-Haute

Regarding the ‘4 elements and the zodiac’, the astrological and scientifical interpretations of the hermetist and the chemical engineer help us to deepen the metaphysic of the signs.

Even though there is inter-connection between the fondamental four elements (Earth, Fire, Water, Air), they are only potentialities that shape substance; the four main substances (Carbon, Azot, hydrogen and oxygen) correspond respectively to the four elements of the Ancients (Earth, Fire, Water and Air). They need to be differentiated from the three material principles that are at the basis of Alchemy: Mercury, Sulfur and Salt.

In the twelve signs of the zodiac, the four elements are placed one after the other, according to a certain order, and transform according to their nature. When the resistance is stronger than the activity, the sign is called ‘fixed’; if the activity is stronger than the inertia, it is the ‘cardinal’ sign; in case of an egality between activity and resistance, the sign is called ‘double’. These three qualifiers are connected to the fundamental couple, Energy-Inertia.

The signification of the signs of the zodiac differs according to their relationship with the four elements and varies according to their capacity of resistance. A triplicity of astrological signs (for instance: the 3 Fire signs) show three successive natures of the same element subject to activity and passion (Capricorn, cardinal, Mars), to resistance and offspring (Leo, fixed, Sun), to compensation between the two, the discipline, the religion and travels (Sagittarius, double, Jupiter).

In following the sole psychological plane, the zodiacal positions of the element Earth, it engenders ambition in Capricorn (Saturn and Mars), possessiveness in Taurus (Venus), and in Virgo (Mercury), temperance and work. If since ancient Egypt, Mercury is eloquent and agile, Venus and Jupiter are the benevolent planets, Saturn remains old, sad and slow, indifferent, and Mars is gushing, erratic and disruptive.

In the triplicity of Air: In Libra (cardinal Sign), Venus is agressive: Love, polemic, war, and Saturn frees there its energy; in the fixed sign of Aquarius, Saturn unfolds its resistance towards activity and brings withdrawal into oneself, writing, ascetism; In the double sign of the Gemini, Mercury manages the compensation of opposites, the breathing rhythm and influences speech, gesture, exchange of ideas, communication.

The Water element gives itself free rein in the sign of Cancer (cardinal, Moon) where it brings permanent mobility under the influence of external factors; Scorpio (fixed, Mars) expresses insolubility, the resistance towards any kind of alliances and the need to destroy in order to transform; the double sign of Pisces (Jupiter, Venus) compensate the dissolving might of Cancer and the cold resistance of Scorpio, aiming towards regeneration, a spiritual rise beyond death.



About the Book and the publisher: and: 🌿
Henri Coton-Alvart: The Alchemical & Chemical Zodiac

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