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In alchemy, there are three symbolic substances: mercury, sulphur, and salt. To these was added a fourth, mysterious life principle called Azoth.
Eliphas Levi states:
- "The Universal Medicine is, for the soul, supreme reason and absolute justice; for the mind, it is mathematical and practical truth; for the body it is the quintessence, which is a combination of gold and light. In the superior world, the first matter of the Great Work is enthusiasm and activity; in the intermediate world, it is intelligence and industry; in the inferior world, it is labor; in science it is Sulphur, Mercury, and Salt, which, volatized and fixed alternately, compose the AZOTH of the sages. Sulphur corresponds to the elementary form of fire, Mercury to air and water, Salt to earth."
The spelling is said to consist of the initial letter of the English, Greek and Hebrew alphabets followed by the final letters of the English alphabet (Z), the Greek alphabet (Omega) and the Hebrew alphabet (Tau).
- Eliphas Levi (1856), Transcendental Magic. Samuel Weiser, Inc.