The Green Lion Devouring the Sun

In alchemy, the green lion eats the sun. On a chemical level this is a metaphor for when a green, liquid sulfate called “vitriol” purifies matter, leaving behind the gold within the matter. Very pure vitriol is an acid that eats through practically anything, except gold.

On a human level, the green lion eating the sun is a metaphor for when a person’s “consciousness [is] overwhelmed by violent, frustrated desires” (Fabricus). In other words, inside a person, when the metaphor of the green lion eating the sun takes place, the person is compelled to act out destructively.

In contrast, when the green lion eats the sun in a person on a higher spiritual path (for example, an alchemist), the person allows the green lion to eat them in order to be purified—to become spiritually golden.

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