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The Correspondence of Metals and Planets

"Astrology seems destined to lead all other branches of knowledge out of the blind alley of unspiritual rationalism and materialism." Dr. Cunibert Mohlberg Vatican Institute of Archaeology

* * * * * *

There is a long-standing tradition in astrology that recognises qualitative correspondences between members of planet-metal pairs, as follows:

Sun: Gold; Moon: Silver; Mercury: Mercury; Venus: Copper; Mars: Iron; Jupiter: Tin; Saturn: Lead.

Some researchers have exploited these correspondences in astrological research. Foremost among these researchers in modern times is Nick Kollerstrom, a mystic and teacher with a former career in scientific research who currently spends much time conducting astrological research. You may be familiar with his work (with Mike O'Neill) on "The Eureka Effect," in which he showed a statistically significant relation between moments of inspiration in scientific work and the presence of septiles and quintiles among transiting planets. He also showed a significantly higher frequency of septiles and quintiles among natal planets in the charts of scientists who made discoveries in moments of inspiration than in the charts of scientists who had no such experiences. He has recently extended this work with a study of the moments when an invention first worked.

He has done several interesting studies involving metal-planet correspondences, and he has also given very stimulating lectures describing astrological phenomena related to metals such as the angularity of the modern planets during significant events involving their associated metals. For example, in the chart for the first creation of Plutonium, Pluto was on the ascendant:

December 14, 1940, 8:00 pm PST, Berkeley, CA, 122W16, 37N52

| Moo 27Gem09  | Jup 06Tau07r |              |              |
|              | Sat 08Tau29r |              |              |
|              | Ura 23Tau01r |              |              |
|              |              |              |              |
|              |                             |              |
|              |                             |              |
|              |                             |              |
| Plu 04Leo00r |                             | For 08Aqu46  |
<1>04Leo40-----|                             |-----04Aqu40<7>
|              |                             |              |
|              |                             |              |
|              |                             |              |
|              |                             |              |
|              | Nep 27Vir38  |              | Sun 23Sag03  |
|              | Nod 07Lib04r | Ven 22Sco59  | Ver 19Sag14  |
|              |              | Mar 16Sco11  | Mer 08Sag15  |
|              |              |              |              |

In this and two subsequent postings, I reproduce (without permission) a series of three short articles that appear in the book, "Astrochemistry: A Study of Metal-Planet Affinities" (by Nick Kollerstrom, M.A.Cantab., London: Emergence Press, 1984). In a fourth posting, I will reproduce a recent article of his showing the relation of certain planetary aspects and moments in which alchemists were witnessed to have created gold.

Some of the figures from these articles are photographs of filter paper, and these are important to the articles. Unfortunately, I cannot reproduce photographs in ascii, so I will attempt to describe the pictures as best I can wherever such a figure is meant to appear. My descriptions appear between square brackets. Please refer to the original publication for the photographs that are missing here.

The graphs in this ascii version are approximations to the graphs that appear in the articles.

(The symbol ^ appearing throughout the text means "degree(s).")



by Nick Kollerstrom (Chapter 5, N. Kollerstrom, "Astrochemistry: A Study of Metal-Planet Affinities," London: Emergence Press, 1984)

(From a lecture delivered at the annual Conference of the Astrological Association. This article also appeared in The Astrological Journal, Vol. 18, No. 3, 1976, pp. 65-72.)

"Nitrate of Silver; formerly called Lunar Nitre, Lunar crystals or crystals of Silver, and when fused Lunar Caustic."

(1826 chemical dictionary)

We shall be looking at experiments which demonstrate the influence of planetary events upon the behaviour of metal ions in solution: a modern investigation of a belief which stretches back into distant antiquity, that of a correspondence between planets and metals.

Modern theories of matter explain the behaviour of metals in terms of their atomic structure. These theories have developed since the seventeenth century, and before then an entirely different attitude prevailed: the characters of the known metals were interpreted primarily in terms of the planets associated with them. Gold and silver have always been associated with the Sun and Moon since prehistoric times. Then in late antiquity we find copper, iron and lead consistently associated with Venus, Mars and Saturn respectively. Lastly, in the Middle Ages, the metals mercury and tin become definitively associated with the planets Mercury and Jupiter. Without going into any details as to how these correspondences were interpreted or used, we may simply state that they persisted up till the seventeenth century, at which time the development of the new science of chemistry replaced these old cosmic pictures with a totally different approach, which appeared quite incompatible with any notion of correspondences.

_Steiner-Kolisko Collaboration_

In the twentieth century, the possibility of a new approach to these correspondences has been opened up. In the 1920's Rudolf Steiner, the Austrian occultist, suggested to Frau L. Kolisko that planetary influences should be detectable by using metal salts in solution. He said, "So long as substances are in a solid state they are subject to the forces of the earth, but as soon as they enter the liquid state, the planetary forces come into play." In addition he suggested that she might look at the spreading out of metal salt solutions upon filterpaper.

Kolisko set about developing ways of observing simple metallic reactions. She observed these during specific cosmic events, principally conjunctions and oppositions.

The principle of Kolisko's experiments is as follows. At the time of some celestial event, say a conjunction of two planets, the chemical behaviour of the metals associated with the two planets involved undergoes a change. Their chemical activity changes. By means of experiments using these metals in a sufficiently sensitive condition, this change may be recorded. A sequence of identical experiments, performed at suitable intervals before, during and after the event, will therefore mirror the changes undergone by the planetary influences. The sequence of experiments then functions as a kind of microcosmic theatre, enabling the progress of a celestial event to be followed. It is in a way an experiment with time, with the manner in which a phenomenon varies with time, under conditions in which all possible physical, i.e. earthly, conditions are maintained constant.

_Kolisko Methodology_

Kolisko developed a chromatographic method of registering these changes. In various ways she allowed solutions of various metal salts singly and in combination to spread across a filterpaper surface. She discovered that remarkable pictures were formed on the filterpaper using a mixture of iron and silver salt solutions. Very simply, 1% solutions of ferrous sulphate and silver nitrate are mixed in equal quantities in a suitable dish, and then a rectangle of filterpaper which has been rolled into a cylinder is immediately inserted into the dish. Gradually, as the solution is rising up the filterpaper, the iron slowly reduces the silver nitrate to colloidal silver, and characteristic forms appear. Around seeds of precipitated silver we see how a progressive growth fans out in arrow-like forms. Just as silver is the basis of photography, being so highly light-sensitive, so here it can be used as a sensitive indicator of other influences. This iron-silver image is used for registering Moon-Mars events.

Lead can also be added to the mixture for use with Saturn events. This gives us a far heavier, slower-forming image: a 1% solution of lead nitrate is added to the mixture of iron and silver salt solutions, so that white lead sulphate is precipitated, altering the texture of the image.

Kolisko described an experiment performed over the Sun- Saturn conjunction of 1926, in her book, "Workings of the Stars in Earthly Substance" <1>. This is one of the earliest descriptions we have of a chemical record of a celestial event. Equal amounts of 1% solutions of lead nitrate, ferrous sulphate and silver nitrate were used. At 6 p.m. on the day of the conjunction Kolisko found that all the forms had disappeared from the paper, and still at 2 a.m. the next day, but at 11 a.m. the next day the forms had begun to reappear.

Kolisko performed a large number of such experiments over many years. Tin-silver filterpaper pictures were used to follow Jupiter events, tin being regarded as the metal associated with the planet Jupiter. Successive conjunctions and oppositions of the Moon with Jupiter were followed over a number of years. For each event three filterpaper pictures were made: the first was made on the day before the event, the second at the time of the event and the third on the day after the event. Each time the pictures appeared to show an inhibition of their usual form on the day of the event.

For this combination it is necessary that the metals be risen separately up the filterpaper: first a 1% solution of stannous chloride, and then, when dry, a 1% solution of silver nitrate.

Kolisko used various other metal combinations, in particular with gold chloride, which need not here concern us.

Kolisko proceeded very intuitively, simply letting nature's forces express themselves on her filterpapers. Her results have therefore been criticised on the grounds that she did not maintain physical conditions such as light, temperature and humidity constant throughout her experiments. This may be so. Nonetheless we should appreciate that she developed a profoundly simple way of letting the metals express themselves.

_Mars-Saturn Effects_

A repeat of the `Kolisko experiment' was performed by Theodore Schwench over the 1949 Mars-Saturn conjunction <2>. He used the iron-silver-lead filterpaper technique as described by Kolisko, in the research laboratory of the Swiss Weleda Company. His results were published in the book "The Secrets of Metals" by Wilhelm Pelikan <2>. Filterpaper pictures were shown formed on the 25th of November, then on the 29th, then on the 30th at 4 p.m., then at 10 p.m. on the 30th, then on the 1st of December, then on the 6th. The conjunction took place on the 30th.

An almost complete disappearance of form at the time of the event is shown by these pictures. Also of interest is the long duration of this inhibition effect: it took about six days for the forms to reappear. An event such as this one where two planets are involved is, as we shall see, a considerably longer event than a Moon-planet conjunction. This draws our attention to one property of these experiments: not only do they inform us of the time at which a celestial event occurs, but they also give us a measure of its duration.

In 1964 Dr. Karl Voss of Hamburg, editor of an astrology journal, followed a Mars-Saturn conjunction and published his results in the 1964 issue of his _Neue Aspekte_ Journal <3>. Again it was shown how the characteristic image of the iron- silver-lead filterpaper picture, which appeared clearly both before and after the event, disappeared completely from the filterpaper at the time of the conjunction, leaving a formless, diffuse darkening of the filterpaper.

           |                                    _________________
       100 |                                   /          /------
percent    |                                  /          /
absorption |                                 /          /
(at 530 mu)|                                /          /
        60 |                               /          /
           |                              /          /
        40 |                             /          /
           |                             |         /
        20 |                             |        /
           |                            /       /
         0 |===========================/------/
                1     2     3     4     5     6     7     8     9
                   (1% FeSO4 + 1% AgNO3)    mins after mixing

Figure 1. Rate of precipitation of colloidal silver shown photometrically when 1% solutions of ferrous sulphate and silver nitrate are mixed.

Figure 2. Two iron-silver filterpaper pictures from an experiment by the author (12.6.77), one 1/2 hour before a Moon-Mars conjunction at 10.29 a.m. BST, and the other over the event, showing form disappearance. [The photograph shows the filterpaper 1/2 hour before the aspect became exact, with comet-like forms radiating upward from points where precipitation began; these forms are due to the flow of solution. In a second photograph of an experiment conducted during the conjunction, no such forms appear.]

_Agnes Fyfe and the Present Series_

In 1967 Agnes Fyfe working in Dornach near Basle published an article "Concerning the variability of the iron-silver filterpaper picture" in German <4>. She used smaller quantities than Kolisko, only 1 c.c. each of the 1% solutions for iron- silver mixtures, and 1.5 c.c. for the iron-silver-lead mixtures. Two Moon-Mars conjunction sequences were shown apparently demonstrating a form-inhibition effect.

I have used the method as described in this article of Fyfe for my own experiments. Each time, three lots of solution are mixed, and three filterpapers are started. The three different pictures thus obtained give us a measure of the degree of random fluctuation inherent in the procedure. Selected pictures from two Moon-Mars conjunction events are shown, in Figure 3a. The main effect is remarkably brief: it is a short, sharp process. It is possible to depict the change in the reaction rate graphically by measuring the time for the first form to appear on the filterpaper, which is generally between two to five minutes.

Note that these events are all asymmetric with respect to time: the main effect occurs after the conjunction or opposition, as traditionally supposed.

A few selected filterpapers are shown from an experiment performed over a Moon-Saturn conjunction on the 3rd of June, 1970 (Fig. 3b). We see how half an hour after the celestial event, all form has disappeared from the filterpaper. It is plainly much slower than a Moon-Mars event.

Figure 3(a). A sequence of selected filterpapers showing changing precipitation pattern over a 14-hour period, covering a Moon-Mars conjunction on 10.3.70. [The six photographs all show the comet-like forms, but the number and extension of these forms is greatly reduced in the experiment of 11.45 a.m., 11 minutes after the conjunction occurred; the forms were strongly present at 11.30 a.m. before the conjunction, and reappeared at 12.40 p.m.]

Figure 3(b). A 3-hour sequence over a Moon-Saturn conjunction on 3.6.70, using a lead salt. [The conjunction occurred at 1.30 a.m.; the six photographs show that the forms became scant at 1.32, and were entirely absent at 2.00; they had begun to reappear at 3.20 a.m.]

Two weeks later, the following Moon-Saturn opposition was recorded, as shown (Fig. 4). As before, all forms disappeared from the filterpaper shortly after the event. Note how it took several days for the filterpaper forms to return to normal.

Figure 4. A 10-hour sequence over a Moon-Saturn opposition on 16.6.70, plus two filterpapers raised on 18 and 19.6.70. [The 8 photographs cover a range in time from 1 p.m. to 10.55 p.m.; two additional photographs show the results of experiments on subsequent days. The opposition was exact at 5.30 p.m. The forms became rarer at 5.34 [as compared to 5.00 and earlier times], and became more frequent by 8.20. At 6.50, no forms are present but the paper is darkened. The forms were more strongly present on the two days after the opposition, as they had been prior to it.]

_Comparative Reaction Times_

Figure 5 shows graphically the course of an experiment, over a Moon-Mars conjunction, where each point is a mean from three filterpapers risen each time. Over most of the experiment it took about five minutes before the forms started to appear, but the reaction was slowed down for about half an hour after the event. The increase in reaction time was associated with a decrease in the amount of form present on the filterpapers, shown in the second graph. The form grading procedure is explained in the next chapter.

Figure 5. Two graphs of a Moon-Mars conjunction experiment by the author and F.W. Hyde, FRAS, North London.

          16 |                 Moon cnj Mars 14.1.76 at 3.41 a.m.
             |                               |
          14 |                               |
             |                               |
time in   12 |                               |
mins         |                               |  /\
for       10 |                               | /  |
1st ppn      |                               V /  |
           8 |  /\                            /   |              
             | /  \     _____                 /    |      /\
           6 |/    \   /     \  /\   __  /\  |     |_____/  |
             |       \/       \/   \/  \/  \ |    
           4 |                              \|
           2 |
           0 |______|______|______|______|______|______|______|
             11pm   12     1      2      3      4      5      6am

           5 |---\
             |    \             /\
           4 |----\|  /\    /\ /  \  /\    /\
form         |     \//  \\//  \|   \/--|__/_/|          /\
grading    3 |      /    \/                  |        //
             |                                \  /\/\//
           2 |                                 | |/\/
             |                                  \/
           1 |______|______|______|______|______|______|______|
             11pm  |12     1      2      3    | 4      5      6am
                   |                          |
             Moon cnj Neptune           Moon cnj Mars

The top graph shows the rate of reaction, given by the time in minutes after mixing iron and silver salt solutions when the first trace of silver becomes visible on the filterpapers. Each point is the mean of 3 readings. The bottom graph shows a `form grading' of the same experiment by two independent persons. Each filterpaper was later graded (1-5), blind, depending on how much form was present on it, and each point on the graph represents the mean of the assessments of the three filterpapers used.

Figure 6 shows another experiment done over a Moon-Mars conjunction, this one with an unusually slow reaction rate for the iron-silver precipitation reaction.

Figure 6. Two graphs of a Moon-Mars conjunction experiment by R.M. in Barnett, North London. The graphs show rate of reaction and inhibition of form present on the filterpapers, as for Fig. 5.

time in
mins for                 Moon cnj Mars 7.4.76 at 3.28 a.m.
1st ppn                                |
26 |                                   V /\
24 |                                  /\/  |
22 |                                  |    |
20 |                                  |    |
18 |                                  |    |
16 |                      /\___       /    \     _______/\
14 |   \_________        /      \    /      \   /          \
12 |              \/----/         \/          \/
10 |
 8 |
 6 |
 4 |
 2 |
 0 |_____________|______________|_______________|______________|
   1am           2              3               4              5

 5 |
   |      /\                           |                         
 4 |    /__   \                        |
   |        \   \                      |
 3 |          \  |           ____/\    V           ____/\ 
   |            \|___       /  /  \|              /__/   \\___/
 2 |              \____\_/___/      |\          //         ---/
   |                                 \|/\__/\  //               
 1 |_____________|______________|_____________\/|______________|
   1am           2              3               4              5

For Saturn events, where lead is used as well as iron and silver, the reaction is much slower. Likewise a Saturn-event is a far slower process than a Mars-event.

The occultation of Saturn by the Moon (Fig. 7) lasted about an hour. As before, each point shown on the graph is a mean of three readings. During the occultation, all form disappeared from the filterpaper. After 80 mins. or so, slight precipitation appeared at the top of the paper. I would like here to quote Kolisko's description of the Sun-Saturn conjunction referred to. "To our great astonishment, a long time elapsed and nothing appeared on the paper. In normal circumstances the first forms appear in 10- 15 mins. In this case a whole hour elapsed before the first forms made their appearance."

Figure 7. Graph showing rate of reaction in a Moon-Saturn occultation experiment, by the author, at Emerson College, Forest Row, Sussex. Each point on the graph shows a mean of three readings, of the time in minutes after mixing the iron, silver and lead salt solutions, when the first trace of silver became visible on the filterpaper.

                                Moon cnj Saturn 5 a.m. 21.6.74
                80 |                         |  +       
                   |                        +|          
average         60 |                         |    +    
time in mins       |            +            |+        
for 1st ppn     40 |      +         +        | +    +    
                   |+  +     +        +      |         +
                20 |                    +    |         
                   |                         |
                 0 |_________________________|___________
                   8  9 10 11 12  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8

We see in this graph a comparable arresting of the silver precipitation while Saturn passed behind the Moon. The precipitation of silver was determined by the exact position of a planet one thousand million miles away...

These experiments can be studied from three different points of view: firstly, as forms and changes in form -- a purely visual approach; secondly, as a time-process, as in these graphs; and thirdly, as a chemical reaction -- what proportion of the silver nitrate was reduced to silver at different stages of this event?

_Ion Activity_

By merely observing these filterpaper pictures we cannot infer what is in chemical terms taking place. Did the activity of the lead ions increase or decrease as Saturn passed behind the Moon? There is a simple technique described by Kolisko which may possibly give an approach towards being able to answer this. It consists of growing crystals of metal salts by dropping them into a solution of silica gel. Sequences of stannous chloride crystals dropped into a silica gel solution before, during and after a Moon-Jupiter conjunction, and then later over a Moon-Jupiter opposition were shown. These results of Kolisko would seem to show that a minimum in the growth of the tin-salt crystals was connected with the occurrence of a Moon-Jupiter event; in other words, that the activity of the tin salt was decreased during the event: less of the metal silicate "tree" was formed. But this is not nearly so sensitive a method as the filterpaper-picture technique.

This completes our brief and very partial survey of "The Kolisko effect."

Why, you may wonder, has virtually no one at least in this country taken up Kolisko's work since it was first published fifty years ago? All I can say is that in my experience those people who have an interest in these phenomena do not have the necessary laboratory amenities, those people who have laboratory amenities do not have the interest, and the very few people with both of these lack the time. Or, maybe, these experiments appeared too simple to be taken seriously.


1. Kolisko L. "Workings of the Stars in Earthly Substance." Stuttgart, 1928.
2. Pelikan W. "The Secrets of Metals." Anthroposophic Press, N.Y., 1973, p. 24.
3. Voss K. Weitere Folgerungen aus Steigversuchen. _Neue Aspekte_, 1964/5; 15:1-11. Summarised by R.C. Firebrace as `Confirmation of the Kolisko experiments.' _Spica_ 1965; 4:4-8.
4. Fyfe A. Uber die Variabilitat von Silber-Eisen-Steigbildern. _Elemente der Naturwissenschaft_, Easter, 1967; 6:35-43.