ophiuchus alchemy

The Ophiuchus Alchemy Tarot Spread

ophiuchus alchemy

Today’s Ophiuchus Alchemy Tarot Spread is inspired by the card of the day, the 7 of Cups, that showed up as guidance for the Taurus New Moon today. The more I learn about Ophiuchus, the 13th Sign, the more synchronicity is increasing for me around this topic. As an avid researcher of metaphysical topics, I take this as a sign that I’m on the right track. That said, I’m still only at the beginning of my deep-dive into the topic of Ophiuchus so if you have additional information to provide, please feel free to do so in the comments. So far, as far as I can tell, understanding the 13th Sign is the key to unlocking the power of the Zodiac.

Jump to the Ophiuchus Alchemy Tarot Spread

The Role of the Serpent and the Serpent Bearer in Alchemy

In traditional Alchemy the green serpent appears in the first stage of Calcination where it represents unrefined Mercury (or the monkey mind, as we like to call it these days). In the final stage, Coagulation, we see the phoenix, the redeemed lower serpent nature rising from the ashes, representing the true self. Thus, we can view the serpent as representing all seven of the alchemical stages of transformation and Ophiuchus, the Serpent Bearer, as the Master Alchemist.

By examining the mythological and astrological significance of Ophiuchus, we can uncover its representation of the alchemical ideal where man integrates the lower serpent nature with the higher seraphim self.

Ophiuchus: The Serpent Bearer

The constellation of Ophiuchus lies between Scorpio and Sagittarius along the ecliptic. The myth around this constellation centres around Asclepius. Apparently he was such a great healer that he could bring the dead back to life–A skill he learned from a wise serpent. Naturally, this pissed Hades off so he asked Zeus to kill Asclepius. Zeus realised he couldn’t have someone go around breaking the natural cycle of life and death and did as Hades asked. However, he was so impressed by Asclepius that he turned him into the constellation Ophiuchus.

Ophiuchus symbolises mastery and control over the primal and instinctual aspects of oneself. This aligns with the ultimate goal of alchemical operations: the integration and harmonisation of the ego with higher spiritual consciousness. In the Tarot, we see the alchemical process laid out in the 7 of Cups (p. 272 Secrets of the Waite Smith Tarot, Marcus Katz & Tali Goodwin). Incidentally, this card corresponds with the third decan of Scorpio which, in Sidereal Astrology, belongs to the sign of Ophiuchus.

7 of Cups Venus in Scorpio Angelic Tarot Card Meanings

The Alchemical Integration

Calcination and Dissolution: Taming the Serpent

In the initial stages of alchemical transformation, calcination and dissolution, the ego/lower nature (the serpent) is confronted, broken down, and purified. This process involves intense self-reflection and the destruction of impurities within the psyche. The serpent’s early appearance as a destructive force acts as a guide through inner turmoil.

Separation and Conjunction: Balancing Duality

As the alchemist progresses to separation and conjunction, the purified elements of the self are isolated and then recombined in a harmonious union. Here, the serpent symbolises discernment and the merging of opposites, reflecting the duality that we must integrate in the human soul. Ophiuchus, holding the serpent, illustrates this delicate balance, representing the control and integration of these dual aspects.

Fermentation and Distillation: Spiritual Awakening

The process of fermentation breathes new life into the solution, symbolising spiritual rebirth. Distillation further purifies, leading the alchemist toward clarity and enlightenment. The serpent now signifies resurrection and the ascent of spiritual energy. In Ophiuchus, this phase is represented by the serpent being actively held, indicating a conscious and deliberate spiritual awakening and purification.

Coagulation: The Final Integration

In the final stage of coagulation, the alchemist achieves the state of the ultimate integration of matter and spirit, also known as the Alchemical Wedding. Ophiuchus, as the Serpent Bearer, embodies this zenith of alchemical transformation. The serpent, once a symbol of the ego (yet at the same time the wise teacher of immortality), has now been completely integrated with the higher/seraphim self (seraphim=fire serpent), resulting in a unified and enlightened being.

The Ophiuchus Alchemy Tarot Spread

Ophiuchus Alchemy Tarot Spread

1. Calcination

Card Position: Represents the first stage, calcination.

Interpretation: This card reveals the aspects of your life that need to be broken down and purified. Like the serpent symbolising destruction and transformative fire, this stage involves burning away impurities and facing the necessary challenges for growth.

2. Dissolution

Card Position: Represents the second stage, dissolution.

Interpretation: This card uncovers the unconscious elements of your psyche coming to the surface. With the serpent as the link between earthly matter and higher realms, this stage signals an awakening of your unconscious mind and emotional depths.

3. Separation

Card Position: Represents the third stage, separation.

Interpretation: This card highlights the discernment and wisdom needed to isolate essential aspects of your life. The serpent symbolises your ability to differentiate the pure from the impure, reflecting your growing understanding and insight.

4. Conjunction

Card Position: Represents the fourth stage, conjunction.

Interpretation: This card signifies the union of opposites in your life. Like the serpent representing the fusion of soul, spirit, and matter, this stage indicates harmony and balance, guiding you towards integrated solutions and relationships.

5. Fermentation

Card Position: Represents the fifth stage, fermentation.

Interpretation: This card points to regeneration and the birth of new life in your journey. The serpent symbolises renewal and a rise in your state of consciousness.

6. Distillation

Card Position: Represents the sixth stage, distillation.

Interpretation: This card signifies the pursuit of purity and truth. The Serpent Bearer guides your journey towards clarity and the removal of impurities that obscure your spiritual path and personal development.

7. Coagulation

Card Position: Represents the final stage, coagulation.

Interpretation: This card reveals the completion of your transformative journey. You become the Serpent Bearer or Homo Sanctus/Angelic Human. This is the result of you successfully integrating the duality of your human and spiritual nature. This stage signifies true wisdom, integration of masculine and feminine, unity with the divine, and the realisation of your highest potential.

Sample Ophiuchus Alchemy Tarot Reading

1. Calcination – Ace of Pentacles

The Ace of Pentacles in the stage of calcination signifies the need to break down old material structures or financial patterns that no longer serve you. This card suggests a new beginning that requires purifying your relationship with the physical world and material possessions. As the serpent symbolises transformative fire, you must face the necessary challenges to cleanse your environment and lay a fresh foundation for growth.

2. Dissolution – 2 of Cups

The 2 of Cups in the dissolution stage reveals underlying/subconscious emotional and relational aspects that need to surface. This card indicates a time of emotional awakening and deeper understanding of duality through partnerships. Relationships may fall apart. Serpent wisdom teaches us to shed relationships that no longer serve the Highest Good the way the snake sheds its skin.

3. Separation – 5 of Cups

The 5 of Cups at the stage of separation highlights sorrow and loss, bringing into focus the need to isolate essential lessons from painful experiences. This card asks you to discern between what must be let go and what should be preserved. The serpent symbolises your growing wisdom as you sift through grief and disappointment, enabling you to integrate these lessons meaningfully.

4. Conjunction – 3 of Wands

In the conjunction phase, the 3 of Wands signifies the union of past efforts and new opportunities. This card represents the harmonisation of various aspects of yourself and your ventures. The 3 of Wands encourages you to embrace this harmony by engaging in collaborative efforts and integrated solutions.

5. Fermentation – 8 of Swords

The 8 of Swords in the fermentation stage points to a period of regeneration hindered by self-imposed limitations. The serpent’s symbol of renewal in this context is an invitation to free yourself from mental constraints and rise to a new state of consciousness. Release the restrictions you place on yourself to foster a transformation that leads to clarity and empowerment.

6. Distillation – Knight of Swords

The Knight of Swords at the distillation stage signifies a quest for truth and purity. This card epitomises mental clarity, sharp focus, and direct action. Guided by the Serpent Bearer, this phase urges you to cut through confusion and ambiguity, focusing on the intellectual aspect of your spiritual path and personal development.

7. Coagulation – Page of Pentacles

In the final stage of coagulation, the Page of Pentacles suggests the completion of your transformative journey with a readiness to manifest your goals. This card represents the beginning of a new cycle with wisdom and practical skills. As a Serpent Bearer/Master Alchemist who has integrated the duality of human and spiritual nature, you are now poised to realise your highest potential in the realm of matter.

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