Vitrol in Alchemy – some images

Staying with the “Acidic Theme”

Battery acid, or better known as Sulfuric acid, is a highly corrosive strong mineral acid. The substance is colourless and viscous liquid that is soluble in water. The chemical formula is H2S04 and is often dyed dark brown to alert people to its dangerous potential and hazards.



The Latin phrase, VISITA INTERIORA TERRA RECTIFICANDO INVENIES OCCULTUM LAPIDEM, when translated to English is ‘Visit the interior of the Earth and in rectifying (purifying) you shall discover the hidden Stone’. This has been interpreted as a message inciting the initiate to delve into his own being in order to find arcane wisdom. A visit is a two-way journey, like the course followed on a labyrinth, which ends by returning to the starting point. The initiate must not seek to remain inside. He goes and comes back. He visits the interior, the inside. ‘As above so below’ and ‘What is inside is also outside’. The Earth element corresponds to an ‘outside’ and a ‘below’ in a cosmic & suprasensible sense. By purifying our Earth, through the Work upon our Earth, we perfect the body in conjunction with the soul. And in doing so the dense body merges with the subtle aspects, whence we discover the ‘hidden stone’. Stone is of the Earth, but when discerned under the Hermetic scrutiny a profound insight is awoken. The same Latin phrase also brings to our attention the acronym: V.I.T.R.I.O.L


Green vitriol is symbolized by the green lion in Hermetic etchings & woodblock prints. After green vitriol is collected, it is heated and broken down into iron compounds and sulphuric acid. A heavy, corrosive, oily liquid, colourless when pure but brown when the acid is separated by distillation; the sulphur being the more electronegative of the two elements, thus producing an odour similar to rotten eggs (hydrogen sulphide). Further distillation produces the combined action of sulphur dioxide, oxygen, steam, and nitric fumes yielding a nearly odourless yellow oil. Due to its corrosive qualities, vitriol is used as a descriptive expressions such as ‘bitterly abusive’ or ‘intense animosity’ and, in addition, the phrase ‘To injure with vitriol’. The word vitriol is derived from the Latin ‘vitrum‘ meaning glass. This should invoke the notion of featureless, empty, diaphanous etc.

This is the caustic method in which vitriol operate in order to resurrect the primordial essence. Your  inquiry that ‘leads back’ through the motive, the ‘why?’ and vitriol’s sulphuric, acidic penetration of concrete matters.