The two suns in the hermetic tradition
There is a persistent belief in alchemaic
tradition in the existence of two suns
: a hidden one of pure "philosophical gold," consisting of the essential Fire
conjoined with aether
, and the apparent one of profane "material gold." The "dark, consuming fire" of the material sun leads to its being called the "Dark" or "Black Sun." According to the Book of the Holy Trinity
, after Adam's fall, tainted by Original Sin, man is made "from the black sun's fire."
Heraclitus (6th century B.C.) refers to the holy fire of the former as "artistic" fire. Its invisible effect supposedly distinguishes the Work of alchemists from that of profane chemists.
It is possible that these teachings influenced Philolaus in the development of his groundbreaking theory of the Central Fire. This is supported by the fact that the various teachings regarding multiple alchemaic suns are sometimes attributed to Empedocles, who was a contemporary of Philolaus, and his senior. However, this connection may be coincidental, and it is likely that the attribution of these ideas to Empedocles stems from an imperfect understanding of his cosmology in regard to the reflective nature of the Sun.
) is also the name of the result of the first stage of the Opus Magnum
, the blackening (nigredo). The complete Opus magnum
(Great Work) ends with the production of gold
The Opus magnum
can also be understood in a mystic way:
see Alchemy - The Opus magnum
Contemporary usage of the term "Black Sun" can be found in the works of esoteric musicians such as COIL and Boyd Rice, and occult groups such as Black Sun Rising (a Pylon of the Temple of Set).
In popular culture