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Aurum metallicum, A. foliatum
The Latin (Etruscan) name aurum (ancient ausom) means "yellow". This word is compared well with the the ancient-roman aurora or ausosa (the morning glow, the eastern country, the east). The word is also derived from a Sanskrit word "hari", meaning "yellow". Most of the Roman languages and the Celtic languages use derivations of aurum.
O.E. gold, from P.Gmc. *gulth- (cf. O.Fris. gold, Ger. Gold, M.Du. gout, O.N. gull, Goth. gulﬁ "gold"), from PIE *ghel- "to shine, be yellow" (cf. O.C.S. zlato, Rus. zoloto, Skt. hiranyam, O.Pers. daraniya-, Avestan zaranya-). In reference to the color of the metal, it is recorded from c.1400. Golden replaced M.E. gilden, from O.E. gyldan. Goldenrod is 1568; goldfinch is from O.E. goldfinc; goldfish is from 1698, introduced into England from China, where they are native. Gold-digger "woman who pursues men for their money," first recorded 1915. Goldbrick (n.) "shirker" (1914) is World War I armed forces slang, from earlier verb meaning "to swindle, cheat" (1902) from the old con game of selling spurious "gold" bricks. Golden mean "avoidance of excess" translates L. aurea mediocritas (Horace). Golden rule (originally Golden law) so called from 1674.
"Do not do unto others as you would that they should do unto you. Their tastes may not be the same." [George Bernard Shaw, 1898]
Minerals; Inorganic; Copper-Group
V. 1. Hahnemann: Chr. Dis. Mat. Med. Pura.
Description of the substance
A bright yellow metal; most malleable and ductile; in powdered form it is brown. It is not attacked by air or by hydrogen sulphide. Ordinary acids do not attack; Soluble in aqua regia. Its specific gravity is 19.3. It melts at 1063 and boils at about 2600. Gold generally occurs in the free state and its commercial purification is commonly effected electrolytically.
Gold ornaments of great variety and elaborate workmanship have been discovered on sites belonging to the earliest known civilizations; Minoan, Egyptian, Assyrian, Etruscan, and in ancient literature Gold is the universal symbol of the highest purity and value. Cf. passages in the Old Testament, e.g. Ps. xix, 10:
"More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold."
Some of the early rich finds of gold artifacts were from the cemeteries in Bulgaria in Europe (5th millennium BC) with accouterments of hammered and sheet gold. Some of the most elegant gold vessels made by the repousse technique come from the Mesopotamia (ca 2500 BC). The Babylonian name for gold - hurasu has a distant resemblance to the Ancient Greek word CrusoV [chrysos], which is found in the earliest texts. Possibly, this word originates from the name of the place where Gold was found. Spectacular gold castings are known from ancient Egypt, such as the coffin of Tutankhamun (a minor Pharaoh who was only 18 when he died), which contained no less than 112 kg of gold. The Gold mines of Egypt were in Nubia. Hence the ancient Egyptian name for gold - nub. Early gold and silver ornaments from the Indian subcontinent are found from Indus Valley sites such as Mohenjodaro (ca 3000 BC). The ancient Indian word ayas for Gold was later used in other languages for the designation of copper, which, possibly, serves as indication of propagation in the antiquity of false gold.
The legendary Aztec and Inca hoards in Mexico and Peru were a major reason for the Spanish conquests of Central and South America in the early sixteenth century.
From the earliest times gold was compared with the sun, it was called the solar metal or simply by the sun (Sol). The alchemist symbol for gold - a circle with a dot in the center, is identical with the symbol for the sun. In the alchemic literature gold was indicated with many words, usually encoded, such as: zaras, trikor, sol, sonir, secur, senior, etc., and also several words with an Arab origin, for example al-bahag (gladness), hiti (cat dung), ras (head, principle), su'a (ray), diya (light), and alam (peace).
In astrology alchemy the seven heavenly bodies known to the ancients were associated with seven metals also known in antiquity:
Sun (Sol) Gold (Aurum)
Mercury (Mercurius) Mercury (Hydrargyrum)
Venus Copper (Cuprum)
Moon (Luna) Silver (Argentum)
Mars Iron (Ferrum)
Jupiter Tin (Stannum)
Saturn Lead (Plumbum)
The Sun and Gold
Traditionally the noblest of the metals, gold expresses the splendour and radiance of the Sun. As the only metal which never tarnishes, it will resist the fiercest fire. Its sun-like nature is evident, for it needs to glitter in the sun to express itself, and has a unique relation to light and colour. The metal can be beaten out so thinly that it has hardly any solidity left, when it appears as gold by reflected light but green by transmitted light. Colloidal gold solutions, in dilutions of parts per 100 million, produce a wide variety of colours. From metallic gold one can obtain, so to speak, any colour under the sun: In gold we see the brilliance of the sun, but other rich colours are also seen in its colloidal solutions, ranging from greenish-blue, through reddish, violet-blue to pure rose – from the gold of a noonday sun to the radiant colours of sunset (1).’
The sun manifests the colour of gold at sunrise and at sunset. The latin word for gold, aurum (thus, the chemical symbol Au), derives from the Greek word Aurora - the golden goddess of the dawn. Rudolf Steiner gave ‘AU’ as the Sun-sound, so try intoning it. The word ‘aura’ comes from the same root, indicating the idea of radiance as associated with this metal.
Sun in Splendor Solis 16th century, used with kind permission of the British Library
Like sunlight through air, so is gold diffused through Earth's crust: ‘Gold is a remarkable substance. A description of its physical properties can leave one in awe, even disbelief. Gold is present everywhere on the Earth - in the seas, in the highest strata of the atmosphere and in the earth itself on every continent. It exists as the finest dust and dense nuggets. There are however no veins of gold as there are of other metals. The denser deposits are combined with silica, for example, or in iron or sulphur compounds, containing arsenic. Combined with silver, mercury, copper and antimony, however, gold is to be found finely distributed. (2)’ This author described how the gold mines in South Africa descend thousands of metres, to mine gold present in maybe less than one part per hundred thousand of the ore - only to be reburied in bank vaults! The largest deposits of gold are found in Africa. In this continent, whose geography shows so many different sun-influences, and whose music expresses so powerfully the throbbing pulse of the heart, the greatest amounts of the sun-metal have condensed.
The Sun’s position in a birth-horoscope is said to express one's true being. To help get a grip on this, let’s consider why people spend more to have a pen with a gold nib. This isn’t just because it lasts longer than a steel-nib, but because of something not easy to express, that handwriting with a gold-nib pen better expresses one's ‘personality' or inner being than does a steel-nib pen.
Gold is a metal on a journey, shown by its number given in ‘carats,' which goes up to twenty-four, for absolute purity. A gold ring may be 18 carats, and thinly-beaten gold which needs to be soft could be twenty-two carats. The carat-number indicates how long the gold has been in the furnace, how intensely purified it has been to free it from baser metals. The Sun moves across the sky every twenty-four hours, and around the year in twelve months, so this solar number defines the quality of gold. The weight of gold is measured in Troy, with one Troy ounce of gold equivalent to 480 (24 x 20) grains of wheat. The golden grains of wheat, sun-ripened, are fixed in an equivalence to the solar metal, indicating a healthy basis for currency and wealth (5).