Writing Characters Of Mercury

The second-highest element on the spiritual hierarchy is mercury. Being one level higher than silver, mercury is the realm a person enters when they are close to perfection. This is represented by the liquid nature of mercury, which reflects a great intensity of spiritual power. Metaphorically, this liquidity suggests that mercury is close to moving beyond the material.

The ancients considered Mercury to be the Messenger of the Gods. This reflects the fact that mercury is the closest to the divine element of gold. Mercury is the closet planet to the Sun, so the Sun shines on Mercury before it shines on anything else. Characters of mercury ought to be able to instill a sense of awe in the characters made of baser elements.

Like silver, mercury is lustrous. Unlike silver, mercury is a liquid at room temperature. This is why it was once known as quicksilver, or water-silver. Alchemically, this property of being a liquid suggests that silver has been quickened to reach the stage of mercury. It suggests that something extra has been added to mere silver, some invisible energy that has had visible effects, and which has transmuted that silver to a higher state.

This quickening is from where we get the term ‘mercurial’. The term mercurial is used to describe people whose behaviour is hard to predict. There’s a more precise meaning – people whose behaviour is hard to predict because they are more closely attuned to the Will of God than anyone else. The characters of mercury are semidivine.

The characteristic quality of mercury is genuine intelligence in the form of a divine spark. This is where it contrasts with silver. Although a character of silver might have a rudimentary intelligence, perhaps enough to give them an advantage over the characters of baser elements, characters of mercury are more intelligent still. They are easily able to perceive the weaknesses of characters of silver, let alone the lesser elements.

Characters of mercury are more intelligent than the others, but they are not always more humble. Although they can be megalomaniacal, they are not prone to the Conceit of Silver, on account of that they are too closely attuned to God’s will. A character of mercury will not resent someone greater than themselves, but will rather co-operate with that person as a way of drawing God’s energy into the world. This disinclination to fight presages the frequency of the characters of gold.

Reflecting this humility, characters of mercury have more compassion than characters of baser elements. They are rarely motivated by purely egoic concerns. Rather, they work to end the suffering of others around them, and as such serve as messengers of the gods by expressing the will of the divine.

However, not being perfect, characters of mercury are still vulnerable to any of the lusts, rages and arrogances of the baser elements. They are just much less likely to fall prey to such impulses, and, when they do, they make amends much more readily. As such, they are clearly more noble in nature than most other people, and they tend to get treated as such.

The big danger of the character of mercury is that their ambition can cause great suffering. Although a character of mercury would never torture someone like a character of iron would, and they wouldn’t steal from someone like a character of lead would, they are still capable of causing immense suffering. Alexander was a character of mercury, if anyone was – and his conquests left piles of bodies in their wake.

The example of Alexander mentioned above perhaps best exemplifies the essence of a character of mercury. Being so close to perfection, they are, in a sense, above being judged by normal men. Chararacters made of baser elements have trouble enough understanding characters of silver; characters of mercury are beyond their understanding. To these baser characters, the characters of mercury appear as forces of nature.

Hindu Yogis associate mercury with the third eye chakra. This chakra is itself associated with intuition and foresight. A character of mercury will have great foresight, being able to see into the metaphysical world. This grants them the ability to predict the future and to see into people’s souls. A character of mercury will have powers of perception that the baser elements may not even believe are possible.

These powers of perception distinguish them from characters of silver. Although a character of silver might be able to accumulate a great amount of knowledge and apply it to, for example, building a bridge, this knowledge is limited to knowledge of the physical world and the phenomena in it. The character of mercury can see into the metaphysical world – something that most other characters don’t even believe exists. As such, they are very much the one-eyed man in the kingdom of the blind.

The concept of a third eye relating to spiritual awakening gives away the essential nature of the character of mercury, which is someone who is almost enlightened. Although not perfect, their every action will be permeated with this greater illumination – which is precisely what makes them seem mercurial to the baser elements. Because the baser elements cannot see into the metaphysical world, they cannot understand why the characters of mercury make the decisions they do. Characters of mercury can easily appear mad to those of baser elements.

Characters of mercury are the sort of people who set the course of history. They can be found leading kingdoms and empires. A character of mercury is sufficiently impressive that even characters of silver feel awestruck in their presence. As such, they are capable of provoking immense resentment, as did Julius Caesar.

If your story involves a character of mercury, it’s feasible that resentment for them can provide the impetus for the plot. A character of silver might become envious and try to take them down, perhaps employing a character of iron to do so. A character of copper who serves as a priest, resenting the influence that a character of mercury has among the townsfolk, might assemble a mob to drive them out of town.

If not in politics, characters of mercury can be great artists or scientists. Here they distinguish themselves from characters of silver as genius distinguishes itself from mere brilliance. The characters of silver may be exceptionally skilled at applying methods and techniques to create a masterpiece, but only the characters of mercury have the power to create something truly original.

A modern representation of a character of mercury is William Shakespeare in the film Shakespeare in Love, or John Nash in A Beautiful Mind. Such characters clearly stand out from those around them, even if those around them are of silver or copper.

It’s very tempting to have a character of mercury as the protagonist of your story. Being genuinely intelligent, it’s easy to write a story in which they overcome the challenges placed before them. However, being already of the second-highest element, this leaves little room for the character to develop over the course of your story.

If a character of mercury serves as a minor character, it may be to enlighten your protagonist. Your protagonist might work in their service, or they might engage the character of mercury to teach them about some important issue. In either case, the character of mercury will likely be fundamental to the plot.


This article is from Viktor Hellman’s The Alchemy of Character Development, the sixth book in VJM Publishing’s Writing With Psychology series. This book will show you how to use alchemy to create deep, realistic and engaging characters for your creative fiction.


If you enjoyed reading this essay, you can get a compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2019 from Amazon for Kindle or Amazon for CreateSpace (for international readers), or TradeMe (for Kiwis). A compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2018 and the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2017 are also available.


If you would like to support our work in other ways, please consider subscribing to our SubscribeStar fund. Even better, buy any one of our books!

Writing Characters of Silver

The fifth element from the bottom of the spiritual hierarchy is silver. This is the stage a character reaches when they have enough spiritual energy to begin to shine. A person enters the realm of silver once they start to value non-physical treasures. In doing so, they make it possible for people to co-operate on a level above that of the family.

The lustrous nature of silver is what gives it its greater value. Like copper, silver has also been used as a currency for thousands of years, only silver was more desired, and therefore more valuable. Silver is rare and valuable enough that the presence of it can change the energy of an environment. This is true both physically and metaphysically.

A character will begin to enter the realm of silver once they come to appreciate the limitations of the realm of copper. Usually this occurs once they start losing interest in the opposite gender, at least in the sense of starting a family with them. Once they move past that and start thinking about groups of families, they move into the realm of silver. It is characters of silver who hold villages and towns together.

Note that a character of silver loses interest in the opposite gender because they transcend them, not because they start to dislike them. Hating the opposite gender marks one out as belonging to the baser elements. A character of silver is the sort of character who starts to prefer reading books to courtship and romance. As such, getting laid loses relative importance.

In this sense, silver represents knowledge, or intellectual capital. The realm of silver is the realm of psychology. As such, it is rare. The vast majority of the world is preoccupied with surviving, or with getting money or sex, or at least having a good time. To value knowledge for its own sake is rare and precious.

The archetypal character of silver is a librarian. Surrounded by books, each one containing the accumulated wisdom of a lifetime, is where the character of silver feels most at home. The power of silver is that one book can organise a force powerful enough to resist a thousand knights. Thus, silver is higher than and more valuable than copper or iron.

To the ancients, silver represented the Moon, which itself represented the divine feminine principle. Thus, silver came to be associated with the divine feminine. The apogee of silver is in outsmarting a character of iron. The story of Odysseus outsmarting the Cyclops is an archetypal example, as is the fable of Aesop where the Sun outsmarts the wind.

One association of silver and of the Moon is of coldness. The realm of silver is for hard-headed logical thinkers. It’s for those who can trap their chess opponents with sophisticated strategems. In the biological world, the element of silver is best represented by the spider, who spins a silvery web that entraps those of lesser intelligence.

This alchemical representation is from where we get the expression ‘silver-tongued’. This refers to someone with intelligence but no higher spiritual sense. To be silver-tongued is to be able to speak eloquently and persuasively, without necessarily being inspired by any deeper spiritual sense. Many would describe a character of silver as ‘glib’.

The archetypal occupation of a character of silver is a lawyer. A classic modern representation is Al Pacino’s character in The Devil’s Apprentice. Other examples of characters of silver in fiction are Faust‘s Mephistopheles, Loki in the Norse Pantheon or Shakespeare’s Shylock.

Another typical occupation is politician or merchant. The distinctive characteristic of a character of silver is that they do not need physical wealth because they can extract it from other people at any time. Any real character of silver ought to be able to turn up in a new town and weasel his way into the local power structure.

This reveals the dark side of the characters of silver. They have their own conceit, known as the Conceit of Silver, which is the act of mistaking one’s metaphysical capacity for one’s moral capacity (this is shared with characters of mercury, only the latter suffer from it to a lesser extent). Thus, they come to believe that their intellectual aggression or wealth gives them the right to rule over other people.

The reality is that neither knowing a great deal of information nor having a great deal of money confers any righteousness. Neither have any real value if not guided by a refined moral sense. Characters of silver do not inherently understand this, and those that do are on their way towards entering the realm of mercury.

A character of silver might have trouble conceding this point. Although they are illuminated compared to characters of copper, iron, tin and lead, they are not perfect. Characters of silver are entirely capable of being petty, vain and narcissistic, on account of that they are just close enough to perfect to mistake themselves for it.

Typical of this dark side of the characters of silver is intellectual arrogance. Being intelligent but not possessing true humility, the character of silver often has a deep-seated desire to be acknowledged as an intellectual authority. This is not usually a problem if they genuinely are an authority in the subject matter. In cases where they are not, they are capable of misleading great numbers of people, and causing awful damage.

The character of silver often resents the character of mercury, who is truly intelligent. This can lead the character of silver to try and trick the character of mercury, usually by memorising enormous amounts of information under which to bury their opponent. Characters of silver are masters of rhetoric. Although they are intelligent enough to see the truth, they don’t necessarily recognise the need to speak it.

Related to this, characters of silver are often found as cult leaders, pretending to be characters of gold. They might not be of the gold, but characters of silver are still illuminated enough to attract a considerable following from among those who recognise their higher value. Their capacity to accumulate knowledge means that they can often correctly diagnose problems – it’s just that their solutions, not coming from a moral foundation, are lacking.

Despite all this, most characters of silver are good people and all are motivated by less petty concerns than characters of copper, iron, tin and lead. Characters of silver will almost never abuse children or animals, and neither are they prone to lashing out violently or becoming drug addicts. Their flaws are easily forgiven on account of the weight of their virtues.

Generally speaking, characters of silver are held in high regard by decent people for the order they help to impose upon society. Because of their knowledge, their lives tend to be well-run, and their communities tend to be well-organised. A character of silver in your story could well be one that has a great influence on the protagonist or antagonist.


This article is from Viktor Hellman’s The Alchemy of Character Development, the sixth book in VJM Publishing’s Writing With Psychology series. This book will show you how to use alchemy to create deep, realistic and engaging characters for your creative fiction.


If you enjoyed reading this essay, you can get a compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2019 from Amazon for Kindle or Amazon for CreateSpace (for international readers), or TradeMe (for Kiwis). A compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2018 and the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2017 are also available.


If you would like to support our work in other ways, please consider subscribing to our SubscribeStar fund. Even better, buy any one of our books!

Writing Characters Of Copper

With a moderate amount of spiritual energy, a character becomes a character of copper. At this level, someone will have roughly half of the spiritual spectrum below them and half above them. A character of copper has developed a sense of love or compassion. As such, they are of a significantly higher frequency than the three base elements.

Copper has several noteworthy characteristics compared to the base metals of lead, tin and iron.

Most apparently, copper is colourful. Lead, tin and iron are all grey, but copper is a shiny reddish brown. This makes it desired. A necessary aspect of characters of copper is that they start to become desirable to other characters. Copper is described as a semi-precious metal. This reflects the fact that copper was once used as a currency.

Copper was associated with the goddess Venus in the ancient world. Hindu Yogis associate it with the heart chakra, from where people learn to express compassion. A character at the level of copper can begin to hear whispers of the Word of God. Consequently, they are able to follow their hearts, instead of needing to be led or directed.

In that copper occupies the centre of the spiritual ladder, it represents the union of opposites. In uniting above and below, copper serves as that which brings different elements together in joy. This gives it a harmony with the party-loving element of tin, only copper is less debauched. The characteristic action of copper is a man and woman coming together to make love – at the level of copper one no longer merely has sex, as the baser elements do.

The realm of copper, then, is the realm of courtship, chivalry and romance. This is the realm in which a physically dominant person begins to value something other than physical control. Here they learn to yield to people despite being able to kick their arses. It begins when rising spiritual energy cannot go further towards the masculine and so moves upwards and back towards the feminine. As such, it is where true compassion begins to enter the spiritual ladder.

It could be argued that boundary of the transition into copper comes when the physically dominant character realises that further advancement can only come in metaphysical realms. The character of copper learns that they can tactically choose to yield to the baser elements in the short term, for the sake of being better able to assert themselves in the long term.

The word copper gives us the word ‘capricious’, this being perhaps the characteristic quality of a beautiful woman, around who the world revolves in many ways. A character of copper, knowing themselves to have more value than the base elements, can become capricious if it goes to their head. A beautiful woman who knows that she is desired can come to make unreasonable demands on her suitors.

The combination of tactically yielding to the baser elements and being a beautiful woman suggests motherhood. The attitude of copper is the attitude of a mother towards her young child. The raw, biological essence of copper can best be appreciated by observing the lengths that the females of mammalian species will go to protect their offspring. The baser elements do not have a concept of self-sacrifice for a higher goal.

Thinking in these terms, the difference between copper and lead becomes obvious. A woman at the level of lead will breed without any concern for the well-being of her offspring, whereas a woman at the level of copper will make sure that any offspring she has are well cared for. In life history theory, this approximates very closely the difference between the r-selected and the K-selected.

The difference between copper and iron also becomes clear. A character of iron might be tough, loyal and honourable, but ultimately they fight for fighting’s sake. A character of copper, on the other hand, can have the aforementioned qualities plus the capacity to fight for a higher value. The character of iron finds their greatest expression in killing; the character of copper prefers to capture his enemies so as to ransom them off.

The characteristic neurotransmitter of copper is oxytocin. This is the “love drug” that leads to the formation of pair bonds. The formation of pair bonds creates a space for the higher elements to come into being. A character of copper will have a greater capacity for love than any of the baser elements. This capacity causes them to be cherished.

As is true with characters of iron, there is nothing stopping a character of copper being of either gender.

A male character of copper might be a chivalrous knight. Having proven himself in the realm of iron, the knight might have realised that further achievements in that realm are meaningless. As such, he aspires to achieve in a new realm – that of the nobles. Seeing the nobles display chivalry inspires him to imitate them.

A female character of copper could be a young mother or a striking beauty. If the former, her overriding concern will be the welfare of her family, which distinguishes her from the often neglectful or cruel mothers of the baser elements. If the latter, her beauty might be such that other men come to desire her so powerfully that they compete for her attention. In this sense, a female character of copper will invoke Aphrodite.

It’s worth noting that copper, although yielding to iron as tin does, does so in a different manner. Tin yields on account of that it is softer and is indifferent. Copper yields on account of that it takes a longer-term view. Where iron charges ahead out of rashness, and tin cowers back out of timidity, copper intelligently sums up the situation and makes the correct decision. This is a quality that copper shares with all of the precious metals.

If a character of copper is really a character of copper, they ought to be able to stay one step ahead of characters made of the baser elements. The baser characters might be able to get the jump on a character of copper, of course, but they must do so by underhanded means (or luck). Characters of copper can fight, but like characters of silver they prefer to find other ways to impose order upon the world.

The more precious elements still have an intellectual and spiritual edge over the characters of copper, however. The characters of copper might have intelligence and compassion, but at their frequency it’s hard for them to express either beyond the boundaries of the immediate family. Once issues of higher learning come into play, the character of copper has to yield.

Characters of copper love the idea of being matchmakers. Having risen above the baser elements, they are no longer motivated purely by egoic instincts. As such, they don’t get jealous when two other people form a pair bond. A character of copper, unlike the baser characters, understands that love and goodwill between two people makes the lives of all around them easier, and so they encourage it.

The archetypal situation of copper might be a middle-aged matriarch of the minor aristocracy arranging a marriage between her daughter and a famous knight. After a great party, involving many characters of tin who add a bawdy touch to provide a contrast, they all live happily ever after. It’s not until a character starts to value education that they enter the realm of silver.


This article is from Viktor Hellman’s The Alchemy of Character Development, the sixth book in VJM Publishing’s Writing With Psychology series. This book will show you how to use alchemy to create deep, realistic and engaging characters for your creative fiction.


If you enjoyed reading this essay, you can get a compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2019 from Amazon for Kindle or Amazon for CreateSpace (for international readers), or TradeMe (for Kiwis). A compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2018 and the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2017 are also available.


If you would like to support our work in other ways, please consider subscribing to our SubscribeStar fund. Even better, buy any one of our books!

Writing Characters of Iron

With slightly more spiritual energy in them, characters become characters of iron. This occurs when someone starts to value things other than simple pleasure. A character of iron has developed a sense of honour, which means that they have identified cowardice as an impurity and have sought to rid themselves of it.

A character of iron is tough. Iron is used here as a metaphor for that which endures. The nature of iron is to resist the wear and tear of the outside world. A man or woman of iron is one who takes a beating but keeps on moving forwards. An iron horse is another name for a steam train; an iron fist is what a boxer is said to possess if he regularly knocks out his opponents (or an iron jaw if he is hard to knock out himself).

Iron is yang energy applied to the raw physical.

Physical discipline marks out the character of iron. They are fit, strong, well-trained. Physical pain and deprivation do not trouble them. If anything, they raise the spirits of the man of iron, who knows that his capacity to endure it raises him above the other softcocks.

The spirit of iron was represented in antiquity by Mars, from where we derive the term ‘martial’. Mars was the Roman God of War, the physical expression of the masculine. Usually, Mars was only invoked in the presence of men. This means that if your character of iron is female, you will have to do more thinking to make her believable.

More esoterically, characters of iron are about order in the physical realm. Not only have they imposed order upon their own bodies, but they are also willing and able to impose order upon the physical world. The essence of iron is the kind of physical dominance possessed by an alpha chimpanzee or gorilla – the sort that makes weaker characters avert their gaze.

Iron became popular on account of that it was capable of keeping a hard, sharp edge. This hardness is characteristic. Whereas the softness of the characters of lead and tin sees them give way in stressful situations, the characters of iron hold fast. Being sharp, they are more dynamic than other characters. As such, a character of iron is particularly useful for getting a story started.

In the same way that iron is useful on account of that it can be made into tools, characters of iron are useful in the sense that they can achieve things. Characters of lead are too lazy and characters of tin too hedonistic. This means that characters of lead and tin tend to get order imposed on them by characters of iron (at least physically).

The archetypal profession of the character of iron is soldiering. The art of soldiering is all about making oneself hard like iron, and bearing tools made of iron to destroy one’s enemies. In practice, there are many types of men in the armies of history, but the men of iron constitute the most successful among them. The others are either too precious or too dull to truly excel in combat.

In your story world, a character of iron could also be a bouncer, a police officer or a professional sportsman. Anything where the prime objective is the imposition of physical order upon chaotic elements is the realm of the character of iron.

In principle, there’s no reason why a character of iron in your story can’t be female. In fact, the rarity of it might make for an especially interesting character, one that was less cliched than a male warrior. Red Sonja of the Robert E. Howard tales might be the best example of this.

Commensurate with their higher level of spiritual refinement, characters of iron have immense physical courage. A true character of iron will not back down from any threat or physical challenge. Like the Gurkhas of Nepal, this physical courage comes from a heightened sense that physical death is not the worst possible thing. The merely brutal men are more likely to come from the passionate realm of tin than the disciplined realm of iron.

There is a flipside, however. Iron is brittle, and it will break instead of bending. Whereas the character of silver is just as happy moving backwards as forwards, the character of iron tends to be stubborn and bull-headed. This is a good quality when they’re receiving a cavalry charge, but it’s a bad quality in peacetime, when it tends to lead to unnecessary fights and arguments.

In a sense, iron represents the archetypal primal masculine – the warrior and the hunter. It reached its apogee in the ancient world with the invention of iron weaponry, which easily defeated weapons and armour made of softer metals (let alone wooden spears and bone clubs). Iron is that which penetrates and pulverises. It dominates physically, but in turn it gets dominated mentally and spiritually.

Other characters might look down on the character of iron out of the belief that that they are vicious. The characters of iron don’t have the sense of chivalry possessed by the characters of copper, much less the sophisticated moral sentiments of the three highest elements. Consequently, their readiness for physical conflict makes them appear threatening to the others.

It’s true that characters of iron can have a pronounced dark side. Their physical superiority gives them the opportunity to get away with a variety of acts of cruelty, brutality and savagery. Although they are at their best in the fire of war, when the guns fall silent the head tends to become noisy. The effect of trauma on a character of iron can come to mean that they devolve into a character of tin or lead, and come to express dark energies.

The most sinister side of the characters of iron is perhaps expressed sexually. The man of iron is the typical rapist, rape being very much the order of things in a state of nature. The man of iron despoils women as much as he despoils the countryside. He might not be as impulsive as characters of tin and lead, but neither is he motivated by a desire to end the suffering of all sentient beings.

The character of iron is capable of great cruelty on account of what is known to Elementalists as the Conceit of Iron. This the name given to the fact that the character of iron tends to be physically dominant, and that it’s easily possible for them to confuse this physical dominance for the Will of God (i.e. to mistake their ability to force something on others with their right to do so). If a character in your story suffers from this conceit they are capable of anything.

On the other hand, characters of iron are capable of their own great virtues. Few are as loyal as the character of iron, for better or ill. A true man of iron, feeling no physical fear, can sit happily in a foxhole under artillery fire, knowing that such an environment would destroy all of the softer characters. Other characters might be able to outsmart them, but they can’t simply scare them off with a direct assault.

The real value of the character of iron is that the space they win through their courage creates an opportunity for others to grow, and perhaps then to achieve some of the higher positions on the spiritual spectrum. Following this, it may be that your character of iron is an elderly warrior, or a chivalrous one with a bit of copper in them.


This article is from Viktor Hellman’s The Alchemy of Character Development, the sixth book in VJM Publishing’s Writing With Psychology series. This book will show you how to use alchemy to create deep, realistic and engaging characters for your creative fiction.


If you enjoyed reading this essay, you can get a compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2019 from Amazon for Kindle or Amazon for CreateSpace (for international readers), or TradeMe (for Kiwis). A compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2018 and the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2017 are also available.


If you would like to support our work in other ways, please consider subscribing to our SubscribeStar fund. Even better, buy any one of our books!