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.