Writing Characters Of Gold

The highest possible spiritual level is the element of gold. This represents perfection. Gold is the most precious of the metals known to the ancients. As such, its presence had the greatest influence on their behaviour. Gold is very much the fulcrum around which the world turns, and for this it has long been worshipped.

In the ancient world, gold represented the Sun, the life-giving force. The Sun was also worshipped by all of the ancients at some point or other, most notably in the Roman cult of Sol Invictus. This was due to the realisation that if the Sun did not return to the world after the Winter Solstice then all life on Earth would perish.

In an alchemical sense, gold represents God. The uppermost pole of the alchemical spectrum belongs to God, and the raising up of any of the lesser elements is to imbue them with God’s energy. Characters of gold, then, are divine. Characters of mercury might be messengers of God’s will, but characters of gold are direct expressions of it.

Viewed metaphysically, a character of gold is every bit as important to the world as the light of the Sun. Without the moral rectitude afforded by the character of gold, the human race would regress into a pre-civilised state. We would go back to being animals, God’s light being entirely absent. The characters of gold, and their messengers in the characters of mercury, are the force that imposes moral order upon the world.

The real power of the element of gold is its subtlety. Being perfect, it need not use any force or coercion. It is already in accordance with the Will of God, and consequently it acts without resistance. Its power is exemplified in the fable of Aesop, in which the Sun and the wind compete to induce a man to take off his coat. The Sun wins, because its gentle power does not inspire resistance.

The essential characteristic of characters of gold is radiance. Whereas the characters of silver are learned and the characters of mercury brilliant, the characters of gold radiate a divinity that comes from a consciousness that is perfectly attuned to the Will of God. They are wise – a quality that is not appreciated by all, although all benefit from it.

This radiance will set all of the other characters in their presence at ease. Being around a character of gold will incline the anxious to calmness, the angry to peace and the lustful to temperance. The ambitious characters of mercury will switch to enjoying their lives rather than exulting themselves. This is the power of the character of gold – to create peace.

In contrast to the characters of iron, who dominate with physical force, and to the characters of silver, who dominate with psychological force, the characters of gold dominate with spiritual force. They have no need to twist other characters’ arms or trick them with contracts; they influence the world by living in accordance with the Tao. This causes other characters to look up to them.

A character of gold will be one that other characters tend to speak about very fondly. This is a reflection of the generous personal warmth that the characters of gold exude. The character of gold will recognise the gold in others. As such, it will feel good to be around them.

The greatest motivation of the character of gold is to alleviate the suffering of all sentient beings. This is true to a lesser extent of the characters of mercury, silver and copper, but only the character of gold represents the perfect expression of this. The character of gold wants for nothing more than an end to the suffering in the world, and they are happy to put themselves second to this goal.

Gold is the most malleable of all metals. This softness is one of its prime characteristics. A character of gold will seldom be prickly, bad-tempered, abusive or impatient. If directly insulted, they will be extremely slow to take offence or to show anger. This may not work out to their advantage when other characters, interpreting the situation through their own base lens, come to think them weak.

This malleability is such that, in the physical word, one gram of pure gold can be beaten into a sheet one square metre in size. That the tiniest piece of gold can create something that shines so brightly captures the essence of metaphysical gold. The smallest amount of it is potentially enough to completely upend the order of the world.

Concomitant with this softness is a reluctance to cause divisions or separations. However, gold is still a metal, and still has enough of an edge to cut if necessary.

The ability to expand itself beyond the capabilities of the other elements is reflective of the ability of characters of gold to see the bigger picture. A character of gold will never be motivated by short-term instincts. They have perfected themselves to the degree that impulses not in accordance with their true will no longer arise.

Characters of gold, despite their glorious radiance, are entirely capable of being destroyed by the envy of baser characters. Characters of iron can run a sword through them; characters of silver can destroy their social standing. In no sense are characters of gold superheroes with special powers. They are simply people of a higher spiritual frequency to all the others.

A character of gold can be of any age. Young or old doesn’t matter because alchemical gold is an expression of the spirit. As long as they are good, they are gold. In practice, a character is more likely to be of the gold if they are either very young or very old, because the former will not have been corrupted yet and the latter will have entire lives to mine for wisdom.

In practice, it will be almost impossible to portray a character of gold with true accuracy if the author themselves are not of the gold. This doesn’t matter, as long as the reader can be induced to believe that the character of gold is perfect.

Perhaps the closest example fiction has seen to a character of gold is that of Michael Valentine in Robert Heinlein’s Stranger In A Strange Land. A modern real life example might be Jiddu Krishnamurti, an ancient one Socrates.

A character of gold in your story might be a legend that informs your story world, rather than an actual character that appears and speaks lines. They might be the legendary founder of the state in which your protagonist resides, someone whose perfection has created a space for an entire nation to thrive.

A character of gold might otherwise be someone who only makes a fleeting appearance, and that to change the direction that a character or the story is going in. Like Gandalf in Lord of The Rings, they appear to move the other characters in the direction of absolution.

Characters of gold have warm feelings towards characters of all of the baser elements, but they have a special fondness for the characters of mercury, who are their messengers. Characters of gold are often in opposition to characters of silver or below, on account of that the latter are frequently acting under the influence of baser instincts.


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 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!