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9 8 A short four hundred years ago the diagrams opposite formed the cornerstone of cosmological scientific and magical thought across the western world, as they had done for many thousands of years. Today these emblems of the sevenfold system of antiquity appear as quaint reminders of an alchemical cosmology now buried beneath newly discovered planets and physical elements. There are seven clearly visible wandering heavenly bodies, and they may be arranged around a heptagon in order of their apparent speed against the fixed stars. The Moon appears to move fastest, followed by Mercury, Venus, the Sun, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn top left. Planets were assigned to days, still clear in many languages, and the order of the days was given by the heptagram shown top right. In English, older names for the planets or gods, were used, thus Wotans day, Thors day and Freyas day. In antiquity seven metals were held to correspond with the seven planets, their compounds giving rise to colour associations. Venus, for example, was associated with the greens and blues of copper carbonates. Students of alchemy would often ponder these relationships as they forged ever more subtle things. Incredibly, the ancient system also gives the modern order by atomic number of these metals Follow a more open heptagram to give Iron 26, Copper 29, Silver 49, Tin 50, Gold 79, Mercury 80 and Lead 82 lower left after Critchlow Hinze. The electrical conductivity sequence also appears round the outside starting with Lead. planets, metals and days of the week
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