Quintessence Meaning


Quintessence (Latin, quinta essentia, “fifth essence or element”) is in Pythagorean mysticism the fifth element or spirit that fills the universe generating its life and vitality. Quintessence encompasses the other four elements considered by ancient alchemists, fire, air, water, and earth; therefore, it is ‘pure essence’ essential for life. In Hinduism it is known as akasha; in alchemy azoth, or the transcendental philosopher’s stone.

Although the term Quintessence was widely used by alchemists during the Middle Ages, this concept is much older and we would have to refer to Classical Greece where Empédocles began to speak of a fifth perfect element existing in all things.


The quintessence is perfection itself, the philosopher’s stone, the elixir of life that is only possible once a state of purity is reached and transmutation is achieved in gold, which does not necessarily refer to metal, since the quintessence resides in all things that exist on Earth.


Solomon defined it in the following terms:

Fifth being of a mixed thing … Like a very subtle soul drawn from its body and from the superfluity of the four elements by a very subtle and very perfect distillation, and by that means it is spiritualized, that is, it becomes very spiritual, very subtle , very pure, as incorruptible, astral and celestial …


However, not only Solomon and Empedocles tried to explain the Quintessence, throughout history many alchemists and even friars tried to study, understand and unveil the Quintessence.

The French alchemist Cyliani said that the Quintessence was:

Care should be taken not to lose the slightest portion, since it is the true quintasencia of the common regenerated gold, in which the three principles that are associated …

In the tenth century of our era, Hugo de Santalla in his De secretis naturae defended the

“existence of a primordial element in the form of heat or igneous spirit, of subtle material consistency, which would be present throughout the universe, providing it with movement, communicating its parts, and that it would be able to both form and decompose any natural substance. “

In the XIV century Paris rises as a city of vital importance in the studies of a Quintessence, thanks to the development and publication of texts Textus alkimie published in Paris around the year 1325, as well as the Liber super textum hermetis.

Regardless of who has created and / or developed the theory, the quintessence is then understood as the true nature of things in their purest and most perfect state and therefore, difficult to achieve and even to see.


From a cosmic point of view, Quintassence can be termed as dark matter or antigravity. Of course, few scientists have been able to agree on the existence of this “fifth element” and since it is something that can not be seen or touched, it is difficult to be accepted from skepticism. However, from the point of view that is defined, the quintessence is an energy that resides in all things and of a purity impossible to equal by any terrestrial element.


Other meanings are:

  • In physics: the Dark energy form (Theory).
  • The essence of a thing. The most representative example or representation of a thing. The ideal.


Drury, Nevil. The Watkins Dictionary of Magic. London. Watkins Publishing. 2005. p. 242