Magnesium is a difficult metal to ignite in bulk, though it is easy to light if it is shaved into thin strips. Once ignited, it is difficult to extinguish. It is the difficulty of extinguishing it that makes this elemental alchemy symbol so appealing because it represents eternity, infinite flame, and ascension.
Magnesium’s name is derived from magnesia. Magnesia is the district of Thessaly in Greece where magnesia alba [magnesium carbonate] was found. It was in this form ( magnesia alba) that alchemists used this element, as this was how it was found naturally.