By Lyndy Abraham
This dictionary files alchemical symbolism from the early centuries advert to the late-twentieth century, to be used by means of historians of literary tradition, philosophy, technological know-how and the visible arts, and readers attracted to alchemy and hermeticism. each one access contains a definition of the emblem, giving the literal (physical) and figurative (spiritual) meanings, an instance of the logo utilized in alchemical writing, and a citation from a literary resource. There are fifty visible pictures of photograph woodcuts, copperplate engravings and painted by hand trademarks, a few reproduced the following for the 1st time.
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Extra info for A Dictionary of Alchemical Imagery
In the emblems of devouring birds and beasts, one of the pair is always winged, symbolizing the volatile nature of the substance, while the wingless creature symbolizes the fixed matter. The aim of the alchemist is to unite the opposing, quarelling pair (sulphur and argent vive/mercury) by simultaneously fixing the volatile (coagula) while spiritualizing the fixed matter (solve) (see peace and strife and chemi cal wedding). This devouring union is frequently represented as an *incestuous act, as in Jean de la Fontaine’s ‘The Pleasant Founteine of Knowledge’, where the alchemist is advised to ‘Make thy Sulphure penetrative, /By fire to become attractive; /And then make itt eate itts mother’.
John Dee quoted on the title page of his alchemical work, Monas hieroglyphica, the biblical words, ‘De rore caeli, et pingedine terrae, det tibi Deus’ (‘God give thee of the dew of heaven, and of the fatness of the earth’ (Genesis 27:28)). diadem Diana 54 r at the Perfect White Stone’ (400). Like many other tales of metamorpho sis, the myth of Diana and Actaeon was drawn into the pantheon of alchemical symbolism. Diana and Actaeon are the subject of an emblem in Johannes Mylius’s Basilicaphilosophica (pi.
The Hermetis Trismegisti TractatusAureus said of this initial stage of death and dissolution in the work: ‘The First is the Corvus, the Crow or Raven, which from its blackness is said to be the beginning of the Art’ (bk. 2, 235). In his Aurora, Paracelsus wrote that when the matter has been placed in the gentle heat of the secret fire it passes through corruption and grows black: ‘This operation they call putrefaction, and the black ness they name the head of the Crow’ (55). Thomas Charnock likewise wrote of the putrefaction: ‘The Crowes head began to appeare as black as Jett’ (t c b , 296).