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By Lyndy Abraham

This dictionary files alchemical symbolism from the early centuries advert to the late-twentieth century, to be used through historians of literary tradition, philosophy, technology and the visible arts, and readers attracted to alchemy and hermeticism. each one access encompasses 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 photographs of picture woodcuts, copperplate engravings and painted by hand trademarks, a few reproduced right here for the 1st time.

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26-7). See cibation, imbibation. coition see chemical wedding. colours One of the ways in which the alchemists divided the opus alchymicum into stages was by identifying the various colours through which the matter of the Stone passed in the alembic. Roger Bacon wrote: ‘thou shalt knowe the certaine maner of working, by what manner and regi­ ment, the Stone is often chaunged in decoction into diverse colours. Wherupon one saith, so many colours, so many names’ (Mirror, 12). The young Swiss mathematician, Nicolas Fatio de Duillier, wrote to Isaac Newton in a letter dated 4 May 1693 that mercury and filings of gold sealed in an ‘egg’ and placed in a sand heat ‘grow black and in a matter of seven days go through the coulours of the philosophers’ (Dohbs,Janus, 172).

Metaphysically, the chemical wedding is the perfect union of creative will or power (male) with wisdom (female) to produce pure love (the child, the Stone). The creation of this Stone always involves some kind of sacrifice or death. Thus emblems of the chemical wedding almost always include symbols of death which over­ shadow the coniunctio. The amorous birds of prey (see fig. 6) copulate while devouring each other (see bird, strife). The sixth emblem of The Rosary of thePhilosophers shows the united lovers lying on a coffin (McLean, Rosary, 39), while the lovers in the sixth emblem (second series) of Mylius’s Philosophia reformata are shown encased in a glass coffin with Saturn and a skeleton with a scythe at either side (fig.

Mary Astell refers to spiritual, alchemical conversion in ‘Awake my Lute’: ‘Who has the true Elixir, may impart / Pleasure to all he touches, and convert /The most unlikely greif to Happiness. /Vertue this true Elixir is’ (lines 100-3, Greer, Kissing theRod, 340). see boil. see Geber’s cooks. see Venus. see chemical wedding. a synonym for the *red stone and *red tincture attained at the ‘ rubedo, the final stage of the opus. Synesius referred to ‘the bloody Stone, the purple, red Coral, the pretious Ruby, red Mercury, and the red Tincture’ (The TrueBook, 175).

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A Dictionary of Alchemical Imagery by Lyndy Abraham


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