By Lyndy Abraham
This dictionary files alchemical symbolism from the early centuries advert to the late-twentieth century, to be used via historians of literary tradition, philosophy, technology and the visible arts, and readers attracted to alchemy and hermeticism. every one access encompasses a definition of the logo, 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 image woodcuts, copperplate engravings and painted by hand logos, a few reproduced right here for the 1st time.
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Extra info for A Dictionary of Alchemical Imagery
For just as coral grows in water and gets its food out of the earth, in the same way the Philosopher’s Stone grows out of the mercury water... Just like coral, the Stone gets a red colour, when it becomes solidified... and is then called tincture and has a colouring power’ (a f , 227). As the ‘tree’ of the sea, coral is also adopted as a symbol of the ‘ philosophical tree. Coral is listed as an ingredient in Nicaise Le Fevre’s account of Sir Walter Raleigh’s ‘Great Cordial’. Le Fevre wrote of this ingredient: ‘It is for certain in the Red Coral that a Solar Tincture is to be found, since that all the rare effects that it produces cannot be had else-where but from that Sulphur mineral and embryonated, which the Gold communicates to it in abundance, which renders it most worthy to be in our Great Remedy’ (Discourse, 58).
9). The union occurs a number of times throughout the process of the opus (as the solve et coagula is repeated), each time at a more refined level. The nature of the image indicates the level of refinement attained: hen and cock at the primitive beginning of the work, and king and queen at the highly refined culmination of the work. F rom this union of male and female, philosophical sulphur (fire and air) and argent vive (earth and water), there arose the precious philosopher’s stone, the divine love essence which could transmute base metals into gold and earthly man into the divine.
And then is yt the perfecte Elixir whyte: able to turne arg: vive into medicine and all imperfect bodys of the myne into most fine silver’ (‘Picklock’, f. 21). The crystallization in alchemy also refers to the final ‘ congelation of the matter in the alembic, the final fixation of a state which before was flowing, mutable, volatile, into a state of immutability and perma- nence. In this process pure spirit is materialized, brought into a perfect incarnation (see fixation, vitrification). cucurbite a glass vessel or retort shaped like a gourd or pumpkin, forming the lower part of the distilling apparatus.
A Dictionary of Alchemical Imagery by Lyndy Abraham