Κυριακή, 9 Ιουλίου 2017

Adam McLean's Study Course on Inner alchemy and alchemical symbolism

Lesson Three :  Triangles, squares and circles in emblems.

In our second lesson we examined the relatively simple vertical and horizontal geometry found in emblems. This, of course, can be worked into a extremely complex grouping of symbols, for example in the Mylius Basilica Chemica image of the Macrocosm and Microcosm. You must make yourself familiar with this structure, as it is found in most emblems, and as we will see in later sections of this course, this will provide us with ways of reading emblems from inside their structure, rather than projecting external interpretations upon them.

There are other geometric forms in alchemical emblems and we will investigate some of these in this lesson.


The triangle


Of course alchemists do not always make things so easy for us as to draw in the lines of the triangle in such an obvious way. Usually the triangular geometry is much more subtly suggested in the placement of symbols.


Salamander in Fire                                                   Birds in Air 
Water at base of the mountains

A downward pointing triangle with the earth globe at its centre. Triangles can either point upwards or downwards. I cannot think of an example where they point to the left or right. As we will see in latter lessons the upward pointing triangle can be seen as the earthly striving upwards, a spiritualisation of the material, and the downward pointing triangle may in some contexts be seen as a descent of spirit into material. At this stage we must hold off from making such interpretations until we have a better grasp of alchemical symbolism. Please try to work through these lessons and their exercises without leaping immediately to overlay your personal interpretation upon these emblematic figures. We should only move to interpret these emblems once we have sufficient experience of analyzing and investigating the symbols in a wide variety of examples.
Sometimes the vertices of triangles are occupied by Sun, Moon and Mercury symbols. Other times they are related to the three principles Salt, Sulphur and Mercury.


We will see meet these often in alchemical emblems. Here is the woodcut on the title page of the French edition of Basil Valentine's Azoth, 1624. The upward pointing triangle has Sun, Moon, Mercury; while the downward pointing triangle has Salt, Sulphur and Mercury.


I will include this as an exercise so you can identify all the symbols and the other geometricall arranged components. Though these two triangles are here separate, sometimes they interlace forming the Solomon's Seal. We will look at this in a later lesson.

Δημοσίευση σχολίου