Emblems from Sammlung unterschiedlicher bewährter chymischer Schriften, Johannes Isaac Holladus & Michael Sendivogius, 1746, including The Hand of the Philosophers and a Globus cruciger. Source: Embassy of the Free Mind

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In the 16th and 17th century, women accused of witchcraft were often subjected to a trial by water. Their hands were bound and they were thrown into water. If they floated—a witch. If they sunk—innocent. While they often had rope tied around their waists to bring them back, there were many accidental drownings. From: Bericht von Erforschung, Herman Neuwaldt, 1611. Source: University of Glasgow Library

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Erlik or Erik Khan is the pig-faced god of death and rulers of demons in Siberian mythology, and the first creation of Ulsan the creator god. He judges the dead and is assisted by evil spirits that cause misfortune, sickness, and death, including 9 sons and daughters. Image: Dictionnaire Infernal

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Kwakwaka’wakw transformation masks are worn by dancers to display their status during potlatch ceremonies, where they give gifts to attendees. When a cord on the mask is pulled, its inner form is revealed, often changing from an animal into a mythological creature or ancestor. Photo: Myrabella

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A sorcerer casting a shadow of The Devil by candle light. From “Le serpent de la Genèse” (The Serpent of Genesis) Volume 1, by Stanislas de Guaita, 1920. Source: Embassy of the Free Mind

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The title plate from Michael Maier’s Arcana Arcanissima, 1614. Above are three figures from the Egyptian myth of the dismemberment of Osiris by his brother Typhon, and reassembling by his sister Isis. The Greek gods Hercules and Dionysus flank the sides and below are the Egyptian mythological creatures of Ibis, Apis, and Cynocephalus.

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Apep was the Egyptian god of chaos and the greatest enemy of the Sun god Ra. This god appeared as a giant snake and was much feared by Egyptians, even in their death—as he’s known to eat souls. To ward off Apep, they would defile effigies and bury the dead with protective spells.

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Botis (or Otis) is a demonic earl, president and one of the Spirits of Solomon. He appears as a viper with a sword, and can be commanded to take human form—but he’ll retain some of his demonic features if he does. He’s good for reconciling friends or enemies & answering questions. Image: 72goetia.com

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Drawings from Tui bei tu, a Chinese prophecy book. This book, written by astronomers and historians Yuan Tiangang and Li Chunfen during the Tang Dynasty, contained 60 drawing with preceding poems that made predictions for the era and was likely based on the I Ching, also known as The Book of Changes. At the front of the book, the following is written:

“When examining the future, please know that the past may have been clear as a bright moon, but the future may be dark and black. Be cautious.”

The book was later deemed forbidden in the Song Dynasty but remained popular with the public. Source: World Digital Library

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Tuberculosis, syphilis, breast cancer, and diphtheria from Richard Tennant Cooper’s series of symbolic paintings depicting death and disease, 1920s. A official war artist, Cooper painted these after returning from World War I before moving to commercial work.

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Emblems from a German Alchemical Manuscript, Fidelis Werner, 1794. Source: University of Freiburg

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