Alchemy and Alchemical Art

Emblems from Manly P. Hall’s collection of alchemical manuscripts, 1600, Box 4, MS 19. From: archive.org


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Depiction of an alchemist’s lab from Alchemy, Its Science and Romance, John Edward Mercer, 1921. Image processed and colorized by Eve Harms. Original source: archive.org

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Alchemical emblem 2, Atalanta Fugiens, Michael Maier, 1618. Depicted on bottom: Romulus nursed by a wolf and Jupiter nursed by a goat. The “Child of the Philosophers”, referring to either the Philosopher’s Stone or alchemist themself, nurses from the Earth Mother. Colorized by Eve Harms, CC0. Source: archive.org


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An alchemist next to their athanor, the furnace used to create slow and steady heat for alchemical digestion. Also known as the Philosophical furnace, Slow Henry (Piger Henricus), Furnace of Arcana, and the Tower furnace. From Alchemy: Ancient and Modern by H. Stanley Redgrove, 1911. Colorized by Eve Harms. Licensed under CC0


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Alchemical art from Alchemy: Ancient and Modern by H. Stanley Redgrove, 1911. The sea represents the body, and the two fish represent the Soul and Spirit. Colorized by Eve Harms. Licensed under CC0


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Alchemical Diagrams from De Roode Leeuw, of het Sout der Philosophen (The Red Lion, or the Sout of the Philosophers) by Goossen van Vreeswyk, 1672. Source: Embassy of the Free Mind

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Charts representing the relationship between masculine and feminine qualities within individuals, and as essential principles. From “Le serpent de la Genèse” (The Serpent of Genesis) Volume 2, by Stanislas de Guaita, 1920. Source: Embassy of the Free Mind


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Figure 12 from Hermaphrodite Child of the Sun and Moon by Johann Augustin Brunnhofer (1752). From Mike Brenner’s translation on levity.com: “The snake eating its own tail represents the solid White and Red Stones. These first harden and solidify the virgin Milk, and then transform into a Salamander who lives in the Fire. The Fire furnishes the Salamander with the energy for its continued evolution.

The flying dragon, now fallen to Earth, breathes fire, which devours all metals, transmuting them into Silver or Gold.

The cross designates the Attraction Field of the Astral Fire whose vibrations color the Salamander Venusian yellow, Martian Citrine-Red, and blood-red. This is the Fire of eternal Youth through multiplication, experienced by many.”

Image source: Embassy of the Free Mind

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In this image, from Hermaphrodite Child of the Sun and Moon by Johann Augustin Brunnhofer (1752), the green lion represents the “blossoming of life”. The lion grows by devouring Mercury, which it excretes “as thick as tar”. Above the circle is the symbolic hermaphrodite. Source: Embassy of the Free Mind

Translation of Hermaphrodite Child of the Sun and Moon from levity.com

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Image with alchemical symbolism from the chapter on Alchemy in “Le serpent de la Genèse” (The Serpent of Genesis) Volume 2, by Stanislas de Guaita, 1920. Source: Embassy of the Free Mind


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The Elixir of Life is a mythical substance, found across cultures, that gives those who consume it immortality. In the Taoist Waidan branch of alchemy, the main ingredients were highly toxic: lead and mercury. Some emperors took the risk & paid with their life.

A better choice for an emperor trying to extend their life, would have been the “internal elixir of life” from Neidan branch of Taoist alchemy. The ingredients of this elixir included meditation, breathing, diet, and exercise. Image: Wellcome Library

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Alchemical art dragib

This alchemical dragon diagram, from “Hermaphrodite Child of the Sun and Moon” by Johann Augustin Brunnhofer (1752), gives clues on how to transmute solids to liquids to gasses, using the elements of fire and air. The 7 indentations on the wings represent the 7 steps of the process. Source: The Embassy of the Free Mind

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