Woodcuts from Des Circkelsz und Richtscheyts, Heinrich Lautensack, 1618. This book was meant as a guide for painters, sculptors, stonemasons, goldsmiths, and others to better understand perspective and the human form. Source: Embassy of the Free Mind
Engraving from Speculum Sophicum Rhodostauroticum (“The Mirror of the Wisdom of the Rosy Cross”), 1618, an early manuscript on the esoteric order of Rosicrucianism by Theophilus Schweighardt Constantiens, a likely pseudonym of the alchemist, physician, and astronomer Daniel Mögling
Faust’s Höllenzwang, known as The Book of Hell’s Charms, is a legendary book kept in a church in Zellerfeld. If you’re unlucky enough to be able to read it, it summons the Devil. If he is summoned, pray that you’re able to read it backwards or he may take your soul.
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
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
Calendarium Naturale Magicum Perpetuum, 1620. Created by the alchemist and esoteric author Johann Baptist Grossschedel von Aicha, this chart acts as a grimoire and reference. The three sheets together measure to four feet long and two feet wide.
Pages from The Complaint, and the Consolation ; Or, Night Thoughts by Edward Young, 1797. Source: The John Rylands Library
The Italian manuscript Lusus naturae, Human and Natural Monstrosities, 18th Century, contained 54 watercolor illustrations of beasts and men with medical conditions or deformities, along with unworldly creatures. Source: John Rylands Library
Annotations and a letter found in Aesch Mezareph or Purifying Fire, 1714. The beginning of the letter reads: “My Dear John, I have read Aesch Mezareph from cover to cover and can making nothing of it.” Source: Embassy of the Free Mind
The Triangular Book of St. Germain Is a French manuscript written in code. When deciphered, it gives instructions on how to use magic to locate treasure and prolong your life, which requires a special amulet. The shape is thought to ensure the spirits called will be honest and dutiful. From Manly P. Hall’s collection of Alchemical Manuscripts, Box 34 MS. 209, 1750.
Images from Geestelyke Natuurkunde by Johan Jacob Scheuchzer, 1728. Scheuchzer’s tome, whose title translates to “Spiritual Physics”, depicted spiritual phenomena and bible stories along with diagrams of animal biology, geology, astronomy, and other sciences. Source: Embassy of the Free Mind
Images from Mundus Symbolicus (Symbolic World) by Filippo Picinelli, 1687. The book attempted to be a comprehensive encyclopedia of symbols for use in decoding creation. Source: archive.org
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