art

Title page of De Arte divina & sacra, sine Aenigmate tradita & del praxin conscripta by Anonymous, ca. 1700. At the top of the painting you can see the Greek God Hermes, representing the element Mercury, the peacock representing the end of the Nigredo stage, and the element of air, represented by the faces blowing. From Manly P. Hall’s collection of alchemical manuscripts Box 3, MS 14

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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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The Alukah, also known as the “horse-leech”, is a giant and many toothed leech that, according to the Sefer Hasidim, takes human and wolf form. It’s possible that the word “leech” actually describes its blood feeding nature, not its appearance, and that the creature is more of a shape-shifting vampire. It can fly using its long hair and may be a descendant of Lilith.

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The Prophecies of Paracelsus is a book with 32 prophecies, each with a woodcut full of symbolism to expand on it. The prophecies are cryptic and vague, with much allegorical symbolism, and can be easily reinterpreted to apply to any situation. Source: Wellcome Library


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Henry Wellcome commissioned this watercolor from R. Cooper in 1912, depicting an unconscious man being attacked by demons with surgical instruments. The painting is meant to represent the effects of chloroform on the human body. Source: The Wellcome Collection

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The Dance of Death or (Danse Macabre) is an allegory used in art and literature, popular in the Late Middle Ages, that uses the personification of death to remind us that death unites us all, regardless of one’s station in life. Sources: The Dance of Death (1493) by Michael Wolgemut and “The dance of death in painting and in print” (1887) by T. Tindall Wildridge

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“Cabala, speculum artis et naturae, in alchymia” by Stephan Michelspacher, 1616, is a short pamphlet about hidden secrets in 4 works of art. The book claims that only masters of alchemy will fully understand them, but gives hints to their meanings relating to: chemistry, astrology, philosophy, art, virtues, and the natural elements.

From Embassy of the Free Mind, and translated on Seculo Spiritus Sancti

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