oldbooks

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

Permalink

An Aludel, also known as Hermetic Vase, the Philosopher’s Egg, and the Vase of the Philosophy, is a tool used in alchemy to turn to solids such as mercury, sulfur into gasses. The device is place in a furnace and the condensation is trapped at the top. Image: Alchemiae Gebri, 1545


📖 Purchase Book (affiliate link, free digital version linked above)

Permalink

Heavenly bodies are essential in alchemy, particularly the sun, moon, Venus, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter and Saturn. Symbols of these planets are common in alchemical art along with their Greek god counterparts, and the success of operations were sometimes tied to zodiacal time. Beyond times of the month, day and hour, these heavenly bodies also corresponded to metals, parts of the body, cardinal sins, and cardinal virtues. Images: Clavis artis, Zoroaster, 17th century and De naturae…historia, Robert Fludd, 1680

Permalink

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

Permalink

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

Permalink

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.

Permalink

Pages from The Complaint, and the Consolation ; Or, Night Thoughts by Edward Young, 1797. Source: The John Rylands Library

Permalink

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

Permalink

Images from a German alchemical manuscript, Alchemica, 15th Century. Source: The John Rylands Library

Permalink

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

Permalink

Tables showing occult correspondences of “seven rulers of the earth,” celestial spirits of the planets. The second chart shows how to recognize them in geomantic divination, and the correspondences to help with interpretation of the reading. From Theomagia, or, The Temple of Wisdome, John Heydon, 1663. Source: The Getty Alchemy Collection


📖 Purchase Book (affiliate link, free digital version linked above)

Permalink

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


📖 Purchase Book (affiliate link, free digital version linked above)

Permalink