A Dictionary of Alchemical Imagery by Lyndy Abraham

By Lyndy Abraham

This dictionary records alchemical symbolism from the early centuries advert to the late-twentieth century, to be used by way of historians of literary tradition, philosophy, technology and the visible arts, and readers drawn to alchemy and hermeticism. every one access features a definition of the logo, giving the literal (physical) and figurative (spiritual) meanings, an instance of the emblem utilized in alchemical writing, and a citation from a literary resource. There are fifty visible pictures of photo woodcuts, copperplate engravings and painted by hand logos, a few reproduced right here for the 1st time.

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Circle the symbol of perfection. The circle signifies the perfect, eternal spiri­ tual realm in contrast to the square ,which signifies the earth, the cor­ ruptible world of illusion, the four elements, the four arms of the earthly cross (see square and circle). The circle with the dot in the centre symbolizes, at the macrocosmic level, the Creator, and at the microcosmic level, gold. The completed opus alchymicum is also sym­ bolized by the circle. See opus circulatorium. circular work see opus circulatorium.

The white albedo is sometimes symbolized by Diana’s white ‘ doves: ‘le couleur blanche’ is ‘les Colombes de Diane’ (Pernety, Dictionnaire, 111). In Michael Sendivogius’s ‘A Dialogue of the Allchymist and Sulphur’, Diana represents the female principle, argent vive, who must be married to the male principle, sulphur, represented by the ‘Prince’ (a p , 526). digestion seeking. the matter of the Stone when it has reached the pure white lunar stage of the opus at the ‘ albedo; the white stone; the female principle of the opus, ‘ argent vive.

See liquefaction. deer one of the best known epithets for *Mercurius, also known as the hart, fawn and stag. The fleeing deer or hart symbolizes Mercurius in his role as the intermediary soul which unites the body and spirit of the Stone (see cervus fugitivus). The deer is illustrated in Trismosin’s Splendor Solis (plates 2,8), in Ripley’s ‘Emblematicall Scrowle’ (Bod. Ashm. Rolls 53, A. 1530, first two sheets), and in emblem 3 of TheBook ofLambspring, whose motto declares: ‘The deer desires no other name /But that of the Soul’ (hm, 1:280).

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