By Lyndy Abraham

This dictionary files alchemical symbolism from the early centuries advert to the late-twentieth century, to be used by way of historians of literary tradition, philosophy, technological know-how and the visible arts, and readers drawn to alchemy and hermeticism. each one access contains 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 photos of image woodcuts, copperplate engravings and painted by hand logos, a few reproduced the following for the 1st time.

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In the wind-fondled crucible of his splen­ dour /The dirt becomes God’ (lines 19-22). see cross. Crystal is a name for the *philosopher’s stone or *elixir at both the white stage,’br *albedo, and the red stage, or *rubedo. In ‘The Mistery of Alchymists’ Sir George Ripley wrote of the white stone: ‘His first Vertue is White and pure, / as any Christall shining cleere, / Of White tincture then be you sure’ (t c b , 382). Benjamin Lock likewise compared the white stone to pure crystal: ‘let the matter being fermented be set in drye fyer of ashes, and in the fyer let the ferment be continued tyll the matter wyll congeale no more, but stand in the fyer liquid and molten as wax having the color of burnished silver or moste pure christall.

It also signifies the principle of fertility and growth which is a crucial property of the transforming arcanum (mercurial water) and the philosopher’s stone itself. The alchemists stated that only from ‘green’ gold (the living fertile seed) could true gold be ‘grown’ (see green lion). For silver see albedo; see also gold, rubedo. columba conception congelation see dove. see putrefaction. the conversion of a liquid to a solid state, also known as fixation, crystal­ lization and freezing. Calid wrote: ^Fixation, or Congelation, is the making the flowing and volatile matter fixt, and able to endure the fire; and this is the changing of the Spirit into a Body’ (Booke of theSecrets, 118).

The separation or divorce must then be followed by the ‘ chemical wedding of ‘ king and ‘ queen, the perfect mixing of body and soul (or the united soul/spirit) so that a new incarnation can come into existence. This is the birth of the ‘ philosopher’s stone. r doctrine of signatures Musgrove has argued that the chemical divorce is lamented in Robert Herrick’s ‘To the King and Qjieene, upon their unhappy distances’: ‘Like Streams, you are divorc’d but ’twill come, when /These eyes of mine shall see you mix agen’ (lines 5-6) (Musgrove, ‘Herrick’s alchemi­ cal vocabulary’, 240-65).

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A Dictionary of Alchemical Imagery by Lyndy Abraham

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