Continuing on the theme of the last plate of the last post, four engravings from three works of the master miner Goossen van Vreeswijk: De Roode Leeuw (The Red Lion), 1674; De Groene Leeuw (The Green Lion), 1674; and De Goude Son (The Golden Sun), 1675. These engravings are also collected in de Rola’s anthology (see previous posts), bringing the total here to just 14 of his collected 533.

To make the Bird fly

“‘To make the Bird fly’ is to free the Spirit from its material prison, that it may soar in the alchemical sky and bring back Below the benefits of what is Above. The whole Work, and I have repeatedly stated, is a series of Dissolutions” (p251).

Make the Earth fly

“‘Make the Earth fly’, enjoin the authors; and indeed the Dissolution of our chosen Subject opens the portals of the Garden of the Wise. In rising from the Earth below to the Sky above, the Subject acquires the strength that is strong of all strength” (p245).

The Hermetick Labyrinth

Regarding the path, “the Hermetick Labyrinth symbolizes the material realization of the Great Work. The maze expresses two main difficulties: how to reach its centre and how to get out again. To reach the centre, one must first acquire sure knowledge of the Subject of the Art, and of its preparation, which is accomplished at the central pavilion. The return journey — when the chances of getting lost are greatly increased — signifies the mutation of the prepared Matter with the help of Fire. One sees Fire leading Matter on, guided by Ariadne’s thread. The thread is the Possibility of Nature: the fact that like produces like” (p251).

Pray and Work

As for method, “the result of assiduous studies, speculations and theories will be verified by practice. The spiritual dimension of Alchemy can only be attained by using one’s hands. Ora et Labora sic habebis: ‘Pray and Work, thus thou shalt receive'” (p264).

2 Responses to “Goossen van Vreeswijk and Flying Birds”

  1. Mirco Says:

    As you continue on the same noble theme, let me follow up on my last comments:

    the first engraving shows the Tria Prima (under the bird) and the Septenary of Metals (around the bird).

    En passant, it is a worthy exercise to place the seven metals on the symbol which I mentioned in a previous comment (the double pyramid inscribed in the sphere).

    The classics point out that the seven are the result of mixing the three, in different proportions, see for instance what Cockhren says on the “seed of the metals”:


  2. Salazius Says:


    I would continue on the comment of Mirco, here, the Bird, and the Star on the top of the Tower (in the center of the Labyrinth) is the representation of Spirit, Philosophical Mercury, or Spiritus Mundi Universalis (same thing), from where sprout all the other metals, sol and luna, being the most perfect one, because, very close to their own source. This is the Prima Materia, nothing is truly alchemical without.


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