May 17th, 2007
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’ 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’, 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).
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).
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).