Five paintings from the Pneumo-Cosmic Manuscript, an enigmatic sequence of 52 such alchemical illustrations. Neither the author nor the date of the work are known (although the paper establishes a terminus a quo of mid to late 18th century), and no explanatory text is provided beyond a brief introductory paragraph (see below). The present edition was reproduced from a manuscript in Glasgow University’s Ferguson collection and hand-bound by Adam McLean.

“A work of natural magic, fashioned with an admirable brush of pneumo-cosmic nature. The characteristics of the universal prototype of Chaos, through the artful ape of Nature, have been represented to itself in many images, and preserved to eternity the memory of this matter” (title page, from the Latin).











Dee’s Monas Hieroglyphica

June 11th, 2008

John Dee‘s Monas Hieroglyphica, which I have redrawn, from his 1564 book of the same title, translated from the Latin by C. H. Josten (in Ambix vol. XII, nos. 2 & 3, 1964).

“The Sun and the Moon of this monad desire their elements, in which the denarian proportion will be strong, to be separated, and that this be done with the aid of Fire” (p161).

monas hieroglyphica

Constructed with the geometric proportions detailed in Theorem XXIII (p201-205).

“Our hieroglyphic monad possesses, hidden away in its innermost centre, a terrestrial body. It [sc. the monad] teaches without words, by what divine force that [terrestrial body] should be actuated. When it has been actuated, it [sc. the terrestrial centre of the monad] is to be united (in a perpetual marriage) to a generative influence which is lunar and solar, even if previously, in heaven or elsewhere, they [sc. the lunar and solar influences] were widely separated from that [terrestrial] body [at the centre of the monad]. When this Gamaaea has (by God’s will) been concluded… the monad can no longer be fed or watered on its native soil, until the fourth, great, and truly metaphysical, revolution be completed. When that advance has been made, he who fed [the monad] will first himself go away into a metamorphosis and will afterwards very rarely be held by mortal eye” (p135-137).