Its Vegetable Nature

December 22nd, 2009

An emblem from Honoratus Marinier’s ca. 1790 Alchemical Manuscript of the Seven Keys (McLean’s edition).

From key two, the wedding of Apollo and Diana (p16). Click for larger version.

“This [emblem] shows Diana [the moon goddess] seated on the tomb of her dear husband Apollo [the sun god], where his ashes have been enclosed, which she swallows as a sign of the overwhelming love she bears him. Her garments shine with all the colours found in nature. Hercules is to be found on one side of the sepulchre, and Vulcan on the other. I shall explain what takes place in the glass sphere during the multiplication, which lasts about nine or ten months. Here Vulcan represents the external fire and Hercules the patience of the practitioner which overcomes all obstacles. The fixed remains in the bottom of the egg and all the liquid gradually becomes viscous, but before its total coagulation one may see through the view holes of the athanor or furnace, in a glimmer of light, all the colours of nature. One must not dwell on these, especially as they are not real, proceeding as they do from a reflection of light. It is after the conjunction of our two beautiful and precious substances has taken place that can be seen in due time in a far more marvellous fashion all the colours of the rainbow, mainly the blessed green, an infallible sign of the vegetable nature of our Stone…” (p17, translated from the French).

The Eye Idols of Tell Brak

December 5th, 2009

A photograph and five drawings by M. E. L. Mallowan of eye idols excavated from Tell Brak in 1937.

DiStasi’s Mal Occhio, title page.

“In the excavation of Tel Brak, a site in the Khabur Valley of eastern Syria, M. E. L. Mallowan uncovered a temple which he named the Eye Temple. The name came, logically enough, from the thousands of alabaster figurines found there in which the eyes were the completely dominant feature. The level at which these figurines were found was dated by Mallowan at 3,000 B.C. — the very dawn of civilization. This was the protohistoric period in Mesopotamia, the Jemdat-Nasr period, when writing had just begun. It was contemporary with the First Dynasty of Egypt and the earliest Minoan culture on Crete. The find of eye figurines has prompted numerous speculations on their nature and purpose, and the predictable debate about whether they were amulets or symbols or idols has arisen…” (Potts’s The World’s Eye, p2).

Mallowan’s drawings, reproduced in Potts, p2.

Eye in Hand in Eye

December 4th, 2009

A depiction by Eduard Seler of a Mesoamerican carving appearing in Potts’s The World’s Eye.

Originally appearing in Eduard Seler’s 1904 Gesammelte Abhandlungen zur Amerikanischen Sprach- und Alterthumskunde vol. 2, figure 110a.