This is a collection of three-dimensional anaglyphs based on the seventeeth century alchemical engravings of Michael Maier. These "Hermetick Emblems" convey the secrets of alchemy, a precursor to modern science and scientific investigation, and as such are filled with both meaning and mystery.
Portavit Eum Ventus In ventre suo
Portavit eum ventus in ventre suo ‘The wind has carried it in his belly.’ The first engraving in the Michael Maier’s Atalanta Fugiens depicts an infant, the future Phiopsopher's Stone, who is Sulphur – Fire or Spirit – carried by Mercury in its volitle form.
Embryo ventosa BOREAE qui clauditor alvo,
Vivus in hanc lucem si semel ortus erit;
Unus is Heroum cunctos superare labores
Arte, manu, forti corpore, mente, potest.
Ne tibi sit Caeso, nec abortus inutilis ille,
Non Agrippa, bono sydere sed genitus.
Embryo shut up in Boreas' womb,
If only one is living, it will be to the rising of the light;
One of the heroes will overcome all hardships
Art, with the hand, a strong body, and heart, can now do.
Let yours not be Cesarean, not abortion,
Nor Agrippa, but begotten by the good stars.
Sol indiget lunâ ut gallus gallinâ
Sol indiget lunâ ut gallus gallinâ ‘The Sun needs the Moon as the cock needs the hen.’ An illustration of the Twin Principles of Work – that both are complementary and must be united. The mercurial, volatile Moon must be exalted equally with the sublimnity of the Sun for a lasting union to be achieved. The Sun (alchemical symbol of Sulphur) is worthless without the Moon, and the Moon becomes vile and despised without the Sun. The Moon's union with the Sun bestows splendour, force, dignity, and firmness of body and soul.
O Sol, solus agis nil, si non viribus adsim,
Ut sine gallinae est gallus inanis ope.
Auxiliúm que tuum praesense ego luna vicissim
Postulo , gallinae gallus ut expetitur.
Quae natura simul conjungi flagitat, ille est
Mentis inops, vinclis qui religare velit.
O Sun, you do not have the powers
To live without the help of the hen and the cock.
On the other hand, I will help turn the moon
and also the hen and the rooster.
Nature demands that they are joined together,
He's mad, who wants to break them.
In balneis concipitur, & in aëre nascitur, rubeus verè factus graditur super aquas.
In balneis concipitur, & in aëre nascitur, rubeus verè factus graditur super aquas. ‘Conceived in baths, and born in the air, made truly red, he steps on the waters.’ Sulphur impregnates the Mercurial Moon by immersion. Mercury possesses the virture of absorbing the Tincture which Sulphur yields during the immersion.
Alnea conceptu pueri, natalibus aër
Splendet, & hinc rubeus sub pede cernit aquas.
Fít que super montana cacumina candidusille,
Qui remanet doctis unica cura viris.
Est lapis, & non est, coeli quod nobile Donum,
Dante D E O foelix, si quis habebit, erit.
Immersed during the child's conception, the child is born in an atmosphere that is
Bright red beneath his foot, and from there he sees one of the waters.
He becomes white on the mountain top<
For whom the learned is their only care.
There is a stone that is also not a stone, the heaven which is a noble gift,
It will be that this gift of God will make you happy.
Audi loquacem vulturem, qui neutiquam te decipit.
Audi loquacem vulturem, qui neutiquam te decipit. “Hark to the speaking vuture, who in no wise deceives thee.” From the mountain top (the original Matter) the Vulture (the bird of Hermes, messenger of the gods) proclaims: “I am black, white, yellow and red” — which are the transitional colors of Matter as it evolves towards the perfection of the Philosopher's Stone. The Vulture is the symbol of Philosophic Mercury, partly fixed with its talons and partly volatile with its spread wings. He is born after the death of the first Mercury, killed by the fixative action of self expressed sulphur. The earlier process is symbolized by the Crow, who represents Nigredo, the Blackness, Death, or Night of the Work. The Philosophic Mercury is raised to the final degrees of Perfection by the maturation of the Matter.
Montis in excelso consistit vertice vultur
Assidue clamans; Albus ego atque niger,
Citrinus, rubeusque feror, nil mentior. Idem est
Corvus, quin pennis absque volare solet
Nocte tenebrosa mediaque in luce diei,
Namque artis caput est ille vel iste tuae.
In a high mountain peak the vulture
Is constantly crying; I am white and black,
Yellow and red I am, and nothing will not lie. The same is true for the
Raven, who will usually fly without wings
In the middle of the dark night to the light of day,
In fact, the artful head of one or the other shall be established.
Lapis, quem Saturnus, pro Jove filio devoratum, evomuit, pro monumento in Helicone mortalibus est positus.
Lapis, quem Saturnus, pro Jove filio devoratum, evoumuit, pro monumento in Helicone mortalibus est positus. “The stone that Saturn devoured instead of his son Jupiter, was vomited up and placed on top of Mount Helicon as a monument to Mortals.” Saturn is the Philosopher's Stone, which has a dark color. In fact, it is black with Putrifaction, which is the first signfier of success in the Alchemcial transition towards the Philosopher's Stone. Next comes gray, the color of dawn and the color of Jupiter. You can say then that Saturn creates Jupiter, who in turn creates Diana (who is white) and Apollo (who is red) by impregnating Latona. This is an example of how a symbol can change its meaning by a shift of application to another phase in the effort to create the Philospher's Stone.
Nosse cupis causam, tot cur Helicona poetae
Dicant, quodque ejus cuique petendus apex?
Est Lapis in summo, monumentum, vertice postus,
Pro Jove deglutiit quem vomuitque pater.
Si ceu verba sonant rem captas, mens tibi laeva est,
Namque est Saturni Chemicus ille Lapis.
You desire to know why so many poets from Helicon
Speak of the ascent to its top?
There is a stone monument on a pedistal at the top,
That was spat out by Jove.
If you believe mere words, your mind is in the right place,
In fact, the stone is the chemical Saturn.
Lapis projectus est in terras, & in montibus exaltatus, & in aëre habitat, & in flumine pasciture, id est Mercurius.
Lapis projectus est in terras, & in montibus exaltatus, & in aëre habitat, & in flumine pasciture, id est Mercurius. “The Stone is projected upon the Earth, and exalted upon the mountains, and dwells in the air, and feeds in the river: that is Mercury.” The onmipresence of the Stone in its various aspects is shown by cubes. The exoteric, and baffling, explanation is that the Stone is everyhere, but ignored, and might be found by anyone. However, a study of the picture shows that one should seek it in the mountains where it is threefold (an allustion to Triple Mercury and to the three principles). Upon the foliated Earth it becomes a quintessence; and in the river a clever shading indicates the Stone to be a compound of four Elements alternatively dissolved and coagulated. Lastly, the nature of the Stone is hinted at by the curious ensign above the rider at the centre of the composition.
Ile recrementum fertur L A P I S atque jacere
Fortè viis, sibi ut hinc dives inópsque parent.
Montibus in summis alii statuêre, per auras
Aëris, at pasci per fluvios alii.
Omnia vera suo sunt sensu, postulo sed te
Munera montanis quaerere tanta locis.
The stone is a checkpoint and it lies there,
For anyone to see, rich and poor alike.
Among others the greatest breeze is in the air,
The air flows in a stream.
All these things are true, but you should go to
The hill country, to look for the gift in high places.
Before there was science, there was alchemy. Alchemy was a form of investigation into the nature of human interaction with physical matter, and an attempt to codify how the universe worked. It was widely practiced as kind of philosophy and approach to experimentation during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, but persisted as a discipline up through famous practitioners like Sir Issac Newton (1642-1726). The practice of Alchemy used metaphor as a method of describing how chemical interactions worked, and used visuals of those metaphors as a way of recording and transmitting those discoveries to other alchemists.
Those images are marvelous to behold and frequently are couched in secrecy as to their true meaning. As such, they make for excellent source material for images turned into 3D anaglyphs. To create the anaglyph, the original image must be cut up into layers and have the parts not seen in a given layer recreated...