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Atalanta fugiens emblems 41 - 45

Go to emblems 46 - 50 . Go to Atalanta page.


Emblem XLI.


Epigraph 41:

Adonis is killed by a Boar, to whom Venus hasting, tinges the Roses with her Blood.

Discourse 41:

Some of the Mythologists, when they would explain the Allegory of Adonis, say that He is the Sun, and that the Boar by whom he is slain is the Winter season, Hairy with Frost. Others say that He is the seed of the Corn, which is six months under the Earth with Proserpine, and six months above the ground with Venus. But how improperly this is done has been sufficiently shown by us in other places. For we affirm, and that by universal consent, that by Adonis is to be understood the Sol of the Philosophers, according to this verse:

OMNIA SUNT IDEM DIONYSUS SOL DYONYSE ADONIS

Dionysus, Sol and Adonis are the same.

And Orpheus:

QUI VARIE CATARIS NOMINE ADONI

Adonis Honoured by a Various name,

GERMINUM ET IDEM AUTHOR PARITER PUER A--- PUELLA

Author of Buds thou art both Maid and Boy.

Now all these things cannot be understood of the Celestial Sun, but may be understood of the Philosophical one: For this expresses both Sexes, whereas that does not, and so these Mythologists attribute the same thing to Dionysus and Sol, as they do to Adonis; and on the contrary and so likewise, to Osiris.

But Adonis is slain by the Boar, ( that is, by the sharpness of Vinegar, or dissolving water, which hath terrible teeth like a Boar ) and has his members loosened and cut off. But Venus endeavours to help her Lover; and when He was dead, laid out and preserved him among Lettuces. In the same manner Osiris is slain by Typhon and cut into several pieces, which Isis the wife of Osiris gathered up, and having joined them together, buried them. The same Mourning which Yearly followed the Death of Osiris in Egypt, was also celebrated after the Death of Adonis, in Syria and neighbouring Kingdoms when, after Weeping and Lamenting for several days together, there were great expressions of Joy, with Dancing and other Ceremonies, as if he had been Conveyed into Heaven. From hence arose the Vanity of the Heathen Religion, or Superstition, which was vastly increased by the Devils who thence took occasion to promote it and to procure false Miracles.

Adonis was born of Cinyras ( according to the Fable of the King of Cyprus and his Daughter Myrrhas. ) He is said to be sprung from a detestable Incest, if we look upon the History; but if we regard the Allegories, it was so far from being unlawful that in fact it was absolutely Necessary. For in this Art nothing can be perfected unless it be born from a conjunction between the Mother and the Son, and the Father and his Daughter. For here, by how much nearer in blood, whether in the First or Second degree of Consanguinity, the married couple may be so much more fruitful they will prove; and on the Contrary, the farther remote, so much the more barren, which if taken literally is not to be suffered.

Hence Oedipus married his mother; Jupiter his sister; and so did Osiris, Saturn, Sol, Servus Rubeus or the Red Servant, and Gabritius.

Sol speaks thus of Adonis, that is concerning himself, in the Metaphor of Belinus, in the Rosary: " Know ye " says he, " that my Father Sol hath given me Power above all Powers, and Clothed me with new garments of Glory, for I am his Only Son, and more like my Father, and I divest my servants from their power and Nature, and clothe them with my Beautiful splendour and Light which my Father gave me. For I am excellent and do Exalt and Depress all, and none of my servants is above me, but One, who is permitted to be repugnant and Contrary to me, and to Destroy me, yet he does not destroy my Nature: He is Saturn, who separates all my parts; afterwards I go to my Mother who gathers together all my divided and separated members. I Illuminate all those things that appertain to One, and cause Light to appear openly in the way from my Father Saturn, and also from my mother who is an Enemy to me. "

These words are so clear that they may dispel any Darkness that is before the mind of a person, never so little versed in Reading, who may behold the agreement that there is between Things and Persons. For truths, although hid under the Veils of Allegories have a wonderful consent among themselves, whereas those things which are false are repugnant and inconsistent, both in themselves and in others.

Emblem XLII.


Epigraph 42:

Nature, Reason, Experience and Reading must be the Guide, Staff, Spectacles and Lamp to him that is employed in Chemical Affairs.

Discourse 42:

There are innumerable accidents which may happen to Travellers, especially if they are to walk in the night time through dangerous and slippery places. But besides Provisions and Strength of Body, there are four things that are extremely necessary: In the first place a Skilful Guide or Companion, for if the ignorant lead the ignorant it may happen either as to the Blind that they may both fall into the Ditch, or at least they both may run into difficulties and Errors. In the next place, a Staff, by which a Remedy may be provided against the slipperiness of the way. Thirdly, good eyes, for else the way is almost as dangerous to those that are dim-sighted as to the blind. Fourthly, a Lamp or lighted Torch, by which several obstacles may be avoided, so that if any Person applies himself to the search of the Philosophical Medicine, besides strength of Body, and Money sufficient for his expenses, there are four other things requisite, to wit: Nature, Reason, Experience and Reading; for if any of these are wanting the others will be of little prevalence. For these are the four Wheels of the Philosophical Chariot, for which one of them cannot be wanting, and if it be left out it avails nothing.

Nature presupposes Natural Bodies; and Spirits as the Subjects; first ministered by Nature, upon which Art may afterwards exert itself by Preparing, Purifying, and rendering them Capable of having that produced from them, which Art proposes for its end. So the Potter takes Earth and Water; the Glassmaker ashes and Sand; a Smith Iron, Brass, Lead, Tin, Copper, Silver and Gold; a Tanner raw Hides; and so other Artists take other things.

The Chemist has regard to his Materials; theirs are known to them the very first day, but when he Begins, his are utterly unknown to him for many years, and perhaps for his whole life. Nature does indeed lay its finger upon the matters; but there are many things which obscure the impression of Nature, that it cannot be known.

Therefore the first intention must be to intimately contemplate Nature and to see how she proceeds in her operations, to this end that the natural Subjects of Chemistry, without defect or superfluity may be attained to. From whence let Nature be thy Guide and Companion of so great a journey, and follow her Footsteps. In the next place, let Reason be like a Staff which may keep the feet steady and Firm, that they may not slip nor Waver; for without reasoning, any person will be apt to fall into Error. Whence the Philosophers say, " Whatever you hear, reason upon it, whether it can be so or no. "

For no man is forced to believe or Act Impossibilities, unless he be of a Weak memory, Dull genius, and foolish Imagination to impose upon himself by taking false thing for True, and rejecting true things as False. They say likewise that they take no care of the Words that are said, but rather of the Things as they may be Understood; and that words are for Things, and not things for Words. As for example, if any man should ask if Glass may be made malleable by the Philosophical Tincture? Well, why should I not believe it, provided reason vitiates it?

Thirdly, Experience will be as spectacles by which things may be seen at a distance. These are Optic instruments invented and made by Art, to help and amend the weakness of menís eyes. Not unlike these are all Experiments of every kind, that have been tried about the Mineral matter, whether seen or truly related, and the more these remain in the Memory the more will be drawn from thence by a man of Reason, who will compare them with themselves, and other things, that he may see what is truth, and what is not.

Fourthly, Reading does as it were, kindle a clear Lamp in the Understanding, without which there will everywhere be darkness and Thick Clouds. But the reading of Good Authors ought to be often repeated, otherwise it will not be profitable.

Kenar Bacassar in the Turba saith, " He therefore that is of an even Temper and exercises Patience without regret, will go in the right path of this Art. But he that thinks himself able sooner to reap benefit from our Books, is deceived, and it had been better for him not to have looked into or touched them.

Emblem XLIII.


Epigraph 43:

Give ear to the Vultureís words, which are in no wise false.

Discourse 43:

We daily in many places hear Birds such as Parrots, Ravens, Daws and Pyes that prattle and imitate a Human Voice. Pliny writes that at the same time that he published his History, Agrippina the wife of Claudius Caesar had a Thrush that could speak, and that the young Caesars had a Starling and Nightingales that were accustomed to the Greek and Latin tongues, and daily spoke new things in a long thread of words or sentences. But in as at this time such Birds are more frequently to be met with, they are now less wondered at, for use and Custom will make any Birds capable of speaking, if their Tongues are more broad than ordinary.

But that Vulture which the Philosophers mention, has not learnt his words if he utters any by use: His own Nature expresses them tacitly. But the Philosophers say that he continually cries out with a loud voice, who and What he is, in which he imitates great Princes, who in the beginning of their public pronouncements will always make known what are their inheritances and Titles; not out of Pride, but that others, ( as well as themselves ) may know what Principalities they govern ( or what rights of Inheritance they pretend to. ) So it is very necessary to know what colours as Ensigns of Arms and Titles the Philosophic Bird enjoys, and wherein he excels all others.

" I " saith he ( as the Rosary hath it from Hermes ), " am the Black of white and the Citrine of Red. " And such he really is: For though he doth not as yet actually possess these last Colours, yet he expects the Inheritance of them. Hereupon saith Rosinus in his book Divinarum Interpretationum, " Take " saith he, " the Stone which is Black, white, Red Citrine: That admirable Bird which flies without wings in the Darkness of the night, and in the Clearness of the day. " For Colouration is taken from bitterness existing in his Throat; but more water is taken from his Blood, as Alexander saith, " Take O my Son the Stone of four Colours. " The books of the Philosophers do abundantly declare that the Stone has all these colours, which are Principations in a successive order.

But it may not be improper to declare why the Philosophical Subject is called a Vulture: Those vultures which are Black, have most Force and are rapacious, but they fly slowly because of the bulk of their bodies. They say this bird conceives without the help of the Male, and generates without coition, and their offspring arrive to a great age; even an hundred years. They build in high Rocks, and no man has touched their nests. Seldom more than two of their Young ones are seen. They are an assistance against Serpents. They conceive by the East Wind. When they begin to lay Eggs, they bring a thing out of the Indies, which as a Nut has something within it that may be moved, and forthwith yields a Sound, which when they have applied it to themselves they produce many young ones, but one only remains, which is called IMMUSULUS. We have the testimony of Hermodorus Ponticus in Calius, that Vultures are the most innocent of all Animals because they touch nothing that Mankind sows, plants or feeds; besides, they kill no living creature. They abstain from birds, though dead, by a certain instinct of Affinity. For this reason they were accounted the Signs in Divination, as the Foundation of the City of Rome may declare. The Philosophical Bird, expressing almost all these Qualities of the Vulture, is therefore not undeservedly called a Vulture by Hermes and others. He is slow in flight and of Colour Black. He conceives from himself ( for so Rosarius towards the End . ) And he is the Dragon who marries himself and impregnates himself and brings forth in his own Season. And Rosarius to Sarratanta, " And that is the Serpent, Luxuriant in itself, impregnating itself, and bringing forth in one day. " It lives and endures a very long time, and multiplies itself. For what Virgil writes concerning the Phoenix agrees likewise to this, for it is the same Bird.

It is very difficult to climb the nest of this Bird. It fights with the Mercurial Serpent, and overcomes it, that is Sol. With Luna it is conceived by the wind and carried in its belly, and born in the Air. The Stone Aetites, containing within it the little stone sounding, is by many men called Totium. One only IMMUSULUS is found in the nest of the Philosophers. The Philosophic Bird is also most Innocent because it hurts no body; it is beneficial to all that know it, and most excellent in Divinations.

But does he make a Nest on the mountains and sitting there cry out? Rosinus according to Rhasis, gives this answer, " Contemplate the Highest mountains, both those on the Right hand and those on the Left, and climb up thither. There our Stone is found, and in another mountain which produces all sorts of Printer's colours, and Spirits or species, there it is likewise. " Likewise Morienus says, " Ascend the High mountains covered with Trees, because there our Stone is found and hidden. " And Hermes says, " Take you the Blessed Stone and break it to small pieces, and wash the Red Stone from which is extracted that which is found in Mountains, and Especially in old Sinks or Shores. "

Emblem XLIV.


Epigraph 44:

Typhon kills Osiris by deceit, and disperses his limbs. But the famous Isis gathered them together.

Discourse 44:

In the first book of our Hieroglyphics we have fully explained and reduced the Allegory of Osiris to its true Original, which is Chemical. And though we shall not repeat that, yet we shall make a discourse parallel to it, whereby we may retain Osiris within the bounds of Ancient Chemistry, all which has been so often sung of and figured out by the Ancient Poets. For you can never possibly persuade me that Osiris was a God, or a King of Egypt. For to me the contrary to both seems apparent from several circumstances. He is indeed the Sun, but it is the Philosophical one. Now that name being often attributed to him, the Vulgar who read it, and knew of no other Sun but that which gives light to the World, interpreted it in that sense.

The Sun of the Philosophers has its denomination from the sun of the World, because it contains those properties of Nature which descend from the celestial Sun, or are agreeable to it. Therefore Sol is Osiris, Dionysus, Bacchus, Jupiter, Mars, Adonis, Oedipus, Perseus, Achilles, Triptolemus, Pelops, Hippomanes, Pollux. And Luna is Isis, Juno, Venus the Mother of Oedipus, Danae, Deidaneira, Atalanta, Helena; as also Latona, Semele, Leda, Antiope, Thalia. These are the parts of that compound which before the Operation is called the Stone; and by the Name of every metal, Magnesia.

After operation it is called Orcus, Pyrrhus, Apollo, Aesculapius. The Adjuncts are Typhon, Python, the Boar. The Artists are Hercules, Ulysses, Jason, Perithous. And the labours and dangers which those Artists underwent were innumerable. We may see the Labours of Hercules, the Errors of Ulysses, the Dangers of Jason, the Endeavours of Theseus, the Remorse of Perithous. This is the great volume of Matter and Doctrine, through which in every page, Saturn, Mercury and Vulcan do often occur: The first as Father of all, the Cause without which nothing can be effected; the second as the matter or form; the third as the Efficient. Sol takes Luna his Sister to be his wife, Jupiter takes Juno, as Saturn Rhea, and Osiris does Isis. Dionysus is snatched out of his mother Semele, who was burnt by the thunder of Jupiter, that so he may come to maturity in the thigh of his Father Jupiter. Aesculapius from his Mother Coronis; Dionysus being grown up shows men the Use of Wine, making an Expedition as far as the Indies; Osiris and Triptolemus that of Corn, and how to sow it; and Aesculapius that of Medicine. The Greeks call him Dionysus, the Latins Bacchus, the Egyptians Osiris, and the Syrians Adonis. Oedipus killed his Father and married his Mother. Perseus slew his Grandfather; Typhon his brother Osiris; and the Boar, Adonis; Ceres the Nurse of Triptolemus, his Father Eleusiris. Hippomanes overcame Atalanta by a Golden Apple; Tantalus the father of Pelops, obtained Hippodamia by overcoming her in a race of Chariots. Osiris being cut in pieces, was joined together again by Isis, his mother, sister and wife. The child Pelops was boiled and dressed, his shoulder eaten by Ceres and again returned to life, an Ivory shoulder being added to him. Achilles and Triptolemus were put under coals of fire by Night, and in the Day time nourished by milk; one by Ceres his nurse, the other by his mother Thetis. Achilles and Helena were the Causes of the Trojan War: She as the Impulsive, he as the Efficient cause. Helena was hatched from an Egg, and at the Nuptials of Peleus and Thetis from whom Achilles descended, that apple of Eris [Discord] which was the the first cause of the Rape of Helena, was thrown about. Pollux was assisting to the Argonauts, who are supposed ( if ever they lived at all ) to have lived at least fifty Years before the Trojan War began, and both he and Helena were produced out of one Egg, therefore Helena was an old woman when she was ravished by Paris. Medea when an old woman, and without a tooth in her Head, was married to Achilles in the Elysian Fields ( unless she restored youth to herself, as she did to Aeson the father of Jason, and as Ceres did to Pelops, for which reason he is said to have been twice Young. ) Perseus received a flying Horse from Pallas, and in recompense brought the head of Medusa to Her to whom Mercury gave a Scymiter, and the rest of the gods other Weapons. Ceres gave Triptolemus a Chariot with flying Dragons. When Pallas was born of the Brain of Jupiter, and Sol was in conjunction with Venus, it rained gold at Rhodes. And Jupiter in the form of a golden Shower lay with Danae, as a Swan with Leda; as a Cuckoo with his Sister Juno; as a Bull with Europa; as a Satyr with Antiope.

And so there is a concord in them all.

Emblem XLV.


Epigraph 45:

The Work is perfected by Sol and his Shade

Discourse 45:

As a light kindled in a Round or Spherical Palace enlightens all the wall above or below, except where some Table or utensil in the middle obstructs its influences, so likewise the Sun being placed in the vast Arch of Heaven illuminates with its Rays all the concavity of Heaven, and those Bodies which are contained in it that are Diaphanous and capable of receiving light; that is all the Stars, both the Wandering and the fixed, except where the Thickness of the intermediate Earth prohibits it. For there a black shade or Darkness, which is called Night, remains so long till it is driven away by the Sun, and light is poured out and beheld in its stead. Shade therefore, or Night, is the Privation or absence of Solar Light, and Day on the contrary is the irradiation and Circumfusion of it. Shade is that which cannot endure the aspect of the Sun, and therefore absconds itself, and avoids it, sometimes in this, sometimes in another part of the Earth, according as the Sun is in opposition to it. The Sun and Shade never yet saw one another, although if Nature would admit it they might do it every moment. But the Sun considering her as an Enemy to himself, always pursues her whilst she flys so that he can never weary her so as to overtake her, as Buchannan says in his Book of the Sphere. After the Image and example of that great Sun and his shade, the Philosophers have observed that their Sun likewise has a black cloudy flying shadow. Hence Hermes saith, " My son, extract its shadow from the Ray. " That is, see that you bring your Sun round about by the Primum Mobile over which Vulcan presides, that that part of the earth which is now covered with a shady night may enjoy the clear light of the Sun. For if the whole Firmament of Heaven, with all that is contained in it, were not carried round in each Natural day, that is in the space of four and twenty hours by its first motion, but the Sun should move by its proper motion, which is called the second or annual one, those Antipodes who are below us would have night for almost the space of six months, and we in the meantime should have daylight, and so on the contrary so that the whole Year would consist of One day and One night, as it is now under both the poles as Reason and experience shows us. But it hath pleased Divine Providence to order it otherwise, which therefore ordered Two motions of the Planets: The first and second, and so distributed the Year into many days.

Now the Shade and the Sun do together make a day and night, which the Sun by itself alone could not do. It is its property to Illuminate all Bodies and places that are opposite to it, but it is by accident only that its absence makes a Shade. So also the Philosophical Sun with its shade make a day that is Light, and Darkness or night. To wit, Latona or Magnesia, whose shade ( as Democritus says in the beginning of the 3 books of his Mensa Aurea ) must be semeted and burnt up by a Fiery Medicine.

The use of Shadows in Astronomy is so great that without them that Science can scarce be accomplished. It is to shade likewise that the Chemist ascribes the perfection of his Art. For what is this Sun without a Shadow? The same as a Clapper without a Bell, that indeed makes the first motion to a sound; that is the Quill, this the Instrument of Music; that the Tongue, this the great Mouth . A Shade is the most contemptible thing, and next to having no Being. So also the Philosophers shadow is a thing Black; blacker than Black as they call it, or viler than a Weed, ( not in respect of itself, but in the opinion of men and the plenty of it. ) What more useful than Fire? More precious than Water? More amiable than Earth? Which yields flowers and all things that are lovely? What more delightful than Air? Which if it once be obstructed will make all things cease to be pleasant, but because in their Vast spheres they are exposed to the common use of mankind by a preposterous imagination, they are thought to be of no value. In like manner both the common and Philosophical shade are disesteemed. They who have lived long in subterranean shades, lose their eyesight if they are brought suddenly to the clear light of the Sun; so they who remain and work only in the Philosophical shade, and do not join the Sun to it are deprived of their judgement, which is the guide of their mind, and so can bring nothing to effect.

When the Celestial Sun is elevated to the Height of Noon, the Heat is greater and the Shadows less, so here when the heat is mirrored the shade is less, and likewise on the contrary. We must therefore begin when the Sun from the Meridian call side bends itself again to the Top of our Head in Capricorn, and the first operation even to Aries will be finished. There begins the work of Women even to Leo, and afterwards Labour proceeds from Labour, till the Year as a Serpent takes hold of the Tail with the Head; that is to say, is completed.


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