Atalanta Fugiens emblem tenth deals with one of the most important of all alchemical secrets: Mercurius Duplicatus.
Alchemy is very ancient, but it always does make sense. Atalanta Fugiens emblem tenth has been engraved by a real Alchemy expert, Merian (I do not mean to misuse the term “Adept”). Who cannot be more plain and proficient in showing us this so controversial concept.
But we have to start from far away, to provide a background for this Atalanta Fugiens emblem X. Recalling my posts on introductions to Artephius (1) and Kamala Jnana Works (2), I said that their descriptions took up after Mercurius Philosophorum achievement. In other posts I compared this substance with Azoth (3), Philosophers Gold, Aqua Pontica, Hermaphrodite, Aquila Philosophorum and Sal Armoniacum. I would like to recall here a quote from Hollandus Opera Vegetabilia (4), about the difference between Dissolvents extracted from vegetal salts and mineral salts: “with sal ammoniacus ( armeniacum) extracted from herbs you can make an elixir without addition of any other species. What you can not do with the sal armeniacum from salts”.
This statement contains a weird alchemical axiom. Which ancient alchemists reduce to the very essential allegory of two Sperms. They pretend that, to perform their work, they need a male and a female sperms to be put together. Hermetic authors usually do not express themselves in clearer ways. Jean de Clairefontaine ( one of the persons of Kamala Jnana’ entourage) in his “Apocalipse Révélation Alchimique” 1968, commenting Roger Caro “Concordances Alchimiques ou la Grande Oeuvre Photographié” 1968, states: ”En possession de sa Minière le fils de Lumière possède les trois constituants qui lui sont nécessaires pour commencer le Grand Oeuvre”, once having acquired their Mine, the sons of Light hold all the three constituents necessary to begin Great Work. Our Mine is another allegory for Mercurius Philosophorum.
So, we are at the beginning of Main Work, already getting hold of Mercurius Philosophorum which we have achieved in the end of Labors of Hercules (see an Opus Magnum scheme). To begin Main Work we may sow a more powerful magnet into our Mercurius Philosophorum or Terra Alba Foliata (5), and dissolve it. During dissolution gold will be ripped into pieces by a muscular Aquila Philosophorum or Eagle.
We need two Eagles, as displayed in Dorneus cover (6). Because putting a single Terra Alba Foliata to putrefy we may see nothing. Terrae Albae Foliatae must be two, and sometimes three. One is female, and virgin, and the other male or provided with Gold inside (7). Simply, before we sow Gold inside, we must divide Mercurius Philosophorum to make two. That’s our Mercurius Duplicatus. As we can see from Merian engraving, on the top, a Mercurius ( Philosophorum due to Caduceus presence) has been set aside and sits waiting for the other coming. Now they are ready to merge. A man is stirring up fire in a fire place. Because, very often, we need a Priest to celebrate this marriage. Or a Servant to help. Of course this presence is not fire in common sense, but our Secret Fire already extracted from Raw Matter or Materia Tertia. The couple and priest, or servant, are not so different from each other.
Michael Maier discourse accompanying Atalanta Fugiens emblem tenth: “If this saying be taken literally, it only increaseth the quantity of Fire & Mercury, but introduceth no new quality into the subject.
For every like added to its like, makes it become more like”. Yes, substances to be married are not so different.
“Hence Physicians affirm that contraries are healed & removed by contraries”. Virginal Mercurius Philosophorum acts as female, while that one with Gold inside is considered male. On the left Mylius Philosophia Reformata, second series 1622, displays a sexed couple.
“Limbs benumbed & almost dead with Frost & cold water will be restored by putting them into cold Water rather than by the application of external heat………So we say there is one internal Fire which is essentially infixed in the Philosophical subject,”. As a matter of fact our Secret Fire celebrating Mercurii marriage are not common fire, but an alike substance (to Mercurius).
“..yet well are broken and reduced to a pulp in Water, the heat of the Fire rarifying the Water by ebullition & reducing to almost an aerial substance, so the heat of Fire resolves the crude parts of Fruit or Flesh into water, & makes them Vanish into Air together with it”. This Mercurius Duplicatus is in fact to undergo to a Putrefactio, a blackness.
“……That these two may operate & mutually move themselves by Solution, Coagulation, Alteration, Tinction & Perfection………….That these two may operate & mutually move themselves by Solution, Coagulation, Alteration, Tinction & Perfection,” . The Secret Fire inside Mercurius Duplicatus will dissolve and coagulate, in other word it is cooker as well as substance to be cooked. This Solve et Coagula is substantially different from Preparatory work one, indeed now it is performed by itself.
I will end introducing another synonymous for Mercurius Duplicatus, that’s to say Mirror. We are used to take for granted all alchemical weird proceedings, without asking what are they for. And here we are before another Alchemy key or axiom. Secret Fire needs another Secret Fire to be taken de Potentia ad Acto. Alchemy as a whole works in that way. As a Diapason, one Secret Fire/Spirit/Mercurius/Light/Nature put another diapason to “resonate”, but this is not the right word, of course. One diapason/Secret Fire, in a sense, awakes another sleeping Secret Fire. To accomplish the miracle of one thing.
Now the Latin epigram accompanying Atalanta Fugiens emblem tenth: “Da ignem igni, Mercurium Mercurio, et sufficit tibi”. Give Fire to fire, Mercurius to Mercurius, and you have enough.
And here my verbatim translation of the following sentences: “Machina pendet ab hac mundi connexa catena Tota, suo quod par gaudeat omne pari: Mercurius sic Mercurio, sic jungitur igni Ignis & haec arti sit data meta tuae. Hermetem Vulcanus agit, sed penniger Hermes, Cynthia, te solvit, te sed, Apollo, soror”. The engine of the world depends on this entirely connected chain, simile delights in its simile: in this way Mercurius from Mercurius, in this way Fire lights up Fire and this is your art pivot. Vulcanus moves Hermes, but winged Hermes, Cynthia, dissolves you. But to you, Apollo, is sister.
Chain is a synonymous for Mirror. And the following “ simile delights in its simile” recall to us the famed Ostanes statement (8). Apollo and Cynthia are whiteness and redness resulting from a successful alchemical marriage. Or Union or Double.
- Artephius, Secret book & Secret Fire ;
- Kamala Jnana, Introduction to a Live Secret ;
- Basilius Valentinus & Salt, Azoth or Philosophers Gold? ;
- Universal Sal Armoniacum & Hollandus Sal Armeniacum ;
- Atalanta Fugiens & Terra Alba Foliata ;
- Dorneus and the need for two Eagles ;
- To put it simply, in some alchemical ways we do not need any metallic gold. While the need for a Mercurius Duplicatus is required. But, in Alchemy, Gold is not only Metallic Gold.
- Ostanes, One Nature etc ;