Hortulus Hermeticus engraving number thirty nine puts on displays two unfamiliar starry horned goats with hovering Sun and Moon. And that being very appropriate to Michael Maier Subtilis Allegoria Super Secreta Chymia.
One of Amalthea horns was consequently tied with the idea of abundance: Cornucopia, indeed. Actually we have two nymphs: Ida and Idraste, named after those watery, or better raining, matters feeding infant Zeus or Jupiter or grey phase. These rains are said Melissas, namely bees. For this raining feeding is being fiercely performed. Yes, but Hortulus Hermeticus collection provides us with another engraving, namely number five, showing a bees tempest and a beautiful woman finally getting out (pictute on the left).We supposedly are in Main Work ( see an Opus Magnum scheme) in grey or Jupiter phase between black and white. Saturn and Venus. See an exaustive picture of Main Work with grey Jupiter phase on the right from Abraham the Jew Molinier. Tempest-feeding during grey phase is clearly visible. As size growing.
But despite all that I’m not wholly convinced about Stolcius plan on these two goats. Rule of three ( an allegory may stands for at least three different concepts) allow me to search for more suitable meanings. We know that our stone is to be feeded like an infant. But is the second and littler goat really representing infant Zeus? Have you ever seen an horned infant goat? And why these infant horns are starry too, like its supposed mother? Things are here not so fitting with Amalthea iconography. Why Sun and Moon symbols hovering the scene? Our two goats are apparently identical but for their size. As a matter of fact Sun is here shorter than Moon. Differences are kept to a minimum.
We can check out Bibliotheca Chemico-Curiosa Mangeti Hortulus Continuus mottos around every single engraving for further infos. So: “Materia Philosophica naturaliter vocatur Vulphi, hoc est animal” or Philosophical Matter is naturally being called Vulphi ( a neologism middle way between wolf and fox) which indeed is animal. Of course what’s more natural than a breastfeeding, our Virgin’s Milk/Mercurius? But what’s more natural too than our Mercurius Universalis and Sideribus affecting from sky? And Philosophical Matter might be everything from Mercurius Universalis-Sideribus to Perfect Sulphur inside our vessel. The last one is often better represented as a lamb or a ram. As much as we try to comfortable fit these two starry goats, and their motto, in alchemical works, we will find that we have to cancel or misplace something.
One of the many secrets involving Alchemy is Time. Or better weather as well as Sun Path or Ecliptic. 160 engravings should, and actually do, grant Hortulus Hermeticus enough feasibility to cover many alchemical issues. Indeed, if we recall Hortulus Hermeticus as a whole, we can observe that first picture is unquestionably about ecliptic or Sun Path. Since beginning Stolcius points on the uselessness of making alchemical operations on wrong times of day and year.