In Alchemy no allegory is without an operative reason, in Philosophia Reformata the angel inflating a trumpet makes no exception, in fact is here unveiling a long lasting operative secret.
Perhaps some hermeticists would rather give to the angel inflating a trumpet allegory just a sort of an out of the context glorifying and celebrating relevance. But, trust me, in alchemical iconographies nothing lacks an explanation and all is a hint.
We hardly may see any christian iconography inside alchemical engravings, even if pictures have been engraved in a period, 1618 to 1622, when stakes were still raised in italian and spanish public spaces, and german aristocracy sent suspect alchemists to prison. In spite of all that it was more likely to see an alchemical allegory in a christian religious shrine than the opposite.
Johannes Daniel Mylius seems to have had a leading role in his Philosophia Reformata engravings developing, actually incised by Balthazar-Baltzer Schwab and the whole published by Lucas Jennis in Frankfurt 1622.
The angel with a trumpet, and a sword, we are examining is a detail fitted, in the very sense that it is in the right place, in Philosophia Reformata engraving number fourteen, first series. And it was very unlikely conceived by Mylius as a mere “ revelation angel with its resurrection trumpet” as often found in many explications.
Generally speaking, in alchemical pictures, every character and detail have to be intended not as a unique and contemporary set of circumstances, but as different phases. We are here dealing with metallic gold sowing in Terra Alba Foliata. Whose sowing phase, or the farmer in his scattering action, has been already treated in my “Atalanta Fugiens & Terra Alba Foliata”. The revelation angel is consistent with a previous phase than calcinated powder gold having been put in contact with our Mercurius Philosophorum/Universal Dissolvent. As a matter of fact if soil to be broken up in preparation for sowing actually is our Terra Alba Foliata/Mercurius Philosophorum, angel is in charge to prepare Mercurius and, that through a fixation/calcination/sublimation/drying performed by its trumpet. Or by its sword, in other ways than classic wet way. But that’s exceeding our main topic, being a dry way alternative. If you do not want to get at my previous post, you have to know that angel really is our Mercurius too much volatile to be fixed and then becoming Mercurius Philosophorum or Terra Alba Foliata. Fixation of volatile is one of the main alchemical concerns. Real close secrets, or as in Latin “Secretum Artis”.
In fact we can notice that sort of white inflating banner tied to angel’s trumpet. Latin for trumpet is tuba-ae and, as you are suspecting, can be simply translated in english as tube. A pipe, indeed. As a matter of fact also banner may be defined as a tubular one. So piping is really underlined here. If you remember another post of mine on calcination, namely Atalanta Fugiens and Coral from Waters, there is that Zephirus blowing wind to dry or calcine our Mercurius. Mind that drying from waters merely means to fix or to make handling a too much volatile Mercurius. Although, through rule of three (1), Zephirus doesn’t only mean calcination (2). If you can remember I suggest the verb “venting” in the post bottom. But let’s get back at our angel with a trumpet. On the left I produced the first shot of my life. I was six, and of course photos in Italy were still in black and white. The angel with a trumpet on the top of Santa Maria del Giglio church, not so far from Piazza San Marco, caught my attention. But Venice is packet full with angels with trumpets, above baroque age churches. Giglio, or Lily, is a symbol for the whiteness of Mercurius. In Hypnerotomachia Poliphili we can find an angel over the Mercurius Philosophorum temple and engraving number 81 actually puts on display a “putto”, or child, or little Eros-Cupidus, blowing a trumpet over a strange laboratory vessel.
Cabala Mineralis, indeed, provides somewhat more than a hint: a real clue. Observe the sequence below, if you notice there is something strange about Mercurius Philosophorum picture in the center.
In the afore mentioned post on Atalanta Fugiens emblem number thirty two I said about an operation called “venting”, which, together with Evaporation, seems to be an operation suggested by Christophle Glaser in his Traitè de la Chimie. In some wet ways the fixation of a too much volatile Mercurius can be performed only, and simply, by a particular laboratory tool or vessel or piping introducing air movement inside (3). The whole operation can be performed in a mere ancient chemistry field. So look up carefully for ancient laboratory tools for that calcination trick. Be aware that being an alchemical close secret. Which might be easily done or disastrously denied.
In my article Cabala Mineralis or the She Horse on Urine Work part 1 you can find out more.
- Rule of three: in Alchemy every symbol or Allegory stands for at least three different concepts;
- See in Botticelli, Venus Birth & Primaterialistic Subject;
- In Harran School & Coagulated Rust there are some interesting statements by Plato;