Paradoxical Christian croziers serpent shaped have close resemblance to the Prudence high relief in Notre Dame to which Fulcanelli dedicated many lines.
Crosses and ringlets iconographies are involved in both Alchemy and Christendom. Usually old disciplines are an inspiration to newer ones. The contrary is very unlikely to be.
We know the etymology of the name comes from cross, crozier designating primarily not the object but the person who holds or carries it, that’s to say the cross bearer. In fact the Patriarch of Constantinople originally used to bring before him a deacon holding a staff with a Tau on the top. But in this series of two posts I will present the crozier ending with a strange spiraling ringlet very often serpent shaped. Just the specimens many of us find, if not paradoxical, at least out of place. In medieval ages theology and liturgy were for both popular and esoteric comprehension. Nowadays I believe christian church has completely lost the awareness of hermetic origins of its liturgic imaginary.
We have already encountered Crosses (1) as a symbol for sublimation and last fixation. But Ringlets and moreover serpents are a bit foreigner to the popular theology we are used, and allowed, to know. The valuable treatise on croziers I’m here mainly going to quote, as well as put pictures on display, namely “Le Baton Pastoral” (the pastoral staff) Paris 1856 by french abbot Barrault and british archaeologist Arthur Martin S.J., unquestionably proves how much distant in time Alchemy had already been from religious as well as scientific cultures back at the first half of nineteenth century.
Ringlets are ubiquitous hermetic symbols and of course subjected to the rule of three ( every symbol stands for at least three different meanings). The first significance is an analogy with Circle, that’s to say with the act of taking Secret Fire to circumference or being extracted from raw matter, another sense of Circle is the Secret Fire circulation inside Philosophical Egg (2). A last implication is the multiplication of philosophical matter, that’s to say our Secret Fire/Sulphur getting more and more concentrated and less voluminous. Quite an undergoing to Fibonacci spirals decreasing law. The particular on the right from Cabala Speculum Artis Naturae by Michelspachers represents an evocative example of this minimizing in size concept.
But we have to set a serpent on our ringlet.
In Fulcanelli & the Antimony of Wises we have already come up with a similar concept: “…..in the corbel bearing the overhang of a second-story beam (at the Manor of Lisieux) we can observe the figure of a winged dragon with its tail curled into a ringlet. The dragon is an image and symbol of the primitive and volatile body, true and unique subject upon which one must first work”. Here Fulcanelli called it arsenic and gur, but we know he is intending our Secret Fire extracted from matter or come from sky.