Spirit of Life wounding around an Aion or life time. Alchemy and Gnosis share similar iconographies to bring a Salt and a Soul about immortality ( after death).
Homer uses the term Αἰών Aion to designate a Life time. This concept, in Alchemy, is strongly tied with Soul concept, and consequently with Sulphur concept. The alexandrine school or late neo platonians, gnostics by definition, will give the term Aion a sense of time tied with some Gods emanation.
The statue we are examining was found in a Mithraeum ( so late empire) in Ostia, the ancient city serving as docks for the nearby Rome. This image is highly compatible to Aion iconography of ellenistic period. Indeed it might provide a good representation of what our Sun Stone is for. For, unquestionably, the statue stands on alchemical symbols. The latin inscription, at bottom, can be of some interest.
If not, why laboratory tools and hermetic symbols at its foot? A tongs and a hammer, in Alchemy the sign of a Master in dry way. Why a caduceus, symbol for the hermaphrodite ( Rebis) producted by Solve et Coagula process? Why a cock ( animal sacred to Mercurius and Minerva. Hermetic philosophers have compared its stamina to their Secret Fire and consequently their perfect red Sulphur have been called after him) . Why a strange crystallized egg looking like a pine cone? A stick in a statue hand, a square in the other one. Square is an hermetic symbol for earth and embodiment. An insect scarab-like pointing to earth sky connection (Heart, Breathing), they are all definite alchemical symbols.
And, finally, a snake or serpent. Here I quote Fulcanelli explaining Notre Dame XXV emblem : “ A serpent stands for the solving and thus aggressive attidude of Mercurius, eagerly absorbing metallic sulphur and holds it, so tightly that their union can not in any way be won. This reptile represents Mercurius at its first stage and the golden wand for the added body sulphur. The sulphur solution or, in other words its assimilation by Mercurius, has provided countless emblems; the resulting body, perfectly and uniformly prepared, maintains the name of Mercurius Philosophorum. It is the first step matter, as well as V.I.T.R.I.O.L. egg needing just a gradual cooking to transform from red Sulphur, then into Elixir and finally into universal medicine”. By the way, Fulcanelli’s words never reach the boundaries of last cooking and never let imagine something above and beyond.
Serpent moves fluently and its immortality was a common belief in ancient times. Being an immortal (supposed) animal proceeding like a flux, it soon became an appropriate allegory for stellar matter, Secret Fire. The matter out of which Gods were made. I’m not going to develop a thorough research on Mithra religion, which you can find more proficiently elsewhere. My attention here is caught by serpent-Mercure-light-Spirit-Principle of Life around Aion, that’s to say around a Life time. Being this concept in Alchemy so strongly tied with Soul concept, and consequently with Sulphur, it is not that surprising finding Mercurius around Sulphur, Spirit around Soul, Light around a body, Spirit of Life around a life time.
Light rotation is one of the ultimate alchemical arcanes. Iamblichus ( Misteriis I, 12) :” souls should be used, since they dwell in their body, to separate from it and wrap around their immortal principle”. Is there an apparent confusion about which one , soul or Spirit/Life principle, has to do the wrapping around. But this problem only arises when Alchemy was affected by christian idea of division between soul and spirit/principle of life. In Zosimos period alchemical Secret Fire was named Nature, in christian period Soul and Spirit, in eighteenth century simply Light.
Garaiev and Poponin, in their work entitled the “DNA Phantom Effect”, have discovered that a DNA molecule can be inserted in a cylinder and light passing through it, the DNA will actually attract the light and cause it to spiral along with it. Furthermore, when the DNA is removed, the light continues spiralling as if the DNA were still there. Why DNA naturally attracts light into itself is unknown. And what causes this strange phenomenon reproducing with an absent DNA all the same, a memento, is beyond our scientific comprehension.
In chinese Alchemy masterpiece “ the Mystery of Golden Flower” is written:” the heavenly heart is situated between Sun ( right eye) and Moon ( left eye). This place is called “ The ancestors country” or “ the dark crossing”. The most wonderful secret is light rotation. It is easy to put it on, difficult make it fixed. Fixation state is called” in the morning silently fly up and rises.” In this way it is possible to be born again in sky. Not the common sky we can see. But as we go in the practice, a Spiritual Body spontaneously takes shape. Alchemic embryo developing into an immortal body and then comes out through the cinnabar field.”
If you are perplexed, and don’t trust me being alchemically orthodox, I’m going to produce a quote from Canseliet ( l’Alchimie expliqueé sur ses textes classiques, Paris 1972. Alchemy explained on its classic texts) Tab. VII, concerning an image by Limojon de Saint Didier illustrating a dialogue between Eudoxus and Pirophilus developing in a spiraling ribbon or phylactery : “Fili ex irahe a radio umbram suam” Oh Son, from the beam extract its shadow.
“ Orientem hic velim intelligas non ubi Sol quolibet die oritur sed eum locum in quo a principio creatus est.” I wish you perceived the point of sun rising, not where it is seen during the day but where it had been created.
Eudoxus then compares sun rising to an adept crown wearing or bending, in this case most appropriately the man who becomes a god. Adept awareness is now strictly tied to Spirit of Life. And can not die anymore.
These teachings have been lost and interdicted. But those who, in ages, have achieved this level are still among us. A statue carved from a piece of mineral matter. A very suitable place for a soul to rest inside ( legends has it, of course. From latin Legenda “ things to be read”). Not so different from Paracelsus ” Magisterium Corpi”, the body magisterium.
Read also The Dangerous Journey inside the Gundestrup Cauldron , Rossetti and the Mystery of Platonic Love, part 1 , Pompeii Mysteries Villa: a Gentle Flowing with Mystica Vannus , Fortunio Liceti and the Cranial OMO ;