The series of engravings below belong to Rosarium Jacobi 1550. The first three pictures are about our Primitive Mercurius or first darkness or first Putrefaction (see an Opus Magnum scheme) from which we are trying to extract our Mercurius or Eros. We can follow the whole process from left to right. Mercurius/Eros is abandoning putrefactive mass to reach the top of the vessel ( well stoppered, of course). Then Mercurius/Eros washes and returns to the mass. Quite in circulation.
The scene above is quite identical, but for the sex of volatile taking off the substance. Now a woman is abandoning and then returning. What is the difference between the two similar sequences? Just timing. Or phasing, if you prefer. In Blaise de Vigenère “Traité du Feu et du Sel” or Treatise on Fire and Salt 1618, we have already heard of Mercurius being the unique entitled to further extract Sulphur or Soul or Psyche.
The first alchemical body will be a Mercurius plus Sulphur union. Since our main actors are nothing more nothing less than Secret Fire in their different densities, we can understand that a material vehicle is needed (3). A first, or minor, Magisterium Corpi or Embodiment is being performed. That’s to say to give a body to a spirit and soul previously extracted from a body. Dealing mainly with metals, the practice may not be seen as outlandish. We only need material support, which we called Salt, for the huge amount of flying Secret Fire we have managed to gather.
Nevertheless, some alchemists (very few) do not content themselves with a mere metallic Philosophers Stone. But they eventually may decide to go further, pushing their last cooking. You may know that there‘s no difference among natural reigns. Alchemists believe that every mix comprises a corpse, a Spirit of Life, and a Soul. All mixed, even humankind (4). Demetra and Dyonisus’ mysteries are all about Eros and Psyche’s myth. Dionysos, Adonis, Bacchus, Eros, and Cupid are all Aphrodite’s children, and often they are confused.
On the right, we can see a roman high relief in which Eros and Psyche are very close to Eleusinian Mysteries. Psyche seems fearful and restive about deciding to fly off, being too little winged ( in comparison with her Juno size). A short and very young Eros with a torchlight appears as Psyche’s guide on a dreadful path. Why is he holding a torch?
We have already appreciated our Psyche/Soul/Sulfur flying qualities. Indeed Fulcanelli, in his Mysteries of Cathedrals 1926, compares Psyche to a butterfly, and the ancient Greeks had called the soul Psiche, which means “butterfly.” When a substance rises inside a stoppered vessel to precipitate again, it is usually defined as volatile. But we cannot bother two Gods to represent metallic spirit and soul union in a new body. Philosophers Stone is absolutely about metallic immortality, hence its famed incorruptibility. Eleusinian Mysteries are about human Psyche/Soul immortality and its underworld and quite deadly travel, only enlightened by Eros/Spirit of Life.
Porphirius said that it was not without a reason that ancient people associated Souls with Winds that used to keep going and returning (5), since, according to someone, Souls draw Breathing and make its substance. In the above roman high relief, Psyche waives her delicate peplum to create an air current, a wind.
Iamblichus ( Misteriis I, 12):” Souls should be used to separate from their body since they dwell in it and wrap around their immortal principle”. Isis is calling Osiris back to life by flapping around him.
The flapping of Eros will not take Psyche off skywards but heads her towards the underworld, in a real descent to nether regions. He is flying her to a cave. To an Embodiment again. After being separated, construction, and destruction, chemistry and Alchemy will rejoin again (6).
- Summary from “New Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology”, 1959 by The Hamlyn Publishing Group;
- See also Aldus Manutius & Hypnerotomachia Poliphili ;
- See also Morienus & Mercurius Odor;
- See also Gnostic Gems & the Art of Drawing Spirits;
- See also Dionysus, Universal Dissolvent and Kykeon , Pompeii Mysteries Villa: a Gentle Flowing with Mystica Vannus , Rossetti and the Mystery of Platonic Love, part 1 , The Dangerous Journey into the Gundestrup Cauldron , Michelangelo & the Mumia Skin in Last Judgement , Rennes le Chateau, Alchemy & Counter Initiation , Botticelli, Venus Birth & Primaterialistic Subject ;