ALCHEMY AS EXECUTED BY MOSES - AND STILL PRACTISED IN MUCH LATER TIMES
Aspiranten Magazine, (Norway), no. 20, May
2008, pp. 11-17 - feature:
Alchemy's Mysteries - by Moses,
Tycho Brahe, Newton, and Jung
By OVE VON SPAETH
Why did Moses order the Israelites to drink gold dust - from the mysterious Golden Calf of Egypt's
gold? A profound knowledge
about such circumstances appears as relating to the 'Egyptian wisdom gold' which
Moses took with him out of Egypt.
From the alchemists' opus
- their personally integrated working process to refine metals - the mysterious
gold dust is known. It was also called panacea and supposed to be a universal remedy that was to cure all diseases.
Alchemy and Magic Behind the Idea About the Golden Calf?
In ancient history a somewhat mysterious subject, alchemy, is frequently to
be met. Alchemy is known as a philosophical and spiritual as well as
physical discipline, all as parts of the occult traditions of magic,
initiation, Gnosticism, Hermeticism, etc. The aim was known as achieving
ultimate wisdom as well as immortality, including the improvement of the
alchemist's personal development as well as producing different substances
often described as possessing unusual abilities.
One of the earliest
reported incidents related to the concept of alchemy is to be found in the
Bible's narrative on Moses. After having received the "holy text" on the
tablets Moses went down the Mount Sinai and saw a festival held for the
Golden Calf. According to the account he was now equipped with horns, worn
on his head - like the Golden Calf - an appearance which, all things
considered, may have been a particular disguise in connection with a mystery
cultic initiation act. According to an alternative, also correct translation
it meant that 'his face was shining/radiating', a quality normally connected
with the gods who with exactly this expanded significance were thus depicted
The very casting
process of the Golden Calf - which was carried out by Aaron, Moses'
close colleague - was understood in antiquity as related to magic, thus with
alchemist marks: the cultic religious act as well as the ritually
connected treating of precious metals.
The history of alchemy
has become an extensive academic field. As the obscure Hermetic language of
the alchemists was gradually decoded the historians became more aware of the
intellectual connections between the discipline of alchemy and other facets
of history of culture, especially the evolution of: - a) philosophy
(the constituents of the universe, biology, and the relations in
psychology), - b) spiritual insight (the inner meaning of
alchemical work as a spiritual path), and - c) the exact
sciences (medicine, chemistry, and metallurgy). Let this be sufficient as
survey while the whole concept being rather complexed.
According to the
Rabbinical Writings the practical part of the casting process of the Golden
Calf was entrusted with Korah, he was a cousin to the high priest and magician
expert Aaron. - Later, Korah started a revolt against Moses, who then used a
magic alchemical effect to punish Korah and his helpers by letting some fire
bowls (censer) explode in their hands (cf. the Bible's "Book of Numbers",
The Rabbinical Writings
say that originally Korah was one of the pharaoh's tax managers. Later a famous
branch of his descendants, i.e. the Kohatit clan, was supervisors and door-keepers
of taxes and inventory of the Jerusalem Temple. Korah knew about gold handling
and mining, i.e. in exact coherence with conditions especially of the 18th and 19th Dynasties
of Egypt (1500-1100 BC): here the pharaonic treasurers also worked with gold coating
and melting of gold. According to the Rabbinical Writings and the Quran, Korah
was incredibly rich, actually the capitalist of the Israelite camp.
In connection with the
Golden Calf episode, the Rabbinical Writings mention a revolt in the camp, and
that Korah was among the men behind this. Apparently he used a secret knowledge
related to the Golden Calf against Moses.
Through ages many readers
of the Bible have found it mysterious that Aaron was not punished for
producing the Golden Calf. Also, when almost all Israelites of the camp were
punished by being denied access to Canaan this included even the Levites,
although they did not participate in the cultic episode around the Golden
Calf. It is also a mystery that according to "Exodus" (32:20) one of the
so-called punishments was to drink gold dust:
"... (Moses) took the calf which they had made, and burned it in the fire, and
ground it to powder, and strewed it upon the water, and made the children ofIsrael drink of it. ..."
Could it be that this
was - in reality - a part of an alchemist activity? Alchemist texts are well
known in great, ancient culture countries, e.g. Babylonia, India, and China,
but the oldest traditional alchemist texts are Egyptian. The name alchemy
means 'from Egypt' (kemet). In the past some advanced techniques existed in
certain fields. In Babylonia archaeologists have found and recognized simple
"electric batteries" - now exhibited in many ethnographic museums - and the
items were actually used for electrolytic coating of genuine gilding of
metal objects (which have been retrieved too).
and metal workers.
The Golden Calf is Well-known by Archaeologists
Many scholars consider the whole account of Moses, the exodus from Egypt,
and the Golden Calf as being a myth invented 1000 years after the era in
which Moses is assumed to have lived. However, archaeologists have found
several Gold Calves in Israel - from exactly the era of Moses. These Gold
Calves are excavated at those defined places where the Bible precisely
mentions that the people with Gold Calf cult had settled down.
In the Bible's "Book of
Judges" (18:11-31) is mentioned that the Dan tribe's worship of the Golden
Calf was maintained until 700 BC, making this custom to continue by a priest
who was an immediate descendant of Moses. This priest, Jonathan, is among
the three members of his family mentioned in the Bible after the invasion. A
group of the Dan tribe and the same priest left the Jaffa area at the coast
when being under pressure from the neighbouring Philistines. So they moved
north to Leshem (Laish) in central Lebanon. They conquered this city and
re-named it Dan and introduced their cult of the Golden Calf.
In different Israelite places there have been excavated small
figures of bull calves or young bulls cast in bronze. These Golden
Calve-figures have been dated to 1400-1200 BC. One of these, now exhibited
at the Museum of Israel in Jerusalem, was found in Samaria at a cultic site
close to the very ancient road between Dothan and Tizah. Here the outdoor
cultic worshipping took place - like it did with the Golden Calf at Sinai.
(more about the Golden Calf and Moses: chap. 8 in Ove von Spaeth's book, "The
Another Golden Calf has been found in Northern Israel at a temple
construction in Hazor, 25 km south of the city of Dan. Both of the Golden
Calves are mentioned in the article of Amihai Mazar: "Bronze Bull Found
in Israelite 'High Place'," Biblical Archaeology Review (vol. 9, no. 5, 1983, pp.
34-40). High Place is the normal expression for 'holy site for
carrying out sacrifices'.
From excavations in the Israelite and the Philistine areas carried out by
a Harvard University team and with American archaeologist Lawrence E. Stager
as the leader, a hitherto 'secret' find of a Golden Calf was published in
July 27th, 1990. It had been dug out in June by his assistant Rachel Starck.
It was found underneath the city gate in the seaport of antiquity, Ashqelon
(19 km north of Gaza).
This Golden Calf is 12.5 cm long ("Time Magazine", 6th
August 1990) and cast of gold upon bronze and silver - and is the world's
most ancient cultic object with precious metal. The site of the find is
precisely in the Dan tribe's ancient Palestine coastal area which during the
changing times also had belonged to the Philistines and later the Judah
tribe. The dating is 1500-1400 BC - and thus the time of Moses.
The Golden Calf of the Danas - and the Druzic Golden Calf of Present Times
It is absolutely amazing that today a cult of the Golden Calf is still in
existence and is practised exactly at the mentioned central area of south
Lebanon among the Druzes. However, attention seems not to have been paid to
The Druze sect is a
special branch of the Shia-Muslim religion and observes other traditions and
also elements from ancient mystery cults too, as well as Gnosticism,
neo-Platonism, Buddhism, Manichaeism, and a the idea of reincarnation.
In Israel and Lebanon,
the Druzes, who claim to be of non-Arab origin, have maintained traditions
relating to the Golden Calf. These customs are part of the secret rituals of the sect and are managed by the Druze religious and secular leader, head of the leading
family, which is the powerful Yomblat clan - this according to the informative
treatise of Philip K. Hitti, i.e. "The Origins of the Druze People and Their
Religion", Columbia University Oriental Studies (vol. 28, New York 1928).
Once a year - during a
special cultic ceremony, members of the Druze Sect take out from a silver box
the figure of a Golden Calf, says William B. Seebrook, the American
Anthropologist, in his report, "The Golden Calf of the Druzes", "Asia" (New
York, March,1926, pp. 220-227, 250-253).
Their figure is made out as
a small statue of a golden bull and the size is less than that of a small cat,
i.e. almost the same size as the figures of golden calves found in
Ashqelon and at Dan in Lebanon - again, as mentioned, exactly and in particular in
places inhabited by the Dan tribe, which carried on the cult of the Golden Calf.
Connected With the Sky
Apis, the holy bull of
Egypt, was the herald of Ptah, the creating god, a special channel to the
earthly sphere. Priests took omens of the movements of Apis in order to predict
the future, e.g. according to which of the two boxes Apis chose to enter; or
Apis was able to send oracle dreams to a person sleeping in the Apis Temple.
Apis bulls were selected early, i.e. when they were half bull half calf.
When worshipped in
the temples in Heliopolis, Ptah was also the god for the alchemists. Also
bulls, oxen, and cows of the Egyptian mythology, and in several other
mythologies, were in antiquity connected with the sky and the stars.
Likewise, the alchemy was strongly connected to star knowledge.
Ox or bull cults were not
always especially fertility cults - in contrary to what was early suggested
by researchers - and not an expression of "materialism"! This in contrary to
what was ascribed, much later in history, to a deceptive "symbolism as the
worship of the golden calf" - a stupid cliché. Neither the narrative nor the
remaining part of the Bible suggests such at all!
In fact the relation is
quite the opposite, as the Israelites voluntarily handed over the gold items
and jewellery, captured or stolen in Egypt, in order to obtain the casting
of the Golden calf. Later in the Bible the Golden Calf symbolizes "giving
up" of the right knowledge.
Alchemy Known Far Back in History
Was alchemy really known in the time of Moses 3,500 years ago? In fact, it
was known even further back in antiquity - alchemy has been known as long man
have been able to melt metals.
In the Bible's books
named "Job", "Isaiah", and "Malachi" and others, several alchemist
expressions can be seen. In "Daniel" 2:31-33 a dream is interpreted, it was
dreamt by the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar - and had a strongly
significant motive appearing with a giant figure of a man consisting of
gold, silver, copper, iron and clay.
In the alchemist
tradition Abraham is called "the first great alchemist" - and Miriam, Moses'
so-called sister, is called the first female alchemist. In fact, she seems
to have been a famous Jewish female alchemist in Egypt's main city
Alexandria in the Ptolemaic era, a time of much interest for magic and
alchemy - and here especially the 1,400 years elder Moses' name was invoked
on magical amulets and cited in magical papyri, by Jews and non-Jewish
Alchemy was understood not only as means for producing gold. The precious metal was among initiated
persons often considered a significant by-product only - while the very
process was meant to function as a parallel aid process for "mentally alchemical"
cleansing and refinement of the person who was deeply personally involved in working with the
A profound knowledge about these conditions was
to be perceived behind the "wisdom gold
of Egypt". And the mentioned gold dust is known from the opus of the alchemist,
i.e. person's performing a current process in which - after the albedo phase with
silver - gold dust appears in the work's last and highest phase, the
The gold dust produced in
this way is in alchemy also called (gold)panacea which
was believed to be a universal remedy being able to cure all illnesses, and
extremely prolong life, especially when the gold had been
made drinkable (aurum potabile).
From Alchemy to Medicine
Medicine was in fact an alchemist spin-off. It was used by famous
doctors like Greek Galénos (Galen), and later by Arabic Avicenna. Later in Europe the Danish pioneer astronomer Tycho Brahe (1546-1601) occupied as many as 16
alchemist furnaces in his star observatory (alchemy was closely related to
star knowledge) on the island of Hven, from where he distributed free
medicine for ill people.
Prior to this, the Swiss
doctor and alchemist Paracelsus (1493-1541) had renewed the old tradition of
doctors and founded the iatro or biochemical science - and invented
chemo-therapy, for instance by using alchemist "tools", mercury, against
syphilis. Paracelsus' admirers mention gold dust as a cure, a "gold cure"
also used today professionally against rheumatism.
There may be an entire
idealism behind the fact that Moses had the Israelites drink the alchemist
"all curing" remedy, i.e. panacea, made by the magic gold dust of the
Golden Calf, which symbolized the wisdom gold of Egypt.
Rather than a punishment
it can be symbolically understood as a remedy for creating a special state
of the entire Israelite group mentioned in the Books of Pentateuch to become
"... as a kingdom of Levites…." - a people established in a religious way
(Levites were of those Israelites who could be initiated as priests). The
prophet Malachi (3:3) says in an alchemical way that Yahweh at the "melting
pot" "... purifies the sons of Levi like gold and silver. ..."
Apis-bulls were chosen quite early when between calf and young bull.
Right: Golden calf, 15th century BC (Moses' era), found 1990 in Ashqelon, the
Dan-tribe's coastal area.
Moses as Alchemist - Well-known among Scholars of Antiquity
In manuscripts from the Alexandrian era, Moses is also mentioned as an
alchemist equal to King Solomon and to the famous female alchemist also known as
the Jewess Maria (Miriam). Influenced by contemporary mystery cults "the sister
of Moses" can be seen added to her name, and Moses can be seen in comparison
with Hermes Trismegistos, the personified epitome of Egyptian alchemy.
One reason for this can
be found in the perception that the Egyptians had taught Moses alchemy - and
later at Sinai the Qainites did so; like the Medianites they were experts in
Generally, among the
ancient descriptions, in which Moses is mentioned as an alchemist, it seems that
none of them refers to episodes of the biblical Moses narrative which contains
obvious alchemist characteristics.
One of these biblical
episodes is the narrative (Exodus 32:20) about the Golden Calf which by
order of Moses was destroyed to pieces and then pulverized, after which the
gold dust was mixed into the drinking water for the Israelites. The incident
is mentioned as a punishment - and that is a peculiarity.
In alchemy this kind of
"consumption" of gold is known as the special phase rubedo of an alchemist
process. Such process may have been introduced to the Israelites as a
symbolic action, which also demonstrates detailed knowledge of alchemy
reaching further back than hitherto known regarding ancient Egyptian and
When alchemy was known
for leading to a special kind of medicine production, thus there also could be
produced substances aiming at an opposite reaction, i.e. provoking of illness.
In another other episode, Aaron and Moses participated in the preparation of one
of the "ten plagues of Egypt" mentioned in the "Book of Exodus" (9:8-11) and
they were thus instructed:
"... Take to you handfuls of ashes of the furnace, and let Moses sprinkle it
toward heaven in the sight of Pharaoh. And it shall become small dust in all the
land of Egypt, and shall be a boil breaking forth with blains upon man, and upon
beasts ... And the magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils;
and the boil was upon all the magicians, and upon all the Egyptians. ..."
producing a special chemical material must have taken place in the furnace. It
must have been dangerous, as the pulverized material spread in the atmosphere
and caused what seems like real infectious abscesses and blisters among the
Egyptians and their cattle.
explanation might be that secretly and under cover of the night Moses had his
many agents poison the most important wells with a rapidly infectious remedy -
and then participate in the mentioned performance in order to give the
impression that he might have been the reason for the epidemic. Whatever the
method, the goal was achieved.
A Philosophical and Spiritual Discipline
At the European Universities in the Middle Ages and Renaissance astrology as
a philosophical system was a subject for prescribed studies - first and
foremost in order to better understand the philosophers of antiquity who
dealt with these matters.
Regarding the concepts
and goals of alchemy, it was a philosophical system intended to be practiced
with intensive devotion and a profoundly integral approach to reality. In
some ways alchemy is akin to Buddhism which is also a kind of applied and
practical system with philosophical premises and intended for spiritual
The work by the
alchemists included dealing with carefully selected plants - e.g. together
with "influenced" water, i.e. dew collected in the mornings at certain times
of the year. Also by this
herbal medicine the "spagyrical" art was in action, an expression the
alchemists used as connected with to "separate and to join together" (solve
In addition, the
alchemists worked much for that the process should result with the
"philosopher's stone", lapis philosophorum, a legendary product
which, when pulverized, was included in the process of transmuting common
metals into gold - as well as contributing to creating the panacea.
Alchemy - Practised by the Rosicrucians and Astrologers
In the 1100-1300's, the
heyday of the Knights Templar, they were believed to have adopted a special
knowledge handed down from biblical and old Oriental tradition, including
Egypt. When all of a sudden they were persecuted and disappeared from
history, many parts of the ancient knowledge and treasures could be found
kept or preserved at other fraternities - e.g. the Scottish Order - and the
Portuguese Order of Christ, where Prince Henrique O Navigador was Grand
Master, or other societies to which many escaped Knights Templar were
Devotees of the old
Egyptian-Oriental knowledge of the "Corpus Hermeticum", the ancient work of
Hermes Trismegistus, are called Hermetics. When the Hermetical and
alchemistic orientated Tycho Brahe deduced auguries from astrology about
Europe and wrote about these in his "De nova stella" (1573), he also placed
the Bible - in the Hermetics' way - into an non-ecclesiastical and greater
Many others were inspired
by the ideas in "Corpus Hermeticum". Thus the Rosicrucians and the
Freemasons included in their systems this work's special impression together
with the interest of the still so mysterious Egyptian wisdom.
In the Renaissance,
"Fama", a famous book on the philosophical knowledge of the Rosicrucians,
also informs about Christian Rosenkreuz or Rosenkreutz (1378-1484), the
founder of the society, that he was studying in the Orient: alchemy and the
"secrets of the universe", as well as the metaphysical text(s) of Hermes
Trismegistus, i.e. "Corpus Hermeticum". And in Morocco he studied with
Oriental Jews, who had maintained secret traditions, e.g. the Kabbalah in a
The "Fama" was printed in
1614 in the German town of Kassel, the residence of Prince Mouritz of Hesse;
he knew Tycho Brahe, who had visited his father here, the previous prince,
with whom he had an extensive co-operation and correspondence about
astronomy and alchemy. Also Michael Maier, a well-known German doctor,
published a number of texts on alchemy knowledge, when he was employed at
the court of the Prince of Hesse.
Many charlatans have
tried on practicing some of the secrete teachings, in particular the
alchemy, but also some mysterious cases are known and have not been seen
explained as illusion and fraud: the so-called forever young Count of Saint
Germain. Voltaire himself wrote wrote about him, "... a person who does not
die and who knows everything ...". When finally he died after all -
accidentally in 1784 during an unfortunate poison research - it took place
still at this house of Princes, now ruled by Carl of Hesse.
In England, Sir Francis
Bacon was inspired by the Rosicrucian knowledge. And Robert Fludd
(1574-1637), an Oxford educated doctor, who became the philosophical heir to
John Dee, Queen Elizabeth I’s court astrologer, published in 1616 a defense
for the Rosicrucians (whom Fludd - as being a Hermetist - could support). In
this he emphasized: that they were the true Christians and the
spiritual descendants of Hermes Trismegistus.
Alchemists' retort-oven, a version from the Renaissance.
Alchemy, Newton - and Tycho Brahe's Earthly Astrology
Great scientists as Tycho Brahe and Isaac Newton were also seriously
occupied with astrology and alchemy.
Tycho Brahe stated that he had spend as much time for the stars as
he had spend for the alchemy which he called "the earthly astronomy" - a
special art of science which later also Newton intensively attended to.
Was Isaac Newton also Occupied With Astrology?
Isaac Newton (1642-1727) - who, based on Kepler's laws on planetary
movements, eventually found the principles of the law of gravitation
(published in 1687) - dealt with astrology like Kepler and even like his
brilliant colleague in Germany, Leibnitz. Their interest in astrology was,
not the least, in connection with weather forecasts, on which Tycho Brahe
already had experimented.
Nevertheless, it has been
tried later to reject that the impressive capacity of Newton with his
reputation for having "the highest IQ in history" - only comparable to few
persons, e.g. Goethe and Leibnitz - should have accepted "superstition" of
this kind or the similar.
One of the most
distinguished researchers on Newton is D.T. Whiteside, historian of
science, has said (quoted by T.G. Cowling, 1977) that he had never found any reference to
astrology among the many millions of words preserved from the hand of
Newton. However, something is peculiar also here: all his life Newton was
extremely interested in alchemy, and this implies unavoidably that he must
even very detailed have dealt with astrological basic conditions (but not
necessarily including 'prediction' features).
All modern, serious
science historians with this period as their subject have to know this, so
why repress this matching relation?
Isaac Newton's Million Words On Alchemy
What several Newton researchers could not explain away was the fact that in
addition to his own collection of 169 books on alchemy, Newton left many
manuscripts of his own with near a million words about alchemy.
A similar amount of
written material on mysticism were also found including codes (!) contained
in The Revelation of St. John the Divine - all his life he was occupied with
this biblical text.
Newton was also occupied in details with the numbers of the
dimensions of the Solomon Temple as well as with other biblical prophecies
and chronology. (Others claim that he was secretly attached to an order of
the Knights Templar, the later main residence of which, i.e. Rosslyn Chapel,
has the same exact measures as the Solomon temple).
During most of his life Isaac Newton, who in addition learnt Hebrew, worked
also with the codes of the Bible, inspired from his reading of "the last
days" in "the Book of Daniel" and "the Revelation"he believed he was on the
track. Based on this, Newton computed the end or radical change of the world
to be in the year 2060. Through all his life he wrote much more about the
religious founded subjects than about science.
When John Maynard Keynes
(1883-1946), the political or national economist, found Newton’s notebooks,
originally stowed away at the Cambridge University in 1696, he was much
surprised also to find here - and this let alone what concerns esoteric
theology - almost one million words especially about a hidden code in the
In 1936 Keynes bought the
Newton papers at an auction and translated their code language. The Jerusalem
University bought 4,000 other Newton papers. According to Keynes' work, "Essays and
Sketches in Biography" (1956, pp. 280-290), Newton wrote that:
"... the Bible and
the universe are a cryptogram created by God Almighty ...", - and:
"... the essence of the Bible is a prophecy about the history of man ...".
Regarding the creation of the world as presented by Moses in the Bible, Newton also wrote:
"... Moses, that ancient Theologue, describing and expressing ye
most wonderful Architecture of this great world, tells us
that ye spirit of God moved upon ye waters which was an
indigested chaos, or mass created before by God ...",
"... Just as the world was created from dark chaos through the
bringing forth of the light and through the separation of
the aery firmament and of the waters from the earth, so our
work brings forth the beginning out of black chaos and its
first matter through the separation of the elements and the
illumination of matter. ..."
manuscript on his interest in the religion.
Correspondances Between Stars and Elements?
Concerning alchemy, it can be pointed out that for example Tycho Brahe openly confirms the
connection between alchemy and astrology. In 1588, in one of his letters he
"... it is important to demonstrate that the celestial planets are
corresponding to the seven kinds of metal on Earth and in human beings to
the seven most important organs. All this is even so beautifully and
harmoniously arranged that it seems close to be one and the same function,
kind, and nature. In this way the sun and the moon are corresponding with the
most outstanding metals to gold and silver, and, by man, to two of the most
important organs, the heart and the brain ...".
And when Brahe was
producing medicine it was developed on the basis of a general point of view
that the planets could be related to human organs. This meant for instance
that because the sun was related to the heart, a heart disease cure might be
drinking of water containing pulverized gold (connecting the sun).
Brahe and other alchemists seem to have been working among other things
from basis of a special correspondence between the matter of sulphur and the
brightest shining star in the sky, Sirius, activated when passed (i.e.
passing the Sirius meridian) by the sun which was connected to gold in an
In an introductory
oration to the course of lectures which Tycho Brahe gave at the University of
Copenhagen in 1574, he defended astrology on the grounds of correspondences
between the heavenly bodies, terrestrial substances (metals, stones, etc.)
and bodily organs (medical astrology).
The correspondence between alchemy and astrology was understood to be extremely close. Tycho Brahe named his astronomical research: "the celestial
alchemy". And correspondingly, in his autobiography "Mechanica" he wrote
about his commitment to alchemy:
"... I have spent far from a small amount of care concerning alchemy
investigations and chemical experiments. The material they deal with includes a good share of analogy with the celestial bodies and their
effects, which is why I usually call this science 'the earthly astrology'
Tycho Brahe states in his
book "De Nova Stella" on his discovery of the supernova (1572) that his
findings do not contradict Moses' account about the creation of the world
with its heavens and elements.
In fact, among alchemists
this very first biblical event, the Genesis, which Moses presented, was
always considered an alchemy-process!
In later time it has been criticized why a man of Newton's intelligence was established "only" as
the country's coin master by the British state. However, this was not only providing a good, regular income for him, but the office may also have been
entrusted to him because of his alchemy-knowledge about metals. Some kinds of
practice of alchemy was not prohibited - for instance John Dee resumed his
practising alchemy and got an official licence for this from Queen Elisabeth I.
Also, King Christian IV
of Denmark (1596-1648) was occupying an alchemist as his coin master - who had his work shop
in the gardens of Rosenborg Castle at Copenhagen. A similar kind of work -
besides to be an adviser - was apparently promised to Tycho Brahe by Bohemian
Emperor, Rudolph II.
Newton's Experiments With Regulus, the 'Basilisk'
Special expressions are found in the Newton papers on his alchemy
experiments, e.g. "the Starry Regulus of antimony and Mars" or
"Martial Regulus", as well as "Lunar Regulus" and "Venusian
Regulus". Thus Mars, Luna (the moon), and Venus are references to iron,
silver, and cobber, the parent metals. And antimony - from Greek anti
plus mono means that 'this does not come alone' - was often used
as the name of antimony, the very metal, which later was also called
stibium. It is being extracted from stibnite, a mineral appearing in the
form of prismatic crystals.
And finally the
designation Regulus, which is the name of one of the five brightest
stars in the sky, the constellation of Leo's main star, also mentioned by
its original Greek name, i.e. Basilikos. Copernicus, the astronomer,
successfully re-named it by translating it into Latin as Regulus, and
the name is apparently mutually inspired by alchemy terminology. In Greek
basilisk means 'a savage monster, the basilisk', as well as 'little
king'; the latter is also the meaning of Regulus, the Latin form of
philosophers", i.e. the alchemists, had great expectations to the aid of
antimony (insensitive to air) mixed with gold - a homunculus feature
(cf. little king) - and that this silver-white coloured metal, i.e.
antimony, would lead them to the development of "the philosophers' stone",
the miraculous material.
An alchemy process
involving antimony may develop into a special raw metal result called
Regulus, a name just introduced here by the alchemists. Among them it
was first and foremost related with antimony. The classical parent metals
could be used for extraction of antimony (stibnite) in order to "trim"
(reduce/cleanse) the metallic substance - which then became for instance
Regulus of Venus (with cobber) or Regulus of Jupiter (with
When metallic antimony is
being purified in coal fire, it must sink to the bottom in a container
or a melting pot, and the appearing small, regularly shaped lump must be
subject to several purifications in order to "develop" Regulus the Star.
On the bottom of the container is to be found what will appear to be the
Metaphorically, there are
many references to constellations for instance the Raven (Corvus) or
the black crow, which is a constellation in the celestial section of Virgo.
Or the Eagle - the celestial constellation Aquila, (Jupiter's)
Eagle, which in alchemy was an amalgam containing Mercurium, i.e.
mercury. Newton is referring directly to that "the black crow" (black
scoria) and 2 purgations (purifications) with potassium nitrate (may take
3-4 purgations) will develop a silver-shining largely serrated star.
Unless this stage with
the star is passed, "the right regulus" or (continuation of) his work is not
present. Newton writes for instance about such a process that "... the
Regulus - after a purgation or two - starred very well ...". The nuclear
structure seems to be changing during purification - improvement.
Newton used the
expression "starred" in the most literate perception: when cooling of
crystal forms on the fluid metallic surface had created triangular branches
around a centre point and produced the image of a real geometrically
structured, considerably large "silver" star!
Left: Creation of Regulus(-Martial) showing clearly the
starry pattern in the substance of antimony metal.
Right: Title page of the Tycho Brahe autobiography also showing
his Hermetic motto - "What I see upwards, I see below".
Prometheus' Fire - and Metaphysical Insight
Alchemy's contributions were, in all, immense concerning
modern chemical industries, not the least the modern medicine,
nuclear science, and research on astronomy and space.
And what alchemy has
mattered as being important to an edifying kind of
philosophy and spiritual insight is especially impressing.
In a Deeper Sense
The alchemists worked to obtain sublimation of spirit, mind, body, and
earthly elements - for instance the body is seen variously described as the
"retort" and the "vessel of distillation".
The concept of alchemy
included medicine manufacturing, chemistry, goldsmiths' work, and alchemy
both as a transmutation of base metals into gold and as a esoteric chemical
inspired philosophic process of the mind. Many alchemists were serious
researchers who led a tight control on their experiments. Many alchemists
were serious researchers who conducted a tight control on their experiments.
Alchemists invented early
forms of some of the laboratory equipment used today, including filters,
crucibles, laboratory beakers and special stirring rods. They also
discovered and purified a number of chemical elements, including mercury,
sulfur, and arsenic. And the methods they developed to separate mixtures and
purify compounds by distillation and extraction, are still important.
From alchemy a lot of new
products were born - the invention of gunpowder (by Chinese alchemists), ore testing and refining, metalworking, and enhanced products of ink, dyes,
paints, cosmetics, modern leader tanning, ceramics- and glass manufacture,
preparation of extracts and liquors, alcohol chemistry, and distillation
Earlier, when alchemy was known as the spagyric art after Greek words meaning
"to separate and to join together", this concept was also connected with an
observation that three precious metals - gold, silver, and copper - had some
characteristic qualities in common.
Another observation was
the important fact which fascinated the alchemists that three special metals
were of almost similar heaviness in weight: gold (nuclear weight 79),
mercury (80), and lead (82). This could be observed without knowing anything
about the later nuclear physics.
Thus, one of the concepts
was that at a certain point in the alchemist's process it should be possible
to, so to speak, "push" the nature of the metal lead to make a change into the
nature of the metal gold - by adding purifying fire, energy, to obtain the
changed content which in this case also had a small, desired loss in mass/weight. The fluent metal mercury, with its weight between lead
and gold, was supposed to contribute to carrying the process through -
during a certain transmutation process.
When the alchemist
personally was closely involved all the way through the process this would
thereby magically "facilitate spiritual awakening". In addition, if the
physical resulting product gold should appear, then it should be considered as a
sign of the right purification had been executed - as a parallel to the
The Modern Transmutation
The nature of chemical processes was only understood in a modern sense
when Greek element of fire itself came to be understood as also especially
being a process, and the French scientist, Lavoisier, just prior to the French revolution, was then able to
investigate the chemical elements in its tiniest detail. These observations
were carried out by the British researcher John Dalton, in ca. 1808, turned into a
modern concept of atomic theory.
After this development
also the world picture of knowledge in its hitherto wholeness of
spirituality and matter had became more split up - with an emphasis on
the mechanical-technical part. Later, according to nuclear physicist
Wolfgang Pauli - a scientific discussion partner of Carl Jung - the modern science eventually again will bring us closer to a more
satisfactory conception of a relationship between "psyche and physique".
By the knowledge
of today's nuclear physics the ancient alchemistic idea of changing e.g. the
metal lead to the metal gold is considered as a fantastic difficult or only
possible with an unbelievable supply of energy. In stead, modern nuclear
'transmutation' is the conversion of one chemical element or isotope into
another through nuclear reaction.
The German chemist Otto
Hahn (1879-1968) received the 1944 Nobel Prize in chemistry for discovering
nuclear fission (in 1938). He is considered a pioneer of radioactivity and
radiochemistry. American nuclear physicist Glenn T. Seaborg (1912-1999), who discovered
the radioactive metal/element Plutonium in 1940, deemed Hahn "the father of
nuclear chemistry". Hahn was also called the "founder of the atomic age" by
Very early in
history it was considered traditionally knowledge that seven celestial
bodies were supposed connected with the seven "classic" metal elements - the
planet Mars with iron, Venus with copper, Jupiter with pewter, Mercury with
mercury ("quicksilver"), Saturn with lead, the Moon with silver, and the Sun
with gold. And often Terra, the Earth, with antimony. The alchemists, and
later e.g. scientists as the Rudolf Steiner oriented researcher Lili Kolisko
(1893-1976) according to their experiments have experienced much relevance
in cases about such connections.
first discovery of any new planet was Uranus in 1781 and consequently the first
new metal, discovered in 1789, was named Uranium. The next two new metals,
Neptunium and Plutonium both discovered, and in that order, in 1940 were
immediately named after the "likewise" next new planets, Neptune (of 1846) and Pluto (of
In Berlin, another German
chemist, Lise Meitner (1878-1968), had worked closely together
with Otto Hahn on the nuclear fission - but had to escape from Germany because
of her Jewish background. The Greek word atom means 'no division
possible', but Lise Meitner was the first person to realize - as a modern
Miriam the Jewess, the so-called "Moses' sister" and expert on the
alchemist art "to separate and to join together" - that the nucleus of an
atom could separate in itself, i.e. to become split into smaller parts.
uranium nuclei had split to form barium and krypton, accompanied by the
ejection of several neutrons and a large amount of energy (the latter
two products accounting for the loss in mass).
A Magnum Opus of Science
A letter from the Danish nuclear physicist and philosopher, Niels Bohr
(1885-1962), commenting on the fact that the amount of energy released when uranium atoms
are bombarded was far larger than had been
predicted by calculations based on a non-fissile core, had sparked off the above
inspiration in December of 1938. Hahn claimed that his chemistry had been
solely responsible for the discovery, although he had been unable to explain
the results. In fact, a surviving correspondence indicates that Hahn had
believed nuclear fission was impossible
It was politically
impossible for the exiled Meitner to publish jointly
with Hahn in 1939. Hahn published the chemical findings in January 1939 and
two months later Meitner with her nephew, physicist Otto Robert Frisch,
published the physical explanation and named the process "nuclear fission".
In addition, Meitner realized the probability or a chain reaction of enormous
explosive potential. A most important report - the impression of which also lead
to the establishment of The Manhattan Project where the nuclear bomb was to
be developed - and by this recalling the Greek myth about Prometheus
stealing the transforming fire from the gods.
From the antiquity we can
read in Hesiod's "Works and Days" (7th century BC) that Zeus had
warned: "... Prometheus, you are
glad that you have outwitted me and stolen fire ... but I will give men as
the price for fire an evil thing in which they may all be glad of heart
while they embrace their own destruction ...", (from Hesiod: "The
Homeric Hymns and Homerica", I, (transl. H.G. Evelyn-White), Loeb Classical
Library, vol. 57, org. 1914). - In addition with Hesiod, other Greek and Roman
authors from Plato to Ovid and some dozens more have retold and
embellished through 800 years the - alchemy- (and nuclear-)aspectual - myth of Prometheus.
Moses describing the Creation of the World - an Alchemical Process
The alchemists considered the biblical Genesis, i.e. on the creation of the
world - according to tradition described by Moses - being a gigantic
alchemical process, "the Opus of God".
In ancient history, Moses as highly educated in
Egypt became famous among the later Greek philosophers because he was the
first and earliest known person in history to teach and write about the very
idea that "anything, at all, existed before the creation". The Bible's
opening statement in Genesis introduces the concept of pre-creation
elements, including light, darkness, will, and distinction, all of which are
substantial qualities of what was required to initiate primal patterns that
would structure and urge creation.
The alchemist idea of a
process of one element transmuting into the next element and so on - today
being considered "outmost difficult" concerning the alchemists' favourite
metals - is actually taking place every time a star changes into a supernova
and opens for the strongest outburst of energy in the universe. Up till
then, the star has all the way during its lifetime transformed helium via
fusion into more and more heavy elements, until the metal of iron has been
The universe is
structured as patterns of tension-systems of infinite differences. By this,
already Pascal and, in turn, Arnauld, Leibniz, Helmholz, Planck, Einstein,
and Bohr predicted nuclear power: tensions so immense that a tiniest wobble
in the balance may cause destruction of all existence. J. Robert
Oppenheimer, a leading father of the nuclear bomb, stated that he recognized
such or similar kind of forces already mentioned in the
religious-philosophical text of ancient India, "Baghavad-Gîta".
Alchemists as Empirical Philosophers
Among the alchemists both the transmutation of more common metals into
gold, and the universal panacea, symbolized evolution from an imperfect,
diseased, corruptible and ephemeral state towards a perfect, healthy,
incorruptible and everlasting state; and the philosopher's stone then
represented some mystic key that would make this evolution possible.
Throughout months and
even years of repeating and repeating certain purification processes and
observations, the growing experience then became empirical knowledge founded
in the individual alchemist.
Tycho Brahe was
the first in science to develop and use empirical methodology in
practice - as mentioned, up to at least 40 years before Francis Bacon wrote
about just such a method. Brahe could have been inspired and encouraged to
develop this method by his daily exercise through more than 20 years of
specifically carrying out the hermeticians' procedure: the numerous
repetitions - controlled repetitions for bringing forward the final
product of alchemistic processes. A technology with roots in ancient Egypt. And by, in effect, repeating
Brahe's method Newton seems (in his work on optics) analyzing light in the
same thorough manner as conducted by alchemy.
Many alchemists viewed
the metaphysical aspects of their work as the true foundation of alchemy; and organic
and inorganic chemical substances, physical states, and
molecular material processes as mere metaphors for spiritual entities,
spiritual states and ultimately, spiritual transformations.
Applied to the alchemist himself, the twin goal symbolized his evolution
from ignorance to enlightenment, and the stone represented some hidden
spiritual truth or power that would lead to that goal. During the era of the
Inquisition this could bring alchemists under charges of heresy.
To alchemy, again and
again the world of stars and planets is intimately connected, a fact often
much absent in modern attempts of describing alchemy. In the world of matter
in an alchemist version, for instance from Basil Valentine (Basilius
Valentinus, 15th century), the sulphur by having the ability of "dealing
with fire", represents an ability of the soul, while mercury was
representing the spirit, and salt representing the body being a motive power
of transformation. The concept makes a certain astro-alchemical interplay
more clear when the sun (as a main radiating point of light), represented by
gold (incorruptible and by itself imperishable as the soul), in the sky conjuncts the
meridian of the most important and largest star, Sirius, representing sulphur.
world picture was that the material universe was composed of - in essence -
mercury and sulphur. According to another stage, it was gold and sulphur.
And for representing the soul directly there was the gold, always
incorruptible, always known for its ability to resist decay and chemical
attack. The Chinese alchemist Ko-Hung was quoted for saying:
gold, if melted hundred times, will not be spoiled. ..."
Gold appear as being the universal
prize in all cultures, in all ages, and to most people gold becomes valuable
because it is scarce - but to alchemists all over the world gold was
precious because it was incorruptible.
The oldest preserved written
reference to alchemy might be from Egypt but behind alchemy's allegoric
terminology it would hardly be recognized by the Egyptologist, however,
another most ancient source is from China and tells how to make gold and use
it to prolong life.
The internal meaning of
the process is, however, deeply interesting. From a modern point of view the
process of making gold is of course seen as purely symbolic and during this there was never produced a real lump of the metal gold.
As to how a metallurgy
scientist of the tradition of modern technological culture would express it,
it would actually be like for instance:
"As to demonstrating the metallurgical process originally described in
alchemical terms it will be impossible, since for the most part these
descriptions of transmogrification of "gross substances" - through a
sequence of less to more powerful or valuable materials, i.e. stone or lead
to gold - has no rational basis and looks as being mostly based on wishful
thinking. Note that in the radioactive decay process the end product is
lead, and it seems that the alchemists have got it backwards."
The Fire - Prometheus' Gift - a Factor of Transmutation
In alchemy fire was one of the most important factors - purifying and
transforming - and hereby rejoining material elements into new combinations.
A special mystery is connected with man's relation to fire being the only
one of the four Greek elements that no animal has.
The Greek myth about
Prometheus - his name means 'forethought' - relates that he stole the
element of fire from the gods and gave it to the human beings. There
was, certainly, much more to it than no longer having to eat raw food or
shiver in the cold of the night - and the animals naturally fearing the
warning light of fire no longer dared attack.
The idea of Prometheus'
action was well-known in antiquity. According to ancient India's religious
texts, the Rig Veda
(3:9.5), the hero Mataricvan recovered fire, which had been hidden from
mankind. In an ancient Finnish (not Samian) poem, later re-written as the
"Kalevala", original Middle East features can be found about the fire light was
hidden but then given as a spark handed over by a divine, reborn sun-prince who -
like Moses - came up from a chest floating on the river.
In the Americas, in the
Cherokee myths, Algonquin myths, and among Creek Indians and also various
Native American tribes of the Pacific Northwest - the narrative was that the fire was stolen. And
in Polynesian myth, too, the fire was stolen and brought to man.
bringing of the divine fire unleashed a flood of inventiveness and
productivity. Through getting hold on the fire Prometheus had acquired
secret knowledge. "Adam ate the fruit of knowledge and was thrown out of
Eden for it" - and Prometheus stole the fire and was severely punished for
giving man the power to become like the gods, the immortals.
The Tinder Box
Man created the fire - besides the method of rubbing two sticks together -
by striking flint against iron pyrite to make tiny, high-temperature chips
break away as sparks. It was common in the late Palaeolithic period (older
Stone age, hunters' Stone Age), going back 20,000 years.
Many folk tales - often
from original parables used in the initiation cults - contain a psychical
language with many conspicuous alchemist symbols. Inspired from e.g. the
Scandinavian folk tale, "The Spirit in the Candle", Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875) used such
elements in his fairy tale "The Tinder Box" (1835). This magic fire tool
could control three very big, magical dogs. (Andersen also wrote a novel
about the misery of an alchemist: "Valdemar Daae and his Daughters", - and
Andersen's friend, the Danish pharmacist H.C. Oersted, was the great
discoverer of electro-magnetism, a significant leap regarding that this Dr.
Oersted's academic teacher also was an alchemist).
Regarding Hans Christian Andersen's "The
Tinder Box": - the star Sirius, which in alchemy seems connected with sulfur for
obtaining gold, had, all over the ancient world, an extra name, Greater Dog (in
Egypt Sirius also connects with the jackal-dog god Anubis), and is located in
the sky very near other dog-designated stars such as Procyon. In Andersen's
fairy tale the three dogs to protect boxes with precious metal are arranged in
the "right" alchemistic order of their treasures, respectively of copper, silver,
and gold - with the gold hidden under the greater dog!
The protagonist in this
tale gets rich, then poor, but gets all treasures back again, and became a king,
when remembering using his spark which he found in his "underground" root level.
In principle as in biblical "Book of Job" - a true alchemistic individuation
conquests were indispensable for development of modern industrial chemistry
however, from the start alchemy also contributed especially to personal development processes.
Opus, Transmutation - and Jung
The concept of the alchemists' the Great Work goes far back in history.
A late use of the term for it was very much seen in
medieval European alchemy - and refers to the successful completion of the
transmutation of base matter into gold, or to the creation of the
philosopher's stone - as well as the idea of personal transmutation. The
last phenomenon was much re-studied and discussed by Carl Jung.
Alchemy - Hermeticism - Psychology
The alchemists often called their practice simply, magnum opus, Latin
for 'the Great Work'. This was
much used as a metaphor for spiritual transformation in the
Hermetic tradition, i.e. the handed over practice based on ancient
Egyptian-Greek wisdom from much older sources, which later in antiquity was collected in a book called "Corpus Hermeticum".
The opus or the Great
Work was known as a sequence of stages with exotic Latin names. The mystic
interpretation of the opus' three stages would often be: - Nigredo(-putrefactio), blackening(-putrefaction):
individuation, purification, burnout of impureness - also called Sol
Niger; - Albedo, whitening: spiritualization, enlightenment; - Rubedo, reddening: unification of man with god, unification
of the limited with the unlimited.
There is a persistent belief in alchemic and Hermetic tradition - and in some esoteric astrology
as well - concerning the existence of two suns: a hidden one of pure "philosophical gold" consisting of the essential
conjoined with the earlier supposed light-bearing medium, the ether (aether),
- and the apparent one of profane "material gold".
The number and sequence
of stages differs depending on the goal and the person's experience - and
could also be: - Solutio, - Nigredo, - Calcinatio, - Coagulatio, etc.
It is well-known that the
alchemist process - having many stages with parallels
to the individuation process - expresses the alchemist's road map and in fact reflecting many of the steps of initiations in the mystery
The Great Work of Psyche and Matter
Alchemy concepts occur in the psyche as part of the reservoir of
mythological images drawn upon by the individuals in their dream states.
Therefore Swiss psychiatrist pioneer Carl Gustav Jung (1875–1961)
interpreted the old alchemical texts in terms of his analytical psychology as being
means for obtaining individuation, actually corresponding with the
old manuscripts' account on the act of alchemy - to the successful
completion of the transmutation of base matter into gold or the creation of
the philosopher's stone - thus having seemed to improve the mind and
spirit of the alchemist.
Jung draws an analogy
between the great work of the alchemists and the process in the modern psychiatric patient's
psychological goal or 'great work' of psychic and spiritual reintegration or
wholeness through the individuation process.
A development through the
individuation process means a lot more than being a true individuality. It involves a profound maturation, responsibility, ethics, experience, and
universal insight, however not two persons or their developments are equal or
fulfill a 'perfect' ideal, and there would still be much for them to take care of in
their new situation as a competent initiation level to operate from.
In the jungle cultures a hunter
can untiringly pursue his prey for many days and nights, and when having gone through some magic rituals he unites his mind and spirit with his prey
and will be able in advance to understand its course by how it feels and reacts.
He respects the animal almost as it was a sacred being, and in his mind he
makes a pact with it so that all what is going to be done to this
prey should serve a higher order. By his state of being humble and pure, in
his own soul this man has set his will to win - and he wins. Likewise the alchemist,
untiring, is carrying out his demanding work almost ritually, pursuing
and literally uniting himself with his opus' material - it all opens his mind
to insight into the universe and the life essence.
Swiss psychiatrist and influential thinker, Carl Gustav Jung (1875–1961),
the worlds of dreams, mythology, world religions, Eastern and Western
as well as alchemy, astrology, sociology, literature, and the arts.
Alchemy as diverse practice
French author Eliphas Levi (1810-1875) as well as Carl G. Jung are contemporary interpreters of the
material - rich in tradition - about alchemy. Here, the two researchers had
searched for or emphasized on particular areas containing the
But alchemy included both
these forms and a more 'everyday' chemistry (e.g. at a pharmacy) and
metallurgy (e.g. at a goldsmith), and a great many people dealt mainly or
exclusively with these features. It might be compared with that the
designation 'mathematician' was used in Europe up till the 1800's both for a
mathematical expert as well as an astronomer and astrologer - but sometimes,
however, all the three specialties were conducted with great skill by one
and the same person.
The fact that alchemy
often makes use of religious and cosmological ideas to explain the processes
does not necessarily include that a person also involves himself personally
by integrating through a kind of personification in these alchemistic
Jung has put forward the
idea of the inner road. He brought his impressions in connection with the
context of Gnosticism - which teachings in any case must be seen not as
one-sided but as a rather diverse world of ideas - and although his
teachings by themselves are definitely not wrong, it is a fact that also
many of the early alchemists seem to have interpreted the process in that
way. They took it more rarely as by a psychological concept, but rather a
religious one (as did Paracelsus).
Moses - and Light of Nature
In the old texts it can also be seen that it was often more in the symbolic
sense that a gold production was understood, it is frequently a metaphor for
reaching the gold-like (yellow) material in the alchemists' bottle. In this way, the
process was perfected, i.e. it goes through negrido (black) and
'silver'-like (white) to 'gold' (yellow). For example, similar is known from
heraldic descriptions where the colour white in the coat of arms' symbolism
preferably is called silver and, likewise, yellow is mentioned as gold.
But in the light of the
alchemists who intended to "walk all the way" and the spiritual interested
persons eagerly sponsored costly books on alchemy - with engravings showing
religious and cosmologic designs including e.g. a kind of fertilization
between 'heaven' and 'earth', etc. and archetypal traces with the
development of personal transmutation - it is evident that there were always
groups that took alchemy very seriously as a spiritual path.
This approach also proved
to be workable alongside that the people involved were Christian believers
too (even Paracelsus himself and Tycho Brahe are examples of this).
Such people focused on achieving greater knowledge embedded in "Light of
Nature" - and Paracelsus says about this lumen natura:
"… Look at Adam and Moses and others. They sought in themselves what was in
man and have revealed it and all kabbalistic arts and they knew nothing
alien to man neither from Devil nor from the spirits, but derived their
knowledge from Light of Nature. This they nurtured in themselves …",
(Paracelsus: "The vita longa", 1562, p. 56, - quoted and translated from
Latin in "C.G. Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 13, Alchemical Studies",
London 1967, p. 113).
The Mathematical-Geometrical 'Fixation'
From all the ancient cultures accounts exist about the smiths and
metalworkers who obtained amazing skills by their transforming metals from
impure to pure, and from hard to flexible and again to a new hardness - or
in perfection of alloys. The smiths learned special "mantras" of
special length to chant for making exact time measures to the precise length
of each step of melting or casting. The smiths were often regarded as a kind
of magicians and priests.
According to Moses, the
first smith was Abel's son, Qain (Cain) - it is a Semitic word for 'smith'.
Although this symbolical account in the Bible presents Qain killing his
brother, it also says that he was - in connection with a promise or a
pact - provided with a mark on his forehead, - later often seen
interpreted as "the third eye", thus a special insight. The
biblical narrative also says that Qain's descendants often were smiths
and musicians. It was exactly from a
smith that Pythagoras learned - by "the different sounds from hitting spots on different distances
on the anvil" - so he could construct his mathematically based distinction
and structure of the notes of music.
Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832), was a true polymath - with his works of
poetry, drama, literature, theology, humanism, and science. Goethe's magnum
opus, lauded as one of the peaks of world literature, is the two-part
dramatic poem Faust.
The name "Faust" seems inspired from Faustulus, the royal herd who found the
two princes, the twin
brothers Romulus and Remus, being feed by the wolf-dog, symbol of the star
Sirius. When Faust walks with his student Wagner they are followed by a dog
- a poodle. Goethe's phrase in German, "des Pudels Kern" ('the core of the
poodle'), means the real nature or deeper meaning of something (that was not
evident before). The dog, the poodle, is significant here and transforms into the devil, and Faust makes an arrangement, a pact, with the devil
for Faust's mastering the material or matter. According to Carl Jung, "Faust" is an
alchemical drama from beginning to end.
Doctor John Dee, the
Elizabethan mathematician, astrologer, philosopher and magus, had attempted
and was said to have succeed in creating a homunculus (i.e. 'little man', often by certain conditions as a 'little king'). The same was said
about Paracelsus. And it could have inspired Goethe so that the sorcerer
Faust's student, Wagner, creates a homunculus.
Later, the great composer
bearing the same kind of name, Wagner - Richard Wagner (1818-1883) - always
wrote even the scenario and libretto for his works himself. Also he was so much
inspired by folk tales and the ancient myths - and used a psychical language
also with alchemist symbols.
A Danish writer, Jurij
Moskvitin, mathematician, philosopher, concert pianist, and composer
(1938-2005), told about a dream he had a night in the autumn of 2004, and
also repeated his account in a television documentary: he was standing on a
moving band, moving as an assembly line, but suddenly it broke and he
fell off. He was about to mend the band or tape when voice from above said
it actually would take care of itself, and he saw it turning into the
special double helix, the dna-molecule. In the same time there was loudly
Richard Wagner's music of "Tristan and Isolde" - and in that moment Jurij
discovered that in a special level Wagner with his musical notes had been
mathematically exact expressing the dna-geometry, completely fitting. A message with a most important discovery of the unity of such universal
factors, and that no stop is real, the dna ensures a continuity. (However, what Jurij did not knew consciously - and so sadly a loss
to us, his good friends - it was also a message of his own death, which took place 6 months
In the greater picture Carl Jung believed that the "world contains
divine light of life" and that this essence was enmeshed in a mathematical
"trap", presided over by a demiurge, Lucifer, the 'Bringer of Light'.
Lucifer contained the insight of light within this reality, until a time
when it would be set free. (Jung seems to have borrowed the expression
"trap" from his great studies of the insightful but sometimes pessimistic
One of the first operations of alchemy is the process of
transformation - the true, creative opposites emerge and begin their
interaction designed to bring the alchemical, complete union of anima and
animus. The conscious and unconscious become integrated and assimilate the
ego, after which the Self emerges. In this ultimate union,
known as the coniunctio, according to Jung the previously confined light is redeemed and brought to the
point of its ultimate and redemptive fulfillment.
expressed this paradox through the symbol of the Ouroboros, the snake that
eats its own tail. In the ancient image of the Ouroboros lies the thought of
devouring oneself and turning oneself into a circulatory process,
self-contained, - again,
the very art of processing the elements was all about man - (the) Adam -
himself. And to Jung, self realization is the final of the stages of
development - becoming a true individuality.
A much discussed,
enigmatic "first stuff", the Prima Materia, was brought out of
the Paradise by Adam, according to writings of antiquity. An addition, in the
biblical narrative - what Moses tells in the Genesis (2:11) about a
river of Paradise leading to a place with gold, "... and this gold is good
...", actually guaranteed such goal is genuine and that here is the first
beginning of the process of man, Adam.
Left: Ancient Greek King Croesus ('gold'), 7th cent. BC, was
famous for his gold.
Picturing Croesus on the pyre, Attic red-figure
amphora, 500-490 BC, Louvre(G197). Right: Jason returns the Golden Fleece to Pelias, Apulian
red-figure calyx krater, ca.
340–330 BC, Louvre(K127).
Moses and a Royal Road in the Alchemy
Did the alchemists ever produce the metal gold? Almost any researcher would deny
it because the idea was only to
gain individuation development and wisdom recognition, and because it would seem
technically impossible (and these scholars or researchers are right
according to present-day knowledge, but not necessarily according to other,
now unknown conditions which maybe also could appear in a future).
The individuation process
was also seen alchemistally visualized as "the animus" (masculine
personification of the unconscious) coming up in the conscious psyche - a development from a powerful
monster (the basiliscus) via a crown prince (the "little king") to a king
(to" be the king of oneself").
According to ancient
traditions in the teachings for the initiated a certain idea existed about a well
among the stars of the sky. On the bottom of the there is the main star of the Leo constellation, the "royal star"
Regulus or Basiliscos, Latin and Greek respectively for 'little king',
and in Greek also meaning 'a wild monster'. (The constellation opposite in
the sky - the top of the celestial well, so to speak - is the Well Pitcher,
the earlier name of the Aquarius).
A significant episode in
Moses' narrative in the Bible's "Book of Genesis" (37:9-37) is about Joseph
and his dream in which the Sun, the Moon, and 11 stars (constellations) in
the situation appear
like being his subjects. His brothers' reaction is to throw him down on the
bottom of an empty well and then sell him to Egypt. The brothers tell their
father that "a wild monster" has devoured Joseph - in fact, from
here Joseph started off a new development, and he became "little king", i.e.
vizier, and eventually viceroy of Egypt, pharaoh's substitute.
Through a huge part of the history, in principle the kings were to
be initiated - also the coronation itself was an initiation ritual. Some of
the kings may even have tried practising alchemy, as did the emperor Rudolph
of Bohemia whom Tycho Brahe served in his last years. Emperor Rudolph became
mentally ill eventually, probably from breathing evaporated mercury of the
experiments, and for the rest of his life his brother had to rule on his
In Antiquity alchemy seems to have been connected with the last of the
'native' Egyptian pharaohs, Nectanebo II - and with the biblical King
Especially in the early Greek culture we hear about the Lydian king,
Croesus (560–546 BC), with his enormous treasures of gold (the name Croesus
is from Greek krysos, 'gold') and his special dealing with fire - and
also about the Phrygian king, Midas, known for being able to transform
everything to gold - Midas' famous the golden touch obtained by dipping his
hand in the River Pactolus; - in certain rivers both in Phrygia and Lydia
gold could be washed out, an extra basis of the wealth of the economy
of these countries. In the legend Midas had ass's ears - this could point to
the alchemistic work's ancient connection with Sirius, which, besides of
being known as the "Greater Dog" this star or constellation was also called
the "(heart) of the Ass".
This wealthy state Lydia also seems
to have been one of the oldest countries with a
coinage. The earliest coins are from 7th century BC and some of them are
produced from "white gold" or "electrum", the natural alloy of gold and
silver - also well-known by the alchemists.
Also King Midas was
claimed to be a myth only, but Alexander the Great visited Gordion, the city
of the wealthy King Midas and Midas' father, King Gordion. At the site a
cultic tradition with cultic initiation had continued - and here Alexander advanced
to an important step by going through a ritual of cutting through the Gordian knot. In 1957, American
archaeologist Rodney Young opened King Midas' grave mound, close to
Yassihöyük in Turkey. Here was the site of the ancient Gordion. Whatever any
modern theory will assume next about the dating, it is a fact that the
exact, scientific dating of the contents to around 750 BC is precisely in
accordance with data of the so-called myths.
In all tradition by the
ancient Rabbinical Writings of the Jews, and by the Greek Orthodox Church and the
Roman Catholic Church too, the authorship of the Bible's "Book of Job" was
always and unambiguously connected with Moses.
The Hebrew Bible's "Book
of Job" (28:1) says: "... For there is a mine for silver, and a place for
gold which they refine ..." and (23:10) "... But he knows the way that
I take - after I have been tested I will come out as gold ..." - the process
as to comparing to a
spiritual alchemist process.
By his observing and
recognizing advanced and spiritual factors included also in the process of
exact research (McGuire & Hull, eds.: "C.G. Jung Speaking. Interviews and
Encounters", 1978) Jung's statement is demonstrating brilliantly the most
profound relation to genuine science:
"... The irrational
fullness of life has taught me never to discard anything, even when it goes
against all our theories (so short-lived at best) or otherwise admits of no
immediate explanation. ..."
emphasized the cosmos containing the divine light of life. By this he
also states - almost as in the ancient philosophy of the Veda texts in India
or the Buddhist learning - in his book, "Mysterium Coniunctionis, an Inquiry
Into the Separation and Synthesis of Psychic Opposites in Alchemy" (1956) -
that the collective unconscious was not just comprising the psychology of
human beings but the whole universe.
Alchemists' reagent bottle with a homunculus, here - as a stage in the
individuation process -
at an advanced shape as a "little king", considered as connected with the
Basiliscos star, Regulus.
Right: the Ouroboros-serpent, by the alchemical process symbolically eating
its own tail - turning oneself into a circulatory process - reflecting
the constellation Draco of same positure in the sky.
The Golden Calf
Aberbach, M., & L. Smolar: Aaron,
Jeroboam, and the Golden Calves, Journal of Biblical Literature, 86,
1967, (Philadelphia), pp. 129-140.
Albright, William F.: The Golden Calf and the Cherubim, Journal
of Biblical Literature, 57, 1938, (Philadelphia), pp. xviii ff.
Bin-Gorion, E.: Das Goldene Kalb, Encyklopädie Judaica, Band 7,
1931, col. 472-474.
Coats, G.W.: The Golden Calf in Ps. 22: A Hermeneutic of Change,
Horizons in Biblical Theology, 9,I, 1987.
Dus, J.: Die Stierbilder von Bethel und Dan und das Problem der
'Moseschar', Annali dell'Instituto (Universitario) Orientale di Napoli,
NS 18, 1968, pp. 105-137.
Eissfeld, Otto: Lade und Stierbild, Zeitschrift für die
Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft, 58, 1940/1941, pp. 190-215.
Fensham, F.C.: The Burning of the Golden Calf and Ugarit,
Israel Exploration Journal, 16, Jerusalem 1966, pp. 191-193.
Gressmann, Hugo: Das Goldene Kalb, Die Religion in Geschichte
und Gegenwart, Band 2, 1910, (Band 1-7, Tübingen 1960), col. 1518.
Hahn, Joachim: Das 'Goldene Kalb', Frankfurt a.M., 1981.
Hitti, Philip K.: (The Golden Calf in:) The Origins of the Druze
People and Their Religion, Columbia University Oriental Studies, vol.
28, New York 1928.
Kitchen, Kenneth A.: Calf, Golden, New Biblical Dictionary,
(ed. J.D.Douglas), London 1962.
Mazar, Amihai: Bronze Bull Found in Israelite 'High Place',
Biblical Archaeology Rewiew, vol. 9, No. 5, 1983 pp. 34-40.
Noth, Martin: Zur Anfertigung des "Goldenen Kalbes", Vetus
Testamentum, 9, 1959, pp. 318-322.
Perdue, L.G.: The Making and Destruction of the Golden Calf - A
Reply, Biblia, 54, 1973, pp. 237-246.
Rank, Otto: ("Moses" in:) The Myth of the Birth of the Hero,
(Rank: "Die Mythus von der Geburt des Helden, Schriften zur angewandten
Seelenkunde", Herausgeb. von Sigmund Freud, Heft 5, Leipzig 1909), New York
Sasson, J.M.: The Worship of the Golden Calf, Orient and
Occident, Essays presented to Cyrus H. Gordon, AOAT 22, Neukirchen/Vlynn
1973, pp. 151-159.
Seebrook, William B.: The Golden Calf of The Druzes, Asia,
March 1926, New York, pp. 220-27 & 250-53.
Spaeth, Ove von: Den gådefulde Guldkalv af Egyptens guld, in:
Ove von Spaeth: "Den Hemmelige Religion, Attentatet på Moses, bind 4,
København 2004, pp. 70-81.
- - : Guldkalven - eksport fra egyptisk kult?, in: Ove von
Spaeth: "Den Forsvundne Tronarving", Attentatet på Moses, bind 3, København
2001, pp. 117-120 & 127.
Seebrook, William B.: The Golden Calf of the Druzes, "Asia".
New York, March, 1926, pp. 220-227, 250-253).
Stager, Lawrence E., & Rachel Starch: A Golden Calf, Time
Magazine, August 6th, 1990, p. 37.
Bischoff, Erich: Der Sieg der
Alchymie, Berlin 1925.
Bolton, Henry Carrington: The Follies of Science at the Court of
Rudolph II, 1576-1612, Milwaukee Pharmaceutical Review Publishing Co.,
Bronowski, Jacob: The Ascent of Man, British Broadcasting
Corporation Publ., London 1973, pp. 123-154
Charron, Régine: The Apocryphon of John (NHC II, 1) and the
Graeco-Egyptian Alchemical Literature, Vigiliae Christianae, 59, 2005,
Debus, Allen G.: Hermeticism and the Renaissance. - Intellectual
History and the Occult in Early Modern Europe, Folger Institute
Symposia, Folger Books, 1988.
- - : The Chemical Promise. - Experiment And Mysticism in the
Chemical Philosophy, 1550-1800 : Selected Essays of Allen G. Debus,
Science History Publications, 2006.
Eliade, Mircea: The Myth of Alchemy, Parabola, vol. 3, no. 3,
Fabricius, Johannes: Alchemy. The Medieval Alchemists and Their
Royal Art, Copenhagen, (Rosenkilde and Bagger), 1976.
- - : Ingmar Bergman og 'Sjaelens mörke nat',
("Ingmar Bergman and 'the dark night of the soul'"),
Kosmorama, no. 85, 1968.
- - : Jungian analysis of Shame, A passion and The
touch, Kosmorama 18/110, Sept. 1972, p. 259-261.
Franz, Marie-Louise von: The Idea of the Macro- and Microcosmos in
the Light of Jungian Psychology, Ambix, February, 1965.
Fulcanelli: Master Alchemist: Le Mystere des Cathedrales. -
Esoteric Intrepretation of the Hermetic Symbols of The Great Work,
(transl. Mary Sworder), Brotherhood of Life, Alberquerque, New Mexico, 1984.
Hoeller, Stephan A.: C.G. Jung and the Alchemical Renewal, Gnosis: A
Journal of Western Inner Traditions, Vol. 8, 1988.
Josten, C.H.: Robert Fludd's 'Philosophicall Key' and his
alchemical experiment on wheat, Ambix, 11, 1968.
- - : A translation of John Dee's Monas Hieroglyphica with an
introduction and annotations, Ambix, 12, 1969.
Jung, Carl Gustav: Man and his Symbols, (Ferguson) 1964.
- - : Mysterium Coniunctionis. An Inquiry into the
Separation and Synthesis of Psychic Opposites in Alchemy, (2nd ed.
1970, Collected Works, Vol. 14), London (Routledge), 1956.
- - : Psychology and Alchemy, (2nd ed. 1968, Collected
Works, Vol.12), London (Routledge), 1940.
- - : Psychology and Religion. The Terry Lectures,
(contained in Psychology and Religion: West and East, Collected Works, Vol.
11), New Haven: Yale University Press, 1938.
- - , & S.M. Dell: The Integration of the Personality,
London (Routledge and Kegan Paul), 1940.
Kean, W.F.: The History of Gold Therapy in Rheumaoid Disease,
Seminars in Arthritis and Rheumatism, February 1985.
Kolisko, L.: Workings of the Stars in Earthly Substances,
Orient-Occident, London 1928.
- - , & Adalbert Stifter, & Rudolf Steiner: The Sun Eclipse,
(transl. G.A.M. Knapp and Susan Stern), Kolisko Archives, (England:
Larsen, Lars Steen: Western Esoterism. - Ultimate Sacred Postulates
and Ritual Fields, Lund Studies in History of Religions, Volume
25, Lund University (Department of History and Anthropology of Religions),
Lund, (Sweden), 2008, pp. 118-150, 180-190.
Lindsay, Jack: The Origins of Alchemy in Greaco-Roman Egypt,
New York (Barnes & Noble), 1970.
Merchant, Carolyn: The vitalism of Francis Mercury van Helmont: its
influence on Leibniz, Ambix, 26, 1983.
Friis, F.R.: Tyge Brage. En historisk fremstilling, København
Marshall, Peter: The Magic Circle of Rudolf II: Alchemy and
Astrology in Renaissance Prague, (Walker & Company), 2006.
Moesgaard, Kristian Peder: Brahe, Tyge (Tycho), Dansk
Biografisk Leksikon, 3. udg., bind 2, København (Gyldendal) 1979, pp.
Norlind, Vilhelm: Tycho Brahe. En Levnadsteckning, Gleerup,
Partington, J.R.: The origins of the planetary symbols of the metals,
Ambix, 1, 1937.
Wilson, Collin: The Theory of Celestial Influence, New York (Samuel
Wiser, Inc.) 1973.
Isaac Newton and Alchemy
Memoirs of the Life, Writings, and Discoveries of Sir
Isaac Newton, vol. 1, (1855) repr. (Johnson Reprint Corp.) London/New York
1965, pp. 21-24.
Cohen, I.B.: Isaac Newton - An Advocate of Astrology?, Isis, vol.
33, 1941, pp. 60-61.
Dobbs, B.J.T.: The Foundations of Newton's Alchemy, or "The Hunting of
the Greene Lyon", Cambridge U.P.1975.
- - : The Janus Face of Genius: The Role of Alchemy in Newton's Thought,
Cambridge U.P. 1991.
Geoghegan, D.: Some indications of Newton's attitude towards alchemy,
Ambix, The Journal for the Society for the History of Alchemy & Chemistry, 6,
1957, pp. 102-106 (Newton's text: pp. 105-106).
Keynes, John Maynard:
Essayes and Sketches in Biography, 1956, s.
McGuire, J.E.: Force, active principles, and Newton's invisible realm,
Ambix, 15, 1952.
- - : Transmutation and immutability: Newton's doctrine of physical
qualities, Ambix, 14, 1951.
More, L.T.: Isaac Newton: A Biography, (1934) repr. (Dover Publ.)
New York 1962, pp. 32-33.
Westfall, R.S.: Never at Rest: A Biography of Isaac Newton,
Cambridge U.P. 1980, pp. 88 & 98.
Whiteside, D.T., & M.A. Hoskin & A. Prag (eds.):
Papers of Isaac Newton, vol. 1, Cambridge U.P. 1967, pp. 15-19.
Postscript: some of the
oldest sources on alchemy are from Egypt. The ancient magical-theological
text on the Shabaka Stone proclaims that it was
the god Ptah who called the world into being,
having dreamt creation in his
speaking it - by (the) word.
The lower half of
the god Ptah is wrapped up as a mummy, signifying the
world of death and renewal - and the upper part is open, the spiritual part. Ptah is resting on a
ruler, maat: the
principle of universal laws.
- This sacred god of creation was especially recognized in Memphis
Egypt's northern theology centres. At these sites he was also worshipped
of alchemists, metal craftsmen, and smiths.
ON THE ANCIENT CONCEPT OF ASTRONOMICAL KNOWLEDGE CONNECTING WITH ALCHEMY
AMH Magazine, January 2007, no. 1, pp.
24-27 - feature:
The Royal-Star Basiliscus
in the Initiation Teachings
By OVE VON SPAETH
The ancient cultures' astronomical divisions of the sky, and the
patterns shaped by stellar visual connection lines, and the planet's orbits
all seen as special features or keys for an exclusive, religious insight.
The mystery cults in
antiquity knew a celestial geometry based on cosmological teachings, a
special knowledge also connecting to the ancient art of alchemy.
Esoteric Perception of Cosmic Structure
Early in history a learning which concerns the starry sky knowledge was seen
connected with the art of alchemy. The ancient Egyptian alchemy was related
to the god Ptah and was known as a process claimed to produce gold also for
medical use - i.e. an alchemical all-healing agent with the later name
In the Renaissance, the
Swiss doctor and alchemist Paracelsus (1493-1541) used gold dust for a "gold
cure" against rheumatism/arthritis and this method is still in use today.
However, in Egypt and the ancient world the process of gold production was
also considered as a symbolic, spiritual process belonging to the teachings
of the cultic mystery initiation. And in many respects astronomical
knowledge was perceived to be very a connected with alchemy.
The Bible refers to Moses
"was educated in all the wisdom of Egypt" - cf. his construction of the
Israelite calendar (showing the knowledge of astronomy) and that he made the
Israelites drink water containing gold dust produced of the Golden Calf's
Among the ancient learned
priests and initiated the geometric basic patterns were perceived as being
expressed by the celestial divisions also related to the shapes of
constellations and planetary orbits - and all these were considered as
charged with religious significance. Geometry was perceived as connecting
link between the spiritual and physical dimensions which took the shape from
"the ideal matrix", on which space both is built upon and comprises.
It is well known that Plato (who had studied in Egypt for 13 years according
to his pupil Eudoxus) linked the geometric doctrines directly with the
From most ancient times the
basilisk appeared in connection with cosmology, the stars, or
alchemy. The mythological symbols of the basilisk are: its head as a cock
and its tail as a snake.
Manuscript illustration of a basilisk; from 1633 (Royal Danish National
Library, Folio 51r).
Archetypical patterns in constellation shapes and planet's orbits
Geometry is "spatially dimensioned mathematics". Mathematical primal images
are archetypical and divine logical - like crystalline geometric structures
or the combinations of relations in the harmonies in music - and may in a
natural way cause religious "excitement" by the perceiving person.
This was not a question
about that everything could symbolize everything. In the tradition
concerning understanding of the image creating, celestial exact lines - with
archetypical patterns and structures - these were not seen as a result of
contingencies or subjective interpretation. The many very precise
astronomical conditions by themselves are of exact controllability, for
instance concerning time and measures.
The ancient people's
widespread method of conducting observations of a certain pattern in the
movements of some constellations during the night was this: Just after
sunset it could be observed early in the night-sky that while the
constellation The Greater Bear (Big Dipper) is setting partly below the
horizon, the constellation Cassiopeia rises at a position from the horizon
of the other side, almost directly opposite - all action taking place in the
northern sky. By midnight Cassiopeia is close to its upper culmination (most
high in the northern sky) while The Greater Bear simultaneously reaches its
utmost lower position. Just before dawn The Greater Bear rises, now from the
opposite side, while Cassiopeia is going down.
The so far most
comprehensive encyclopaedia of antiquity and ancient history is the
"Pauly-Wissowa's Real-Enzyklopädie der classischen Wissenschaft" (Stuttgart
1894-1980). In this work some very fine material can be found concerning
many "connecting lines between stars". Some of the articles contain
information presenting a survey on the interplays of "rising and setting of
stars" in ancient times.
Other stars have a
further precisely shaped pattern concerning their visually related risings
and settings. For instance, such can be observed in the very precise
relation - supported by the exact connecting line - between the stars
Aldebaran and Antares, the two of the four so-called "royal stars".
"archetypes" are thus created from lines of connection and sight to
distinctive stars - often with special positions and characteristics. In
ancient cultures the were known as connecting a conception system with an
emphasis on cosmic patterns of interplaying actions - almost as in modern
quantum physics-like conditions of synchronicity relations. Altogether, this
belongs to a world of ideas long forgotten, a world with its own consequent
logics, however, still recognizable in surviving fragments.
The oldest documented Greek horoscope depicted is a relief in the tomb of
King Antiochus I, in the Taurus Mountains. The time of this king's coronation
(7th July, 63 BC) is visually noted here. Above the lion's back: Jupiter,
can be seen and the Moon is on the mane - all in conjunction in the Leo
'Little King' - by the Celestial Geometry Mysteries
According to Greek astro-mythology the supreme god Zeus descended in the
shape of the Swan - the constellation situated close to Lyra, the biggest
star most high in the sky - and he fertilized earthly Leda (Ionic for
'the woman') representing Sirius, the Egyptians' Isis. Lyra and Sirius are
situated on exactly the same straight line of sight, with Sirius at the part
outside the ecliptic's celestial circle, which the line is crossing almost
perpendicularly. The off-spring of Zeus and Leda became expressed or
transferred as the pair of stars known as the Twins.
Also according to similar
principles it was by a special understanding that the line was seen leading
from "the Father" as the supreme, divine principle - here related to the
Swan and especially the Lyra star. This line was a frequently used line of
sight (the World-axis, latest seen in use by astronomer Ole Roemer, ca.
1700) and it leads as a basic line (hypotenuse) from the Lyra star down to
"the Mother", i.e. Sirius. In this way a perfect Pythagorean triangle appear
with its top angle (rectangular) in "the Son", the Prince, i.e. in Leo's
main star (Alpha Leo), Basiliscus, the "little king" (: "the king's
In the esoteric celestial
geometry - and in the present case with the cardinal numbers of 3, 4, and 5
of the Pythagorean triangle - the number symbolizing the Father is to be
expressed as 3, i.e. the length of the triangle-side being opposite the
vertex of the Father. Thus, the number of the Mother is 4 as relating to the
triangle-side between the Father and the Son. The number of the Son is 5 and
is expressed by the connecting line (the hypotenuse) from the father to the
With the Father in the
sky (Paradise), the Mother outside (earthly), and the Son exactly at the
very ecliptic circle ("having a foot in both camps") - this son, "the Crown
Prince", the human being, i.e. the Son of Man, appears half-worldly and half
divine. The concept: the principles of the Father, the Mother, and the Son -
is known in all major religions. And even the starry duplicate of the idea
about the Father at the centre and the Son at the circle-line can be seen
even in the late 1600's in the star related learning of ideas at the
beginning modern, western European science.
Until very late in history the World-axis was still used as in antiquity, i.e.
a line of sight and reference. Around 1700 the illustration, above, was made
for Ole Roemer, the Danish astronomer and discoverer of the speed of light.
The Star of the Royal Births
In parables Jesus talks about him self as "a king's son". And concrete
statements in The Gospels show his family is reaching back to King David who
is registered among his royal ancestors - all this is, apparently, not the
only relating. On a certain day every summer when the sun passes the star
Basiliscus-Regulus, i.e. "the little king" or "the (royal) son", probably
may be the day of the birth of Jesus. Only 350 years after the time of
Jesus, the church decided that his birthday should be determined to be on
the birthday of Mithras, the god of cultic initiations - it was at the day
of winter solstice, i.e. 25th December.
In the years around the
birth of Jesus, the Basiliscus-Regulus star was situated at the very
ecliptic circle right on the border between the constellations Cancer and
Leo - in a location computed based on the position of the equinox point at
Furthermore - on the same
mentioned "day of Basiliscus" in the summer the star Sirius with its other
name, The Greater Dog, began its special 30 "dog days" period - as they
still are called - after that Sirius had disappeared and being out of sight
for 70 days but now returned to show itself again above the horizon.
Then the celestial
Pythagorean triangle, i.e. the Father, the Mother, and the Son could be
observed/percepted simultaneously at sunrise (while the sun passed and
covered Basiliscus). The day was especially the marking of the Egyptian New
Year, approx. 20th July - which in the Roman calendar was the day of the
Tammuz Festival and was signified as "the Day of Adam".
The idea was imported
from Babylonia - a syncretism, cf. the Roman use of elements of other
religions - for instance, the Roman version of the Egyptian Isis cult.
Jesus was also called
"the Son of Man" and "the Saviour", St. Paul called him "the other Adam",
and Pilate called him "king". Alexander the Great, another king, was also
born on 20th July - Alexander is Greek for 'Saviour of Man'.
Likewise, Julius Caesar was favoured by some 'royal' prestige from the fact
that he was born very close (a few days prior) to this date.
The constellation Leo, shown by Johs. Honter's woodcut (inspired from Albrecht
Dührer's map, 1515)
in a publication – printed in Basel in 1541 – of Ptolemy's book "Omnia quae
extant opera". Correctly
for the time the Leo main star, Basiliscus-Regulus, is placed in the middle of
Leo's 3rd decan.
The Serpent Hatching the World Egg
Today the basilisk is mostly known as something else - a recently discovered
American lizard, of the group of tree-iguanas. The special type is also
called the Jesus Christ Lizard because of its ability to walk on the water,
in reality by running 10-20 metres across the water surface with many steps
per second to avoid sinking. It got the basilisk name because of the scary
look of the basilisk described in ancient Middle East myths where the
traditional basilisk appears as a monster with the head of a cock, claws
with dangerous spurs and wings of a cock, and a snake-like tail.
The characteristic of
this basilisk (cockatrice) was that a snake had hatched this monster (or a
toad, cf. "little king") from a spherical, yolkless egg, laid during the
days of Sirius (the Dog Star) by a seven-year-old rooster (cock)!
Sin some of the myths is
added that the basilisk spit out such powerful venom that plants withered,
and animals died when being hit. The eyes of the monster were flashing
sparks - and had such a sinister power that everything the monster looked at
died. Therefore it could not endure to look at its own reflected image.
Only the cock (and weasel) possessed power to be in control - so when the
basilisk heard a cock crow (metaphoric for the sun's rise and appearance),
it disappeared into the ground.
During the ages the
basilisk was discussed by European writers, including Pliny the Elder (1st
century AD, in his "Natural History", Book 8:33), Lucan (1st century AD, in
his "Pharsalia", Book 9:849ff), and Isidore of Seville (7th century AD, in
his "Etymologies", Book 12, 4:6ff). In the Middle Ages the Church's dignitar
Pietro d'Abano wrote about the subject.
And later mentioning by
the poets, e.g. in Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales", William Shakespeare's
"Richard III", and Percy Bysshe Shelley's "Ode to Naples". Also in modern
times the magic of the basilisk catches, such as in Rowling's "Harry Potter
and the Chamber of Secret".
The basilisk appears in
Leonardo da Vinci's "Bestiary" and in his Notebooks. Theophilus Presbyter
gives a long recipe in his book for creating a basilisk in order to convert
copper into "Spanish gold" (De auro hyspanico). And Albertus Magnus' "De
animalibus" claiming Hermes Trismegistus - but possibly not correct - as a
source of the legends and as the creator of the account about the basilisk's
ashes being able to convert silver into gold.
The stars and alchemy
Again and again the idea about the basilisk appears among alchemists and
astrologically initiated persons - even in late European history. The
Italian theologian, Marcilio Ficino (1433-1499), the Renaissance Platonist
philosopher at the Medicis, wanted to re-create a magnificent synthesis of
the greatest ancient ideas and knowledge - and also including the star
In his work, "De vita
coelitus compranda" (pp. 394-398), Ficino says about a type of magic that:
"... with the sage herb cleansed by means of manure - and while the sun and
the moon were in conjunction in the second third of the Leo's zodiacal sign
- some Persian magicians once produced a bird like a black-bird with a
serpent's tail. After the creature had been pulverized to ash they put it
into a lamp resulting in that the house suddenly becoming full of snakes.
That kind of magic is empty and hazardous to the health and should be
avoided. But the other (magic), the necessary one, that connects astrology
to medicine, should be maintained. ..." - (reference in Axel Haaning's
book: "Light of Nature. Western Philosophy of Nature in the High Middle Age
and Renaissance 1250-1650", in Danish, Copenhagen 2001, pp. 189-190).
The mentioned manure and
ash powder played an important part in alchemy. Especially the
esoteric-astrological features are unmistakable. The sun's annual passage
follows the ecliptic circle through the 12 zodiacal signs of which each is
divided into 3 parts of 10 arc degrees, a decan (of Greek deka,'10').
The ecliptic's own movement - the precession - had at the time of Ficino
caused that the Basiliscus star now was situated in the second (i.e.
the middle) decan of the star sign of Leo.
And when the sun passed
through Leo it would thus be in direct contact with the Basiliscus-star, but
the point of time should also be arranged that around here a culmination of
the new moon also took place - as mentioned by Ficino as the "conjunction"
(with the sun).
From Egypt is known the
powerful sun god Ra - with his vehicle, the sun disc Aton - adopted by the
Greeks as the sun god Apollon, with his vehicle, the sun as Helios, the
largest celestial body. However, Apollon was the powerful figure, also in
destructive connections, thus in Greek apollon was also a word for
'destruction' - and was used, for instance, in this meaning in the Bible's
New Testament (in The Revelation of St. John the Devine).
The sun was symbolical
connected with the cock in numerous old narratives. And the expression "...
a bird similar to a black bird (though in Latin is here used
merula, 'a blackbird') with the tail of a snake ..." points directly to
traditions of Babylonian star knowledge - well-known earlier in the
Greek-Roman tradition, which was much occupying Ficino.
Vega (alpha Lyra), one of
the sky's most luminous stars - originally the North Star - was in
Babylonian named Tartugallu, i.e. the 'King Rooster/Cock'. Later
the Arabs changed this to Black Hen or Cock (cf. Babylonian tartu,
'cock' - and gal-lu, 'king', this with an extra, associative
significance by that the expression in reverse order, i.e. lu-gal,
meant 'man', 'human being'). Concerning the "tail of a snake", and also the
black rooster, see the following.
In the teachings of the initiated the moon's orbit
- the snake-like
revolving path around the earth - was depicted as the coiling Cosmic
Serpent hatching the World Egg. From this the Basilisk was hatched out.
The Snake Coiling the Earth
Through the ancient cults' mystery initiations a special information was
communicated in the shape of parables - often known as the so-called fables,
as the fables e.g. of Aesop (620-560 BC) - a widespread practice and
tradition also later being used frequently by Jesus. One of these Greek
fables gives an image of a rooster/cock standing on the back of a dog
standing on the back of a donkey. This simply expressed the previously
mentioned World-axis (not to be mistaken for the axis of the earth)
stretching along the Milky Way across the sky all the way up to Lyra.
The World-axis was seen
extending from the star Canopus - which, being the "donkey's hoof", was a
part of the ancient constellation The Donkey (with its underlying
constellation Argo Navis) - and going up through the Sirius star (The
Greater Dog, Canis Major) - up till the star Lyra/Wega close to the Swan
(the Swan or Cygnus in European tradition, but the Rooster/Cock in Babylonian
The idea of this image of
the World-axis with three main stars - the Donkey, the Dog and the black
Cock - was connected with the esoteric parable about the Cock (from ancient
times, relating the principle of the sun) which from top of the World-axis
laid a special egg, i.e. the Earth. It was well-known in antiquity that the
Earth was round, spherical, a knowledge which was a condition for the
existence of the ancient Greeks' astronomical Antikythera computer.
The egg was then hatched
by the snake surrounding it (like the lunar orbit around the globe/earth).
The principle of the concept is recognized from the mentioned Greek
narrative about Zeus from the starry world creating a fertile connection to
earth. Then the basilisk was hatched as a creature of special powers which,
when uncontrolled, could be terribly destructive.
The up to five possible
annual lunar eclipses can only take place in two opposite nodes, which -
during a fixed number of 19 years - having of currently changing positions,
but only when these positions of the nodes are passing a pair of placement
points out of the only possible 35 specific places on the ecliptic circle.
In other words, the 35
places in the sky are from year to year a little variously distributed but always
keeping their mutual distances of almost one decan (= 10°). Between these
points the lunar orbit's changing placements - when seen through the 19
years' cycle altogether in the same picture - are situated on a course
winding up and down as a giant snake around the earth.
The ancient Babylonians with their extensive astronomical knowledge used
such a symbolic expression of the lunar orbit's zig-zag curve positions in
Descending to the Underworld
The mentioned two nodal points - "moon-nodes", i.e. of the lunar orbit -
which constitute the positions of the eclipses have from ancient times been
called the Snake's or Dragon's "head" (at the ascending lunar orbit) and the
Dragon's "tail" (at the descending lunar orbit).
In eastern Asia the same
nodal points were called the Demon's Head and the Demon's tail.
In India the tradition
concerning celestial subjects contains many elements of the ancient
Babylonian tradition. A very important element of the teachings of the stars
in India was the moon's descending node, being the above mentioned celestial
point of where the lunar orbit is crossing "downwards" through the ecliptic
In all known tradition in India this nodal point was called Ketu -
this, however, was an ancient Babylonian word meaning 'the underworld'.
This concept was
symbolized by a sea monster in the shape of the constellation The Whale
(placed close to the beginning of the Aries constellation), and was known
too by the Greeks, who - likewise inspired by the Babylonians' name for it,
Ketu - also named it Cetu(s). (However, the Egyptian-Greek
astronomer, Ptolemy, and few Roman writers called it Balena or Belua - also
In those days whales were
- by their looks - considered also a kind of monsters, and according to the
Hebrew Bible (in the Book of Jonah, 2:1-3) the prophet Jonah stayed for three days in
"the belly of the whale" - literally: in the intestine of the (monster-)fish,
however, the next verses states that Jonah cried out of "the belly of hell"
- in Hebrew beten is 'belly'.
In medieval times the
simple theatre form still contained this reminiscence of antiquity's
religious mystery plays and metaphoric thinking - by arranging the stage
with its one side being permanently set up depicturing the sky - and its
other side: the Hell (underworld) with fire being shown in the open big,
swallowing jaws of a monster. This monster devouring - as the "whale fish"
devoured Jonah (symbol of the spirit) - is recognized as the original Cetus
figure.(Stories in which "belly of the beast" appears were well-known in
ancient Greek mythology and the Bible as well as later in Grimm's Fairy
Tales. It became a common metaphor in the literature, and e.g. it has been
used also as film titles).
Thus, Baten Kaitos
is the traditional Hebrew name, 'belly of Cetus', of a special star (Zeta
Ceti) - (Arabic: batn qaytus - 'Cetus-belly') - which is in
Cetus, the constellation of the underworld or sea monster (later called
a whale fish) on the eastern part of the sky.
In Greek mythology Cetus
represents the sea monster sent to devour Andromeda (Greek for
'controlling a course'). But in earlier times Cetus also was
identified with the primeval Mesopotamian monster Tiamat, the 'deep
sea', personified as a goddess or a female dragon (again, the lunar orbit), the name possibly derived from the more
early Sumerian ti, 'life', and ama, 'mother' - life as
originally connected with the sea (concerning the primordial biology).
The Hebrew name Jonah
means 'dove' - which is also the name of a star on the very same meridian as
Cetus and is the symbol of the Holy Spirit. The Dove was a one of the
Babylonian names for Andromeda. It was considered a special significance
that the dove-star (Andromeda) and the monster-belly star (Baten Kaitos) are
placed exactly on the same celestial longitude, respectively above and below
the ecliptic (where the ecliptic is crossing the Earth-plane., i.e. the
equator) in the same distance to each of them.
Obviously, the biblical text in this way presents in a parable: that
the "underworld" was visited by the Jonah, "spirit" (Jonah, the dove).
The two opposite placed nodes of the lunar orbit and the sun's so-called
the ecliptic. These "moon-nodes" are slowly moving backwards on the ecliptic
(a cycle of 19 years) in the opposite direction of the planets. These two
points of crossing are the only places where occultation can take place.
The crossing nodal point of the lunar orbit, when leading down under the solar
is named Ketu, 'underworld' - i.e. a name likewise the constellation
Cetus resembling 'the
underworld monster' (here on the Bode star-map produced 1801-1817 from ancient
This Cetus constellation is placed where the nodal point (spring equinox)
of the solar plane
crossing the plane of equator, had its position at the borderline of the
Aries 2,150 years ago when a new spring equinox cycle (a so-called Platonic age)
Through this "sun node" the sun, in springtime, arises from an 'underworld'
the equatorial plane) where the sun has been operating during the winter season.
The occultation line - the magic wall around celestial Paradise
From the very old background in the Greeks' and the Indian's special
horoscopes of the moon-house system, the name of the Cetus
constellation is still seen in current tradition - and is connected to the
starting point in the first moon-house of these horoscopes.
According to this system
- which in India's tradition has Rahu and Ketu, the two
lunar-node points, appearing with important significance almost like planets
- this first moon-house is "ruled" by Ketu, the setting node of the
Because the two nodes or
cross-points on the ecliptic are the only places where the solar and lunar
eclipse can occur, the name ecliptic, 'eclipse', was in use -
actually from Greek: ekleipein, 'to leave or fail to appear'.
The first moon-house is
the starting in the point of east - and in the biblical parable Adam and Eva
were expelled through the Paradise's eastern gateway to another
world. In all ancient tradition the zodiacal constellations and houses were
also designated: gateways of the sun. In this context the Paradise
wall is the ecliptic circle, i.e. the occultationline is
placesd as a
magic border wall to be crossed through - in principle - via the
mentioned eastern gateway.
This could have a
symbolic meaning in connection with alchemy - in order to get the fine gold
- which according to the Bible's account on the creation, Genesis, is to be
found by the rivers in the Paradise, the alchemist has to go through an
occulted stage designated negrido.
Again, a main idea in the
astronomical feature includes that the hatching snake's (the lunar orbit's)
one half part originated from the underworld (and the other half reaches and
connects to the "upper world"). Of the egg/earth the Basiliscus monster was
hatched, a hybrid of the sun-and-moon principle, actually transformed into a
son of a king, a royal Prince as a refined principle of Man - a
potential, activated by being the son of the "cosmic king/ruler".
Significant themes in all
this show similarities with the biblical Genesis. Adam was later called "the
first earthly king" but also "the first alchemist" because a tradition by
initiated persons stated that "he carried with him out of Eden-Paradise an
The Bible was understood
as a magical scripture - and the biblical Genesis as a perfect
alchemic process - connecting with the geometrical dimensioning concept
of the creation. At a next stage relations from planets to metals were
incorporated, e.g. Mercury/mercurium (Latin, 'mercury'), Sun/aurum
('gold', Latin aurora, 'the sunrise colours'), Jupiter/pewter, originally
named tin ('tin', a heritage of Etruscan designation for 'Jupiter'),
As indicated, the
alchemists seem to have connected the brightest star of the sky, Sirius
("the woman", "the mother"), with the element sulfur. Thus it is of
importance to see which elements were considered connected with the stars
Lyra ("the father") and Basilicus ("the son",
"Little King"). It may reasonably be inferred from Isaac Newton's
text that the element of antimony ("the Earth's metal"), called stibnit, is
relating to Basilicus (Regulus, alpha Leo).
At the Danish
king's Castle of Kronborg this manor house tapestry shows: Tycho Brahe (left),
Frederik II (centre) and his son, the later Christian IV (right). The dogs
symbolize the stars Sirius (called Greater Dog) and Procyon (Lesser Dog). The
king's son, likewise, represents the Basiliscus-Regulus
star ('Little King'). The inscription on the collar of the big dog contains
alchemistic codified language.
Knowledge Fragments Surviving
From the ancient "depots of knowledge" - being the mystery cults' teachings,
later also expressed by Hermetic philosophy - the celestial geometry with
cosmological ideas of recognition and religious psychological archetypes
were disseminated. Such kind of knowledge penetrates the biblical texts and
the teachings of the Jews, Gnostics, Christians, and later Islamic tradition
(for instance, in Sufism texts and even the Omar Khayyam poems); and also in
the Renaissance by the early science at its start. Circumstances of this
kind are rarely seen or expressed in history books and in theology.
Gradually the cultic
mysteries' code keys for occult celestial geometry were forgotten.
Consequently the special perception of the "triadic concept" disappeared,
i.e. the Father, the Mother, and the Son - and their celestial geometrical,
Pythagorean rectangular duplicate. A part of the principle idea remained,
however - later included as the special Christian "spiritual" Trinity as the
Father, the Son, and now the Holy Spirit.
Fragments of this special
knowledge survived in Western Europe - in the Neo-Platonism and Hermetic
astro-philosophy. Such was known, for instance by the Danish pioneer of
astronomical science, Tycho Brahe (1546-1601), and his German colleague and
heir, Johannes Kepler (1571-1630).
Based on his metaphysical,
scientific and religious world of ideas, Kepler let numerical values of the
celestial spheres transform into music, and tried to explore the ancient idea of
"harmony of the spheres". In principle, also expressed by his contemporary,
Galileo (here possibly inspired by Plato):
"...The universe can only
be read until we learned the language as written in the language of mathematics,
and its characters are triangles, circles and other geometrical patterns. ..."
Tycho Brahe laid the
foundation stone of his observatory-castle early in a certain summer morning
when the sun formed a conjunction with the Basiliscus star. He belonged to
an international group of highly initiated persons, also including kings.
The National Museum of Denmark now holds a manor tapestry of a special kind,
made for the king's Castle of Kronborg - and Tycho Brahe is depicted on this
contemporarily woven, royal tapestry.
The tapestry also shows
the key figures King Frederick II together with a big dog. He stands next to his
son, the Crown Prince, the later King Christian IV, who is shown as a "little
king" close to a "minor dog" - thus, correctly similar to a real celestial
pattern in the sky.
In this arrangement the
king's long rifle (more outstanding than his long marshal's baton, as in
Antiquity's symbolism) 'visualizes' the World-axis, here correctly positioned
near Sirius. He is thus placed with the important star Sirius, The Greater Dog.
In addition, the star Procyon/Canis Minor, 'lesser dog', is shown, - and
the royal star, Basiliscus/Regulus ('little king').
On the collar of the
Greater Dog is written TIW, an abbreviation for the king's proverb, "Treu
ist Wildbradt", these words in German meaning 'fidelity is roast of venison' (being
old slang for "the best available"). This may be a very suitable inscription on
a sporting dog's collar - however, to an alchemist the inscription is actually
to be understood as tio (tiu) which is the Greek word for 'sulfur' -
well-known as one of the most important substances in the alchemical process.
In the alchemy writings
some main ingredients are mentioned - especially gold, sulphur, and salt. The
code tiw (tiu) strongly suggests here that the element sulfur was
considered as associated with the Sirius star - as, in principle, the sun was
regarded as a connection to gold.
The occult and esoteric
symbolism held the close attention of royal houses of earlier times. To the
initiated kings the jesters, the only persons being allowed to contradict
the kings, symbolised a "balanced challenge". And when the kings employed
expensively dressed dwarves - this contained certain features of a tribute
to the homunculus motive, in alchemy the "little king" connected with the
celestial royal star Basiliscus-Regulus.
As Tycho Brahe belonged
to the elite of his country, was a nobleman, had his own court, and presents
as an initiated person - he had of course also a dwarf. This dwarf, Jeppe,
most often called Per Geck (Gaek, 'teasing', 'fun'), followed Tycho
Brahe in his 'exile' to Prague and caught much attention there. Jeppe had
clairvoyant skills and it was well-known that Tycho Brahe and his assistants
were following his advice in many respects.
The dwarfs by the kings
and other great men connected to ideas which can be traced back to, for
instance, the Greek Cabir cults in Asia Minor with the ancient "alchemist"
kings, e.g. Midas and Croesus.
above mentioned Aesop with his so-called fables, often about animals but in
reality belonging to the initiation cults' teachings containing hidden
astronomical and alchemistical themes, - it was stated by Plato in the
Phaedo that Socrates spent his time, while he was in prison, turning Aesop's
fables into verse. Also, historian Herodotus wrote about him. During the
later part of his life Aesop took residence at a famous place in Asia Minor where he
met Socrates' "predecessor" Solon, actually it was while Aesop lived
here at the
court of the golden King Croesus.
the looks of shield supporters giving power to the coat of arms, were often
the basilisk - with extra details from lion and eagle - and are called
griffins or gryphons. In the sky the
Basilisk star is in the Leo constellation, and the Cock (the basilisk's
head) near the Eagle-stars (Aquila).
Above, an example of basilisk-griffins holding on to a coat of arms for the
von Spaeth nobilities, a
version of 1777 (an early version with a sun and more stars, instead of
canons, was from the 1600's).
Allen, Richard Hinckley: Star Names. Their Lore and Meaning,
New York, (Dover Publications), reprint 1963.
Ashbrook, Joseph: The Astronomocal Scrapbook. - Skywatchers,
Pioneers, and Seekers in Astronomy, Sky Publishing Corporation,
Cambridge University Press, 1984.
Bischoff, Erich: Der Sieg der Alchymie, Berlin 1925.
Christianson, John Robert: On Tycho's Island. - Tycho Brahe,
science, and culture in the sixteenth century, Cambridge (Cambridge
University Press), 2000.
Eisler, Robert: The Royal Art of Astrology, London (Herbert
Joseph Ltd.) 1946, pp. 239-241.
Gingerich, Owen: The Great Copernicus Case, - and other adventures
in astronomical history, Sky Publishing Corporation, Cambridge
University Press, 1992.
Naturens Lys. Vestens naturfilosofi i højmiddelalder og renæssance 1250-1650,
("Light of Nature. Western Philosophy of Nature in the High Middle Age and
Renaissance 1250-1650"), in Danish (C.A. Reitzels forlag), Copenhagen 2001,
Moesgaard, Kristian Peder: Elements of Planetary, Lunar, and Solar
Orbits, 1900 B.C. to A.D. 1900, Tabulated for Historical Use, Centaurus
International Magazine of the History of Science and Medicine, 19, 1975, pp.
- - : The Full Moon serpent: A foundation stone of Ancient
astronomy, Centaurus, 24, 1980, pp. 51-96.
Pannekoek, Anton: A History of Astronomy, (London 1961), New
York, Dover Publications reprint 1989.
Partington, J.R.: The origins of the planetary symbols of the
metals, Ambix, 1, 1937.
Sheppard, H.J.: Gnosticism and alchemy, Ambix, 6, 1953.
Thoren, Victor E.: The Lord of Uraniborg. - A Biography of Tycho
Brahe, Cambridge (Cambridge University Press), 1990.
Thorndike, Lynn: Alchemy during the first half of the 16th century,
Ambix 2, 1937.
Wilson, Colin: Starseekers, London (Hodder and Stoughton),
Postscript: the re-found knowledge of ancient antiquity and
classical antiquity had some of the best conditions during the renaissance -
where alchemy and astrology as a philosophical system were mandatory
subjects at the European universities - not least in order to better
understand the philosophers of antiquity. Also, with a keen interest many
kings and rulers had the classical symbolism in ancient systems of
ideas made connected with their architecture and the fine arts.
Castle north of Copenhagen was founded by the especially mystery interested King
Frederick II of Denmark, who held the patronage of Tycho Brahe and his experiments
on the esoteric
sciences. Later the king's son, King Christian IV, expanded the castle.
The author Ove von Spaeth is here on his way exploring this rich
renaissance castle of which
both of the two kings so exuberantly had equipped with antiquity's symbolic
a Hermetic legacy of special knowledge.
- net-base for a collection of Ove von Spaeth' articles.
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You are here: Related articles by Ove von Spaeth (a)
A special treasure of knowledge and wisdom
of Greece, Rome, and the Renaissance had originated in Ancient Egypt -
and was here known to connect also with the historical Moses' dramatic
fate and mystery.
Ove von Spaeth has
written an intriguing, new-orientating work presenting this still
influential background of our civilization. • His interdisciplinary
research on history, archaeology, and anthropology goes deeply into
Egyptian tradition, history of religion, initiation cults, star-knowledge,
and mythology - relating to biblical studies, the Rabbinical Writings,
and the authors of Antiquity. • Each volume offers unique insights not
Special information is
presented by clicking on the individual cover illustrations: