Lion and man

Blessed is the lion which the man eats and the lion will become man;
and cursed is the man whom the lion eats and the lion will become man.
– Gospel of Thomas

Now here is Emblem 24 from Atalanta Fugiens, a mutimedia book by the German alchemist Michael Maier (1568–1622).

The book consists of 50 engravings or emblems, each with a short latin text and an accompanying fugue (hence the title – fugiens). Someone has presented each emblem with its accompanying fugue on youtube. The Wikipedia article on Maier has links to other online presentations of Atlanta Fugiens.

For some, this picture symbolizes a chemical process, with the wolf standing for lead and the king for gold. Be this as it may, I find Jesus’s exposition much more satisfying.

As a curiousity, Maier – a Lutheran – became involved with the Rosucrician movement and was key in establishing it in England, where he lived between 1611 and 1616. Maier is said to have known both Isaac Newton and Thomas Fludd – alchemists both.

There are some important images in this work and we will be returning to it in further posts over the next few days.

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~ by scalambra on April 18, 2011.

One Response to “Lion and man”

  1. Where are these days Scalambra ? I can be found at the same place on Saturdays.
    Maier certainly is an interesting alchemist. The last and best book on him is J.B.Craven’s written one hundred years ago, and reprinted in 2003 by Ibis Press. It’s in Craven that the idea of the Egyptians having 4 ‘chemical gods, -Osiris, Isis, Mercury and Vulcan can be found.

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