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Flammel's Hieroglyphics Chapter VFrom His Exposition of the Hieroglyphicall Figures which he caused to bee painted upon an Arch in St. Innocents Church-yard, in Paris. London, 1624.
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The figure of a man, like that of Saint Paul, clothed with a robe white and yellow, bordered with gold, holding a naked sword, having at his feet a man on his knees, clad in a robe of orange colour, black and white, holding a roule.
I have taken this portrait and figure out of Hermes Trismagistus, in his Book of the Secret Art, where he saith, Take away the head of this black man, cut off the head of the Crow, that is to say, Whiten our black. Lambspring, that noble German, hath also used it in the Commentary of his Hieroglyphics, saying, In this wood there is a Beast all covered with black, if any man cut off his head, he will loose his blackness and put on a most white colour. Will you understand what that is? The blackness is called the head of the Crow, the which being taken away, at the instant comes the white colour: Then that is to say, when the Cloud appears no more, this body is said to be without a head.
These are his proper words. In the same sense the Sages have also said in other places, Take the Viper which is called De rexa, cut off his head, &c. that is to say, take away from him his blackness. They have also used this Periphrasis when to signify the multiplication of the Stone, they have fained a Serpent Hydra, whereof, if one cut off one head, there will spring in the place thereof ten; for the stone augments tenfold, every time that they cut off this head of the Crow, that they make it black, and afterwards white, that is to say, that they dissolve it anew, and afterward coagulate it again.
Mark how this naked Sword is wreathed about with a black girdle, and that the ends thereof are not so wreathed at all. This naked shining Sword is the stone for the white, or the white stone, so often by the Philosophers described under this form. To come then to this perfect and sparkling whiteness, thou must understand the wreathings of this black girdle, and follow that which they teach, which is the quantity of the imbibitions. The two ends which are not wreathed about at all, represent the beginning and the ending: for the beginning it teacheth that you must inbibe it at the first time gently and scarcely, giving it then a little milk, as to a little Child newborn, to the intent that Ifir, as the Authors say, be not drowned: The like must we do at the end, when we see that our King is full, and will have no more. The middle of these operations is painted by the five whole wreathes, or rounds, of the black girdle, at what time, (because our Salamander lives of the fire, and in the middest of the fire, and indeed is a fire, and an Argent vive, or quicksilver, that runs in the middest of the fire fearing nothing), thou must give him abundantly, in such sort that the Virgins Milk compass all the matter round about.
I have made to be painted black all these wreaths or rounds of the girdle, because these are the imbibitions, and by consequence, blacknesses: for the fire with the moisture (as it hath been often said) causeth blackness. And as these five whole wreathes or rounds show that you must do this five times wholly, so likewise they let you know that you must do this in five whole months, a month to every imbibition: See here the reason why Haly Abenragel said, the Coction or boiling of the things is done in three times fifty days: It is true that if thou count these little imbibitions at the beginning and at the end, there are seven. Whereupon one of the most envious hath said, Our head of the Crow is leprous, and therefore he that would cleanse it, he must make it go down seven times into the River of regeneration of Jordan, as the Prophet commanded the leprous Naaman the Syrian.
Comprehending herein the beginning, which is but of a few days, the middle, and the end, which is also very short. I have then given thee this table, to tell thee that thou must whiten my body, which is upon the knees, and demandeth no other thing: for Nature always tends to perfection, which thou shalt accomplish by the apposition of Virgins milk, and by the decoction of the matters which thou shalt make with this milk, which being dried upon this body, will colour it into this same white yellow, which he who takes the Sword, is clothed withall, in which colour thou must make they Corfufle to come. The vestments of the figure of Saint Paul are bordered largely with a golden and red citrine colour.
Oh my Son, praise God, if ever thou seest this, for now hast thou obtained mercy from Heaven; Imbibe it then, and teine it till such time as the little Infant be hardy ans strong, to combat against the water and the fire: In accomplishing the which, thou shalt do that which Demagoras, Senior, and Haly have called, The putting of the Mother into the Infants belly, which Infant the Mother had but lately brought forth; for they call the Mother the Mercury of Philosophers, wherewith they make their imbibitions and fermentations, and the Infant they call the Body, to teine or colour the which this Mercury is gone out. Therefore I have given thee these two figures, to signify the Albifications, for in this place it is that thou hast need of great help, for here all the World is deceived.
This operation is indeed a Labyrinth, for here there present themselves a thousand ways at the same instant, besides that, thou must go to the end of it, directly contrary to the beginning, in coagulating that which before thou dissolvedst, and in making earth that which before thou madest water. When thou hast made it white, then hast thou overcome the enchanted Bulls that cast fire and smoke out of their nostrils. Hercules hath cleansed the stable full of ordure, of rottenness, and of blackness. Jason hath powred the decoction or broth upon the Dragons of Colchos, and thou hast in thy power the horn of Amalthea which (although it be white) may fill thee all the rest of thy life with glory, honour, and riches. To have the which, it hath behoved thee to fight valiantly, and in manner of an Hercules, for this Achelous, this moist river, is indewed with a most mighty force, besides that he often transfigures himself from one form to another. Thus hast thou done all, because the rest is without difficulty.
These transfigurations are particularly described in the Book of the Seven Egyptian Seals, where it is said (as also by all Authors) that the Stone, before it will wholly forsake his blackness, and become white in the fashion of a most shining marble, and of a naked flaming sword, will put on all the colours that thou canst possibly imagine, often will it melt, and often coagulate itself, and amidst these divers and contrary operations (which the vegetable soul which is in it makes it perform at one and the same time) it will grow Citrine, green, red (but not of a true red) it will become yellow, blue, and orange colour, until that being wholly overcome by dryness and heat, all these infinite colours will end in this admirable Citrine whiteness, of the colour of Saint Pauls garments, which in a short time will become like the colour of the naked sword; afterwards by the means of a more strong and long decoction it will take in the end a red Citrine colour, and afterward the perfect red of the vermillion, where it will repose itself forever.
I will not forget, by the way, to advertise thee, that the milk of the Moon, is not as the Virgins milk of the Sun; think then that the inbibitions of whiteness, require a more white milk than those of a golden redness; for in this passage I had thought I should have missed, and so I had done indeed had it not been for Abraham the Jew; for this reason I have made to be painted for thee the Figure which taketh the naked sword, in the colour which is necessary for thee, for it is the Figure of that which whiteneth.
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