by Jack Courtis
Introduction: Secret Symbols of the Rosicrucians and the Kosmic Internet
Tabula Smaragdina Hermetis - (Book One, 12th diagram)
On the "Interpretation and Explanation of the Tabula Smaragdina Hermetis"
Mons Philosophorum (Book One, 6th diagram)
Primum Mobile (Book Two, 12th diagram.)
Virgin Sophia (Book Two, 1st diagram)
Figura Divina (Book One, 21st diagram)
The Hermetic Philosophy (Book One, 8th diagram & text)
by Jack Courtis
There is a subtle hint in the alchemical literature that the dew is a chemical secreted by the brain as a consequence of the performance of the Great Work. Thus the body is variously described as the "retort", the "vessel of distillation", the "alembic", etc. At the physical level, the Great Work is performed in the physical body and has physical consequences. This secretion acts upon the 7 glands associated with the 7 chakras. Amongst other things, it bestows good health and hence the expressions "Elixir of Life", "living water", etc. This is not produced by reading books. It is the result of hard work, self-discipline and dedicated effort. No wonder there is very little known about the dew.
The diagram is in 4 stages and they correspond to the 4 kabalistic levels of reality, from top to bottom like this:
- Emanation; the hand holding the magnet and pouring the dew, coupled with the breath of life.
- Creation; 5 baby dragons and a sunflower that is called prima materia.
- Formation; the sun and the moon , the rose and the lily, with the miraculous fountain.
- Action; the cloud with the 3 alchemical principles, the planets and the metals.
Level 1 – Emanation
The writing next to this part of the diagram gives us the clue. There is a 2-way process being performed. The "magnet-stone" (a variation of the Philosophers Stone) attracts "iron-hard" men from the Below to the Above. What does "iron-hard" mean? Is this a reference to a ruthless, even a cruel personality? Is this how the spiritual life manifests? Spiritual men are supposed to be gentle and kind, aren’t they? "Yes" to others and "no" to themselves. At a certain stage on the inner journey, a man must be hard upon himself to the point of self-inflicted pain. Can it be any other way? No! This is the level of reality that brings us closest to God. Complete self-discipline is the minimum standard.
But what is this certain stage? How do we recognize it, how do we know when we are there? Look closely at the text. To be "iron-hard" is to function consciously at the sefira on the Tree of Life, called Gevurah. Astrologically this is attributed to Mars and alchemically, it is attributed to iron. It is on the pillar of Severity. By the time we get to this stage on the inner journey, we shall all be "iron-hard".
What about the other side of the process, from the Above to the Below? The dew (as the water of life) is poured out in conjunction with the breath of life. Together, they are God’s grace that is given to us freely and without conditions. The water of life and the breath of life are available to us directly, when we activate our Crown chakra, the "Thousand Petalled Lotus", in full self-awareness. This is where the secretion of the chemical is activated in the brain.
Level 2 – Creation
There are 4 baby dragons on the left and one on the right; 5 in all. The 4 elements (air, fire, water, earth) plus the 5th that is the activating principle, the aether. Why babies? Because they have not yet been brought to maturity and full power by us. The dragons surround a sunflower that has 6 petals plus its head (the 7th point). This flower is called prima materia by the text. Why a sunflower? Look at the diagram below:
Every sunflower head has 2 spirals that consist of interlaced seeds. One spiral goes clockwise, the other anti-clockwise and they fit each other perfectly. In some species there are 34 clockwise spirals and 55 anti-clockwise spirals, whilst in other species there are 55 and 89, or even 89 and 144. It depends on the species of sunflower, but they are all related numbers. What is the significance? These are consecutive numbers in the Fibonacci sequence:
1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, etc……..
One spiral is feminine and the other is masculine. But there is more. If we take the fraction 34/55 and multiply it by 3600, we get 222.50. This is an external angle and hence we subtract 1800 and finish up with 137.50. So what? This is the golden angle of Greek sacred mathematics and is related to the golden number f , or 0.618034. There is a very close relationship between the Fibonacci sequence and the golden number. It happens that the double spiral only appears if the seeds grow at a divergence angle of 137.50. The feminine and masculine are united in a very precise way by a mathematical ratio. This is the division of a line into the mean and extreme ratios. In Greek sacred geometry, this was one way of depicting the Logos as the principle of order and harmony.
For our purposes it is enough to understand that Plato considered the Logos to be a pure abstraction that could only be understood mathematically. Kabalistically, this is the level of reality at which the Logos is to be found. Why is this important? Because the text calls the sunflower, the prima materia. Now we have a better idea of what this means. The water of life and the breath of life are united by the mathematics of the sunflower head – the golden Logos.
Level 3 – Formation
It is here that we make sense of the alchemical koan: solve et coagula. First, the Logos is separated into the masculine sun and feminine moon. Secondly, the male essence is poured onto the rose and the female essence is poured onto the lily. These two essences are the dew and the breath of life on this level. They have been split up into a polarity again. Thirdly, the sun and the rose are Tiferet on the Tree of Life and the moon and the lily are Yesod on the Tree of Life. Tiferet is attributed to the Heart chakra and Yesod is attributed to the sexual chakra. Fourthly, the two essences are united once more in the downward pointing triangle of the "miraculous fountain". The sexual imagery should be obvious by now. The male and female must reunite their essences in the fountain.
The text on the left of the diagram refers to the "fiery water and the watery fire". What can this mean? Read the text carefully. Is this a description of the Chi pouring through the acupuncture meridians? No wonder nothing may live without it and it is close to all things but unknown. It is only in the grasp of the Philosophers, that is, people who are capable of functioning with full self-awareness at this level of reality. Have you noticed the subtle comment? Nothing can live without this fiery water "in time". At the level of Formation our vehicle of consciousness is the soul. But to live "in time", that is in our vehicle of consciousness our body, the fiery water is necessary. The Chi acts as the formative agent at the level of Formation, for our body at the level of Action.
Level 4 – Action
The dew now pours out of the miraculous fountain as a moisture laden cloud. It brings the 3 alchemical principles of Mercury, Sulfur and Salt. In turn they generate the 7 planets of astrology (the Above) and the 7 metals of alchemy (the Below). This is the mechanism of our functioning in our vehicle of consciousness the body on this level of Action. Have you noticed the number 33 in the cloud? Jesus was 33 when he was crucified and there are 32 + 1 paths associated with the Tree of Life. The 32 paths are well understood. The 33rd path is the one that transcends the Tree and goes to the Ain Sof Aur. There are 33 degrees in Freemasonary.
The text on the right gives us contradictory instructions. We must catch the moisture to avoid it changing into vapor or fume and then we are told that the 2 vapors or fumes are the "roots of the art". Clearly, the polarity of the water of life and the breath of life is being alluded to again. We must catch it when it leaves the miraculous fountain in a unified form, as it crosses from Formation into Action and then use its dual nature as part of our inner journey. This is the chemical secreted by our brain which then affects the rest of our bodily functions. Enlightenment has a physical basis. The full explanation is given by the text immediately below the diagram.
This has to be read very carefully and then meditated upon. Here is the clue; the living stone and living water consist of "a sulfur, a mercury, a salt, hidden deep in nature…". Consider the coiled kundalini serpent at your Base chakra. When the serpent uncoils and begins its upward climb, where does it go? Co-located with your physical spine are the 3 channels Ida, Pingala and Sushumna. Remember the 5 baby dragons? The 4 on the left are related to the 4 lower chakras. The 3 higher chakras are related to the 3 alchemical principles. You have all the clues. The rest is now up to you.