When Michael Maier depicted Hermes Trismegistus with the sun and the moon he did so knowing this imagery would stir something within our subconscious. See, cosmic language isn’t a language of words. This is why psychologists oftentimes use dream interpretations as a way to help their clients get in touch with their wants and desires that are free from emotional baggage. Michael Maier as an accomplished alchemist would have been acutely aware of how symbolism conveyed these sorts of messages.
See, the sun and the moon represent our conscious and our subconscious mind wrapped in the image of a phoenix rising. The phoenix being an emblem of immortality and resurrection. Among the philosophers of Kemet it oftentimes represented the Soul.
Notice the sun is over the moon. Evola states:
“We can say in general that the sun is ‘form and power of individuation’ (that part of us that experiences the material world through our senses). while the moon- which preserves the archaic Mother and woman symbols- expresses the immaterial, and universal: to the undifferentiated vitality, to the Cosmic Spirit (Holy Spirit), or the Ether light, corresponds to the feminine.”-The Hermetic Tradition (my added interpretation in parenthesis)
Dumbing it down and bringing it into the context of my personal belief:
It is my experience that this feminine power of our subconscious is Sophia. “For She is the reflection of eternal light, the spotless mirror of the power of God, the image of His goodness.” This passage in the Wisdom of Solomon paints Sophia as the Eternal light, or Ether light in the language of Julius Evola. This passage is one of many that, not only defines why I feel so strongly about the Divine Feminine being our guide, but also illustrates the importance of our subconscious in alchemy.
Now then, the sun represents our consciousness, that which experiences the sensory world and the seat of our intellect. This sis the part of us that yearns to enjoy the experience of life itself, that knows we exist. Think bullheaded determination and reflect on your own conscious thinking. Then, think of the small, still voice and it’s quiet rationale.
When Heraclitus spoke of Sophia he tended to be slightly vague:
“Nature loves to hide herself in plain sight. She hints of one meaning under many forms which delude the senses of fools.-Fragments
Heraclitus was trying to tell his students to go inward and seek Sophia. Solomon followed a similar line of thinking when he said “seek Her like silver, and like hidden treasures search Her out,” when speaking of Woman Wisdom. Language being the barrier that throws most people off here. Sophia means ‘Wisdom’ in Greek. Philosophia being a ‘lover of Wisdom.’ Sophia is hidden in plain sight just beyond our senses and she is indeed a hidden treasure. This is why I see Her as the guiding light that helps the mystic draw nearer to God.
Of course, to seek Wisdom with our intellectual prowess would be folly. Only our hearts- that eternal part of us called the subconscious- can commune with the Divine. This is Why the Wisdom of the Heart Is So Vital. It’s our hearts that hold the key to genuinely journeying within.
Let’s not forget that there is another link to Alchemy and the Divine Feminine shrouded within Proverbs 2:4:
“If you seek Her like silver…”– King Solomon
Isis is often represented by a silver moon. I know many people are a bit uncomfortable with this connection but Solomon’s first wife was definitely the daughter of a Pharaoh. Solomon being an arms dealer that acted as a middleman between Kemet and Assyria would have definitely been influenced by Kemetic philosophers of the day. Now, to complete the irony, Osiris is often linked to a golden sun. Between the two symbols lies a tale of immense creative power by way of polarity. Obviously, this has to do with the tale of Horus and a lot of really deep mysticism that would take quite a bit of time to genuinely explain but here’s the footnotes version-
Osiris ruled Kemet with his wife Isis. His brother Set loathed him and transformed himself into a monster killing Osiris. Set then scattered his body parts abroad. Isis, aided by the goddess Nephtys, managed to at least find a few parts of his body. Isis then ingests his male member and becomes pregnant. Not long after that she gave birth to Horus.
-In a nutshell, the golden sun is said to represent G-D’s creative power that the silver moon reflects within the soul of humankind which then carries out said desire in the physical world.
And what carries said creative power into the physical world?
Both the sun and the moon in Michael Maier’s etching of Hermes are wrapped in a phoenix. Remember what we said about the phoenix? Any time you see a winged animal in relation to alchemy know that it represents that eternal part of you. The phoenix represents the union of salt, mercury, and sulphur, commonly known as the tria prima– three principles- and represents creative force. What Paracelsus would call “the formless essence that defines all matter.” Think of it in terms of energy if that makes it easier to grasp.
Occultists the world over know this as the law of the triangle.
To construct a Temple at the heart of the rose (heart chakra) is to use our conscious faculties- visualization, will power- to reconcile our seemingly dualistic nature of thoughts and feelings. Some refer to this process as the Union of Opposites but I have to agree with Heraclitus here-
“The road up and the road down are the same thing.”-Refutations
-When we start stilling our waking mind we open ourselves up to that still, small voice of intuition. As our intuition grows so does our understanding of polarity. You learn what you are naturally drawn to in both thought and feeling while realizing what you naturally despise. As you deepen your connection with the eternity within you balance becomes a natural part of your waking life. We enter into a place where everything flows and struggles become these accepted obstacles in our lives.
“Peace does not mean and absence of conflict, because opposition, polarity, and conflict are natural laws.”-Brian McGill
Thank you for coming to my TedTalk.