Manly P. Hall writes, The Philosopher’s Stone is an ancient symbol of the perfected and regenerated man whose divine nature shines forth through a chain of purified and unfolded vehicles.
It is a term used to describe the Supreme Wisdom, the union of the divine consciousness or omniscient Solar Principle in man with the lower consciousness or personality, which union has been the goal of Initiates of all ages. Exoterically, the Philosopher’s Stone is the secret of the transmutation of the baser metals into gold. Esoterically, it is the transformation of the self. This is what is known as the “Great Work”.
“Make of a man and woman a circle; then a quadrangle; out of this a triangle; make again a circle, and you will have the Stone of the Wise.”
In Michael Maier’s Atalanta Fugiens, a book of alchemical engravings by Johann de Bry, is this illustration showing a man and woman inside a circle. The square that surrounds it is intuitively constructed, but the triangle and larger circle’s position might seem arbitrary. This shortsightedness is easily forgiven in light of the drawings incompleteness. When we add the few missing circles and squares we can see its underlying message. It is the alchemical key to ‘squaring the circle’, both of equal areas, and of equal perimeters.
Bert Janssen breaks down this famous image geometrically, and finds the solution of squaring the circle with equal perimeters.
The green square, which has been added to the original drawing, has the same perimeter as the outer circle. The squares length may at first seem arbitrary until we rotate it 45 degrees and see that it intersects perfectly with the smaller square containing the man and woman.
John Michell and Allan Brown, in their book ” How the World Is Made: The Story of Creation According to Sacred Geometry” realize the artist also encoded the solution to squaring the circle with equal areas, the more traditional of routes.
With his right hand, the man points to the middle of the design. A circle can be constructed from this point. If we extend its radius to the top of the triangle, a new circle is formed in red. The red square surrounding it has just about the same area as the larger circle(in black).
“The area of this circle is supposed to be the same as the area of the outer circle square, but actually it is smaller than the square by about 1 percent.” – John Michell
In the time of Plato, speaking or writing of such information was met with certain death. Back then nothing was written down on paper because of this fear. Looking back in time it has always been aberrations in thinking from the current zeitgeist that got witches burnt at the stake. Not just witches but anyone who strays from the norm and questions the existing paradigm is usually killed on the spot. It took 400 years for the church to forgive Galileo. He died on house arrest. The guy who said doctors should wash their hands between birthings got committed to an insane asylum.
Throughout time free thinkers have always been met with vociferous opposition, no matter how much sense they made. It is the cognitive dissonance that holds back human growth. We struggle to admit when we are wrong because of our ego. As Mark Twain put it: It’s easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled. In conjunction with this already debilitating psychological phenomena, we build our lives around a false paradigm and struggle to see through the fog due to our blissful state of unawareness.
It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on him not understanding it. -Upton Sinclair
Now perhaps it wasn’t as bad as it was 2000 some odd years ago, but heretical thinking, even in 1618 when this book was published, was likely met with certain doom. Easier it would be to hide these esoteric mysteries in a way that is still reverse-engineerable, so the message could be uncovered at a later time.
Was Michael Maier this inquisitive to encode this arcane knowledge into this diagram? Was the philosopher stoned? Or did he have access to such gnosis, where secrecy was a prerequisite to have knowledge of it?
The dimensions of Earth and Moon encode this basic geometric phenomenon.
Gary Osborn took it one step further and found Mercury in this famous alchemical drawing.
The question now is: if the Moon is already referenced, being an integral part of the geometry, and the large circle is the Earth . . . what ‘heavenly sphere’ does the circle enclosing the male and female figures signify?
Its far too large to be the Moon again. Perhaps the following lines also attributed to Michael Meier provides us with a clue . . .
“The Stone that is Mercury, is cast upon the
Earth, exalted on Mountains, resides in the
Air, and is nourished in the Waters.”
Although what is being expressed is alchemical in its context, the answer is . . . you guessed it . . . the circle enclosing the male and female figures is the planet Mercury. – Gary Osborn
“…sublime truths were communicated to the initiates of the Mystery Schools, but were concealed from the profane. The latter, unable to understand the abstract philosophical tenets, worshiped the concrete sculptured idols which were emblematic of these secret truths. The wisdom and secrecy of Egypt are epitomized in the Sphinx, which has preserved its secret from the seekers of a hundred generations. The mysteries of Hermeticism, the great spiritual truths hidden from the world by the ignorance of the world, and the keys of the secret doctrines of the ancient philosophers, are all symbolized by the Virgin Isis. Veiled from head to foot, she reveals her wisdom only to the tried and initiated few who have earned the right to enter her sacred presence, tear from the veiled figure of Nature its shroud of obscurity, and stand face to face with the Divine Reality.” -Manly P. Hall
“In all cities of the ancient world were temples for public worship and offering. In every community also were philosophers and mystics, deeply versed in Nature’s lore. These individuals were usually banded together, forming seclusive philosophic and religious schools. The more important of these groups were known as the Mysteries.” -Manly P. Hall
“The Vision of Hermes, like nearly all of the Hermetic writings, is an allegorical exposition of great philosophic and mystic truths, and its hidden meaning may be comprehended only by those who have been “raised” into the presence of the True Mind.” – Manly P. Hall
“Only by discovering alchemy have I clearly understood that the Unconscious is a process and that ego’s rapports with the unconscious and his contents initiate an evolution, more precisely a real metamorphoses of the psyche.”
~ Carl Jung