Friday, August 12, 2011
Godwin on Alchemy for non-initiates
To look at these symbols as pictures is to understand something that commentators rarely point out. They will tell us what the various creatures or figures symbolize, but if that were sufficient, there would be no need for an illustration: it could all be put into words, like philosophy. Why draw so many images if all they mean is that there is a relationship between “soul” and “spirit”? The reason is that these symbolic landscapes and their inhabitants are to be brought alive through the imagination.
For those of us who cannot or would rather not “rise in the planes,” the symbolic world of Hermetic philosophy still affords a unique combination of visual pleasure and spiritual meaning.
— Joscelyn Godwin, The Silent Language: Symbols of the Hermetic Philosophy