1-3-3 Mercury

Mercury or Hermes figures prominently in alchemical works. Aside from being a third of our triangle, Mercury is one of the seven planets. See Module 1-4-6 for more.

detailbasilvalentine02Caduceus – We’re most familiar with the herald staff of Hermes through its modern associations with medicine, but its symbolism extends to anything hermetic. Hermes is associated with commerce, discourse, the printed word, messengers, and guides. Look back to the information presented on the ouroboros and duality. The caduceus is an extension of this, and embodies the hermetic process.

“Nature [says]: Know that I have only one such son, he is one of seven, and the first among them; and though he is now all things, he was at first only one. In him are the four elements, yet he is not an element. He is a spirit, yet he has a body; a man, yet he performs a woman’s part: a boy, yet he bears a man’s weapons; a beast, and yet he has the wings of a bird. He is poison, yet he cures leprosy; life, yet he kills all things, a King, but another occupies his throne; he flees from the fire, yet fire is taken from him; he is water, but does not wet the hands; he is earth, and yet he is sown; he is air, and lives by water.” -Attrib. Sendivogius, The New Chemical Light

Cross Check

kundaliniA comparison of the caduceus to the kundalini is especially helpful if you’re more  familiar with Eastern schools of thought. The same can be said for the tree of life if youhave a background in cabala. The snakes of the caduceus form two opposing sides around a central pillar. The upward momentum and balance of duality is portrayed in allthese models.

Exercises

1. Mercury is a little light in the loafers. The loafers are light, but I’m not making light of the loafers. Have a look back to the circle section and try to merge these concepts with the stories of Mercury, his lovers, and his descendants.

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2. Since Mercury is seen in our 2s, 3s, and 7s, maybe it’s Mercury that links our foundational concepts together. Try drawing your circle, square, and triangle any way you want. Incorporate mercury into your drawing or diagram. Look back to alchemical woodcuts and see how other artists have done the same.