Blue Cube

Blue cube
Floats softly over the landscape.


The Blue Cube  (11″ x 14″) was the image submitted to the “Dream Art” contest/gallery at the International Association for the Study of Dreams in Berkeley in June, 2012.

About a week after making the image in January, 2012 , I came across Michael Maier’s 16th century alchemical emblem with the floating cubes.   This is the text:

Epigram 36

The Stone that is Mercury, is cast upon the

Earth, exalted on Mountains, resides in the

Air, and is nourished in the Waters.

Discourse 36:

All persons that have once heard of the name or power of the Stone, unless they are altogether incredulous, ask presently where it may be found, that so they may run directly to it. The Philosphers answer is twofold: First Adam brought it with him out of Paradise, that is, in you and in me, and in every man that, birds flying, bring it with them out of far countries. Secondly, it may be found in the Earth, Mountain, Air and Rivers. Which path therefore must be taken? I say, both, but in a different respect, although the last pleases us best, and seems most safe.

It is said to be thrown upon the Earth, because the Element of Earth does first appear in an obscure and black body. Then, because it is vile and of small price, is trod upon in the path of the Traveller, and in the very dung itself. Hence Rosarius says, ” Although I should name it by its Name, the fools would not believe it to be the Thing. ” And Morienus, in his answer to Calis,

” Whither is much of it to be found? ” ” If this: It is not there unless, as the wise man says, it be both to the Poor and Rich, to the Liberal and the Covetous, to him that goeth as well as sitteth. For this is thrown in the way and is trampled on in it’s dunghills, that they might extract it to themselves, but they have been deceived. ”

Mundus likewise in the Turba says, ” If they who sell it but did know it, they would not sell it so cheaply. ” And Arnoldus affirms that the Stone may be had gratis, in as great plenty as any man can desire, neither will he be forced to ask for it. All which things are true; for who but a Churl will deny Earth and Water to him that asks for it? The ancient Cimbri, as history tells us, when they were denied the benefit of these two things by the Romans, entered Italy with large Armies, and slew several thousands of the Romans, together with the Consuls. For the Earth as the Mother of all things, is most precious as it is. The last Matter of things putrefied, is most vile; for nothing can be viler than mud or dirt, which yet is nothing else but Earth mixed with Water. What is more common than a Clod of Earth?

But Euripylus, the son of Neptune, offered it to the Argonautical Heroes as a Present, and they not refusing it, but accepting it gratefully, and Medea having dissolved it in water, divined many good things by it; for it is necessary that Earth be dissolved in water, otherwise neither one nor the other will be of any value.

After this manner, the Stone is said to be cast upon the Earth, in which notwithstanding, it does not remain as a thing abject, but is exalted into the Mountains, such as Athos, Vesuvius, Aetna and others, that send forth Flames, many whereof are to be seen in diverse parts of the World; for in these burns a perpetual Fire, which sublimes the Stone and exalts it to the highest dignity. As it grows in mountains in a rude form, from Sulphur and Argent Vive, so it is perfected and brought to maturity upon the tops of mountains, where also grows that Herb without which the Fire cannot be tempered, because this, being cold and moist, and so thrown into the Fire, repels the vehemence of it by its contrary nature. From the mountains it passes into the Air, where it finds a habitation. For the Air is its house that encloses it, which is nothing else then that it is carried in the belly of the wind, and is born in the Air, which ways of speaking we have explained before.

At last he is fed in Rivers, that is: Mercury is fed in waters; and then, as the Athenians celebrated certain Feasts in his honour, which they called Hydrophoria. For the matter of the Philosophical Stone is water, as the Rosary saith, and is understood by the waters of those three; for which reason Mercury is said to have three heads, as being Marine, Celestial, and Terrestrial , because he is present in the Water, Earth and Air.

He is said to be educated by Vulcan, and given to thievery because Mercury is taught to be accustomed to Fire, which is volatile and carry away whatever is mixed with it. He gave Laws and Discipline to the Egyptians, and anciently instituted the religion of the Theban priests, and the great part of the world besides. For the Egyptians had this policy and sacred rites from Chemical Institutions, from them the Grecians received them, and lastly the Romans, as we have in other places abundantly demonstrated.

He slew Argus with a piece of a rock or Stone, and turned Battus into a Touchstone . What need of many words? All the volumes of the Chemists are nothing else but repetitions concerning Mercury, and they sufficiently confirm his power by this one verse: IN MERCURIO EST QUICQUID QUAERUNT SAPIENTES: What wisemen seek in Mercury is found.

Here therefore he must be sought, for ill he may be found, whether he remain in the Air, the Fire, the Water, or the Earth. For he is wandering, now running hither, now thither, to perform the Services of the Chemick Gods:

He is their Footman, which is declared to be his proper Office, hence some men ascribe to him a Daughter called Anglia.

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