In The Book of Lambspring, translated by Delphinas, is an illustration of a dragon gnawing its own tail in Figure VI. Above the woodcut drawing is the message:
"This surely is a great miracle and without any deception, that in a venomous Dragon there should be the Great Medicine."1
Facing page 65 in the 1986 paperback edition of Titus Burckhardt’s Alchemy is an alchemical drawing, circa 1550. The center feature is a Black Dragon on its back grasping a three-stemmed flower in its claw. The left flower is red, the right white. The central one is called ‘The Flower of the Wise.’ Below the dragon are Sun, Moon and Mercury. That the Great Work combines the operation of these three planetary centers (the self-, sub-, and super-conscious modes) is the meaning of the bottom portion. The red and white flowers symbolize the Red Work and the White Work respectively, resulting in the Stone or Flower of the Wise, Kundalini. It is true that Kundalini lay coiled in the sacral center. However, the initial process has its beginning rooted within the Black Dragon, representing the human intestines since they are coiled like a serpentine dragon inside the darkness of the body cavity (cave). An alchemist extracts a vital essence from the intestines, more accurately the small intestines, eventually to produce the Flowers of the Wise. The Black Dragon symbol is common throughout alchemical writings and is usually drawn belly-up with something hinting work toward the Stone coming out of its own intestinal region.
The symbolic language was never so clear, however, as that illustrated in the 1974 hard-bound edition of Manly Palmer Hall’s Codex Rosae Crucis. The color-plate facing page 42 illustrates a dragon, belly-up, with a Mercury glyph formed of a cross, Sun, and Moon sprouting from its own intestinal region. Again, a rose and lily (red and white work) sprout from the composite Mercury glyph. The whole Mercury symbol illustrates the First Matter inside the alchemist’s body. Universal Mercury is Limitless Light, AIN SUPh AUR, equally dispersed throughout creation, but inside the human body it takes another form equally potent since it is the same Light energy. It is the Liquid Gold that makes AURUM POTABILE (see same). All sages say: "To make gold, you must first have it!" And we do. We all have the gold and discard it. An alchemist, however, floods the physical blood with extra amounts of this Potable Gold. It resides in the body’s Virgo region, in which sign Mercury not only rules, but is exalted. Refer to LAC VIRGINIS and CHYLUS.
1 Delphinas, Nicholas Barnaud, The Book Of Lambspring. Edmonds, WA: Alchemical Press, 1986, pg. 17.