Plate XIII – The Fourth Treatise, Secondly
Above the arched niche rides an apparently regal personage, judging by the attendant kneeling before him. On the cart wheels are symbolized Sagittarius by the Centaur, and Pisces by the Fishes. Jupiter rules both astrological signs. Not represented is Jupiter’s sign of exaltation in Cancer. Therefore, the Metal represented here within the glass retort would be that of Tin of the Alchemists, the inner Holy Planet Jupiter, and the Manipura Chakra of the Yogis, a point in the spine at the level of the Solar Plexus.
Pulling the cart is a ‘Pair of Peacocks’, par pavos, summing to 95. Vera Medicina, ‘True Medicine’, and Aqua Benedicta, ‘Blessed Water’, each sum to 95. The reference with Jupiter is that the Ocean of Universal Mind-Matter is also the Universal Memory Substance, known in Eastern Traditions as Akasha, or the Akashic Records. Our access to this Liquid Light-Substance is only brought about by pure Love. Pavo, ‘Peacock’, will be addressed again with another certain Metal.
In the written portion of the Fourth Treatise the author mentions ‘the Heat’ within all seven. This of course is referring to the Sulfur (Rajas) Mode within each Metal or Chakra. It is the chief element, the Fiery element, within each that is most important. It turns the Saltish tendencies within each Metal toward their Mercury expressions. Psychologically speaking, the Self-conscious mind is the Desirous Sulfur (Rajas). When Self-consciousness is turned toward Super-conscious expressions (Sattva), our Subconscious (Tamas) habit patterns are assuaged, given less energy, by which they can be eventually overcome.
So here we see the author/artist making that point with the three birds flailing about as if in conflict. That conflict within each of us seems perpetual, and will remain so if we are not committed to improving and evolving our personality complex from its natural base (Tamas) tendencies.
The Yogis name this Metal the Manipura Chakra, which means “filled with Jewels”. The jewels are the accrued memories of all our soul’s experiences through this life and our countless prior incarnations; the Akashic Records mentioned above.
The burden with the host of memories we carry can plague us by the range of emotions connected with them. Memories of joy, accomplishments and comradeship may be equally balanced with ones of sadness, failures and relationships gone awry. Hence the seemingly contradictory nature with Roger Bacon’s description of the Nature of Tin in his Mirror of Alchymy:
“Tin is a body clean, imperfect, engendered of ARGENT-VIVE pure, fixed, and not fixed clear,
being white outwardly, but red inwardly, and of the like SULPHUR. Tin lacks only decoction, or digestion.”
The mental and emotional wrestling over our past ephemeral events and circumstances must also be cleansed by the only method really available to us as aspirants… “decoction, or digestion”, which is Meditation.
The Black, White and Red feathered Aves in conflict represent another alchemical tenet; The ‘Stages of the Art’, not to be confused with the ‘Steps Toward the Stone’.
The ‘Stages of the Art’ is described in detail from the Glossary in this site. But here, succinctly, the Black Stage is the continual surrendering of the little ‘personal’ self until we find we have nothing else to surrender within our separative self-consciousness to the point of Caput Mortuum, the ‘Dead Head’ of Putrefaction. The White Stage is one of Purification, where we are continually invoking the Higher Self by every means we can creatively imagine through prayers and meditations. Having succeeded thus far, the Red Stage is the actual accomplishment of full, conscious knowing of the Unification with the SELF and thus physically performing the Work of the Fire from Within; is the best that can be described so briefly.
The gray-colored panel below attached to Jupiter does not conform with any color code in the Western Tradition.