Plate XIV – The Fourth Treatise, Thirdly
Clearly this Plate is the pictorial representation of the Mars Force-center, the Metal Iron and the Svadhisthana Chakra of the Yogis. It is a point situated in the spinal column approximately at the level behind the navel.
Not so clear are the details on the cart wheels. Mr. Julius Kohn ‘sees’ a Goat on the first wheel, the symbol of the astrological sign Capricorn in which Mars is Exalted; then a Crab (?) on the back wheel, the sign of Cancer, within which Mars is in its Fall. That back wheel is partly obscured by clouds, so the benefit goes to Mr. Kohn, who might have actually seen the original manuscript or even spoke with one knowing.
The two foxes, however, solve the dilemma, and very much more. And, once again, Solomon Trismosin serves up extraordinary, hidden information by linking this Plate with a Bible story, as he did in Plate V – The First Parable. The only place where ‘two foxes’ together pull anything is in the Biblical narrative of Samson (Judges 15:4). This also clears up any doubt over the 'Crab' symbol on the rear cart wheel.
Each of the Seven Chakras express extreme opposition of certain qualities or attributions in their natures. Mars holds within itself the opposition Qabalists label ‘Grace and Sin’. This is the principal lesson behind the Samson allegory regarding the use or misuse of the creative, reproductive force that is governed by the Mars Center. The Exaltation and Fall attributions on the wheels hint toward these extreme expressions. The entire Samson allegory portrays our hero having experienced, then overcoming, these extremes within himself.
The foxes point us all toward that message. Other noted philosophers point us in the same direction by calling the Metal associated with Mars, the 'Iron Key'. For to work toward balancing the extreme expressions through that Metal is to redirect that force for the perfection of Creative Imagination (Venus). On the Tree of Life the astrological sign Scorpio, ruled by Mars, occupies the 24th Path, connecting the Ego in Tiphareth with the Desire Nature in Netzach. This Path is called the ‘Imaginative Intelligence’ or the ‘Intelligence of Resemblance’, שכל דמיוני, Sakel Damyoni. Commentators report that it “is because it constitutes the similarity in the likeness of all created beings”. This is not merely initiated by the Ego in Tiphareth with physical progeny, but the creative impulse behind all imagined desires toward their manifestation. Damyoni sums to 120 by Gematria. With the ‘proper’ turn of this Key desires are exalted. Mythology again proffers the same message with the portrayal of the love affair between Mars and Venus.
Now, of the Gunas within Iron. First, Basil Valentine describes the Mars Center:
“Iron is found to have the least portion of Mercury but more of Sulphur and Salt.”
Certainly clear enough. Even an understatement! How many of us out there do willingly turn our proclivities from sex, drugs and rock n’ roll toward reading, studying, meditating on Qabalah, Hermetics, Spiritual Alchemy...and...the Bible, what?
Friar Roger Bacon pulls no punches with:
“Iron is an unclean and imperfect body, engendered of ARGENT-VIVE, too much fixed, earth, burning, white and red not clear,
and of the like SULPHUR. It wants (lacks) fusion, purity, and weight and has too much fixed unclean SULPHUR and burning
earthiness. What has been spoken, every Alchymist must diligently observe.”
My guess is there could not have been more than a handful of individuals from the general population in the 1580s who understood what Mr. Solomon Trismosin was going on about. But we must thank the Almighty Creator for allowing the preservation of Solomon’s work. The Foxes are a brilliant clue.
Par vulpes, ‘pair of foxes’ in Latin sums to 115, that of Mercurius, a direct suggestion for turning Rajas Guna toward its Sattva expression within Iron.
Duo vulpes, ‘two foxes’ sums to 120, with Damyoni above. It also equals Clavis Artis, the ‘Key of Art’, needing no elaboration; and Medicina Catholica, the ‘Universal Medicine’, which Mercury is actually, and no less aids the human organism to attain the ‘Natural Age of the Enlightened Man’ at 120.
Corpora arenacea, the Latin for ‘brain sand’ inside the pineal gland, sums to 120; and, if we take the Latin word for ‘foxes’ alone, vulpes, it sums to 84 and equals that of conarium, ‘pineal gland’. Again, brilliant clues.
Sum up all the imagery and ideas behind these pictures “worth a thousand words” and the result is an activated, balanced, fully matured and purified-to-Whiteness Mars Force-center as depicted by the Thrice-headed, Thrice-Crowned Pure White Avis in the retort. The Mercury, Sulfur and Salt expressions within Iron are all purified. All this provided we DO THE WORK with the Iron Key and turn the Mars Rajas Guna toward its Sattvic expressions. Make Mercury of our Iron!
And what of this White Bird in the retort? A Swan, maybe? A Goose? Something mythical? No mention is made of it in the written portion, and Julius Kohn merely describes the obvious of what we all see here. But Trismosin’s hint is clear to Qabalists in that alba avis, ‘white bird’, sums to 60, that of בחן, be-khane, ‘In Grace’.
Note the familiar three-leafed wreath under the retort colored Red this once; also for once, the correct color attribution for the Mars energies in the Red panel below.