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Fig 3.9 – Philosopher’s Stone

Text: Page 122

The squared circle symbolized the philosopher’s stone, the first matter of all creation, the breath of the Greek gods that all humanity breathed, the symbol of the return to perfection, enlightenment, and “heavenly bliss.”

As alchemy developed from the Hellenistic and Western esoteric traditions, the achievement of gnosis, the Greek word for “knowledge,” became the philosopher’s stone. Alchemists often mixed divine water and sulfurous water in a bowl like a baptismal font to create purifying vapors of mercury and sulfur. Being Gnostics, the alchemists used the Hermetic symbol of the mixing bowl to facilitate the purification of the initiate during their ascent into the transcendental realms. In the Corpus Hermeticum, it was Hermes in dialogue with Tat, the Monad, where Hermes described the mixing bowl of the mind as the way to free the mind of human complexities and experience god and the divine.

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