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Creation of the Cosmos series from Fludd
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This amazing series of engravings appears in the opening section of Robert Fludd vast encyclopaedia of hermetic philosophy Utriusque cosmi historia (an account of the Macrocosm and Microcosm). This opening section of his book deals with the origin and structure of the cosmos and shows in this series of pictures the creation and evolution of the cosmos seen from an hermetic perspective. Interestingly, here we have a kind of inverse of the present day 'big-bang' theory in which the cosmos emerges from a point. In the hermetic philosophy of Fludd's age, based on the Biblical account in the opening chapter of Genesis, the Divine worked from above, from the periphery, to condense the material world gradually out of spirit. In this series we see the spiritual precursors of the four elements being condensed or pressed down from the periphery into the centre this forming the material world. The colouring scheme is entirely my own (Fludd did not have the luxury of using colour in his book), but I have drawn on Fludd's text for hints as to how the components should be coloured. In some ways this descent of fire and light from the periphery is mirrored in the alchemical manuscript The Crowning of Nature aas well as the All Wise Doorkeeper series.

All these images are copyright © Adam McLean 2000. My edition of Fludd's Origin and Structure of the Cosmos is currently available from the
alchemy web bookstore.