ABSTRACT

The coronation picture that illustrates this text 5 proves that the resuscitation of the purified corpse is at the same time a glorification, since the process is likened to the crowning of the Virgin.* The allegorical language of the Church supports

such a comparison. The connections of the Mother of God with the moon,7 water, and fountains are so well known that I need not substantiate them further. But whereas it is the Virgin who is crowned here, in the Senior text it is the son who receives the "crown of victory"—which is quite in order since he is the filius regius who replaces his father. In Aurora the crown is given to the regina austri, Sapientia, who says to her beloved: "I am the crown wherewith my beloved is crowned," so that the crown serves as a connection between the mother and her son-lover.8 In a later text 9 the aqua amara is defined as "crowned with light." At that time Isidore of Seville's etymology was still valid: mare ab amaro,™ which vouches for "sea" as synonymous with the aqua permanens. It is also an allusion to the water symbolism of Mary (mr/??, "fountain").11 Again and again we note that the alchemist proceeds like the unconscious in the choice of his symbols: every idea finds both a positive and a negative expression. Sometimes he speaks of a royal pair, sometimes of dog and bitch; and the water symbolism is likewise expressed in violent contrasts. We read that the royal diadem appears "in menstruo meretricis (in the menstruum of a whore)," 12 or the following instructions are given: "Take the foul deposit [faecem] that remains in the cooking-vessel and preserve it, for it is the crown of the heart." T h e deposit corresponds to the corpse in the sarcophagus, and the sarcophagus corresponds in turn to the mercurial fountain or the vas hermeticum.