The occult is repleat with symbols. There’s some amazing, some bizarre, some thought provoking, some fantastical. Eliphas Levi’s iconic work The Ritual of Transcendental Magic alone is stuffed full of symbols. The occult symbols of the Late 19th century that are centered around mystical magic are fairly religious in nature. Often wrapped about with names of demons and angels these symbols purportedly gave one the ability to call upon.
If one goes further back and starts looking at the art of the alchemists, the symbols get a lot more simple, serious, and down to earth. They appear in strange places at strange times in strange associations. These symbols mean something more, they are not merely names. Just as surely they are not recipes for Alchemy in the chemical sense.
Sometime in the 14th century some alchemical texts started displaying a circumscribed triangle. The Atalanta Fugiens is the most well known and even comes with a rather informative description. This symbol would become the philosophers stone.
“Make of a man and woman a circle; then a quadrangle; out of this a triangle; make again a circle, and you will have the Stone of the Wise. Thus is made the stone, which thou canst not discover, unless you, through diligence, learn to understand this geometrical teaching.”Michael Maier’s Atalanta Fugiens:
During the 1920s a strange yet very interesting character from the Western mountains of Russia on the border of Turkey named George Gurdjieff would introduce a few of his students to a symbol called the enneagram. The enneagram is a nine-pointed symbol that has the philosopher’s stone symbol from The 14th century embedded within it.
In addition to the philosopher’s Stone a six-pointed symbol has been drawn crisscrossing the triangle making an uneven triangle on each side of the symbol bilaterally. At first it looks very strange, and after a few years of studying European alchemic art, it seemed like something broken. It turns out in a way we were right but in another way, we were really wrong.
After reading the works of George Gurdjieff almost 15 years ago. A quest to understand this symbol was begun for me. I wrote a series of articles that describes how a philosophers stone and an enneagram function. What they might be used for how and how to use them. The Enneagram is there for you to discover.