the Alchemist in the Mysteries of Mary Deck
The early or even some say, the true first alchemist of the Western world, was known as Mary or Maria the Jewess, Mary or Miriam the Prophetess and Maria Prophetissa. She is known as a Jewish alchemist, but is also referred to by other writers and cultures. She is also known by these names : Maria Hebraea, Maria Prophetissima and Mariya the Sage; She is known from the works of the Gnostic Christian writer Zosimos of Panopolis who dates her as having lived in the third century. But others claim that her work was done no later than the first century. Zosimos describes her as one of the sages.
In alchemy the Axion of Maria exists : "One becomes two, two becomes three, and out of the third comes the one as the fourth."
Maria holds the hawthorn branch as her magician’s wand. The magician or alchemist archetype of the deck has all four the elements to her disposable. Here we see the chalice, pitchers and alchemists' bottles of the suit of vessels and the element of water; the white hawthorn branch as a symbol of the flowering cross of the tree of life and the element of living fire; the red thread tied around the wisdom books as the element of air in the suit of the distaff and the red rose from the suit of roses and the element of earth. The colours of red and white are also significant as these represent the two opposing colours of spirit and matter which has to be unifed into the sacred marriage in order for transformation and new birth within the psyche to take place.
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