Based on the “Ancient Chaos” emblem in The Crowning of Nature, art by Samuel Scarborough.
The Crowning of Nature describes the emblem as follows:
Chaos is the first beginning of the first created from an Uncreated Being, this God omnipotent created in the beginning, but before the work of the days it was without shape and also confused. But afterwards all the most sound Philosophers nominated that Essence, the Mother and the first matter of the world, for Hilon, and Nature, in whose bosom innumerable forms lay hid, which the Omnipotent Builder, that great Spagirus, appointed in his time to break forth, for he had first included a spirit in that Undigested Matter, Chaos, who some hath affirmed out to be called the Soul of the World, some the Form of Forms, others the Proximate Instrument of the Creator. By the benefit of this spirit so included, there is at length by the most free will of God, providing for and overlooking all things, a separation is made of the waters from the waters, by which they were divided. But it is very remarkable, that at the separation of the Chaos, there was a just division, no deperdition, but every particle of the same being full of spirit and life, they are fit for that to which they were ordained, waxing strong and vegitating.
Hence the admirable strength of things, may by the sons of men be drawn forth and become a true metamorphosis, if they artificially search and handle them according to the nature of the Chemical Art, for the true Philosophers have considered of no other Mystery than Nature itself, and a possibility of Nature, which Natural simplicity may indeed suffice those that rely on it, for Nature doth work most of all from its aptness of its own virtue and beginning, as it doth demonstrate, only needing a little help of Art.
With the Cabalists this Chaos is twofold, to wit, Intelligibles and Visables, the one proceeding from the immediate decree of God, the other is reported or declared to proceed immediately from the execution of the same decree.
Know further, that the point you see in the White, is put for the centre of the Earth, the whiteness doth signify the Earth itself, the crooked like signifies the flowing water, which in its own place would cover the Earth, but by the decree of the most bountiful Creator, it encompasses some part only. The white circle beset with little black spots, signifies the Air, as the sevenfold little points of a golden colour denotes Fire.
These things being thus expounded and declared, the next consideration shall be of the seven Planets punctually compassing the Chaos. The first of these is Saturn, and therefore is placed in the ascendant, but he contains all the other planets, as the others do the rest, but in a diverse order. From hence it is known that all things are in all things, according to the true philosophical intention. But himself is feminine and melancholy, feminine and phlegmatic and sanguine, masculine and sanguine, feminine and phlegmatic, lastly the feminine and melancholy.
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Adam McLean gives a short and simple commentary on the emblem in which he says:
The series opens with the figure named CHAOS, which shows the seven Planetary archetypical forces, which together with the four elements depicted in the centre, are the primal substances and forces out of which the work of the alchemical process proceeds. Thus this illustration indicates the foundation of the Great Work.