Alchemy 101: Above, Below, and the “One Thing”

To learn alchemy, the practitioner must first understand its principles. To do so, we must look at the content of the ancient texts that served as the foundation for alchemy. One such text being the Emerald Tablet, which was said to hold the entirety of the philosophy and practice of alchemy. With this we can understand the foundation of the system of reasoning that the alchemists had.

In the Theatrum Chemicum translation of the Emerald Tablet, the second line states, “Whatever is below is similar to that which is above. Through this the marvels of the work of one thing are procured and perfected.” Although it’s short, within this excerpt is the entirety of alchemical philosophy:

To start, the heavens, as referred to by numerous religions, is the above: it was the sky and the swath of stars overhead; it contained the sun, the moon, and the planets. The above is the realm of God / the gods, and it is also the internal expression of the soul, residing in each of us.

On the other hand, the below is the earththe mortal world.

The above and the below correspond; they are in union with each other. However, while the two are perceived as two separate aspects, they are, in fact, one. 

Together, the above and the below accomplish the “one thing”. Alchemists believed that all things were created from one thing by one thing. This “one thing” is what was known by alchemists as the Prima Materia, the first matter, in which there was one, unchangeable reality behind the ever-changing material world. It is regarded as the source of everything, and alchemists, in their studies, were constantly searching for this Prima Materia. 

In addition, the “one thing” was believed to simultaneously express itself as three things (a trinity). Similar to other practices, alchemy has its own trinity, its own set of three principles:


Vanessa Beecroft x Vogue Italia - Valentino Haute Couture Fall 2016


The Construction of Rosslyn chapel began on 20 September 1456.

Properly known as the Collegiate Chapel of St Matthew - Village of Roslin, Midlothian, just a couple of miles from where I grew up. The building of the chapel is sometimes incorrectly given as ten years before, but that date comes from the chapel’s receiving its founding charter from Rome.

We are very lucky that Rosslyn Chapel remains intact, as we see it today, you only have to look around Scotland at the ruins of our Abbeys destroyed during the Reformation, Rosslyn was closed from around 1560,The chapel’s altars were destroyed in 1592 but the main structure is thought to have survived and real damage.

Queen Victoria visited the site during her reign and was instrumental in restoring the Chapel to it’s original state, it reopened in 1861 for worship according to Protestant rites of the Scottish Episcopal Church.

The chapel was built by The Sinclair family and has been linked with the Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon, that’s the Knights Templar to you and I, the order was disbanded around 150 years before construction but symbols, such as the “Two riders on a single horse” that appear on the Seal of the Knights Templar, can be found on the building.

I remember my mum talking about the Apprentice Pillar and how there was speculation that The Holy Grail is possibly encased within it, she relayed this us in the early 70′s, a good 30 years before the Chapel became famous due to Dan Brown’s novel and film The Da Vinci Code.

The older image is from an engraving published in “Theatrum Scotiae” by John Slezer, 1693

It’s a sad truth. You look away for one moment, and you’re suddenly hugged. You think you are alone, relaxing, cuddle free…and then you’re swarmed by a roving mob of criminal Scuttlers. You think you are free of nibbles but it’s already too late, you didn’t notice the Scuttler nibbling on your shirt as they clung to you from behind. 

Scuttlers turn to a life of crime when they do not get their snacks or story time on schedule. For those minutes, it is tense, for at any moment a Scuttler could steal a hug…a kiss…or even a nibble without you even knowing. 

Luckily, this outbreak of raggamuffin behavior is fixed as soon as snacks are supplied or stories told, their clumsy nature returning as they flop over one another. But the threat is always looming… 

If you see a Scuttle Squad in your area, hugging or being very cute…be cautious. They may just be….criminals. 

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sea monsters <3

Sea monster chart of German cartographer and cosmographer Sebastian Münster, who died today in 1552.

Detail from Olaus Magnus’s Carta Marina of 1539

Ulisse Aldrovandi, De Piscibus, 1613. Aldrovandi observed that stingrays (not pictured here), ‘love music, the dance and witty remarks’ but didn’t explain how they expressed their enthusiasm.

Pierre Pomet, Histoire Générale des Drogues, 1694. Sea unicorn (top) and narwhal (bottom), soon after this was published, the narwhal was identified as a ‘false unicorn’.

Abraham Ortelius, Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, 1570


Atlas Novus Sive Theatrum Orbis Terrarum & Atlas Novus Terrarum Orbis Imperia Rega et Status (Hand-colored engravings), c. 1542-1647.

Parisian Ghetto, first level (5)

The Parisian Ghetto is a level in Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness. This time several things all together.  

Street signs

There are a couple of street signs in the game. We know Rue st. Mark (which is Rue St. Marc) and Cours la Seine (Which is Cours la Reine). But there are more. 

4.10 - Rue Perdu, or the street with the creepy guy. You won’t find a rue perdu in Paris. Rue Perdue is an ancient name, the street nowdays is known as Rue Maître-Albert. So who is mr. Albert? It is Albert the Great or Albertus Magnus (1200-1280), a saint, a then-famous theologist and an alchemist! 

A wide range of Pseudo-Albertine works dealing with alchemy exist, though, showing the belief developed in the generations following Albert’s death that he had mastered alchemy, one of the fundamental sciences of the Middle Ages. These include Metals and Materials; the Secrets of Chemistry; the Origin of Metals; the Origins of Compounds, and a Concordance which is a collection of Observations on the philosopher’s stone; and other alchemy-chemistry topics, collected under the name of Theatrum Chemicum.[22] (from wikipedia)

4.11 - Rue de Clef. The street name is actually Rue de la Clef. Nothing special can be find on google maps or with the history of the street name. 

Other things.

4.12 - balcony. If you go to Paris or looking at google maps you’ll notice the balcony styles. Each street has his own pattern. This pattern can be seen in the Rue des Bourdonnais

4.13 - building with street art. This building can be found in Paris. But I don’t know where. Aurimas from Tomb Raider Forums have found it. 

4.14 - Morning radio poster. On the poster (very tiny) says: “Radio de Matin” with a certain “Jay”. Quoting Lara Croft: “it’s all a bitt vague”. Yes Lara, It is :)

4.15 - Hotel Eloise sign. At this place Janice original stood here. If you have the pizzadox program and start AOD (build 39) you can explore it. 

This is the final review from the first Parisian Ghetto level. ( The second Parisian Ghetto level will take some time, to document things. I’m not sure if I do the next Parisian Ghetto level ( or the Daniel Rennes (Pawnshop) level and the Le Serpent Rouge level


Thomas Moffett or Muffet was an English naturalist and physician. He edited the Insectorum sive minimorum animalium theatrum (Theater of Insects), which was an encyclopedia of insects and their behavior based on previous scientific works. Moffett added commentary on the beauty and virtue of insects and the lessons they could teach humans. Moffet wrote

Do you require Prudence? regard the Ant; Do you desire Justice? regard the Bee; Do you commend Temperance? take advice of them both. Do you praise Valour? See the whole generation of Grasshoppers.

Moffett was particularly interested in spiders. In fact, the nursery rhyme “Little Miss Muffet” is said to have been written about an incident involving one of his children.

Thomas Moffett (British, 1553-1604). Insectorum sive minimorum animalium theatrum. London: T. Cotes, 1634. MU Ellis Special Collections Rare Folio QL463 .M93

by the by, this isn’t specific to the ffxiv fandom at all but still–

there is no reason for a “mediaeval/renaissance-based fantasy” universe to not have trans or non-binary people. yes, because it’s fantasy, but also because real-life renaissance philosophers and surgeons (including gaspard bauhin, michel de montaigne, and fukn ambroise pare) encountered and described cases of women becoming men, most famously the case of (marie-)germain garnier. they were born a woman (christened marie) and lived as a woman until puberty, where an accident while chasing after pigs caused “the genitalia and the male rod [to be developed] in him.”* they went home to their mother, who called upon doctors, and the doctors assured her that her child was fine, just now a boy. the local bishop was consulted, and he called an assembly of clergymen to deliberate, and their conclusion was that a transformation had indeed taken place, and the appropriate course of action was to give him a man’s name (germain) and men’s clothes so he could now live as a man. and he did, working in a royal court and described, when met by pare, as a strong young man with a bushy red beard.

now, it is very important to note that the real-world renaissance-medicine model of gender fluidity is absolutely NOT a 1:1 analog to our modern constructions of gender, particularly along the lines of these transformations being usually involuntary, bestowed by nature, and also that they discounted incidences of men becoming women because “nature tends always toward what is most perfect and not, on the contrary, to perform in such a way that what is perfect should become imperfect,”** i.e. their sexist understanding of men as inherently better than women. and ofc, in fictional worlds there’s no fucking reason one should be limited by real-world bullshit if one wants to choose otherwise; the real world also has no elfs or dragons or chocobos but they’re all over the dang place in video games and few folks complain about the inaccuracy there. but tbh this post mostly exists because i didn’t work so fucking hard in my studies to sit around and do nothing when people use BAD HISTORY as a cudgel to keep people from self-expression. go forth and get ur queer fingerprints all over fantasy, darlings.

* originally from pare’s “on monsters and marvels”
** originally from gaspard bauhin’s “theatrum anatomicum” both cited from thomas laqueur’s “making sex” because that’s what i actually had physically at hand.

Frammenti architettonici del teatro di marcellus (I secolo aC), Roma, 2009.(Theatrum Marcelli).

In the Middle Ages the upper stories of the theatre, completed in 13 B.C., and some of its decorative elements, including columns, were removed. The bits which were not recycled for use in newer buildings were buried to be recovered by more recent archaeological digging.

Teatro di Marcello (Theatrum Marcelli), Rome, 2009.

The lower two tiers are remnants of an open air theatre completed in the year 13 B.C. Later that was used as a foundation for the Residence of Orsini, originally built in the 16th century. Assuming it has been suitably modernized, I would guess that its apartments are among the most costly in Rome.

Herb of the Week-Heather

Common names

Scotch Heather

The familiar heather plant - Calluna vulgaris - belongs to the Ericaceae plant family. The plant is an evergreen shrub that has many branching stems and can reach one to two feet in length when full grown. The heather is characterized by the possession of minute and needlelike leaves, each of which is about one sixteenth to one eight of an inch in length. The leaves are borne in opposite pairs and are clumped together in four rows along the short green twigs on the branches of the plant. The heather bears purplish pink flowers with occasional white colored flowers - from July through September; the characteristic flowers are almost bell shaped. In morphology, the shrub is a tough, bushy, and woody evergreen perennial.

The purple heather flowers have a bell shaped corolla that is two mm across, formed by the joining of four purple colored petals into a tube. The corolla is shorter than the four purple sepals, each of which is two to four mm in length. Heather flowers are borne on a narrow shaped and leafy raceme that can grow to nine cm in length; these racemes grow on the axils of the leaves lying on the upper shoots of the plant. The fruits of the heather are very tiny, rounded and hairy capsules with four cells inside each fruit. The minute seeds, each 0.7 mm in length are strongly meshed in the fruit. The shape of the leaves is oblong; each leaf can reach a maximum of 3.5 mm in length. Most leaves do not bear any hair; however, they can at times be downy, often lying in overlapping positions in four vertical rows along the twigs on the branches. Leaves have a dark green color when tender, but tend to turn brown as they mature. The stems of the heather are woody, wiry and pliable. Tender stems are initially covered with dense hair, these become hairless and smooth in later stages of growth and maturity.

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