This book by Nicolas Flamel, which was translated from earlier Latin and French editions, gives special emphasis to alchemy's moral and spiritual dimensions and is known for its allegorical style and symbolic illustrations. The title of the work refers to its illustrations, which are derived from the symbolic illustrations that Flamel found in "a guilded Booke, very old and large" that had come into his possession in 1357. Flamel's work is specifically addressed to the making of gold. The illustrations represent the process of making the Philosopher's stone and are also intended to promote Christian morality and salvation. Flamel draws heavily on traditional alchemical colored symbolism: although blackness symbolizes death and corruption in both the natural and spiritual worlds, it is desirable because generation stems from putrefaction. Flamel's redirection of alchemy's traditional emphasis on the transmutation of base metals toward moral, spiritual, and philosophical transformations was fostered by the growing influence of Paracelsus in the mid-seventeenth century.
Linden, Darke Hierogliphicks, pp208-211.
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