Alchemical Speculative Placemaking

Sublimatio ♎︎

[Qualities of sublimatio: element of air 🜁, ascent, rising above, moving from lower to higher form, spirit rising above body]

Sublimatio image from 18th century text Sapientia Veterum.

“The Spirit therefore by the help of the Water and the Soul, is drawn forth from the Bodies themselves, and the Body thereby is made Spiritual; for that at the same instant of time, the Spirit, with the Soul of the Bodies, ascends on high to the superior part, which is the perfection of the Stone, and is called Sublimation.” – Medicina practica, 1692

On left, depiction of the sublimatio apparatus of Egyptian alchemist Zosimos, circa 200 CE, translated into Arabic in the 12th century by Persian alchemist Mu’ayed ul-Din Abu Ismail Ibn al-Hassan Ibn Ali al-Tughra’i. On the left, Emblem 27 of 1618 alchemical text, Atalanta Fugiens.

As wind,
As water,
As fire,
As life,
Is both creative and destructive,
Demanding and yielding,
Sculptor and clay.
God is Infinite Potential:
God is Change.

Earthseed: The Books of the Living

In addition to text and imagery, Atalanta Fugiens contains 50 fugues. Above is the score to Fugue no. 3. Below is a performance of it by Burt Griswold. I suggest ending this stage by closing your eyes, taking a breath, listening, and sensing what sublimatio might mean to you.

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