Le Mystere des Cathedrales
Fulcanelli: Master Alchemist
The coloured plates from English edition pub. Neville Spearman 1971
From the 1st preface by Canseliet of Le Mystere des Cathedrales in 1925; p.19
"I know, not having discovered it myself, but because I was assured of it by the author more than ten years ago, that the key of the major arcane is given quite openly in one of the figures, illustrating the present work. And this key consists quite simply in a colour, revealed to the artisan right from the first work. No Philosopher, to my knowledge, has emphasised the importance of this essential point. In revealing it, I am obeying the last wishes of Fulcanelli and my conscience is clear."
This may refer to the first (beginning the work/book) illustration by Jules Champagne that has a black crow and then the following plate 1 is a statue of the Black Virgin.
One line of analogical correspondance based around black are in the 'beginning and centre' of the book for anyone looking for colour keys. One aspect of the black virgin is saturnia, the female saturn of Weidenfeld, that gives birth to the mercurial and golden child. The black crow shimmers the green and blue of putrefaction in the sunlight/fire.
It represents the matter and the process.
Generally speaking it depicts Putrefaction/dissolution/chaos/nigredo as the beginning to draw forth or reveal a new order within the matter. This is a liquid or molten state open to the imbibition of the necessary celestial influences depicted by the purpure stars in the window and the 7 rays.
There have been stories that some early stained glass was made from glass of antimony which also goes through a molten state before vitrification (another short analogy of the work/process).
Paris pp 119 -120
"Flamel also erected two decorative arcades ...
in the Charnier des Innocents, one in 1389 and the second in 1407. Poisson tells us that the first showed, among other hieroglyphic plaques, a coat of arms, which the Adept 'seems to have copied from another one, attributed to St. Thomas Aquinas'. The celebrated occultist adds that it appears at the end of Lagneau's Harmonie Chymique. At any rate, this is the description which he gives of it:
'The coat of arms is divided into four by a cross. The latter has in the middle a crown of thorns, enclosing in its centre a bleeding heart, from which rises a reed. In one of the quarters one sees IEVE, written in Hebrew characters, in the midst of a host of luminous rays and below a black cloud. In the second quarter there is a crown. In the third, the earth bears a rich harvest and the fourth is occupied by the spheres of fire.'
This account, which is in accordance with Lagneau's engraving, allows us to conclude that the latter had his picture copied from the arcade of the cemetery. There is nothing impossible in this, since three of the four plaques still remained at the time of Gohorry, i.e. about 1572-and the Harmonie Chymique was brought out by Claude Morel in 1601. However, it would have been preferable to refer to the original coat of arms, which was rather different from Flamel's and much less obscure. It was still extant at the time of the Revolution, on a stained glass window, lighting the chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas at the Convent of the Jacobins. This church of the Dominicans-who lived there and had established themselves about the year 1217-owed its foundation to Louis IX. It was situated in the Rue St. Jacques and dedicated to St. James the Great. The Curiositez de Paris, which was published in 1716 by Saugrain the elder, adds that the schools of the Angelic Doctor were situated beside the church.
This coat of arms, said to be that of St. Thomas Aquinas, was drawn and painted very accurately in 1787 from the window itself by a hermeticist named Chaudet. It is this drawing which enables me to give a description of it (pl. XXXI).
The printer's colours in the shield of Aquinas are a bit murky and obscure. This corrected version (right) is based on the text using the colours of heraldry referred to as Tinctures.
The quartered French shield is surmounted by a rounded segment. This supplementary piece shows a reversed matrass55 or, surrounded by a crown of thorns vert on a field sable. A cross or bears three roundels azure at base and arms dexter and sinister and has a heart gules at the centre with a branch vert. Tears argent, falling from the matrass, are collected and fixed on this heart. The dexter chief quarter, halved or three stars purpure and azure seven rays or, is opposite sinister base a ground sable with ears of corn or on a field tenn'e. In the sinister chief quarter a cloud violet on a field argent and three arrows of the same, feathered or, pointing towards the abyss. Dexter base three serpents argent on a field vert.
This fine emblem has all the more importance for us, because it unveils the secrets relating to the extraction of mercury and its conjunction with sulphur. These are obscure points in the practice, on which all the authors have preferred to maintain a religious silence.
Pierre de Montereau's masterpiece, the Sainte Chapelle, that marvellous stone shrine, erected between 1245 and 1248 to house the relics of the Passion, also presented a most remarkable alchemical ensemble. Even today, although we may strongly regret the restoration of the original portal, where the Parisians of 1830 could, with Victor Hugo, admire 'two angels, one with his hand in a vase and the other in a cloud', we still have the joy of possessing intact the southern stained glass windows of this splendid building. It would be difficult to find anywhere a more considerable collection based on esoteric principles than that of the Sainte Chapelle. It would be too enormous a task, and one which could provide the subject matter of many volumes, to undertake, leaf by leaf, the description of such a veritable forest of glass. I will, therefore, limit myself to giving a specimen extract from the first mullion of the fifth bay, which refers to the Massacre of the Innocents, the meaning of which I have already given. I cannot too highly commend to lovers of our ancient science, as well as to those desirous of learning about the occult, the study of the symbolic windows of the high chapel. They will find an enormous amount of information to be gleaned there, as well as in the great rose window, that incomparable creation of colour and harmony.
55 Translator's note: a matrass is a round glass vessel with a neck, used for distilling.
The Colours of Heraldry
THE HERALDIC TINCTURES from; http://www.locksley.com/locksley/append.htm
Gules (Gu.)-red Bleu-celeste (Bl.C.)-sky-blue
Azure (Az.)-deep blue Murrey (Mu.)-mulberry
Sable (Sa.)-black Sanguine (S.)-blood-red
Vert (Vt.)-green Tenne (T.)-tawny orange
Purpure (Purp.)-purple (note:the above four are not used at this time in the SCA)
Or (Or.)- gold or yellow
Argent (Arg.)- silver or white
Ermine (Erm.)- white (NOT silver) with black "tails"
Vair (Vair)- white (NOT silver) and blue "pelts" or "bells"
Potent (Pot.)- White (NOT silver) and blue 'IT" shapes
Plumetty (Plum.)- of feather designs
Papillone (Pap.)- of scaled designs
Variants of Ermine: Ermines - white tails on black
Variants of Ermine:
Erminois - black tails on gold
Pean - gold tails on black
Variants of Vair:
Vair en Pale
Vair en Pointe
Variants of Potent:
Potent en Pointe