The image on the front page of Johannes Frederic von Rain’ s Praeservativum Universale Naturale is indeed very interesting. It was made in Johann Weichardt von Valvasor’s engravery workshop on his castle/estate Bogenšperk in the year of 1679 or 1680.
The image shows crowned angel on the cross. In each hand angel holds a caduceus. Above his crown is alchemical symbol for quicksilver. The angels stands on the globe with encircling line, which can be probably understood as alchemical symbol for the salt of the wise. In the location of heart of the angel there is sixteen-rayed sun, and a curious symbol I cannot properly explain. The symbol shows circle with an arrow pointing upwards, and the arrow is crossed – as I perceive it – with a symbol for a scale.
Above angel’s head is inscription: “Mercurius de Mercurio”, which means “Mercury from mercury or quicksilver from quicksilver”. The inscription corresponds with Rain’s own alchemical theory The mercury of the wise, prepared from the vulgar mercury through purgation with antimony is the “middle and inner matter of quicksilver.”
The lower inscriptions are more puzzling. The first reads “Geminae columbae & maternae aves. Virg. Lib. 6. Aeneid” which roughly translates as “Twin pigeons and mother birds, Vergil’s 6th book of the Aeneid.” The mentioning of 6th book of Aeneid is interesting, for this book tells about the descent of the Aeneus into the Underworld!
The lower inscriptions I cannot translate adequately; I would be happy if someone would be so kind to help. The inscription on the left side of the cross reads “mundi fundum laborando, crede mihi unde beari; and on the right hind of the cross “si profundum inveneris, habes totum poteris”. I am no expert in Latin although I am improving it daily. For the better understanding I add the Rain’s front page engraving.
My own interpretation of the sixteen rayed sun is as follows. Sixteen is four times four which implicates many symbolical and esoteric meanings. Many rose windows in gothic cathedrals were sixteen rayed. It is no coincidence that the number sixteen - as well as the number eight - have very special meaning in rosicrucianism. For instance, The Chemical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz was published in 1616 AD. The circle with arrow pointing upwards can be a symbol for Mars/iron. Together with the symbol that I perceive as a symbol for scale the whole symbol in the midst of sixteen rayed sun can be understood: “The way must be reweight constantly – for only in proper judgement one progresses.”
I would be really thankful for the translation of the verses on the Rain’s front page!
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Last edited on Tue Feb 20th, 2018 10:50 pm by Andraz Zvab