Månförmörkelse

Solen och dess skugga fullbordar verket

Solen, himlens klara fackla, kan ej genomtränga täta kroppar.
Därför kvarligger skuggor på de delar som är bortvända från den;
Även om skuggan är det mest obetydliga av alla ting,
Har den varit till stor nytta för astronomerna.
Men solen och dess skugga bringar mer gåvor till Filosoferna,
Ty de innebär fullbordandet av konsten att göra guld.

Discourse 45:

As a light kindled in a Round or Spherical Palace enlightens all the wall above or below, except where some Table or utensil in the middle obstructs its influences, so likewise the Sun being placed in the vast Arch of Heaven illuminates with its Rays all the concavity of Heaven, and those Bodies which are contained in it that are Diaphanous and capable of receiving light; that is all the Stars, both the Wandering and the fixed, except where the Thickness of the intermediate Earth prohibits it. For there a black shade or Darkness, which is called Night, remains so long till it is driven away by the Sun, and light is poured out and beheld in its stead. Shade therefore, or Night, is the Privation or absence of Solar Light, and Day on the contrary is the irradiation and Circumfusion of it. Shade is that which cannot endure the aspect of the Sun, and therefore absconds itself, and avoids it, sometimes in this, sometimes in another part of the Earth, according as the Sun is in opposition to it. The Sun and Shade never yet saw one another, although if Nature would admit it they might do it every moment. But the Sun considering her as an Enemy to himself, always pursues her whilst she flys so that he can never weary her so as to overtake her, as Buchannan says in his Book of the Sphere. After the Image and example of that great Sun and his shade, the Philosophers have observed that their Sun likewise has a black cloudy flying shadow. Hence Hermes saith, ” My son, extract its shadow from the Ray. ” That is, see that you bring your Sun round about by the Primum Mobile over which Vulcan presides, that that part of the earth which is now covered with a shady night may enjoy the clear light of the Sun. For if the whole Firmament of Heaven, with all that is contained in it, were not carried round in each Natural day, that is in the space of four and twenty hours by its first motion, but the Sun should move by its proper motion, which is called the second or annual one, those Antipodes who are below us would have night for almost the space of six months, and we in the meantime should have daylight, and so on the contrary so that the whole Year would consist of One day and One night, as it is now under both the poles as Reason and experience shows us. But it hath pleased Divine Providence to order it otherwise, which therefore ordered Two motions of the Planets: The first and second, and so distributed the Year into many days.

Now the Shade and the Sun do together make a day and night, which the Sun by itself alone could not do. It is its property to Illuminate all Bodies and places that are opposite to it, but it is by accident only that its absence makes a Shade. So also the Philosophical Sun with its shade make a day that is Light, and Darkness or night. To wit, Latona or Magnesia, whose shade ( as Democritus says in the beginning of the 3 books of his Mensa Aurea ) must be semeted and burnt up by a Fiery Medicine.

The use of Shadows in Astronomy is so great that without them that Science can scarce be accomplished. It is to shade likewise that the Chemist ascribes the perfection of his Art. For what is this Sun without a Shadow? The same as a Clapper without a Bell, that indeed makes the first motion to a sound; that is the Quill, this the Instrument of Music; that the Tongue, this the great Mouth . A Shade is the most contemptible thing, and next to having no Being. So also the Philosophers shadow is a thing Black; blacker than Black as they call it, or viler than a Weed, ( not in respect of itself, but in the opinion of men and the plenty of it. ) What more useful than Fire? More precious than Water? More amiable than Earth? Which yields flowers and all things that are lovely? What more delightful than Air? Which if it once be obstructed will make all things cease to be pleasant, but because in their Vast spheres they are exposed to the common use of mankind by a preposterous imagination, they are thought to be of no value. In like manner both the common and Philosophical shade are disesteemed. They who have lived long in subterranean shades, lose their eyesight if they are brought suddenly to the clear light of the Sun; so they who remain and work only in the Philosophical shade, and do not join the Sun to it are deprived of their judgement, which is the guide of their mind, and so can bring nothing to effect.

When the Celestial Sun is elevated to the Height of Noon, the Heat is greater and the Shadows less, so here when the heat is mirrored the shade is less, and likewise on the contrary. We must therefore begin when the Sun from the Meridian call side bends itself again to the Top of our Head in Capricorn, and the first operation even to Aries will be finished. There begins the work of Women even to Leo, and afterwards Labour proceeds from Labour, till the Year as a Serpent takes hold of the Tail with the Head; that is to say, is completed.

Michael Maier, Atalanta Fugiens #45

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