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Macrocosm

The Macrocosm/Microcosm schemata permeated the thinking of Hermetic philosophers and alchemists. The earliest known usage of this schemata can be can be dated from the 3rd century CE by the Greek Olympiadorus who stated that, 'the mythic Hermes calls man a small cosmos', the literal meaning of mikro-kosmos. Hermes Trismegistus's axiom 'As above, so below' meaning that all that is in the Cosmos is mirrored in man the small universe, equally reflects the Macro/Micro correspondence. Throughout the Middle Ages the Macrocosmic quaternities of the elements and the seasons were linked to the Microcosmic quaternities of the four humours and ages of Man. The Macrocosm/Microcosm schemata was developed further by the Swiss physician and alchemist Paracelsus, who proposed that within man was an inner heaven with stars. Paracelsus's philosophy of correspondences was based upon the belief that for every ailment and illness in Man the microcosm there existed a cure in nature the Macrocosm. The English physician and alchemist Robert Fludd (1574-1637) expicitly based his work 'Utriusque Cosmi Historia' (The history of the two worlds) upon the Macro/Micro correspondence. As late as 1643 the physician and philosopher Sir Thomas Browne was able to state in his 'Religio Medici' that- 'Whilst I study to find how I am a microcosm or little world, I find myself something more than the great'. R.M. Part 2:11

Browne's 'binary' Discourses of 1658 'Urn-Burial' and 'The Garden of Cyrus' are quite deliberately moulded upon the Macrocosm/Microcosm schemata. 'Urn-Burial' representing the small, temporal world of man and 'Cyrus' the Macrocosm, in which the ubiquitous and eternal Quincunx pattern is discerned in art, nature and the Cosmos.The great enigma of alchemy is the mystery between the Macrocosm and Microcosm.



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