Books, Illustration

Tria Prima

Janice Duke shares her thoughts on ‘Tria Prima’, art she created for Chemical Serpents.

Janice Duke Illustration

The third chapter of Chemical Serpents is titled “Trinity”, with each of my illustrations for it concerning threes and trinities. You may have noticed that the first chapter, the second and this one, concern the one, then the one becoming two, and now the three, or the two becoming three. This theme carries forward throughout the book, with successive chapters concerning increasing quantities and their symbolism.

Tria Prima Tria Prima © 2012 Janice Duke

Tria Prima means “Primary Three”. With this image I focussed on the trinity of Salt, Sulphur and Mercury, from hermetic alchemy, personified as three angels or helping spirits, with the symbol for each element painted on their faces (left, Salt; right, Sulphur; top, Mercury). This symbolism found its way into European Hermeticism during the Renaissance via Paracelsus, changing the duality of Sulphur and Mercury that had been used previously into a trinity. In Jungian psychology

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