View Full Version : 3+o(

01-22-2017, 09:55 AM
I sometimes get emails from people who don't want to join, but want me to answer their alchemical questions anyway. I tell them that I am not Dr. Alchemy Phd... however this email I got the other day I will re-post here in the open. Please help her out.

I am an old lady of 64 who has studied alchemy for over 40 years but unfortunately I am not in the league of your members on this site so I am not asking for membership ..... I do enjoy reading all the imput in particular one from hermetic pilgrim [I think she means THIS (http://forum.alchemyforums.com/member.php?2020-3-O() member] ..... would you be able to contact hermetic pilgrim and ask if he/she can write in where they got that symbol 3+o( from I would really like to read what ever they have on that formula , I suspect that it is a very old sacred and highly secretive formula for the formula that does not wet the hands... would really make my day if you could do that

thank you

from an old interested aussie...


01-22-2017, 12:11 PM
Hello... Old Lady Of 64

I feel that if someone has studied alchemy for more than 40 years that person
would be a great asset to Alchemy Forums and it's members.

And if you read this... Old Lady Of 64 please consider applying for membership.


Illen A. Cluf
01-22-2017, 02:28 PM
The name seems to imply three ingredients plus the Sun or Moon.

BTW, tell the lady that age doesn't matter. It's the experience and enthusiasm that is the key

01-22-2017, 03:07 PM
When I Google "3+o( symbol" just now, the first thing that popped up was the AUM symbol

And if you read this... Old Lady Of 64 please consider applying for membership.


I second Black's request. All are welcome :)

01-22-2017, 03:43 PM
Turn your head sideways

Also, join Old Lady!

01-22-2017, 05:20 PM
its john dee hieroglyphic monad turned 90o

Illen A. Cluf
01-22-2017, 05:34 PM
its john dee hieroglyphic monad turned 90o

You're right - it represents Fire, the Elements, the Sun and the Moon.


01-22-2017, 08:03 PM
I am confused, yes, it's the monad of Dee and the symbol for mercury, which is obviously the same.
Not too few people relate it (more in "occult" than alchemical contexts to the number 64... due to the kamea of 8x8, even if that is more related to Mercury as a planet that as a part of the three principles).

It is indeed a formula with 4 parts (sun, moon, cross & Aries)


01-23-2017, 06:40 AM
Dee's Monad is often regarded as his literary "Magnum Opus", though if you are a true Dee enthusiast, then it becomes clear that it is not.

It is VERY related to the late Renaissance ideal of giving a precise architecture of the cosmos (a recurrent obsession that clearly existed in many cultures and times -i.e, the Geometric obsession of Pythagoras and the Old Testament, as to give only 2 older examples) and which can be compared to other almost contemporary works (The geometric "Ethics" of Spinoza come to my mind).

The work is extremely syncretic in the sense that it is uniting several traditions or ideas:
-The proportions of the "Cosmic Temple" and its relation with the Temples made of stone and the Temple made of flesh.
-The manifestation of Mercury as the universal principle and its relation with the other planets, zodiacal signs and the Earth.
-Alchemical ideas.
-The roots of a magical system heavily based on geometry and maths (a recurrent obsession of Dee).

So it's a work that wanted to create, just as it is being discussed in a different thread, a "Theory of Everything"... it was an ambitious work in that sense, though on the other hand it was clearly written with some haste; though certainly with the intention of creating a link between alchemy, astrology and theurgy... with a clear geometric approach.

Some interesting "keys" are given in his operation of "inverting" or turning upside down the monad... this same thing happens which the two external links of the Golden Chain of Homer (which are identical, but "inverted")

01-23-2017, 07:58 AM
It is also a symbol of some feminists... the female sign with horns.

I prefer the one with a single dot in the center of the circle, meaning gold... highest form. Etc.


01-23-2017, 04:50 PM
It is also a symbol of some feminists... the female sign with horns.
I prefer the one with a single dot in the center of the circle, meaning gold... highest form. Etc.

Never saw feminists using Mercury, though Venus is certainly typical. Maybe you mean the "transgender symbol"?


But if it is this one, it follows a different "alchemical formula" and it's not exactly a Mercury, but it gets somehow close, even if it's a different thing.

(It is interesting how politics... from party politics to gender politics often adopt symbols that come from alchemy or esoteric traditions).

01-23-2017, 07:12 PM
No, I mean the normal woman symbol (mercury) with added horns... as in "angry woman" at the patriarchy.


01-23-2017, 09:13 PM
Just speculating ...

"(" Moon,
"o" Sun,
"-" fixed salt
"|" volatile salt ("-" & "|" making a "+" a symbol of balance and harmony, maybe the union of salts of Sun & Moon)

"+" could also refer to 4 elements ie the four points of the symbol

01-24-2017, 06:39 AM





01-24-2017, 08:25 AM
No, I mean the normal woman symbol (mercury) with added horns... as in "angry woman" at the patriarchy.

Oh... well, a Mercury then...

If I was a rabid feminist woman, trying to show my angry anti-patriarchal face, I'd say that I would never choose that symbol. My favorite short tale is actually a one of the most beautiful descriptions of how I perceive Mercury... the tale of the Hermaphrodite in the Chants of Maldoror by my Uruguayan friend Lautréamont. The tale is quite interesting from an alchemical point of view actually and the many references to Mercury are quite obvious... but yeah, I perceive a melancholic elusive hermaphrodite who is unable to touch (or wet?) the hands of mankind... and who is not exactly a man, neither a woman and he-she is not "angry", but elusive, shy, prefers the darkness and is a wise loner who helps those in need.

In a flowery grove the hermaphrodite sleeps a deep, heavy sleep, drenched in his tears. The moon’s disc has come clear of the mass of clouds, and with its pale beams caresses his gentle adolescent face. His features express the most virile energy as well as the grace of a celestial virgin. Nothing about him seems natural, not even the muscles of his body, which clear their way across the harmonious contours of a feminine form. He has one arm around his head and another around his breast, as if to restrain the beating of a heart which can make no confidences, laden with the heavy burden of an eternal secret. Tired of life and ashamed of walking among beings who are not like him, he has given his soul up to despair and wanders alone, like the beggar of the valley. By what means does he live? Though he does not realize it, compassionate souls are watching over him near at hand, and they will not abandon him: he is so good! he is so resigned! Sometimes, he willingly talks with sensitive people, without touching their hands, keeping at a safe distance for fear of an imaginary danger. If he is asked why he has chosen solitude as his companion, he raises his eyes towards the sky, scarcely restraining tears of reproach against Providence; but he does not reply to this tactless question, which fills his eyes, otherwise white as snow, with the redness of the morning rose. If the conversation goes on, he becomes anxious, looks around him in all directions as if he is trying to flee from an approaching enemy, quickly waves good-bye and moves off on the wings of his reawakened sense of shame to disappear into the forest. He is generally taken for a madman. One day four masked men, acting on orders, fell upon him and bound him tightly, so that he could only move his legs. The rough thongs of the whip crashed down on his back as they told him to make his way without delay to the Bicetre road. He started to smile as the blows rained down on him and spoke to them with such feeling and intelligence of the many human sciences he had studied which indicated great erudition in one who had not yet crossed the threshold of youth, and of the destiny of mankind fully revealing the poetic nobility of his soul, that his attackers, chilled to the blood with fear at the act which they had committed, untied his broken limbs, and falling at his knees, begged forgiveness, which was granted, and went away, showing signs of a veneration which is not ordinarily accorded to men. Since this event, which was much spoken of, everyone has guessed his secret; but they pretend not to know it so as not to increase his suffering; and the government has granted him an honorary pension, to make him forget that there was a moment when, without preliminary investigation, they had wanted to put him by force into a lunatic asylum. He keeps half of the money for his own use; the rest he gives to the poor. When he sees a man and a woman walking along a path shaded by plane-trees, he feels his body splitting from top to bottom into two parts, and each new part going to embrace one of the walkers; but it is only a hallucination, and reason soon takes over again. That is why he mixes neither with men nor with women; for his excessively strong sense of shame, which arose with the idea that he was only a monster, prevents him from giving his burning love to anyone. He would consider it self-profanation, and profanation of others. His pride repeats this axiom to him:‘Let each remain among his own kind.’ His pride, I say, because he fears that by sharing his life with a man or a woman, he will sooner or later be reproached, as if it were a dreadful crime, for the conformation of his body. So he shelters behind his self-esteem, offended by this impious supposition, which comes from him alone, and he persists in remaining alone and without consolation amidst his torments. There in a flowery grove the hermaphrodite sleeps a deep heavy sleep, drenched in his tears. The birds, waking, contemplate, enraptured, this melancholy figure, through the branches of the trees, and the nightingale will not sing its crystal-toned cavatinas. The presence of the unhappy hermaphrodite has made the wood as august as atomb. Oh wanderer mislead by your spirit of adventure to leave your father and mother from the earliest age; by the sufferings you have undergone from thirst, in the desert; by the homeland you are perhaps seeking, after long wanderings as an outlaw in strange lands; by your steed, your faithful friend, who with you has borne exile and the inclemency of the climes which your roaming disposition has brought you through; by the dignity which is given man by journeys through distant lands and unexplored seas, amid the polar ice-floes, or under the torrid desert sun, do not touch with your hand, like a tremor of the breeze, these ringlets of hair on the ground among the grass. Stand back several steps, and you will be acting more wisely. This hair is sacred; it is the wish of the hermaphrodite himself; he does not wish this hair, perfumed by the mountain breeze, to be kissed religiously by human lips, nor his brow, which shines at this moment like the stars which has fallen from its orbit, passing through space and on to this majestic brow, which it surrounds with its diamantine brightness, like a halo. Night, casting off sadness, puts on all its charms to fete the sleep of this incarnation of modesty, this perfect image of angelic innocence:the gentle humming of insects is less audible. The branches of trees bend their bushy heights over him to protect him from the dew, and the breeze, plucking the strings of its melodious harp, sends it joyous harmonies through the universal silence towards those closed eyelids which are dreaming that they are present at the cadenced concert of the spheres. He dreams that he is happy, that his bodily nature has changed; or that at least he has flown off on a dark-red cloud towards another sphere inhabited by beings whose nature is the same as his! He dreams that flowers are dancing around him like huge mad garlands, imbuing him with their suave perfumes, while he sings a hymn of love in the arms of a human being of magical beauty. But what his arms are clasping is only twilight mist; and when he awakes, his arms will clasp it no longer. Do not awaken, hermaphrodite; do not awaken yet, I implore you. Why will you not believe me? Sleep...sleep on for ever. May your breast rise as you pursue the chimerical hope of happiness.I grant you that; but do not open your eyes. Ah! do not open your eyes! I want to leave you thus, so that I do not have to witness your awakening. Perhaps, one day, with the help of a voluminous book, I will tell your story in moving words, appalled by all that it contains and by the moving lessons to be drawn from it. Till now, I have not been able to; for every time that I wanted to,copious tears would fall on to the paper, and my fingers would tremble, but not from old age. But now I want to have the courage at last. I am shocked that my nerves are no stronger than a woman’s and that I faint like a girl every time I reflect on your great misery. Sleep...sleep on; but do not open your eyes. Ah! do not open your eyes! Adieu, hermaphrodite: I will not fail to pray every day for you (if it were for myself, I should not pray). May peace be with you!

Coincidentally, one of my favorite songs is inspired by this tale (or actually an adaptation of the tale)... and both the song and the video catch this strange "vibe" of mercury... of course, a song by my favorite alchemist.


"she won't be rich or beautiful
but she'll be walking your streets
in the clothes that she went out
and chose for herself".

That's how I see Mercury...
So I would not use it as a symbol of anger... but for an elusive sweet ideal, mostly related to the idea of something quite undefined that is longing to know what love is, but his engagement with a male energy or a female energy would define him... so he prefers to remain quite elusive... though I like the end of the song, in which she finally chooses the clothes she likes and goes out to face the world clothed in that "disguise".

(Yeah, I know, I am the only lunatic who sees alchemy in Morrissey... but sometimes the lunatics can be right too!).

01-29-2017, 02:59 PM
Message from the old lady:

hi dev , it seems like that chap who posted the 3+o( is not going to reply , to my utter disappointment however I couldn't sign off without saying a thankyou to you for taking the time to post my question in the first place that was kind of you , and to the other chaps on the site that inferred that it would be ok for an oldie to join up etc I thought that was just so sweet ...... thankyou so much kind regards


02-14-2017, 07:27 PM
I apologize, dear lurker friend, I only infrequently logon to the forum! Yes, as everyone has confirmed, it is Dee's "Hieroglyphic Monad", which he felt he received as a divine inspiration, an emblem unifying all the symbols of the planets and expressing the entirety of the alchemical process. I took it personally as an emblem of the true philosophical monad, the Pythagorean number One (John Winthrop Jr. also used it as a personal signature) In his book he elaborates it in several ways by an unusual geometric hermeneutic or "cabala." (A comparable method can be found in the modern kabbalist Leonora Leet's books, but there is no explicit connection.)

The "monad" emblem appears in Jakob Boehme's Key, Khunrath's Ampitheatrum Sapientiae Aeternae, and also in Thomas Vaughan's English translation of the Rosicrucian Manifestoes, the Chymical Wedding, among other places. Thomas Tymme wrote a short commentary on the Monas. (http://www.billheidrick.com/tlc2003/tlc0303.htm#ftlibsh)

Further reading:

The Early Alchemical Reception of John Dee's Monas Hieroglyphica (http://www.academia.edu/423667/The_Early_Alchemical_Reception_of_John_Dees_Monas_ Hieroglyphica)

John Dee's Optics, Cabbalism and the Monas Hieroglyphica (http://www.academia.edu/14894398/John_Dees_Optics_Cabbalism_and_the_Monas_Hieroglyp hica)

Jim Egan has a nice newer translation of the Monas (http://newporttowermuseum.com/styled-8/index.html) (he translates the title as the "Sacred Symbol of Oneness" and several books discussing possible interpretations. (http://newporttowermuseum.com/styled-12/index.html)

Hieroglyphic Monody (https://larkfall.wordpress.com/2012/06/20/hieroglyphic-monody/)

Hermetic Cabala in the Monas Hieroglyphica and the Mosaicall Philosophy (http://www.libroesoterico.com/biblioteca/Cabala/Varios/Kabbalah/Hermetic%20Cabala%20in%20the%20Monas%20Hieroglyphi ca%20and%20the%20Mosaicall%20Philosophy.pdf)

The Hieroglyphic Monad of Dr John Dee as a Synthesis of Late Renaissance European Thought (http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/28518/1/whole.pdf)

Peter Forshaw lecture on the monad (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pGzBpqfF-HI)

These are just some easily available resources, there is a lot more behind academic paywalls.

Also see Frances Yates' books, she discusses Dee a lot.

I think the Monas is Dee's most worthwhile book. It taught me a lot about the interpretative method and worldview of the 16th century when I first began to study this stuff and it should be clear after all the above that many have found it inspiring or at least congenial to their outlook. My view is that Dee got quite off the right track later on by chasing commerce with spirits rather than continuing to inquire into the deep unity of Nature. However, the details of the Dee/Kelly story are rather confused and one will find many contradictory accounts in the secondary literature.