The Rosary of the Philosophers appears in an alchemical treatise published in 1550 by an unknown author. It was part II of De Alchimia Opuscula complura veterum philosophorum (Frankfurt). The original title was “Rosarium philosophorum sive pretiosissimum donum Dei”.

The enigmatic illustrations below appear in the treatise. They lead the alchemist through the ‘spiritual journey’ he must take in order to achieve the enlightened state he seeks – perfection or the ‘Philosopher’s Stone’.

The union of opposites comprises a key element in the alchemical process. This is often represented as a mystical marriage of the lunar element representing the feminine, and the solar element, the male. These two opposing elements meet and join in what is known as the ‘chemical wedding’. This union creates something bigger and more powerful than the individual parts – the perfect integration of male and female energies, or the hermaphrodite. The flying dove represents the spiritual force which unites the opposing forces. More

Do these images portray reunion of polar energies through a lovemaking (or symbolic lovemaking) formula?

European alchemy was grounded in the Emerald Tablet (Tabula Smaragdina).

Rosary of the Philosophers
Rosary of the Philosophers

Jacob, Cyriacus. “De alchimia opuscula complura veterum philosophorum.” Frankfurt, Mense Lunio 1550.