The Transformations of Mercurius in the Hermetic Vessel

The painting “Alchemical Studies V (Homunculus)” is an exploration into how we often suppress or deny unpleasant emotional content. The first stage of the alchemical process calls for us to be introspective and cook our inner conflicts and to bring them to light. The painting was inspired by the image of “The transformations of Mercurius…

Dying Man

The painting depicts a dying man having been pierced by the arrow of Mercurius and being used as soil by The Tree of Diana (Arbor Philosophorum), which is growing up from his genital area. The image that inspired the painting is from the manuscript “Miscelanea d’alchimia”.[1]  My first exposure to this image was from Carl…

Alchemical Studies

“Alchemical Studies II (Where is Uncle Now)” is an alchemical study showing the distillation of the Essence from the physical body. The painting was inspired by an image found in the three-volume Clavis Artis. The manuscript declares itself to be a translation of Zoroaster (or Zarathustra): the ancient Persian prophet. The alembic represents the container…

Stephen Linsteadt paintings "Of Sky and Earth"

Of Sky and Earth

The alchemist’s motto “as above, so below” is most beautifully represented by sky and earth, particularly when they are reflected in water and appear to switch places. It was the art critic John Ruskin who pointed out that it is our habit to ignore the infinite vastness of sky. Instead, we tend to think of…

Osiris Suffocating in a Lead Coffin

The alchemist’s vessel or alembic is hermetically sealed (sealed in lead) where the spirit imprisoned in matter is cooked and suffocated. On a psychological level, it is the process of suffocating or cooking our natural tendency to blame other people and outside events for our problems. I