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The Layer Monument : An introduction and interpretation as an alchemical mandala by Kevin Faulkner With thanks to - Tchenka Sunderland, Dr. Victor Morgan, Dr. Nicholas Groves, Owen Thompson M.A, Jonathan Crampton, Nigel Elvery, Peter Rodulfo and Martin Wyatt. Special thanks to Dawn Wilson for artwork realization and to Will Ward and Ivan of Pride Press. Contact the author at - [email protected] Blog - aquariumofvulcan.blogspot.co.uk 'If the substanstial subject be well forged out, we need not examine the sparks which fly irregularly from it'. -Sir Thomas Browne Illustrations Cover : The Layer Monument Frontispiece : De Lapide Philosophorum from Alchemia (1606) Header One: from Sir Thomas Browne's Pseudoodoxia Epidemica 4th edition 1658 Colour : Details of the lower right corner of monument and of Labor Colour - Pax - Gloria Colour - Vanitas - Labor Colour - The Layer Monument as an alchemical mandala Header Two: from J.D. Mylius Opera Medico-Chemicum 1619 Acknowledgement - The church of Saint John the Baptist housing the Layer monument is entrusted to the care of the Churches Conservation Trust by the authority of the Church of England. Essay dedicated to Mr. Peter Ward, erudite and indefatigable scholar of many parts of polite learning, including the church of Saint John the Baptist's history. For all his encouragement and kind patronage. In tenui labor; at tenuis non gloria, si quem numina laeva sinunt auditque vocatus Apollo. - Virgil Georgic 4 lines 6-7 Introduction - Christopher Layer - Elizabethan background – The Survival of the Pagan Gods - Mannerism - Hubert Gerhard - Libavius - Minor decorative symbols - Pax - Gloria - Labor - Vanitas - Urn-Burial - Conclusion The treasures of time lie high in Urnes, coynes and monuments, scare below the roots of some vegetables’ – from Sir Thomas Browne’s Urn-Burial. The church of Saint John the Baptist at Maddermarket, one of the many jewels of medieval architecture in the heart of Norwich city, houses a mural monument which was installed to the memory of the lawyer, merchant and civic dignitary, Christopher Layer (1533-1600). Christopher Layer’s marble monument is a sophisticated religious artwork which exhibits rich and complex symbolism. The centre of the polychrome monument (approx. 350 cm. square) features large-scale statuary of the Layer family at prayer. They are flanked by two pilasters, each of which houses two statuettes. Stylistically these four statuettes are rare examples of Northern Mannerist sculpture in Britain; collectively they are exemplary of how symbolism which originated from the western esoteric traditions of alchemy and astrology integrated to Christian iconography. The first part of this essay recounts Christopher Layer’s life and times, discusses the influence of the esoteric in the Elizabethan era, looks at how the pagan gods of antiquity survived and re-emerged in the Renaissance, outlines characteristics associated with the Northern Mannerist art movement and speculates upon possible conceptual and iconographical sources to the monument. The second part of this essay views the Layer monument through the interpretative prism of the Swiss psychologist Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961). Jung’s writings includes many observations upon alchemy which assist identifying the Layer monument as none other than an alchemical mandala. It was Christopher Layer’s youngest son who commissioned his father’s monument, supervised its installation and presumably, viewed preliminary sketches before a funerary mason began sculpting in marble. Christopher Layer faces his wife Barbara, accompanied by his three sons and five daughters at prayer on the large-scale family statuary of the monument. The importance of prayer as a daily ritual in Elizabethan life cannot be over-emphasized; indeed, the act of prayer has been described as the one true spiritual alchemy operative throughout Elizabethan society. The monument’s full Latin inscription informs its reader of Christopher Layer’s deep piety, why he admired the Romans of antiquity, his civic achievements and family history - This Urn of cold marble covers Christopher Layer who bore Christ in his heart along with Imperial Minds, Numa known for his justice, Fabius for his legal robe, and Cato for his strict morals. He had seen thrice twenty and thrice three years when he gave his body to be covered by the earth. He was great in years but greater with much honour, for twice he was Mayor of Norwich. His dearest wife bore him five daughters and three sons when she became a sad relic with a widow’s bed. But two sons died and the one who survived his father placed here this tomb. Father died 19 June 1600 Mother died 23 June 1604. Inscribed underneath this Latin epitaph are the dates of Christopher Layer and his wife’s death. The date of Barbara Layer’s death, June 1604, differs in incision from her husband’s, suggesting it was inscribed shortly after the monument’s installation. Above the heads of husband and wife are their respective family heraldic shields, a striped unicorn and a red lion, technically described as: Per pale argent and sable, a unicorn passant between two crosslets counterchanged and a lion rampant guiles, a ragged staff in bend or. Because, as the Latin epitaph informs, Christopher Layer was an admirer of Classical antiquity, it should not be too surprising that the upper pair of allegorical figurines Gloria and Pax are attired in classical attire, or that three ancient Romans are named in order to highlight his erudition. Numa was the legendary first King of Rome who lived circa 700 BCE, Fabius, the name of a illustrious Roman dynasty, while Cato was a politician and moral philosopher whose name has become a byword for strict morality. Norwich in Christopher Layer’s time was England’s second city and a leading centre of commerce which traded extensively throughout Europe. It was also a city not without status in the arts or continental connections for commissioned art. Christopher Layer was descended from the Layers of Bury in Suffolk and the fourth son of William Layer. His father settled in Norwich where he attained the rank of Sheriff in 1526 and Mayor in 1537. Like his brother Thomas, Christopher Layer followed his father's footsteps by becoming a grocer in Norwich. He became a Freeman of Norwich in 1559, a common council member in 1564, Sheriff of Norwich in 1569-70, an alderman in 1570, city mayor in 1581-2 and again in 1589-90. He was a Burgess in Parliament in 1585 and 1597. Christopher Layer imported goods from the Netherlands, investing his wealth in land and houses in Norwich and the counties of Norfolk and Suffolk. His attempts to enclose the common at Great Witchingham involved him in a long series of lawsuits. During his second Parliament term, the burgesses for Norwich appointed him to committees concerning issues such as navigation, the bishop of Norwich, land reclamation and the trade of cloth and malt. It is recorded during his Membership of Parliament the citizens of Norwich paid him wages of 5 shillings daily. In April 1585 Christopher Layer petitioned Parliament for a subsidy of new stuffs made at Norwich. Described by a contemporary as: a very politique and worldly minded man most regarding his own private commodity. Christopher Layer’s will disposed of his lands among his grandchildren and surviving children, as well as providing a substantial income for his widow. It also contained bequests to numerous relatives and friends as well as to the poor in Norwich. Christopher Layer’s Latin epitaph and public testimony of his deep respect for the wisdom of Imperial Rome requires placing in context. During the long reign of Queen Elizabeth (b. 1533, reigned 1558-1603) a growing Nationalism and the beginnings of the British Empire occurred. Britain’s greatness was compared by poets and statesmen in Elizabeth’s Court to the Roman empire. The heraldic devices of three Tudor Roses along with family eschutcheons on the Layer monument are all patriotic statements, while the figurine Gloria may be allusive to the cult of Gloriana which surrounded the Virgin Queen throughout her reign. Queen Elizabeth's era was one in which court masques in which the planets, elements, forces of nature and virtues were allegorized in lavish performances. Elaborate in costume, décor and music, court masques were supervised in production including some by the astrologer John Dee (1527-1608). The European cultural movement known as the Renaissance in Elizabeth’s era breathed new life not only into the study of art, anatomy, painting, architecture and music but also into the study of esoteric literature. Ever since the Renaissance scholar Marsilo Ficino (1433-99) had translated text attributed to the fabled Hermes Trismegistus along with Plato's Timaeus into Latin, many artists, scholars and thinkers throughout Europe endeavoured to reconcile and synthesize the wisdom of classical antiquity to Christianity. Plato's philosophy in particular wielded a strong influence upon the Renaissance imagination, while the study of hermetic philosophy in general was vigorous in Elizabethan England. Indeed, poets and scholars associated with Queen Elizabeth’s court immersed themselves in the study of texts attributed to the mythic Hermes Trismegistus, and throughout the Elizabethan era, artists, mathematicians, poets and thinkers such as John Dee revered the wisdom of Hermes Trismegestus. The mythic Egyptian sage was believed to be one of the links in a golden chain of wisdom, a priscia theologia which included Moses, Solomon, Pythagoras and Plato, all of whom spoke through revelation of an eternal, God’s wisdom. As late as 1643 the Christian-hermetic philosopher Sir Thomas Browne of Norwich could confidently declare without fear of compromise to his deeply-held Christian faith: The severe schools shall never laugh me out of the philosophy of Hermes that this visible world is but a portrait of the invisible. [1] In her seminal work, The Occult philosophy in the Elizabethan Age, Dame Frances Yates reminds her reader that: ‘The Elizabethan world was populated, not only by tough sea- men, hard-headed politicians, serious theologians. It was a world of spirits, good and bad, fairies, demons, witches, ghosts, conjurers’. Yates established that the influence of the Neoplatonic, Hermetic and Cabbalistic traditions were pervasive in intellectual circles during Queen Elizabeth’s era. The Renaissance world-view of astrological correspondences lay at the heart of much Elizabethan literature, including Edmund Spencer's The Fairie Queene (1579). In Spencer's epic poem the ‘virtues’ and attributes of the planets shapes each book of poetry. Shakespeare's plays often have an esoteric or magical theme, including the multiple transformations of men to beasts in A Midsummer's Night Dream the dark theme of witchcraft in Macbeth, the ghosts of Hamlet while in The Tempest the drama features the magus-like figure of Prospero who, it has been suggested, is modeled upon John Dee. The Elizabethan imagination was fond of riddles, enigmas, puzzles, anagrams and word play. Knowledge of such secretive forms of expression sometimes included a familiarity with ideas associated with the Neoplatonic and Hermetic traditions. Although the Church outwardly strongly discouraged study of the western esoteric traditions, nevertheless symbolism involving concepts from western esoteric tradtions such as astrology and alchemy occasionally infiltrated Christian iconography, including funerary monuments. The artistic style and esoteric content of the Layer monument’s four allegorical figurines may well have appealed to the taste of Queen Elizabeth’s contemporary, the alchemy- loving Holy Roman Emperor Rudolph II (1552-1612). Rudolph’s court at Prague became a magnet for hermetically inclined scholars and scientists, painters and sculptors and throughout his long reign (1576-1612) Rudolph was a great patron of scientists and artists alike, including Kepler and Tycho Brahe, as well as the mathematician John Dee, along with many artists associated with Mannerist artists such as Archimboldo, Adriaen De Vries and Bartholomew Spranger. The Layer monument’s four figurines would easily have found a suitable and appreciative home in Rudolph’s kunstkammer or art- collection. The lives of Queen Elizabeth, merchant and lawyer Christopher Layer and mathematician John Dee converged in Norwich during one week in August 1578 when Queen Elizabeth on her Royal Progress visited the city. Preparations for Elizabeth’s visit included the demolition of the St. John the Baptist’s churchyard wall in order to widen the street for her Majesty's procession. Given the fact that Christopher Layer was a leading civic figure, and that at the time John Dee was a favoured member of Queen Elizabeth’s Court, its highly probable all three historical personages encountered each other socially, perhaps during festivities staged by Norwich citizens in the week of August 15 to 23rd 1578.[2] Another local historical event of note occurred shortly before Christopher Layer’s death in the year 1600. In order to escape from the throngs of Norwich citizens cheering his athletic achievement, the Shakespearian actor Will Kemp completed his ‘nine day’s wonder’ of dancing a Morris jig from London to Norwich, by jumping over Saint John the Baptist’s new churchyard wall ! Its worthwhile consulting the French art-historian Jean Seznec, author of The Survival of the Pagan Gods (1953) in order to understand the Layer monument, not least in order to understand why its upper pair of figurines Pax and Gloria are depicted in classical attire not unlike a Roman god and goddess. Seznec delivered a convincing thesis that the gods of antiquity never disappeared with the coming of Christianity. From the Sack of Rome in the fifth century and throughout the so-called Dark Ages (c.500- 1000 CE) the ancient gods somehow survived. Their images were carved upon precious, long-enduring gemstones, and their names, attributes and exploits were preserved in oral story-telling as well as in remote Arabian, Persian and Syrian literary sources. Jean Seznec argued it is wrong to think of the Renaissance as an era of the re-discovery of the gods of pagan antiquity: ‘Not for a moment is there any question of a “resurrection”; Hercules had never died, any more than Mars or Perseus. As concepts and as names, at least, they had survived tenaciously in the memory of man. It was their appearance alone which had vanished, Perseus living on in his Turkish disguise and Mars as a knight of chivalry.’ [3] During the Renaissance the seven major planetary ‘deities’ of antiquity were given new names and appeared in a variety of guises, often quite unrelated to their allegorical origins. Seznec notes that in the fourteenth century imagery involving the planetary gods invades Italian monument art in the cities of Venice, Padua, Florence and Siena, in large-scale art of churches and palaces in statuary, paintings and decorations as well as funerary monuments. Crucial to an understanding of the Layer’s quaternio of figurines, Seznec states: ‘Christian emblems utilized elements of pagan iconography to illustrate the teachings of the faith.’[4] Unable to totally eradicate the myths and fables of the gods and heroes of the ancient Greco-Roman world, the Christian church was obliged to adapt and integrate the rich mythology of the pagan world with all its sex and violence to its own teaching. During the sixteenth century mythographers and compliers of emblematic designs such as Canari’s Le imagini de I dei (1581) were principal agents in the promotion of detailed accounts of the pictorial attributes of the gods. Although it’s been suggested that the Layer quaternio are themselves based upon one of many books of emblematic designs, their true source originates elsewhere, as discussed shortly. The enormous popularity of moral emblematic designs involving classical deities in the Renaissance are however one major reason why two figurines on Christopher Layer’s monument appear in the guise of Classical gods. Jean Seznec cites the late 14th century of northern Italy as the Tarrochi playing-cards as a major source of influence of emblematic iconography. In the original set of Tarrochi, the planetary gods appear in the first group, that of the Heavens; they are followed by moral and spiritual entities such as Justice, Temperance, Strength and Death. The iconography of emblematic designs such as the Tarrochi playing-cards are not so distant from the Layer monument’s own depiction of moral lessons, in particular with their shared utilizing of planetary symbolism. The skeletal remains of the vital symbolic potency which the seven major planetary ‘deities’ of the classical world once held upon western consciousness is reflected in the universal adoption of a seven day calendar week. The western week opens with days named after the two luminaries of sun and moon, it concludes in the seventh and remotest outer orbit from the sun, the cold domain of Saturn. In the rich cosmogony of Greek and Roman mythology, the planetary deity Saturn has a diverse nature. For some Saturn represented Heaven or Time, for others he was an early king of Italy. In the Renaissance Saturn came to be seen as the deity ruling despair and melancholy as well as the deepest insight of the scholar. Saturn is most frequently depicted in emblematic books with either a hand sickle or large scythe or occasionally with a pruning hook. Seznec notes in ‘The Survival of the Pagan Gods’, that in the Capella degli Spagnuoli in Rome, Saturn is depicted with another implement which is closely associated with the ancient agricultural god’s rule, a spade. [5] The figurine Labor on the Layer monument also holds a spade, its one of several saturine symbols which can be identified in its sculptural symbolism and which is discussed at greater length later. The artistic movement which coincided with Christopher Layer’s life-time was broadly speaking, that of Mannerism. Beginning in Rome about 1520 and continuing with undiminished vitality in Italy until about 1600 and in North European courts until about 1620, the last truly vigorous manifestations of Mannerist art were in Northern Europe in a group of Dutch artists from the schools of Haarlem and Utrecht. The art-historian John Shearman lists these characteristics of Mannerist art - Hidden classical references, refinements, interlacing of forms, the unexpected and departures from common usage. Shearman describes Mannerism as: ‘An artificial style, a style of excess, art for connoisseurs, Mannerism’s main thematic concerns included the infinite variety of antiquity, especially Roman antiquity, its refinement, elegance and grace’. He also notes of Mannerist art in relation to religious art: ‘Mannerism in religious art is a double offence against the classical concept of decorum. First, it is art which does not primarily express the subject…..second, Mannerism so often leads to exhibitions of nudity and artifice that are not only superfluous, in the functional sense, but also contrary in effect to what is proper to their position’. But perhaps the most relevant of all John Shearman’s observations in regard to understanding the esoteric symbolism of the Layer monument is his statement: ‘Our distrust of analogies was not shared by the sixteenth century, which inherited from antiquity a habit of drawing parallels as a matter of course.’ [6] The art-historian Arnold Hauser also recognized Mannerism as the particular form in which the achievements of the Italian Renaissance were spread abroad. He identified the artistic style of Mannerism as refined, exclusive and aristocratic, and as one which catered for an essentially international cultured class with an intellectual, even surrealistic outlook. In words utterly applicable to the Layer monument, Hauser stated: ‘it is the deepening and spiritualizing of religious experience and a vision of a new spiritual content in life; at another, an exaggerated intellectualism, consciously and deliberately deforming reality, with a tinge of the bizarre and the abstruse.' [7] There can be little doubt that in their utilizing of multiplicity and variety, animated poses, unusual perspective, juxtaposition of the classical and the contemporary, and not least, their allusion to abstruse, esoteric symbolism, the four figurines of the Layer monument can confidently be identified as exemplary of Northern Mannerist sculpture. Although the Layer monument’s sculptor isn’t known, there is one candidate who is worthy of consideration, Hubert Gerhard (1540-1620). This Dutch sculptor frequently produced works in groups of four. In his terracotta quaternity of sculptures entitled The Four Seasons two female deities holding cornucopia represent the fruits of Spring and Summer. They are accompanied by a wine-drinking youth representing Autumn and a weathered old man as Winter. The four statuettes of Gerhard’s Four Seasons juxtaposes mortals with deities, male with female, youth with age, pleasure with suffering in their collective symbolism in much the same way as theLayer monument's four figurines. A bronze sculpture by Gerhard of the sea-god Neptune also shares a strong stylistic resemblance to one of the Layer monument's figurine, Labor. Dating little more than a decade apart, both sculptural portraits feature wrinkled brows, gnarled high cheekbones, care-worn expressions and highly-stylized beards. Hubert Gerhard also produced a chubby cherub Cupid circa the year 1600 which bears a strong similarity to the figurine Vanitas. Thus, Gerhard or an apprentice artist closely associated with his workshop, may be considered as possible candidates in the sculpture of the Layer monument's four figurines. By the year 1600 painters, poets and sculptors such as Gerhard could draw from a wide variety of non-Biblical textual sources for artistic inspiration. Such new sources included newly translated literature from Greek and Roman mythology, Platonic concepts and Neopythagorean ideas associated with number. In addition there were growing number of emblematic publications, in particular those by Giraldi, Conti, Catari and Albricus, all of whom supplied graphic details of attributes of the classical gods of mythology for artists. There was also an increasing volume of publications and readership of the Swiss alchemist-physician Paracelsus (1493-1541) and alchemical- themed literature in general throughout the sixteenth century. Artists associated with the Northern Mannerist movement in particular were attracted to symbolism which originated from western esoteric traditions; some of which became inspirational subject- matter for many artists, including funerary masons. One source which either a monumental mason or a sculptor may have encountered and used for inspiration originates from an illustration found in Alchemia by Andreas Libavius. Throughout the pages of Alchemia Libavius (1555-1616) simultaneously vehemently attacks all forms of the Swiss alchemist’s mysticism, yet also displays a close awareness of Paracelsian iatrochemistry, that is the development of new chemical methods in the preparation of medicine. Libavius took these two differing approaches to Paracelsus primarily in order to establish what were the foundations of modern chemistry. For this reason his Alchemia has been described as: ‘a blend of alchemical mysticism and symbolism with sound chemical knowledge.’ [8] The German academic’s influential text-book of chemistry became a European best-seller which went through several editions from 1589 to the latter much expanded edition of 1606. Although the first illustrated edition of Alchemia dates from 1606, while the Layer monument’s installation dates from after 1600, its useful to consider both the earlier non-illustrated edition and the later illustrated editions of Alchemia to the Layer monument for several reasons. Of first importance, in a chapter entitled De Lapide Philosophorum in Alchemia (see frontispiece illustration) there's a highly complex diagram, itself described as a monument of the opus, which has a remarkable number of shared iconographical details to the Layer monument (see frontispiece illustration) including - a Royal pair, male bare-legged and female in draped clothing, both standing above an earthly, mortal pair below, the luminaries sun and moon, a depiction of identical votive vegetation, (the olive branch held by Pax is held by the lunar queen in the Libavius illustration) a figure standing upon a rotundum and the bannered captions of Gloria and Labor, one of which even occupies the same corner on both monument and illustration. In addition to this pictorial correlation, the earlier, non-illustrated edition of Alchemia (1596) alludes to four spiritual-moral entities known as the Scaiolae of Paracelsus. There are in fact three differing illustrations in Alchemia (1606). In the third of Alchemia's three differing illustrations, a King and Queen are accompanied by a lion and eagle, two animals closely associated with the Christian tetramorph. The relationship of these two symbolic creatures which are also symbolically associated with the elements of fire and water in the astrological zodiac, interlock and confirm the symbolism of the lower pair of figurines Vanitas and Labor as representing the elements of earth and air, as their explicit activities indicate. Its not beyond possibility that the illustrations in the 1606 edition of Alchemia are based upon the Layer monument's quartet of statuettes. Perhaps illustrator and sculptor were one and the same person, perhaps another unknown, intermediary source exists between sculpture and illustration. Christopher Layer himself, who was an erudite reader of Latin, may once have possessed an edition of the landmark chemistry book. In any case, the high number of shared pictorial images between the Layer quaternio and the illustration in Alchemia suggest, at least to an open-minded enquirer, a definite relationship between illustration and monument. The anonymous mason of the Layer monument may well have read in the non-illustrated edition of Alchemia (1596) of the four moral entities named by Paracelsus as Scaiolae. The relationship between Libavius, the Scaiolae of Paracelsus and the illustrated edition of Alchemia (1606) to the Layer monument may yet yield further secrets sometime in the future. Equipped with a thumbnail sketch of the intellectual preoccupations of the Elizabethan era, the transformation of the pagan gods in the Renaissance, and the artistic agenda of the Northern Mannerist art-movement, its time to look at the monument’s minor decorative symbols. The Layer monument exhibits several Vanitas or momento mori symbols including vermicular fruit and crossed bones. Its central point is occupied by the most frequent and common of all Vanitas symbols and reminders of death and mortality, a large skull, which mysteriously hovers between husband and wife at prayer. Other common Vanitas symbols encountered on funerary monuments include bubbles to symbolize the brevity of life, as well as the suddenness of death. Smoke, watches, hourglasses, extinguished candles, musical instruments, fruit, flowers and butterflies are also vanitas symbols which allude to the brevity of life. Symbols however often lose their message over time. The meaning of a crossed hammer and sickle for example became near universally well- known in the twentieth century only to return to obscurity as a symbol. To a pre- industrial society the decorative motif of crossed spade and scythe would be understood as representing the beginning and end of the vegetative and human life-cycle. They are also implements closely associated with the planetary god Saturn, as are crossed bones (bottom right corner). Both lower minor decorative compositions depict vermicular pomegranate fruit. They are inlaid upon four-fold foliage and framed with swags of fabric which are ingeniously sculpted to give the illusion of hanging draped from golden metal rings. The long, scrolling ribbons above the heads of Christopher Layer and his wife symbolize the long love and devotion between husband and wife, while the three Tudor roses and cherub emphasis and reinforce a sense of symmetry to the monument as a whole. Several motifs are also duplicated elsewhere on the monument, as if the master mason is encouraging the viewer to search out hidden symbols. Duplicated items include a spade (now missing from Labor) a cherub-like figure (top left) mirroring the figurine Vanitas, and a smaller skull at Labor’s feet mirrored by a much larger skull at the very centre of the monument. In addition to these minor decorative elements, the Layer monument features four highly symbolic figurines, each of which stands in its own individual niche. Approximately 20 centimeters in height they include: Pax treading martial weapons underfoot while holding votive vegetation, Gloria, a woman poised upon a crescent moon, Vanitas, a naked boy standing upon a golden rotundum while blowing bubbles, and Labor a grey- bearded man digging. Sometimes, in order to apprehend the spiritual essence of sculpture, its preferable to not pay too rigid attention or entirely trust titles accompanying art. Such thinking can often confine both imagination and interpretation. Indeed, only our strictly literalist age could view art as if its title fully defined it, such rigid thinking confuses imagery as synonymous to words, resulting in poor understanding of artistic intent and of its deeper symbolic meaning. The statuette Pax holds an olive branch while poised in step trampling upon the weapons of war to establish Peace. The drama of the exultant moment is heightened through flared fabric while the thrust of leg, exposed to upper thigh, is suggestive of masculine power and virility. Portrayed at the conclusion of war, the labels Triumph or Spirit of Victory, the precursors to the acquiring of peace, are equally fitting titles. The artistic playfulness of the anonymous funerary mason has exploited a certain ambiguity, resulting in the gender of Pax being androgynous in appearance. In sharp contrast to the buxom Gloria the upper torso of Pax may be interpreted as an expression of male muscular strength or the molded contours of a warrior’s breast-plate. The linguistic root of the Latin word Pax however is feminine and sculptural representations of mankind’s highest moral and ethical values, including the American statue of Liberty, the blindfolded figure of Justice at London’s Old Bailey, and the warrior Britannia ruling the waves, are all depicted as female. In Jungian psychology these all represent the anima or soul-figure, that is, moral values which are highly valued and of greatest aspiration, yet often distant and remote to the male psyche. A question arises whether artwork displaying female leg exposed to upper thigh would be either commissioned or permitted for installation within an ecclesiastical setting. Pax’s exposed leg exhibits few female characteristics. (The gender of Pax may never have been much of an issue before 1864 when the monument was originally located higher on the church's east wall). However, throughout western culture the hero is most frequently masculine. Amusingly the gender of Pax is most often determined by the subjectivity of its viewer’s gender. Difficulties apart in determining gender, the figurine may safely be interpreted as symbolic of a fiery, solar hero and as a ‘wise ruler’ in its sculptural symbolism. Furthermore, in almost all alchemical imagery featuring a Luna or Queen of Heaven figure, such as Gloria, she is invariably accompanied by a King, most often as symbolic of the alchemical conjunctio. For it to be otherwise would be an almost unprecedented transgression and distortion of polarity and symmetry, the foundation of much esoteric symbolism. In Christianity the figure of Christ is sometimes referred to as the Prince of Peace, while in early liturgy Christ was also known as Sol invinctus (invincible sun). Historical examples of the ‘wise ruler’ pursuing peace include the Persian King Cyrus, Alexander the Great and the Roman Emperor Augustus. In Greek mythology the god who triumphs over war in order to establish peace is Apollo, and for some time in the early Christian era, Apollo and Christ were worshipped as one. There are decidedly Apollonian characteristics to the figurine Pax as the counterpart of the Diana-like Gloria in symbolism. There’s also the possibility that together the titled inscriptions of the upper pair of figurines Pax and Gloria may précis the Christian liturgy of - Gloria in excelsus Deo et in terra Pax. (Glory to God on High and on earth Peace). Together the upper pair of figurines Pax and Gloria may be interpreted as representing a fundamental pairing in alchemical symbolism, that of the conjunctio or hieros gamos in the form of the ‘Royal’ or ‘Heavenly’ marriage between King and Queen, which signify the goal and completion of the alchemical opus. The hieros gamos or sacred marriage in Christianity is expressed in the form of the mystic marriage between Christ the groom and his bride, the Church. The fact that the anonymous stone mason of the Layer quaternio has utilized the double symbol of Puer et Senex (Child and Old Man) and employed detectable elemental and planetary symbolism, suggest that he, or a close associate, were well-versed in esoteric symbolism and therefore highly unlikely to miss the opportunity to allude to what is the fundamental symbol of alchemy, that of the 'sacred marriage' or hieros gamos. Gloria a woman attired not unlike a goddess of antiquity stands upon a crescent moon, holding a sprig of myrtle while pointing to heaven. The OED includes several definitions of glory as either - High renown or honour won by notable achievements, and - the splendour and bliss of heaven, both of which are applicable to Christopher Layer's funerary monument, in particular Glory as the reward for the endeavours of Labor. The finely worked detail of five tassels around the figurine Gloria's waist and the skilful delineation of her diaphanous sarong is evidence of a skilled stone mason. Close inspection of her right hand reveals she once held an object, maybe either a trumpet, trident, thrybus or even a sistrum. In many German churches there can be seen a Mundsickle Madonna standing upon a crescent moon. Pictorial representations of a woman standing upon a crescent moon are also a feature of much alchemical iconography, . Some have proposed the figurine Gloria is dancing and movement is suggested in her swaying figure; more likely she is portrayed in an ecstatic state, that is, in a rapturous, spiritual condition (the meaning of the Greek word ecstasy being literally ‘stepping out of one’s self’ (from ex-stasis). The classic Latin 'soul-journey' well-known in the Middle Ages is the Commentary on the Dream of Scipio by Macrobius in which the protagonist while on his soul-journey travels through seven planetary orbits and hears the celestial harmonies of the Music of the Spheres. Appropiate to its theme, Sir Thomas Browne's Urn-Burial (1658) mentions several 'soul-journey's in world-literature, including Macrobius as well as Dante; an inventory of transformed states of spiritual awareness such as experienced during a soul-journey occurs at the apotheosis of the Discourse: And if any have been so happy as truly to understand Christian annihilation, extasis, exolution, liquefaction, transformation, the kiss of the Spouse, gustation of God, and ingression into the divine shadow, they have already had an handsome anticipation of heaven; the glory of the world is surely over, and the earth in ashes unto them. Remembering Jean Seznec’s observation that the Classical gods of antiquity never completely disappeared from European consciousness but were given new guises and roles in the Renaissance often far removed from their original significance, Gloria dressed in ancient world garments, easily lends herself to interpretation as an archetypal ‘Great mother’ figure of antiquity such as the Roman goddess Juno or the Greek goddess Diana, as much as alluding to the cult of the virgin Queen Elizabeth in Christopher Layer’s day. The care-worn features of the figurine of Labor showcase the sculptural skills of a master mason. The anonymous Northern Mannerist sculptor has given full expression of his abilities in his portrait of the human condition. Although old, as indicated by his grey hair and beard, Labor is nevertheless engaged in hard, manual work, reflective of the Latin linguistic root of Labor as ‘toil’ and ‘trouble’. The human condition is depicted as one in which necessity and a close relationship to the earth is humankind’s destiny. A skull by his feet reinforces the message of human mortality in the sublunary world of suffering and decay. The figurine Labor on the Layer monument is a superb example of how astrological symbolism involving ‘virtues’ associated with the seven planets were grafted and integrated in Christian moralizing for in astrological symbolism old age, grey beards, melancholia, digging and spades were all considered to be under the domain of Saturn. Utterly typical of the thematic templates of Mannerist art in expression and thematic concern, its difficult to cite another example in religious sculpture exhibiting more saturnine attributes than the figurine Labor. A playful, chubby, bubble-blowing boy holding a soap pipe and bowl is a vanitas symbol which can be found on other British funerary monuments of the era, notably at York Minster The figurine Vanitas displays a device characteristic of Mannerist art, that of unusual, even surrealistic imagery, in as much as there is a wonderful play and contrast between the large golden sphere Vanitas stands upon, and the small, ephemeral bubbles he’s blowing, as if he's standing upon a giant bubble himself. Soap-bubbles are said to symbolize a created object which is light-weight, spontaneous and short-lived and which suddenly bursts to leave no trace of its existence and thus are symbols apt of human existence. The linguistic root of the Latin word Vanitas denotes ‘empty’. And in modern cartoon-strips thought is often represented with bubbles. Quite appropriately, Vanitas has his eyes closed. Throughout the history of Christianity the intellect is frequently associated with vanity. In Psalm 94 one reads: ‘The Lord knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vanity’, while in Ecclesiastes the preacher declares: ‘Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.’ The crucial difference between Christianity and the alchemical art on the subject of imagination is discussed later, but for now and more importantly, its worth noting the figurine Vanitas displays common astrological symbolism in its sculptural symbolism as the elusive trickster figure and the psychopomp guide of the alchemist, Mercurius can often be seen depicted as a child or youth standing aloft a sphere or rotundum in alchemical iconography.[9] . The vanity of installing funerary monuments to the memory of the status, achievements and wealth of the deceased, along with the vanity of wanting to be remembered for perpetuity, is a prominent theme of Sir Thomas Browne’s Urn-Burial (1658). Inspired by the ‘opportune’ discovery of a cache of Saxon burial urns, Browne eulogizes upon his archaeological find in bold, baroque declamation: Time which antiquates antiquities, and hath an art to make dust of all things, hath yet spared these minor Monuments. Although his Christian stoicism condemns the funerary monument as contradictory to faith: To extend our memories by Monuments, whose death we daily pray for and whose duration we cannot hope, without injury to our expectations, in the advent of the last day, were a contradiction to our beliefs and while he laments: the ancient heroes have already outlasted their monuments and mechanical preservations’, Browne cannot resist frequent mention of funerary monuments in his discourse, in particular his antiquarian inclinations makes note of: the monument of Childerick the first, and fourth King from Pharamond, casually discovered three years past at Tournay, restoring unto the world much gold richly adorning his Sword, two hundred Rubies, many hundred Imperial Coins, three hundred Golden Bees, the bones and horseshoe of his horse entered with him. Even at his most somber and profound the humorist in Browne is never totally extinguished, nor can he resist word-play when moralizing: While some have studied Monuments, others have studiously declined them. Given the fact Browne was devout, highly appreciative of beauty and resident only a few minutes walk from the church of Saint John the Baptist, he may on more than one occasion visited the church of Saint John the Baptist's in order to contemplate Christopher Layer’s ‘Urn of cold marble’ in all its relatively new splendour. Late in his life, Browne wrote Repetorium, a comprehensive inventory of the surviving furnishings and monuments of Norwich Cathedral following the ravages of iconoclasm and civil war. Although in his spiritual testimony and psychological self-portrait Religio Medici (1643) he had resolutely declared: And therefore at my death I mean to take a total adieu of the world, not caring for a Monument, History, or Epitaph, not so much as the bare memory of my name to be found any where but in the universal Register of God. [10] Nevertheless a mural monument of black and white marble with the inscription: ‘a man very pious, whole, learned and famed throughout the world’ was installed to his memory at the church of Saint Peter at Mancroft, Norwich. In conclusion the anonymous funerary mason has fully utilized the entire spatial dimensions of the monument. Fruit, flowers, vegetation, bones, skulls, ribbons and draped swags of curtain-like fabrics frame the Layer family at prayer who are placed against a back-drop of cloudscape and golden sun. A lavish use of gold is notable in particular among the Layer monument’s polychrome colours. The monument’s decorative frame sets the stage for its four theatrical figurines, frozen in animated posture, to come into play to the viewer. Such dramatic effects are highly characteristic of Mannerist art. The life-like qualities of the three dimensional medium of sculpture is well-suited to attract the numinous, that is the experiencing of psychic phenomena involving a sense of the mystery of life, or a heightened awareness of a spiritual content through contemplation of art or nature. The Layer monument is aptly named. Beneath the surface of appearance, layers of associative symbolism originating from the western esoteric traditions of alchemy and astrology can be discerned within its complex symbolism. Structured upon a template favoured by western esoteric traditions to represent totality, the quaternity, and just as in the most sophisticated proto-psychology of the ancient world, namely, the astrological zodiac, quite specific elemental and planetary symbolism can be designated to each of its four highly-symbolic figurines. Once acknowledging the evidence of their esoteric symbolism, its then useful to consult the seminal psychologist C.G. Jung. Through Jung's archaeological-like life-long study of alchemical symbolism from various epochs and civilizations, amplification for interpreting the Layer monument as an alchemical mandala can be realized. Introduction - The statue in alchemy - Polarity and the Quaternity -The Christian Tetramorph -The Fixed Cross of Astrology - The Four Elements - Planetary Symbolism – The Archetypes- The Scaiolae of Paracelsus - Gloria – Pax –Vanitas - Labor - The symbolism of colour and number – Imagination - The Stone - The Skull - The Mandala – Conclusion Christopher Layer's monument is evidence carved in stone of how symbolism originating from the western esoteric traditions of alchemy and astrology occassionally integrated itself into large-scale Christian art, including the funerary monument. In particular, its four highly-symbolic statuettes represent a superb sculptural paradigm of the quaternio of the alchemist. Collectively they are none other than components of an alchemical mandala that is, a map of the psyche which is designed to assist spiritual contemplation. The study of esoteric disciplines such as alchemy, astrology and the cabala was vigorous in Elizabethan England, not least in Queen Elizabeth’s court. Indeed, its recorded that Queen Elizabeth once requested her court-astrologer, the mathematician and Christian cabalist John Dee (1527-1608) to explain the meaning of his mysterious Monas symbol to her. John Dee’s Monas Hieroglyphica (Antwerp 1564) is the product of Neoplatonic, and more especially, Neopythagorean thought, in which number, celestial geometry, and astrological glyphs are all interwoven to produce a conglomerate symbol expressive of cosmic totality. Arcane symbolism such as in Dee’s highly-influential Monas were recognized by those conversant in hermetic philosophy as allusive to spiritual transformation. Such composite symbols often delinated the stages and modus operandi in the acquisition of the fabled Stone of the Philosopher’s, whose equivalent in the visual arts is approximated as the alchemical mandala. The Renaissance study of nature included the study of human nature. Christian theology however, did not always possess a clear-cut view, consideration, or answer to the new and evolving spiritual and psychological concerns experienced by many during the Renaissance. Dissatisfied with Christian dogma, adepts such as the English magus John Dee (1527-1608) and Paracelsus (1493-1541) augmented concepts originating from the western esoteric traditions of alchemy and astrology with their own ‘home-grown’ schemata, neologisms and symbols, in order to express their understanding of the psyche. Through the deployment of symbolism originating from the western esoteric traditions, alchemists, in particular the Swiss alchemist-physician Paracelsus, were able to discuss topics considered to be near heretical to the inflexible dogma of Christianity, namely the components of the psyche and the development of individuation. The rich and complex symbolism of alchemy was the fruit of the Renaissance ‘discovery’ of the psyche and the embryonic foundation of modern-day psychology, no less. As discussed earlier, artists loosely termed Mannerist in style had a penchant for utilizing schemata and symbolism originating from western esoteric traditions in their art. The Layer monument is the product of one such artist’s utilization of such symbolism. Its four figurines correspond to the quaternity, a much favoured and time- honoured template expressive of totality. Collectively they utilize a device common to much esoteric symbolism, namely polarity, as well as having elemental and astral symbolism. Although the Layer monument is exemplary of the proto-psychology of alchemy and of the Renaissance ‘discovery’ of the psyche, the combined factors of Norwich’s relatively low profile in national cultural heritage, a lack of understanding and prejudice of the profound influence which western esoteric traditions once wielded upon Renaissance art, and the location of the monument within the church of Saint John the Baptist itself, have all contributed towards the monument’s undeserved obscurity. The Swiss psychologist C.G. Jung (1875-1961) continues to hold the key to unlocking the treasure-house of alchemy and hermetic philosophy. Jung’s interpretation of alchemy remains ground-breaking in its understanding of the deep influence which the western esoteric traditions held upon spirituality and the arts during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Scattered throughout his voluminous writings on comparative religion and mythology, alchemy and astrology are a number of observations which are of great value towards understanding the Layer monument’s esoteric symbolism. With words utterly applicable to works of sculpture as much as to literary text, Jung once exclaimed: ‘The late alchemical texts are fantastic and baroque; only after we have learnt how to interpret them can we recognise what treasures they hide.’ [1] Had he ever been shown photographs of it, Jung would with little doubt immediately have recognized the Layer monument as an artwork which utilizes symbolism originating from the western esoteric traditions. Through the interpretative prism of Jung's understanding of western esotericism, in conjunction with one’s own insights, a new and vital interpretation of the Layer monument as a significant work of esoteric art can be realized. In particular Jung's observations on the role of the statue in alchemy, the four-fold pattern of the quaternity, the proto-psychology of Paracelsus and the religious function of the mandala, illuminate the Layer monument to reveal it to be an artwork which is an alchemical mandala in its design. It’s useful to briefly first look at the varied roles which the statue has within alchemy. Statues have been associated with religion and spirituality from earliest recorded time to the present-day. ‘From the Minoan Age and throughout the Mediterranean world of antiquity, statuettes of gods in human or animal shape were carved from terracotta, bronze, wood, or stone. They had religious significance and were deposited in graves or dedicated to the gods in shrines and in private homes, where they exercised a protective influence upon the dead, upon the community or upon the family. They were tutelary symbols.’ [2] In his late work Mysterium coniunctionis (1955-56) Jung stated: ‘the statue plays a mysterious role in ancient alchemy.’[3] Jung noted that the medieval cleric Thomas Norton (1433-1513) in his Ordinall of Alchemy depicts the seven metals/planets as statues. In an anthology of alchemical texts, Aurora Consurgens (1566) Mother Alchemy or mater alchemia is portrayed as a statue of different metals, as are the seven statues in the writings of Raymund Lully. The protagonist in Michael Maier’s Symbola aureae mensae (1617) while on his peregrinations through four continents, encounters a statue of a golden-headed Mercurius who indicates the direction towards Paradise. Statues, as Jung detected, are often encountered in alchemical themed art and literature, frequently within the setting of a rose garden, sometimes speaking or guiding the questing adept, or even emitting an ethereal light from their eyes. The alchemical operations of thawing and warming in order to bestow life upon the inert, readily lent itself to the highly-loaded symbolism of statue’s coming alive. The alchemical author J.D. Mylius (c.1583 -1642) in his Philosophia Reformata (1622) stated: ‘It is a great mystery to create souls, and to mould the lifeless body into a living statue.’[4] While commenting upon the biblical verse, ‘And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house’ (Genesis 28: 22) Jung theorized: ‘If our conjecture is correct, the statue could therefore be the Cabbalistic equivalent of the lapis philosophorum.’[5] In agreement with Gnostic belief that the biblical Adam was a, ‘corporeal’ or ‘lifeless’ statue, Jung concluded his survey of the statue’s role in alchemy, declaring; ‘The statue stands for the inert materiality of Adam, who still needs an animating soul; it is thus a symbol for one of the main preoccupations of alchemy.’[6] The many and varied roles the statue performs in alchemy suggests that the Layer quaternio are themselves outstanding examples of the statue’s role in spiritual alchemy, for to repeat, the reviving of the inert, inanimate, frozen soul of man to animate the spiritual man within, plays an important part in the alchemist’s quest. Jung’s repeated declaration: ‘Graybeard and boy belong together. The pair of them play a considerable role in alchemy as symbols of Mercurius,’ [7] is a crucial statement of identification of the Layer monument’s alchemical symbolism. Together, the polarity of child and old man (technically known as Puer et Senex) as represented by the figurines Vanitas and Labor symbolize Time and the human condition. They are also identifiable as corresponding to quite specific astral and alchemical symbolism. The alchemical ‘deity’ Mercurius is often represented as a child, while, as discussed earlier, the symbolism of Labor exhibits strong Saturnine attributes. Frequently paired together in alchemical and astrological iconography, Mercurius and Saturn as represented by the figurines Vanitas and Labor are exemplary of how Christian moralizing and iconography occasionally absorbed alchemical and astral colouring. Polarity and opposition are primary templates of much esotericism. Whether exhorting the alchemical maxim of decay and growth, Solve et Coagula, expounding upon the hermetic correspondences between the small microcosm of man and the all- encompassing Macrocosm of the Universe, or the union between King Sol and Queen Luna, or adhering to Hermes Trismegistus's maxim of 'As Above, so Below' , adepts of western esoteric traditions frequently utilized polarity in their schemata. Polarity is extensively utilized in Layer monument’s quaternity of allegorical statuettes, among which there can be discerned - Heaven/Earth, Youth/Age, Eternal/Ephemeral, Contemporary/Classical, Time/Space, Male/Female, mortal/immortal, pleasure/suffering, trivial/significant. Jung identified the union of the opposites as playing a decisive role in the alchemical process [8] stating: ‘the “alchemistical” philosophers made the opposites and their union one of the primary objects of their work.'[9] In his view the opposites are one of the most fruitful sources of psychic energy.[10] As if standing in view of the Layer monument, Jung observed: ‘Like all archetypes, the self has a paradoxical character. It is male and female, old man and child, powerful and helpless, large and small. The self is a true complexio oppositorum’.[11] The fact that the sculptural symbolism of the Layer quaternio are a complexio oppositorum (complex of opposites), highlights both its usage of polarity and more importantly, its Mandala-like qualities. For Jung, the totality of the Self, that is, all aspects of individual character, are of necessity, a complex of opposites. ‘The self is made manifest in the opposites and in the conflict between them; it is a coincidenta oppositorum’.[12] Just as the upper pair of figurines Pax and Gloria represent the reward of eternal and heavenly realms to the Christian faithful, so too the figurines Labor and Vanitas represent the temporal dimension of time in mortal, earthly existence; thus the essential co-ordinates of Time and Space may be designated to the monument. Jung defines this essential aspect of the quaternity thus: ‘Space and time form a psychological a priori, an aspect of the archetypal quaternity which is altogether indispensable for acquiring knowledge of physical processes.’[13] The quaternity has long been favoured as symbol of totality. Jung cites numerous examples from both antiquity and from the Renaissance of the four-fold symbol as an expression of differentiation and totality. In Jung's view: ‘The quaternity is an archetype of almost universal occurrence. It forms the logical basis for any whole judgment. If one wishes to pass a judgment, it must have this fourfold aspect. For instance, if you want to describe the horizon as a whole, you name the four quarters of heaven…. There are always four elements, four prime qualities, four colours, four castes, four ways of spiritual development, etc. So, too there are four aspects of psychological orientation.’ [14] Among his many observations upon the quaternity, Jung defined the four-fold symbol as: ‘an organizing schema par excellence, something like the crossed threads in a telescope. It is a system of coordinates that is used almost instinctively for diving up the visible surface of the earth, the course of the year, or the collection of individuals into groups, the phases of the moon, the temperaments, elements, alchemical colours, and so on.’ [15] The ability of the alchemists’ quaternio to express differentiation and totality was compelling enough for Jung himself to adopt it in order to differentiate the psyche as comprising of four components, Jung stating; ‘The orientating system of consciousness has four aspects which correspond to four empirical functions: thinking, feeling, sensation (sense-perception), intuition. This quaternity is an archetypal arrangement. [16] As regards the Layer monument Jung's alternate definition of the quaternio is revealing : ‘The pairs of opposites, as alchemy shows, are arranged in a quaternion when they represent a totality. The totality appears in a quaternary form only when it is not an unconscious fact but a conscious and differentiated totality. … It must, however be stressed that what we today call the schema of functions is archetypally prefigured by one of the oldest patterns of order known to man, namely the quaternity, which always represents a consciously reflected and differentiated totality.’ [17] In words which are utterly applicable to the Layer monument’s quaternio, Jung also stated: ‘We have then, two contrasting pairs, forming by mutual attraction a quaternio, the fourfold basis of wholeness. As their symbolism show, the pairs signify the same thing: a complexio oppositorum or uniting symbol.’ [18] The uniting symbol of the Layer monument as an alchemical mandala is the large skull at its centre, discussed later. The quaternio of alchemy exerted a profound influence upon many hermetic philosopher's and alchemist'salike throughout the Renaissance. Some fifty years after the Layer monument’s installation, the physician-philosopher Sir Thomas Browne at the apotheosis of his discourse The Garden of Cyrus (1658) urged his questing reader: ‘a large field is yet left to sharper discerners to enlarge upon this order, to search out the quaternio’s and figured draughts of this order.’ Because the Layer monument utilizes the four-fold symbol of the quaternio, its useful to compare it with the most developed of all religious fourfold symbols, the Christian tetramorph. Associated with the four evangelists, the Christian tetramorph (the word derives from the Greek, tetra-four and morph-shape) consists of three animals and one angelic form, as described by the Jewish prophets, Ezekiel and Isaiah in their visions. The early church father Saint Jerome is usually credited with nominating the symbols of lion, bull, eagle and angel to represent the four evangelists, designating the lion to Saint Mark, the bull to Saint Luke, the Eagle to Saint John and the angel to Saint Matthew. By the 8th century of the Christian era these symbols found themselves upon many decorative ecclesiastic furnishings and illuminated manuscripts, including the Book of Kells. The collective symbols of the Christian tetramorph can in fact be found in churches throughout the world, including at the church of Saint John the Baptist. The four emblems of three creatures and one angelic form representing the Evangelists can be seen in Saint John the Baptist's east and west stained-glass windows and carved upon its nave gates. Tetramorphs far earlier than the Christian example can be traced to the dawn of consciousness, in the monumental sculpture of the Egyptian sphinx, which is a composite creature of bull, lion, eagle, and man and which represents the four elements in its symbolism. The syncretism of the tetramorph is such that in the Judaic tradition the lion, bull, eagle and man stood for the four letters of God as well as the four emblems of Judaic tribes. Y = Man, H = Lion, V = Bull, and second H = Eagle. While in the Judaic esoteric tradition of the Cabala the quaternity of Merkabah names the four symbolic angels in the prophet Ezekiel’s vision as, Chokhmah = the face of Man, Binah = Eagle, Gedulah = Lion and Gebhurah = Bull. The Christian tetramorph is a superb example of syncretism, that is, how symbols can dramatically alter and take on vastly differing meanings over epochs of time to different cultures and religions, quite different from their origins. The analogical nature of symbols is commented upon by Jung who observed: ‘If symbols mean anything at all, they are tendencies which pursue a definite but not yet recognizable goal and consequently can express themselves only in analogies’ [19]. Though little acknowledged, the symbols of the Christian tetramorph originate ultimately, from astrological symbolism, specifically the Fixed Cross of the zodiac. At the heart of the Christian tetramorph (the Lion, the Bull, the Eagle and Man or Angel) the symbolism of the four zodiac signs of Leo, Taurus, Scorpio, and Aquarius can be detected. (that is, with the substitution of the so-called ‘King’ of Insects, the scorpion, a creature which is little-known outside the Mediterranean world, for the much better-known Regal animal of the Eagle). Jung endorsed the proto-psychology of astrology commenting; ‘As we all know, science began with the stars, and mankind discovered in them the dominants of the unconscious, the “gods”, as well as the curious psychological qualities of the zodiac; a complete projected theory of human character. Astrology is a primordial experience similar to alchemy’ [20]. Just as the Christian tetramorph can be sourced to the far-earlier Babylonian zodiac, so too the symbolism of the Layer quaternio can be sourced to far earlier, pre-Christian symbols of the elements and planets. The first step towards detection of the Layer monument exhibiting alchemical and astrological symbolism however, is simply to not pay too rigid adherence to their titled Christian personifications. Labels and titles, whilst defining, also confine receptivity. Only our strictly literalist age of underdeveloped imagination could ever believe that a painting or a sculpture’s title comprehensively informs its viewer of its full contents. Its entirely possible firstly to equate the Layer monument’s four figurines to one of the most archaic of all four-fold schemata, the four elements. The lower case pair of figurines Vanitas and Labor, child and old man, are engaged in activities explicitly involving the elements, namely blowing bubbles into air and digging earth. Together they allude to the elements of earth and air in the ancient schemata of the four elements. As noted earlier, it’s also useful to juxtapose the iconography of Andreas Libavius’ Alchemia with its many shared iconographical details to the Layer monument, for several reasons. In the illustrated edition of Alchemia, the figures of the King and Queen are depicted accompanied by a Lion and Eagle two creatures which are associated with the zodiac signs Leo and Scorpio and which are ruled by the elements of Fire and Water respectively. From Libavius’ illustration, confirmation of the ‘Regal’ or ‘Royal’ pair of Pax and Gloria sharing symbolic correspondence to the elements of Fire and Water can be made. Supporting this interpretation of schemata, the crescent moon which Gloria stands upon invariably denotes the element of water in Jungian psychology, the Swiss psychologist somewhat dogmatically asserting: ‘There Paracelsus emphasizes, she stood on the moon (the moon is always related to water).’[21] Gloria’s counterpart Pax in virtually all alchemical iconography can analogously be equated to the element of Fire, not least from his utterly fiery activity and intent. Furthermore, a nomination of the elements of Fire and Water to Pax and Gloria confirms an interpretation of Vanitas and Labor as representatives of the elements Air and Earth, as their quite explicit activities clearly shows. Equally, remembering polarity and opposition to be a fundamental template in esoteric symbolism, the figurine Pax (as the illustration in Alchemia also fully suggests), equates well as Sol accompanying the Luna of Gloria. Importantly, the upper pair of Royal figures in both Libavius and the Layer monument also correspond to the highly- charged alchemical symbol of the completion of the opus, the union or sacred marriage, known as the hieros gamos most often represented in alchemy as a symbolic marriage between the luminaries of sun and moon. Just as elemental symbolism can be allocated to each of the Layer’s four figurines, so too can quite specific planetary symbolism. In alchemical iconography the messenger to the gods, and the primary ‘deity’ associated with alchemy is Mercurius. Frequently depicted as a youth or boy standing upon a sphere or rotundum to represent his worldwide influence, Mercury’s counterpart and polar opposite in astral symbolism is the cold and ‘heavy’ domain of Saturn. Considered by alchemists and astrologers alike to be the ruler of time, melancholy and profound insight, as well as emblematic of agriculture, digging, old age and gray beards, the figurine Labor as noted earlier, is exemplary of saturnine attributes in its sculptural symbolism. Equally, just as astrology utilizes symbolism involving the elements and the planets, so too, quite specific elemental and planetary symbolism can be discerned within the Layer quaternio. Indeed, the Layer quaternio themselves are a highly-condensed zodiac, not circular, as in the Greek meaning of the word ‘zodiac’ (a circle of animals) but quadrangular. Not only can specific planets (the luminaries Sun and Moon to Pax and Gloria and Mercury and Saturn to Vanitas and Labor respectively) and a respective ‘ruling’ element can be designated to each of the Layer quaternio but also the archetypal nature of each of the four so-called signs of the ‘Fixed Cross’ of astrology. In the rich and complex schemata of the astrological zodiac, one of the most ancient of all mandalas, not only is each astrological sign ruled by a specific planet and element, but the zodiac itself is sub-divided into three quaternaries which are named as fixed, cardinal and mutable. Each quaternity comprises of four zodiac signs, one element represented in each quaternity. The cardinal cross or quaternity, represents the four quarters of year and consists of Capricorn and Cancer marking the Winter and Summer solstices, with Aries and Libra representing the Equinoxes of Spring and Autumn. The mutable cross, as its name suggests, is mutable, that is fluctuating or changeable. The Fixed Cross of astrology however has always been the most potent of all three astrological crosses. It consists of Aquarius and Leo, Scorpio and Taurus. The fixed cross of astrology corresponds closely to the Layer quaternio. Pax uniting the symbolism of Leo, the King and the archetype of the hero, here treading the weapons of warfare underfoot. The symbolism of life as intense sublunary biological struggle, in which blood, sweat and tears are life’s spiritual landmarks, corresponds to Scorpio and to Gloria as the archetype of 'the great mother', both loving and nurturing as well as devastating. The long-suffering, hard-working and sacrificial bull of Taurus is closely related to those bonded to Earth, as represented by Labor as Biblical Adam and alchemy's Original, Prototype Man. Lastly, the figurine Vanitas corresponds to the conductor of souls and guiding psychopomp figure of the alchemist, the trickster figure Mercurius, depicted playfully blowing bubbles on the Layer monument and associated with the psychic properties of Aquarius as magician. The archaic schemata of the four elements are closely related in their symbolism to the four humors. The ancient Greek quaternity of four humors, that is four ‘types’ of personality, were comprehensively developed in the Renaissance as the proto-psychology of the four temperaments consisting of sanguine, phlegmatic, choleric and melancholy. Their elemental associations correspond to the Layer quaternio as - Sanguine and amorous Vanitas, hot-tempered and choleric Pax, phlegmatic Gloria and melancholic Labor. In another four-fold quaternity, one which defines human life as a totality composed of body and soul, mind and spirit, the essence of the Layer quaternio is further advanced; Labor representing earth and therefore also the body, Vanitas with closed eyes and bubbles in the air, the intellect or mind. The murky world of blood, sweat and tears, all of which are closely associated with water and emotion as represented by the soul or anima figure of Gloria, while the fiery gesture, action and mission of Pax corresponds well to the intent of Spirit. One possible reason why the Layer monument quarternio closely corresponds in elemenatal and planetary symbolism may be because, just as in the most sophisticated proto-psychology of antiquity, namely the astrological zodiac, in which twelve individual entities are each allocated and ruled by a specific planet and element, they too sketch of the dramatis persona in individual life, the eternal ‘types’, known as the archetypes. The origins of the archetypes date back to Plato's eternal ideas, the Greek philosopher defining them as pure mental forms imprinted in the soul before birth. In the seventeenth century Francis Bacon and Sir Thomas Browne both used the word ‘archetype’ in their writings. Browne in The Garden of Cyrus (1658) even endeavours in his early work of proto-psychology to delineate archetypes through a highly original proper-name symbolism. Jung compared his psychological concept of the archetypes to Platonic ideas. In his psychology the archetypes are unconscious symbols which express collective models and which deeply influence humanity. They are collective in the sense that they embody the fundamental characteristics of a thing rather than its specific peculiarities. As they are collectively shared by humanity they are relatively unaffected by cultural bias; the self- same archetypal figures frequently appearing not only in fairy-tales and world mythology but also in the unconscious world of dreams. The Archetypes, the perennial, yet ever- changing dramatis personae of the human condition include - the lover, the hero, the old wise man, the great mother, the trickster and the helpful animal. As they represent all forms of the human condition, the Archetypes are limitless and cannot be listed definitively. ‘They have the power to unite the opposites and to mediate between the unconscious and the conscious mind and accordingly throw a bridge between present- day consciousness and the natural unconscious instinctive wholeness of primitive times.’ [22] One of the earliest endeavours to delineate the archetypes occurs in the proto- psychology of the Scaiolae of Paracelsus. In his highly-influential De Vita Longa Paracelsus proposed that mythic creatures, namely, salamanders, sylphs, gnomes and sprites each inhabit a respective element. The garden gnome is a direct descendent of the Swiss alchemist-physician’s deep interest in the health of the Austrian mining community and its folklore. Paracelsus was also fond of inventing peculiar words to describe his proto-psychology. In De vita Longa Paracelsus writes of Scaiolae, four differing kinds of virtues or psychic entities. The German scholar and alchemical lexiconographer Martin Ruland the younger (1569-1611) in his dictionary of alchemy defines the Paracelsian Scaiolae as, ‘spiritual powers of the mind’ qualities and faculties which are four-fold, to correspond with the four elements.[23] They are also comparable to psychic powers such as thought, love, hate, imagination, hope, fear.[24] Jung noted that Paracelsus himself found great difficulty in understanding the nature of the Scaiolae, however he assists our understanding of their spiritual function and their connection to the Layer quaternio when stating: ‘Every archetype is psychologically a fascinosum,’ i.e. exerts an influence that excites and grips the imagination, it is able to clothe itself in religious ideas. Accordingly Ruland says that the four Scaiolae also stand for the four main articles of the Christian faith: baptism, belief in Jesus Christ, the sacrament of the Last Supper and love of one’s neighbour. The quadripartite nature of the homo maximus is the basis and cause of all division into four: four elements, seasons, directions etc.’[25] Though they are rather nebulous to apprehend, the four Scaiolae of Paracelsus collectively symbolize the totality of spiritual existence, just as the Layer quaternio. Jung explains further; ‘The Scaiolae, as the four parts, limbs, or emanations of the Anthropos, are the organs by which the Anthropos actively intervenes in the world of appearances….just as the invisible quinta essentia or aether, appears in this world as the four elements….Since the Scaiolae are psychic functions, these must be seen as manifestations or effluences of the One, the invisible Anthropos. As functions of consciousness, and particularly as imaginato, speculatio, phantasia and fides they “intervene”.[26] (The word ‘Anthropos’ in Jungian psychology denotes original man, while the term homo maximus roughly equates to the ‘Greater Man within’). A female deity standing upon a crescent moon as the figurine Gloria can be seen in both churches and alchemical illustrations. Jung makes a strikingly apt observation applicable to Gloria and to her relationship to Labor below her: ‘According to the ancient view, the moon stands on the borderline between the eternal, ethereal things and the ephemeral phenomena of the earthly, sub-lunar realm’. Macrobius says: ‘The realm of the perishable begins with the moon and goes downward. Souls coming into this region begin to be subject to the numbering of days and to time... there is no doubt that the moon is the author and contriver of mortal bodies. Because of her moist nature, the moon is also the cause of decay. The loveliness of the new moon, hymned by the poets and Church Fathers, veils her dark side, which however, could not remain hidden from the fact-finding of the empiricist. The moon, as the star nearest to the earth, partakes of the earth and its sufferings, and her analogy with the Church and the Virgin Mary as mediators has the same meaning. She partakes not only of the earth's sufferings but of its daemonic darkness as well.’ [27] The sublunary world of mortal man’s relationship to the element of water was well-known to alchemists. In the alchemical anthology Museum Hermeticum (1678) it’s stated of Gloria Mundi: ‘The mystery of everything is life, which is water, for water dissolves the body into spirit and summons a spirit from the dead.’ [28] Jung also united the figurines Gloria and Labor, when observing; ‘In Christianity, as in alchemy, earth and moon are closely related, conjoined by the figure of the divine mother.’ [29] Further evidence of the Layer monument’s alchemical content along with Gloria as an anima figure of the soul, is confirmed in Jung’s statement: ‘The relation of the moon to the soul, much stressed in antiquity also occurs in alchemy.’ [30] while the hermetic philosopher Sir Thomas Browne links the sublunary relationship between Gloria and Labor in the dedicatory epistle of The Garden of Cyrus thus: Since the delightful World comes after death, and Paradise succeeds the Grave. Since the verdant state of things is the Symbol of the Resurrection, and to flourish in the state of Glory, we must first be sown in corruption. The figurine Labor is located directly underneath a crescent moon, indicative of Mankind’s sublunary life of necessity, toil and suffering. Allusive to the human condition, to Biblical Adam and to the Anthropos or original Man of alchemy, it’s significant that the colour of the jerkin Labor wears is green, identical in colour to the earth he’s digging. Jung succinctly defines the colour green as the state of imperfect transformation. In alchemical literature frequent mention of the colour of glorious greenness, Viriditas Gloriosa and of the blessed greenness benedictua viridita can be found, which are spoken of thus: ‘the blessed greenness…the secret immanence of the divine spirit of life in all Nature. O blessed greenness, which generates all things!’ ‘Did not the spirit of the Lord which is a fiery love God breathed into all created things… a certain germination or greenness, by which all things should multiply…. They called all things green, for to be green means to grow.’ [31] A flexible interpretation of Labor’s sculptural symbolism views the figurine not only as representing human mortality, as indicated by the skull resting at his feet, but also as allusive to the questing adept, engaged in research, delving into the prima materia in order to obtain philosophical gold. The figurine Pax represents one of the most common of all archetypes, that of the hero, however due to the endemic loss of soul in western society throughout twentieth century, there no longer exists a common consensus at to what constitutes a hero; the best proposed candidates are invariably nowadays of a political or laudable humanitarian orientation, many other candidates, often from the world of sport are soon discovered to be all-too human and possess feet of clay. In a world in transition and the devaluation of the spiritual, and in the unlikely consensus of a new candidate and more from default than imitation, Christ and his act of self-sacrifice, so unfashionable to materialistic sensibilities, remains the dominant role-model of the hero in western consciousness. In modern times, as Jung frequently emphasized, the pursuit of Peace remains the critical goal which will ensure humanity’s survival. Throughout his writings Jung stresses how all too often dark and destructive aspects in the personality, rather than being recognized within oneself, are all too easily projected onto others. The failure of the individual to recognize morally reprehensible qualities within themselves, and to throw, or in psychological terms, to project their own dark qualities onto others, have resulted in two world wars and mass genocide. Science and technology may well have conquered the modern world, as Jung once remarked, but whether the human soul has advanced from these achievements remains questionable. Finally, the subject of androgyny as exhibited by Pax is elaborated by Jung thus: ‘In antiquity certain influences, deriving from the Gnostic doctrine of the hermaphroditic Primordial Man penetrated into Christianity and there gave rise to the view that Adam had been created an androgyne. And since Adam was the prototype of Christ, and Eve sprang from his side, that of the Church, it is understandable that a picture of Christ should develop showing distinctly feminine features. In religious art the Christ-image has retained this character to the present day.’ [32] For Jung, as with the alchemist, the hero is the individual willing to confront the dark aspects of themselves and capable of consciously integrating all aspects of their personality in self-realization, the fabled Stone of the Philosophers' no less. The figurine Pax tramples the weapons of war underfoot, triumphantly asserting a deeply-held humanitarian principle, that of Peace, which for the Christian is a reward to be found not on earth but in Heaven. The rotundum which Vanitas stands upon can frequently be found in alchemical iconography. The figure of a boy or youth standing upon a golden ball or rotundum to symbolize his worldwide influence can be seen in many depictions of the alchemical ‘deity’ Mercurius. In Jungian psychology the symbol of the child has a dual meaning, simultaneously a reminder of a lost and forgotten state of consciousness and an allusion, highly appropriate to funerary symbolism, of a return to a state of child-like consciousness in heaven. The figurine Vanitas and the Layer monument's alchemical content in general is cemented firmly in Jung’s observation: ‘Mercurius .. shares with very strongly the quaternity of the lapis with which he is essentially identical’ [33] while the relationship between Mercurius and Saturnus in alchemy as represented by Vanitas and Labor of the Layer quaternio is elaborated by C. G. Jung thus: ‘But the most important of all for an interpretation of Mercurius is his relation to Saturn. Mercurius senex is identical with Saturn, and to the earlier alchemists especially, it is not quicksilver, but the lead associated with Saturn, which usually represents the prima materia.... In Khunrath Mercurius is the “salt of Saturn,” or Saturn is simply Mercurius.. Like Mercurius, Saturn is hermaphroditic. Saturn is “an old man on a mountain, and in him the natures are bound with their complement [i.e., the four elements], and all this is in Saturn”. The same is said of Mercurius. Saturn is the father and origin of Mercurius, therefore the latter is called “Saturn's child”. Quicksilver comes “from the heart of Saturn” or is Saturn......Like the planetary spirit of Mercurius, the spirit of Saturnus is “very suited to this work”. [34] Alchemists were devout Christians who saw their mission in the radical idea that, rather than await until Judgment Day for God to redeem humanity, to take the task of awakening man’s slumbering soul to self-awareness and redemption upon themselves. This could be achieved, they believed, by drawing man’s attention to God’s handiwork and wisdom. Their spiritual philosophy and proto-psychology found itself expressed in disparate works of art and literature. The Layer monument is one such artwork. Throughout the Renaissance Christian theology took a cautious view of humanity’s imaginative faculty, frequently condemning the faculty as vanity; the subject of imagination however is one which adherents of the alchemical art fundamentally diverged from orthodox Christian theology. While sharing an equal concern in Man’s redemption to Christianity, devout alchemists, who were often physicians and/or of Protestant and Germanic origin, rather than wait until Judgment Day, took it upon themselves to redeem humanity by drawing Man’s attention to God. This could be achieved, they believed, through the dissemination of increasingly rich and complex alchemical texts, through visual imagery, or even through music, as in the German Rosicrucian Michael Maier’s composing of fugues. In addition to these conduits to draw Man’s attention towards God, exponents of the alchemical art on rare occasions, and somewhat audaciously, even utilized large-scale religious art such as the funerary monument to express their message. For the God-fearing alchemist the act of controlled imagination was the pathway to spiritual enlightenment. Following the initial phase of nigredo or despair experienced by the lonely alchemist at the beginning of their opus, they engaged in spontaneous, yet controlled imaginato as an essential conduit towards spiritual liberation and enlightenment. The sculptural symbolism of the Layer monument quaternio is exemplary of the imaginato of the alchemist, that is: ‘an authentic feat of thought or ideation, which does not just play with its objects, but tries to grasp the inner facts and portray them in images true to their nature.’ [35] The anonymous sculptor of the Layer quaternio was also surely aware of the differing view-point between Christianity and alchemy as regards the subjects of imagination and redemption. In this aspect, the figurine Vanitas and his double nature as a figure of child-like innocence and of vanity, is exemplary of the dual nature of Mercurius duplex. True to the ambiguous nature of Mercurius, the figurine Vanitas though representing a negative aspect of human spirituality in Christian theology, he is nevertheless depicted with golden hair, highly suggestive of his close kinship to Pax and Gloria as the mercurial child born of their union. The symbolism of colour and number are primordial of all symbols which are embedded deep within the unconscious psyche. The colour of the jerkin worn by Labor, the lavish use of gold on the monument, in particular the golden ball or Rotundum which Vanitas stands upon with black feet are all worthy of comment. In Jung’s view: ‘In alchemy Mercurius is the rotundum par excellence.’ [36] The colour gold itself is closely associated with God and with the eternal, while the blackened feet of Vanitas may be interpreted either as sandals, symbolizing an ability for winged flight, or as burnt and charred and the consequences of vanity from ignoring the power of God, as symbolized the sun-like golden rotundum. The Layer monument’s relationship to number symbolism is writ large in its employment of the template of the alchemist’s quaternio. Jung noted that the primary ‘deity’ of alchemy, Hermes or Mercurius is often associated with the number four and Greek depictions of Hermes often portrayed him with four faces, symbolizing his world-wide influence. Hermes is also associated with the quadrangular, an important aspect of the Layer monument’s geometric proportions. In the old alchemical treatise the Consilium its stated that the “philosophical man” consists of the ‘four natures of the stone’ [37] while in the alchemical anthology of the Rosarium (1550) one reads: ‘Our stone is from the four elements.’[38] Remembering elemental symbolism to be discernable in the Layer quaternio, its highly significant to read Jung declare: ‘The lapis had always been regarded as a quaternity of elements.’ [39] The ancient Greek sage Pythagoras (c.500 BCE) based his entire philosophy upon number, declaring: ‘All is Number’. Worshipped as a god for almost one thousand years, Pythagoras and his followers believed number to be the basis of the Universe, in particular the quaternity of numbers as denoted by the sum of 1 + 2 + 3 +4 = 10 known as the Tetkrayts, which was depicted as a pyramid of dots was seen as an expression of the totality of the created Universe by Pythagoreans. Given the fact that number symbolism is evident in the Layer monument’s utilization of the quaternio, it may also be significant that each side of the highly-symmetrical frame of the Layer monument consists of two figurines plus three minor decorative motifs, making a total of ten sculptural items studded around the monument’s quadrangular frame, the very same number nominated by the Greek sage Pythagoras as representing totality. Number symbolism also occurs in many world-religions, including Christianity. From the four rivers flowing from the Garden of Eden, to the four Gospels of the New Testament with its apocalyptic vision of four horsemen in the book of Revelation, the spiritual significance of number is frequently encountered in the Old Testament and to a lesser extent in the New Testament, with the numbers 4, 7, 12 and 40 being much favoured. In the Renaissance the Florentine scholar Pico della Mirandola (1463-94) was the first to promote and advance Pythagorean numerology. Neopythagorean thought found an ally in the mathematician John Dee who took up the study of Number as a way of discovering mystical arcana in the Old Testament for Hebrew letters also stand for numericals. The Christian-hermetic philosopher Thomas Browne, in Religio Medici (1643) also confessed to having a predilection for Pythagorean numerology, declaring: I have often admired the mystical way of Pythagoras and the secret magic of numbers [40]. In his discourse The Garden of Cyrus (1658) many considerations on the number five in art, nature and mystically are featured. Browne queried of the number five in his essay of ‘inexcusable Pythagorisme’: ‘whether this number be oftener applied unto bad things and ends, then good in holy Scripture, and why? He may meet with abstrusities of no ready resolution.’ Incidentally, there's an intriguing relationship between Browne’s diptych discourses Urn-Burial and The Garden of Cyrus (1658) which together are a highly original literary mandala, to the Layer monument. In brief, the symbolism of sublunary suffering, decay and death on the right-hand pilaster of the monument (Gloria and Labor) correspond fittingly to the thematic concerns of Urn-Burial while the monument's left-hand pilaster (Pax and Vanitas) corresponds in total harmony to the playful, the solar and the archetypal ‘wise ruler’ themes of The Garden of Cyrus. Carved in one of the most durable materials known, Christopher Layer’s marble monument also has a fascinating relationship to the fabled Philosophers' Stone. There are in fact many philosophical and religious ideas associated with the symbolism of stone. The words of the Psalmist, re-iterated by Christ: ‘the stone which the builders have rejected has become my corner-stone’ [41] and those of the Paraclesian advocate Gerard Dorn (1530-84) who exhorted: Transform yourselves into living philosophical stones [42] highlight the close relationship which existed in alchemical circles between the lapis or Stone of the Philosophers to Christ. By the year 1550 the relationship between acquiring the Philosopher’s Stone and attaining Christ-like enlightenment had become explicit in much alchemical-themed literature. Jung writes at length about the lapis-Christ relationship, quoting the words of an alchemist as exemplary of this relationship: ‘Choose for your Stone him through whom kings are honoured in their crowns, and through whom physicians heal the sick, for he is near into the fire.’ [43] The anonymous mason of the Layer monument, if not well-versed in esoteric symbolism himself, may well have associated with a contemporary who was, and in this context the spiritual alchemy of the German hermetic philosopher, Heinrich Khunrath (1560-1605) whose Christian theology is heavily augmented with alchemical imagery is worthy of mention. Khunrath was typical of many alchemist-physicians of his day in his integratation of alchemical imagery to Christianity. Alchemists and hermetic philosophers alike often imitated imagery and symbolism originating from the Bible. In the Old Testament God is frequently likened to a Rock, its also narrated in the Old Testament that the Judaic prophet Moses descended Mount Sinai with two tablets of stone upon which God’s ten commandments were inscribed. The biblical imagery of divine wisdom inscribed upon stone is imitated in alchemy in one of the most influential texts of alchemy, the Smargdina Tabula or Emerald Tablet upon which the wisdom of the mythic Hermes Trismegistus were believed to be inscribed. Khunrath's Amphitheatrum sapientiae eternae (1602) includes an etching of a large rock with verse allegedly from the mythic Smargdina Tabula or Emerald Tablet carved upon it. Its fourth verse with its allusion to the elemental origins of the Philosophers' Stone bears comparison to the Layer quaternio: ‘The father of it is the sun, the mother the moon. The wind bore it in the womb. Its nurse is the earth, the mother of all perfection.’ Whenever interpreting works of art its always useful to consider their context. In this respect, the murky and often misunderstood world of secret societies such as the Masonic and Rosicrucian brotherhoods must be considered. However, the existence of secret societies, is a mine-field for the historian due to a lack of hard factual documentation. Although the earliest historical record of Masonry occurs in the antiquarian Elias Ashmole’s diary entry on becoming a Freemason in October 16th 1646, in Scotland the Masonic order existed long before the seventeenth century. Freemasonry, like other esoteric disciplines has been defined as ‘a system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated in symbols’. Masonic symbolism places great emphasis upon Labor et Orare (Work and Prayer) and according to the German lexiconographer of Masonic symbols, Gadlicke: ‘Labor is an important word in Masonry and the essence of Masonic worship’ . The themes of Labor and Prayer are conspicuously evident on the Layer monument. Curiously, the root meaning of the word ‘Layer’ itself derives from Middle English meaning a mason. The church of Saint John the Baptist in Christopher Layer’s era was in fact where Norwich’s wealthiest businessmen worshipped and several commonplace Masonic symbols can be identified among its eclectic ecclesiastical furnishings, while the patron saint who is associated with the Masonic order is none other than Saint John the Baptist. Finally, in Saint John the Baptist's graveyard there can be seen a nineteenth century headstone which not only has a primary symbol of Masonry, a set of compasses, carved upon it, but also the ancient symbol of Greek esotericism, later adopted by Gnostics, the Ouroboros, the snake which circularly devours its own tail and symbol of eternal recurrence. The relationship between the skull to the four figurines which surround it is crucial to understanding the Layer monument as a visual representation of the Philosophers' Stone or alchemical mandala. Much more than a common momento mori symbol, the skull is also closely related to the vas philosophorum or philosophical vessel of alchemy, the place where the opposites reside, clash and are reconcile and where the dincubation, growth and emergence of the Philosophers’ Stone occurs. The large skull at the monument’s dead-centre is the pivotal nucleus of the Layer mandala and symbolic not only of the psyche and its totality, but also as the dwelling place of the homo maximus or greater man within and is thus the quinta essentia or fifth element which unites all four figurines. Having provided evidence of the Layer monument’s quaternio nature, its elemental and planetary symbolism and relationship to the primary ‘deity’ associated with alchemy, namely Mercurius, its significant to read Jung declare, as regards the spatial location of a skull at the centre of the Layer monument: ‘The quaternity, a symbol of Mercurius quadratus who in the form of the lapis, consists of the four elements. He thus forms the mid-point of the cosmic quaternity and represents the quinta essentia, the oneness and essence of the physical world i.e. the anima mundi.’ [44] In the alchemical tradition, the skull is a symbol of the cycle of initiation through the death of the body and the prelude to rebirth at a higher level of life in which spirit rules. As a symbol of physical death, the skull or vas philosophorum is not dissimilar to the alchemical apparatus of the Crucible or the Vessel from which the old man is annihilated to become transformed and from which the new man rises from the grave. It also represents totality and the symbolic place where the unfathomable depths of humanity’s collective unconscious memory resides and where humanity’s future potential silently incubates. Jung once more assists our understanding of the crucial role which the skull plays in the Layer monument as a mandala: ‘The mandala symbolizes by its central point, the ultimate archetype of all archetypes as well as the multiplicity of the phenomenal world, and is therefore the empirical equivalent of the metaphysical concept of a unus mundus. The alchemical equivalent is the lapis and its synonyms, in particular the Microcosm.’ [45] The large skull at the centre of the Layer monument forms a Quincunx geometrically to the four figurines which surround it. Jung acknowledged that: ‘The quinarius or Quino (in the form of 4 + 1 i.e. Quincunx) does occur as a symbol of wholeness (in China and occasionally in alchemy) but relatively rarely.’ [46] Jung also termed the Quincunx pattern as: ‘a symbol of the quinta essentia which is identical with the Philosopher’s Stone [47]. The resultant synergy of the Layer quaternio that is, an interaction and combined effect greater than the sum of their separate parts, finds a focal-point in the symbol of the Anthropos or homo maximus ( The Greater or Invisible Man within) which is represented by the large skull at the nuclear centre of the monument. Above the unifying, central symbol of a large momento mori skull, there's a painted background of a hemisphere of golden sun and cloudscape. It’s a highly dramatic scene in which the sun’s powerful rays are depicted breaking through dark clouds of gloom and unknowingness to illuminate a moment of spiritual revelation. The sun is a major symbol in many world religions and exemplary as a symbol of how symbols are deeply- embedded within the psyche, for while almost all can identify the sun as an apt symbol of God, and associate its symbolism to Kingship and Gold, few would be able to explain the reason why they do so; uniquely, Jung's life-long scholarship in comparative religion expounded in depth on the meaning of symbols such as the sun. The seminal psychologist identified the sun as primarily a symbol representing the easily acquired, and as easily lost, common, yet priceless, gift of consciousness. The four figurines of the Layer monument are a unique example of an alchemical mandala in western funerary sculpture. The Mandala has been defined as: ‘A symbolic representation of the ‘nuclear atom’ of the human psyche – whose essence we do not know… Mandalas are used to consolidate the inner being, or to plunge one into deep meditation. The contemplation of a mandala is meant to bring an inner peace, a feeling that life has again found its meaning and order. …. Roundness (the mandala motif) generally symbolizes a natural wholeness, whereas a quadrangular formation represents the realization of this in consciousness.’[48] Nowadays the word ‘Mandala’ (from the Sanskrit, meaning Magic circle) is used to denote any pattern or design mapping the psyche and its components, but in fact the mandala is among the most ancient religious symbols known, with examples of it found distributed throughout the world, from as far back in time as the Palaeothic era. In most Western religious mandalas, which are usually structured upon the Christian tetramorph, representative symbols of the four Christian evangelists are often placed at each corner, with Christ enthroned at the centre. Remembering the Layer monument’s symbolism to be a complex of opposites, Jung’s observation: ‘The usual quaternity structure of the mandala would coincide with the alchemists’ quaternion of opposites,’[49] advances interpretation of the Layer quaternion as an alchemical mandala. According to Jung: ‘In general, the alchemists strove for a total union of opposites in symbolic form…Hence they sought to find ways and means to produce that substance in which all opposites were united. It had to be material as well as spiritual, masculine as well as feminine, old as well as young’…[50] To repeat, the very substance of the Layer monument, unites the material substance of marble stone to its spiritual message and content. It also unites the opposites of male and female and young and old. And in fact Jung comes extremely close to naming all four of the thinly-veiled alchemical ‘gods’ of the Layer quaternio when writing on a quaternio from his study of the alchemist Michael Maier (1568 -1622) theorizing: ‘If we construct a quaternity from the divine equivalents of Michael Maier’s four elements – Apollo, Luna, Mercurius, Vulcan – we get a marriage quaternion with a brother-sister relationship.’ [51] Apollo ------------------------ Luna Mercurius duplex -- ----------Vulcan It’s worth noting that the Roman god Vulcan is recognized in comparative religion with having a number of close associations to Saturn, (as on the Layer monument (Labor) the theosophist Alice Bailey for one stating: ‘Jehovah was identified with Saturn and Vulcan.’ Another brother-sister quaternion which has a close association to the Layer monument’s quaternion is named in Rev. J. B. Craven’s study of the German Rosicrucian alchemist Count Michael Maier. Writing on Michael Maier’s first publication Arcana Arcanissima (1619) J. B. Craven states: ‘There were four “chemical gods’’ of Ancient Egypt – Osiris, Isis, Mercury and Vulcan’. Crucial to our interpretation of the Layer quaternion Jung continues: ‘The Other, the fourth, corresponds to Mercurius duplex in Maier’s quaternion of gods, and in the ‘Christian Quaternity’ – if such an expression be permitted – to Mary or the devil. These two incompatible figures are united in the Mercurius duplex of alchemy. The space-time quaternion is the archetypal sine qua non for any apprehension of the physical world. It is the organizing schema par excellence among the psychic quaternities. In its structure it corresponds to the psychological schema of the functions.’[52] The figurine Vanitas on the Layer monument is decidedly duplicitous in its sculptural symbolism, simultaneously innocent and sinful in moral representation. Jung emphasized the mandala's ability for psychic healing, stating: ‘the Mandala encompasses, protects and defends the psychic totality against outside influences and seeks to unite the opposites and is an individuation symbol.’ [53] He defined the mandala as the archetype of totality and considered that the only true mandala is: ‘always an inner image, which is gradually built up through (active) imagination, at such times when psychic equilibrium is disturbed or when a thought cannot be found and must be sought for, because not found in Holy doctrine,’ [54] Jung drew the conclusion that mandala symbolism tends to concentrate all the archetypes on a common centre [55]. which in the case of the Layer monument is represented by the large skull at its centre. In conclusion, the Renaissance humanist scholars Marsilo Ficino (1433-99) and Pico della Mirandola (1463-94) were the first to synthesize Hermetic, Platonic and Pythagorean thought to Christianity. Throughout the sixteenth century, western esotericism was extensively augmented and embellished, notably by the seminal figures of Paracelsus (1493–1541) and John Dee (1527-1608). Paracelsian proto-psychology and John Dee’s endorsement of celestial geometry and Pythagorean numerology attracted the attention of many European thinkers, poets, artists, and even on occasions, funerary masons. Approaching the zenith of alchemy’s two hundred year’s influence upon western spirituality, imagination and art ( 1500-1700) circa 1600, an anonymous funerary mason, or associate, or even Christopher Layer’s youngest son who commissioned the monument to his father’s memory, (any of whom may also have been involved in the early development of British Masonic or Germanic Rosicrucian Fraternities) seized the opportunity to incorporate the four-fold pattern of the alchemist’s quaternio upon Christopher Layer’s monument as an integral part of its Christian-hermetic emblematic design. The Layer funerary monument is a highly- sophisticated conceptual artwork which fully integrates hermetic symbolism to its Christian iconography. Its anonymous sculptor’s artistic intention was for those viewing it, not only to contemplate Christopher Layer’s and their own mortality, but to also recognize archetypal elements in their own inner life, thus assisting its viewer in psychic integration. In essence, the Layer monument is a symbol of the Self, the psychic centre of personality [56] and exemplary of the alchemical art nurturing the individuation process. As a work of proto-psychology, as hopefully it’s been amply demonstrated, it may be interpreted as a work of Renaissance art which proclaims the ‘discovery’ of the psyche. One archaic and esoteric template whereby such Renaissance proto- psychological ‘discoveries’ could be comunicated, albeit clandestinely and only recognised by a few, scattered adepts at the time of the Layer monument's installation until modern-day scholarship, corresponds to the quaternity of the alchemical mandala. Bibliography J. B. Craven: Count Michael Maier: Life and Writings. first pub. 1914 Reprint Ibis Press 2003 J. Fabricus: Alchemy: The Medieval alchemists and their Royal Art. Rosenkilde and Bagger 1976 Arnold Hauser: Social History of Art, Vol 2: Renaissance, Mannerism, Baroque: Routledge 1951 Patrick Harpur: The Philosopher’s Secret Fire: A History of the Imagination Penguin 2002. James Hillman: Psychology and Religion. Scribner’s sons 1967 C.G. Jung: The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious. CW. Vol. 9 Part I RKP 1959 C.G. Jung: Aion. CW Vol. 9 Part II. RKP 1951 C.G. Jung: Psychology and Alchemy. CW Vol. 12 RKP 1944 C.G. Jung: Alchemical Studies. CW Vol. 13 RKP 1968 C.G. Jung: Mysterium Coniunctionis. CW. Vol 14 RKP 1955-56 Adam Maclean: The Alchemical Mandala. Phanes 1989 Jung on Alchemy: Selected writing edited by Nathan Schwartz-Salant RKP 1995. P. Marshall: The Magic Circle of Rudolf II: Alchemy and Astrology in Renaissance Prague. Walker 2006 Alexander Roob: Alchemy and Mysticism. Taschen 2006. Jean Seznec: The Survival of the Pagan Gods: The Mythological Tradition and Its Place in Renaissance Humanism and Art. Princeton University Press 1953 The Essential Jung: Selected Writings introduced by Anthony Storr. Fontana 1998. Edgar Wind: Pagan Mysteries in the Renaissance. Faber and Faber 1958 Frances Yates: The Occult Philosophy in Elizabethan England. RKP 1979 Frances Yates: the Rosicrucian Enlightenment. RKP 1972 The Penguin Dictionary of Symbols ed. Jean Chevalier and Alain Gheerbrant 1998 Notes to Part One [1] Religio Medici (1643) Part 1 Section 12 [2] The Private Diary of Dr. John Dee edited by James Halliwell Camden society 1842 [3] Jean Seznec: The Survival of the Pagan Gods: The Mythological Tradition and Its Place in Renaissance Humanism and Art Princeton University Press 1953 [4] Ibid. [5] Ibid. [6] John Shearman: Mannerism Penguin 1967 [7] Arnold Hauser: Social History of Art, Volume 2: Renaissance, Mannerism, Baroque: pub. Routledge 1951 [8] John Read: From Alchemy to Chemistry 1957 [9] Examples in C. G. Jung CW 12 illustrations 164 and 165 Figurarum Aegyptorum secretarum (Ms. 18th c) and Canari Le imagini de I dei (1581) [10] Religio Medici (1643) Part 1: 41 Notes to Part Two [1] C.G. Jung’s autobiography Memories, Dreams Reflections [2] Penguin Dictionary of Symbols [3] CW 14 : 559-569 [4] Ibid. [5] Ibid. [6] Ibid. [7] CW 9 i : 396 [8] CW 12 : 557 [9] CW 14 Foreword [10] CW 8.414 [11] CW 9ii : 355 [12] CW 9ii : 423 [13] CW 9i : 405 [14] CW 11 : 246 [15] CW 9 ii: 381 [16] CW 9ii: 405 [17] CW 14:216 [18] CW 9ii: 245 [19] CW 14: 667 [20] CW 12:346 [21]CW 13:17 [22] CW 9 i : 293 [23] CW 13: 206 [24] CW 13: 207 [25] CW 13:207 [26] CW 13:215 [27] CW 14:173 [28] CW 14:318 [29] CW14:630 [30] CW 14:155 [31] CW 14:623 quoting the Rosarium (1550) and J.D. Mylius [32] CW 14: 526 [33] CW 13:272 [34] CW 13:274 [35] CW 12:219 [36] CW 14:165 [37] CW 12: 209 [38] CW 12:22 [39] CW 14: 238 [40] Religio Medici Part 1:12 [41] Psalm 118:22, Matthew 21. v.42, Luke 20 v. 17 [42] CW 12:187 [43] CW 9 i :238 [44]CW 14:719 [45]CW 14:661 [46]CW 18: 1602 [47] CW 10:737 [48] Penguin Dictionary of Symbols [49] CW 14:12 [50] CW 14:676 [51]CW 9ii :396 [52] CW9ii: 397 [53] CW 18:1602 [54] CW 12:123 [55] CW 14: 660 [56] CW 12:126 Glossary Alchemy: The older form of chemistry which combined experimental chemistry with symbolic speculations about man and nature. Philosophical alchemy in the Renaissance is an unconscious response to Christianity, in particular re-evaluating the role of the imagination and nature which were both denied a positive evaluation in Christianity. Archetype: 'the concept of the archetype ... is derived from the repeated observation that the myths and fairy tales of world literature contain definite motifs which crop up everywhere'. Mandala: (Sanskrit) Magic Circle. Symbol of the central goal, the self or psychic totality; self-representation of a psychic process of centring; the production of a new centre of personality, symbolically represented by the circle, the square, or the quaternity. Quaternity: 'the quaternity is an archetype of almost universal occurrence. It forms the logical basis for any whole judgement. If one wishes to pass such a judgement it must have this fourfold aspect....The ideal completeness is the circle or sphere, but its natural division is the quaternity'. - CW 11:246 Symbol:s 'If symbols mean anything at all, they are tendencies which pursue a definite but not yet recognizable goal and consequently can express themselves only in analogies'. - CW 14: 667 'the language of the alchemists is at first sight very different from our psychological terminology and way of thinking. But if we treat their symbols in the same way as we treat modern fantasies, they yield a meaning - even in the Middle Ages confessed alchemists interpreted their symbols in a moral and philosophical sense, their "philosophy" was, indeed, nothing but projected psychology'. - C.W. 14:737 (from The Essential Jung edited by Anthony Storr Fontana 1998) Symbolic correspondences of the Layer quaternio. Pax Gloria Planet Sol Luna Element Fire Water Metal Gold Silver Zodiac Leo Scorpio Psychic Entity Sensation Emotion Being Spirit Soul Life Cycle Growth Decay Season Summer Autumn Continent Africa America Vanitas Labor Planet Mercury Saturn Element Air Earth Metal Mercury Lead Zodiac Aquarius Taurus Psychic Entity Intellect Intuition Being Mind Body Life Cycle Birth Death Season Spring Winter Continent Asia Europe READ PAPER

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