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The Hand Of The Mysteries
Artist Augustus Knapp

Redrawn from an early 18th century watercolor. (Artist Unknown.)
The original drawings from which this plate was taken is
designated the hand of the philosopher which is extended to
those who enter into the mysteries. When the disciple of the
Great Art first beholds this hand, it is closed, and he must
discover a method of opening it before the mysteries contained
therein may be revealed. In alchemy the hand signifies the
formula for the preparation of the tincture physicorum. The fish
is mercury and the flame-bounded sea in which it swims is
sulfur, while each of the fingers bears the emblem of a Divine Agent through the
combined operations of which the great work is accomplished. The unknown artist
says of the diagram: "The wise take their oath by this hand that they will not teach the
Art without parables." To the Qabbalist the figure signifies the operation of the One
Power [the crowded thumb] in the four worlds (the fingers with their emblems).
Besides its alchemical and Qabbalistic meanings, the figure symbolizes the hand of a
Master Mason with which he "raises" the martyred Builder of the Divine House.
Philosophically, the key represents the Mysteries themselves, without whose aid man
cannot unlock the numerous chambers of his own being. The lantern is human
knowledge, for it is a spark of the Universal Fire captured in a man-made vessel; it is
the light of those who dwell in the inferior universe and with the aid of which they
seek to follow in the footsteps of Truth. The sun, which may be termed the " light of
the world," represents the luminescence of creation through which man may learn the
mystery of all creatures which express through form and number. The star is the
Universal Light which reveals cosmic and celestial verities. The crown is Absolute
Light-- unknown and unrevealed--whose power shines through all the lesser lights that
are but sparks of this Eternal Effulgence. Thus is set forth the right hand, or active
principle, of Deity, whose works are all contained within the" hollow of His hand.

(From the Secret Teachings of All Ages)