Prince of Alembics


Prince of Alembics

Planetary: Neptune (Above) / Mercury (Below)

Diamond Path: Kether, Crown (Above) /Yesod, Foundation (Below)

Geomantic Figure: Laetitia

Tetragram: Air (Above) / Water (Below)


Keywords: Introspection, Subtlety, Violent, Artistic, Sly, Scientific, Power, Weaponry

Keywords (Ill-Dignified): Merciless, Depression, Deranged, Sketchy or Shady Person, Untrustworthiness


Historical: Called the Knight of Cups in the old packs. la Hire, a top commander in the 100 year war waged between the Plantagenets of England and House Valois of France, is the historical royal association to this card. He was a close friend of Joan of Arc and fought with her at Orleans. His name means “wrath of God.” He was well known for his cranky disposition, aside from his storied military history.
     The Knight of Cups is depicted in the Pierpont Morgan-Bergamo Visconti-Sforza pack as having a golden coat trimmed in grey frill and, he is riding a white horse. He carries a cup aloft from the bottom, by his right palm.
     Classically, this has been the most manic-depressive personality of the court cards, tending towards a poetic and artistic disposition. His strong descending nature has been a prominent part of the overall makeup, and this is confirmed in the Hidden Diamond path revelation, in The Mutational Alchemy tarot.

Golden Dawn: Called The King of Cups, Prince of the Chariot of the Waters, the King of Cups card corresponds to the zodiacals Libra and Scorpio and places at Sephira #6 (Tiphareth,)  in the Golden Dawn system.

The serpent and the eagle are his prime signifiers. The serpent will sometimes be in the cup itself. The eagle will be drawing his chariot or present in some way at the least. There should be a strong descending action in the movement of the card. The scorpion may be shown, as a presentation of the zodiacal Scorpio.

Thoth: Crowley sticks closely to the Golden Dawn attributions, but his Prince is pointing down. A large sparrow draws his chariot and he is blue all over, indicating the Water Element of course. Like the other Princes, he is wearing an ornate hat, indicating the mental powers of Air. The sparrow represents flightiness and a distracted nature, as well as physical, emotional and mental fragility. However this may be, he will be quick, attractive, well-liked and agile

Mutational Alchemy Interpretation: The strong descending action in The Hidden Diamond path dominates the mood of the Prince of Alembics, the high point of Ouranos creating divine inspiration and a kind of heavenly authority. His tetragram, Air in the above, Water in the below, calls to mind the a sea breeze flirting with the waves, lifting up the ocean birds, or the violent winds which whip over the world’s oceans, turning their deceptive calm into a terrifying display of natural force. Witness the Prince of Alembic’s power, hidden, unpredictable, dangerous, yet capable of scintillating beauty and delicate, artful, gestures.

The Scene: Air of Water, moody, brooding, but also uplifting to the soul, the Poet Prince is the descending force of the masculine. The gravitational pull of the gaseous planet below is acting on the technological and alien ingenuity of the Prince, as inferred by Ouranos over Luna. This is a perfectly natural arrangement and the Prince is happy to take the fall, so to speak. However, it does reflect a certain tendency to repeatedly enter downward spirals, and this, can be his doom. Prince of Alembics is the classical tormented artist or eccentric writer. He can certainly be equated to Lucifer or any other masculine deity which descends to earth from the holier place, as one fancies, whether by choice or through some occult hand. Werewolves, vampires, mad scientists, romantic thieves like Aladdin and mysterious assassins, are also connected to him. The latter due to his association with all kinds of poisons – from wine to literal poison.  In his descent there is a sort of madness and joy of union with the terrestrial, that mirrors humanity’s fascination with the alien. His serpents, poisonous of course, are a traditional attribution of the Prince of Alembics, and represent his hidden and secretive wisdom and cunning. The alembic he holds is a test tube, filled with radioluminescence, a nod to Marie Curie.
     This was the first figure draft to be drawn for the MAT, but not the first card to be made into a complete painting, that honor belongs to The King of Staves. He was originally intended to be The Prince of Staves or Wands, and at that point we had not figured out what the suite would be called. He was demure and pensive, with a peacock feather in his hair, with most other things about him the same, as the Prud’hon master work I had copied the pose from, and he held a staff. m1thr0s pointed out, he was more of a Prince of Cups, than a Prince of Staves, and he was right of course. We set him aside for later, and began work on The King of Staves. Paul Pierre Prud’hon featured prominently in the textbook used at The Contemporary Realist academy of Kathryn Manzon, the American-based European Academic traditional art atelier I attended over two years in Memphis, Tennessee. I love the soft, not overly-muscled male bodies in Prud’hon’s sketches. Having no means to afford live models myself and having an aversion to the steroid-culture nudes in most nude photos available at the time, I vouched to use master artist sketches for reference for my own drawings. This has been the way of it since the time of Michelangelo. Indeed the very school I went to could trace its lineage back through the Ecole De Beaux De artes in France to beautiful Florence, the city of Michelangelo and his patrons, the Medicis.

Significant Revisions/Additions:

Geomantic: Called Laetitia (Latin for *Joy*) in its medieval interpretation, the correct elemental association should define it as a (Youthful) Masculine/Emotional character, corresponding to the qabbalistic Briah (Creation,) in the Four Celestial (or Elemental,) Worlds.

Jungian Type: Idealists Class / ENFP (Champion) Type

ENFP types are enthusiastic and optimistic, full of creativity, fun and adept at charging forward, into new territory and sparking change in others. They are extraordinarily spontaneous, reckless and charismatic, all of which lend to their ability to be great visionary leaders.