A basilisk is a mythological creature with a fowl’s head and serpentine body, important as a SYMBOL in ALCHEMY and in MAGIC. There are three types of basilisks:
• The first and most deadly is hatched from a hen’s egg by a serpent ; it has the head of a cock with a toad mouth and the body of a dragon with chicken feet, as well as Gorgon eyes that can kill with a glance. This basilisk is about the size of a chicken, has no wings, and has short feathers on its head, neck, and back. The only way to kill it is to make it stare at its own reflection in a mirror preferably made of steel.
• The second type of basilisk is made magically with herbs and is venomous.
• The third type is harmless and exists in mines. It has the head and feet of a chicken, a serpent’s tail, and beautiful eyes. It is coal black and has shining wings, upon which can be seen veins. Its oil and water are valuable to alchemists, who sometimes find gems inside its head.
The basilisk is a symbol of wisdom and is often shown devouring a human. To the ancients, to be devoured by wisdom means enlightenment, gnosis, and initiation into the mysteries. The basilisk also is related to the all-powerful Gnostic god Abraxas, ruler of magic and spiritual powers in the universe, who is portrayed in art as having the head of a cock or lion and the body of a man with legs that end in serpents or scorpions.
Christianity demonized the basilisk as a symbol of the devil. bath In ALCHEMY, a simmering heat that is part of the process of creating the PHILOSOPHER’S STONE. The bath is also called the Bain Marie, named after MARIA PROPHETESSA, who is credited with developing the warming apparatus.
The bath is related to BAPTISM. In alchemical art, naked men and women, symbol s of opposites, are shown together in a bath: Sol and Luna or the King and the Queen, representing the masculine and the feminine, the volatile and the fixed, gold and silver, or mercury and sulphur. The bath is cleansing, perfecting, and purifying; the water is rejuvenating and redemptive.