The Red Sea

Berlin 1977

The Red Sea is a synonym for a process called tapas in alchemy: the heating of the waters. The marriage of fire and water may also produce a baptism by fire of sorts.

“It might be one of the paradoxes that the Red Sea, in contrast to the significance ordinarily attached to ‘mare”, is a term for the heating and transforming baptismal water and is thus an equivalent of the alchemical Aqua Pontica. St. Augustine says, “The Red Sea signifies baptism reddened by the blood of Christ, in which our enemies, namely our sins are drowned.”

“The recipe goes on to say hat this symbolic vehicle should be immersed in the sea of the unconscious for the purpose of heating and incubation, corresponding to the state of tapas, incubation by means of ‘self heating’,”

“The Red Sea is the water of death.”

C.G. Jung, Mysterium Coniunctionis

Red Sea

The Red Sea
Pencil on paper on canvas
9 by 19 ft.

The Red Sea has many symbolic components in alchemical literature:

Plants and coral

“In the lunar sea there is a sponge planted in the sea and moveth not from its place.  If thou wouldst handle the plant, take a sickle to cut it with, but have good care that the blood floweth not out, for it is the poison of the philosophers.”

Star Fish

Nicholas Caussin regarded the “fish” as a starfish ans describes it as such. This animal he says, generates so much heat that it only sets fire to everything it touches but also cooks its own food. Hence it signifies the ‘veri amoris vis inextinguibilis’ (the inextinguishable power of love).”


“The round pool with the jelly-fish in it reprsents a three dimensional mandala, the self: wholeness as the goal to which points, the magnetic north which gives the traveler his bearings on the sea of the world.”

Les Pays Des Reves

Pays des Reves
Pencil on paper on canvas
90 by 152”

Sulfersea for Michael Maier

Sulphur Sea for Michael Maier
Pencil on paper on canvas
7 by 13 ft.