The Circumference of Nowhere

Paradoxa Emblemata-Dionysos Andreas Freher 18th Century
Minimalism and abstraction are certainly not styles usually associated with alchemical illustrations and engravings, but the extraordinary emblems in the Paradoxa Emblemata utilise both to great effect, two centuries before they became institutionalised in modern art.

Dionysos Andreas Freher was a London based theosophist whose illustrations of Jacob Boehme feher1[1]were highly praised by William Blake who compared them to Michelangelo. The Paradoxa Emblemata was never printed, however handwritten copies comprised of 153 emblem pictures with accompanied text circulated in the non-conformist religious circles that Blake grew up in and associated with during his career.

The Paradoxa is an attempt to reconcile opposites, the one and the many, work and rest, something and nothing. The definition of God as ‘An infinite sphere, whose centre is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere’  appears to be never far from Freher’s thoughts.



30 thoughts on “The Circumference of Nowhere

      1. Anywhere disconnected from the divine would be a sort of hell. And yet if the divine is infinite, then the essence of the divine would be everywhere. Everywhere and nowhere (as in one place only)

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      2. Is matter inherently evil? The prevailing philosophy is materialism does that just celebrate the evil? Interesting that upside down pentagram is used by Satanist but it could also be used by atheist as it represents the four elements bearing down on the spirit which in the traditional pentagram is aspiring upwards

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      3. Matter itself isn’t evil. Our attitudes toward it are evil. Matter is restrained by its physical properties unless and until it is acted on by a force and converted to an energy. As for the atheist, does an atheist even consider such things?

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  1. Wonderful post, thought-provoking. Impossible to reconcile opposites Mr. Cake, the truth is always found somewhere in between, location: nowhere. Just as a coin has two sides, there must always be two poles. ~ Miss Cranes

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    1. Western mysticism is usually about reconciling opposites, Jung was very influenced and look at his anime/animus theory. The drawings in question and the non conforming circles were very influenced by Boehme who employed dense alchemical terminology to describe his theosophy.


      1. Mr. Cake, it’s very hard to discern the tone of your comment, so I will defer to history, which means this was delivered with a spiky attitude. If you want to go down that road, then let’s do it!

        Take another look at Jung and his Anima/Animus Theory, it tends to unravel itself. Come on even you must know about the Jungian cautions of this theory. You might as well have mentioned, and or quoted, “Hamlet” in your reply. If you like, we could further this discussion by dissecting theosophy.


      2. Miss Cranes this makes me smile. As my beloved Blake says ‘Opposition is true friendship’. Is not The Marriage of Heaven & Hell an attempt at the reconciliation of opposites. I will ignore the prickliness of that ‘even’. As to Hamlet I think we will leave him in the rotting state of Denmark.


      3. The road up and the road down are the same thing… As above, so below. Whether the Mystics are wrong, there quest definitely includes the reconciliation of opposites. By the bye I am still smarting at the ‘even you’.


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