Moon, Sun, Elements, Fire. John Dee (1527–1608) describes a line as a point that flows… “Consequently, everything, properly, began from the point and the monad.” (II) and “a LINE is produced from the FLOWING OF A POINT. And using this same principle, we point out that this is also the case in our mechanical magic, because the lines indicating our elements are produced by the continuous fall of DROPS (which are like physical points) [moving] as though they are FLOWING.” (VII)
These passages are from Dee’s Monas Hieroglyphica (1563), a work in which Dee provides an exegesis of his famous Monad symbol, which seems to operate not just symbolically, but as an alchemical geometric cypher containing a kind of magical agency in its own right.
The translated sections (parts of Theorem II and Theorem VII) are from Nancy Turner and Teresa Burnes. The images are composited together from microfilm scans (by Bill Heidrick) from a copy held at UCBerkeley.