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The Llewellyn Encyclopedia

Term: Caput Mortuum

DEFINITIONS

Caput Mortuum:

Literally meaning "Death's Head," the Caput Mortuum (also known as nigredo) is an alchemical term for a useless substance left over after an alchemical working. In artwork and in notes, it was represented by a stylized skull. This evolved into a circle containing three dots forming a triangle with one point down.

A form of iron oxide (rust) derived from manufacturing sulfuric acid produced a purple pigment used in paints. Since rust was a "useless" substance left over after an (al)chemical working, this pigment was known as caput mortuum or cardinal purple. The meaning of the name also resulted in it being an alternative name for Egyptian brown or mummy brown, as it was originally made from ground up mummies! When artists learned of the source of this color (in the 1800s) they stopped using it.




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Before I met Merlin Stone I was blind. It took her a little time; she gave me a strong dose of love, and from then on I could see—see the world as a feminist, that is. Merlin converted me, so if you haven't yet read her work, be prepared to bring the Goddess into your own life as well. I'm Lenny Schneir. Shortly after meeting Merlin in 1976,... read this article
Esoteric Freemasonry: The Hidden Side of the Pyramid
Guided In Spirit
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How to Capture Evidence of a Ghost
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