back to The End of the Great Work
Left is the alchemist (here a monk) in contemplation, during the Great Work.
The books show that he has gained knowledge.
On the chimney are symbols for the four elements.
behind it are seven pillars with the symbols for the seven planets or metals, which are different stages of the Work.
In front of him is the vase (on the athanor, or oven) of his Self, containing the personifications of Moon and Sun, the second and third stage of the Great Work.
To the right of him is the alchemist again, but this time he is getting crowned by the lady of Nature. In her left hand she is holding the crown of Albedo or Whiteness (2nd stage), in her right hand she is holding the crown of Rubedo or Redness (third and final stage).
From her left hand a key is hanging. It is a direct visual symbol of the Key of Nature. or, nature holds the key. The key of the entire alchemical process is your own nature.
In the back tree is growing bearing fruit, indicating again that the alchemist has attained the fruits of his work.
Behind the tree is a maze. Alchemy is indeed a maze, and so is the inner spiritual process, or meditation techniques. Although the process is very simple, it is not always easy to find ones way in ones inner world.