We tend to disempower ourselves. We tend to believe that we don’t matter. And in the act of taking that idea to ourselves we give everything away to somebody else, to something else.” - Terence Mckenna
From latin ‘res bina’ meaning dual or double matter
The Rebis is the end product of the alchemical magnum opus or great work. After one has gone through the stages of putrefaction and purification, separating opposing qualities, those qualities are united once more in what is sometimes described as the divine hermaphrodite, a reconciliation of spirit and matter, a being of both male and female qualities as indicated by the male and female head within a single body.
This depiction is from Theoria Philosophiae Hermeticae (1617) by Heinrich Nollius.
Symbolically the compasses are considered solar and male and the square is seen as lunar and feminine.The dragon symbolizes the terrestrial forces while the celestial forces or the planets (Mars and Venus on the left and Jupiter and Saturn on the right) are represented inside of five hexagrams. Below the (male) deity measures the heavens (with compasses).
The dragon in alchemy represents the prime matter, as well as the third alchemical element: sulfur. The winged dragon suggests ascension, a merging of material and spiritual. Fire is a common transformative symbol.
The figure standing on the dragon above represents symbolically victory over the earthly impulses. In Egyptian art they use a crocodile, while Christians use a snake. Matter and materiality are seen as something that needs to be overcome.
The square and cube are associated with the earth, matter, materiality, and femininity, while the circle and sphere are masculine and associated with the heavens and spirituality, reason etc. If we imagine the square to represent matter and the compass mind, then the compass on top of the square represents the notion of ‘mind over matter’.
The Masonic compass and square image proves to be an abbreviation of all the symbology involved in the Rebis figure, making it a quintessential emblem of Dualism, like twin columns, the cross or the yin/yang symbol.
Temples were designed as metaphorical representations of our place in the the cosmos, where the floor represents the earth’s surface, and the ceiling represents the sky and the heavens. A pillar in the temple connects and mediates between these two. In Egypt, the raising of the Djed Pillar (associated with Osiris) was intended to symbolically re-establish the proper realtionship between the earth and the heavens.
These are called symbols of transcendence, because they mediate between two realms or spheres of influence. The most common animal symbols used for this are serpents and birds, where the serpent represents the earth and the bird represents the sky. Above we see the cobra and vulture. Zarathustra was accompanied by a serpent and an eagle. The cadeusus features serpents and wings. Sometimes we see compound symbols like dragons with wings, or feathered serpents.
The Ripley Scroll is an important 15th century work of emblematic symbolism. Twenty one copies are known, dating from the early 16th century to the mid-17th. There are two different forms of the symbolism, with 17 manuscripts of the main version, and 4 manuscripts of the variant form.
They are called Ripley scrolls because some of them include poetry associated with the alchemist George Ripley.
Full image can be found here: http://www.compendiumnaturalis.net/Wordpress/wp-content/uploads/Ripley_Scroll_Huntington_Library_HM_30313.jpg