All Writing & Content © Nick Kushner Unless Noted Otherwise
Manson has oft evoked and utilized symbolism of Mercury in his art. In Roman mythology Mercury is the name for the Greek god Hermes, the Bearer of Knowledge and the Messenger of the Gods and through this Mercury as an element and symbol became synonymous with intellectual, poetic and artistic flair. And with this said, Manson's embodiment of the symbolism should be quite clear. In Alchemy it is the sublimest of elements and its personification took the form of the Androgyne; represented by half-man and half-woman. This imagery of course reflects the dichotomy of light and dark, positive and negative, blended as one in perfect balance; Marilyn Manson. This is what the representation of Manson represents on the cover of Mechanical Animals.
Manson later revealed before the release of Holy Wood that the previous album's title was an anagram for :
OOOOO Mechanical Animals
is an Alchemical Man
During Holy Wood was when Manson most overtly likened himself to Mercury, adopting the symbol as his own in various forms. One of these was his usage of The Third Pentacle Of Mercury on the website TheLambOfGod.com during the summer of 2000 as an introduction to the new imagery and themes of Holy Wood.
|Right; photo of Marilyn Manson and Dave Sardy, the producer of Holy Wood, in the Summer of 2000 during recording. Overlain can be see the image of the alchemical androgyne . Left;|
Alchemy & Mysticism: The Hermetic Museum by Alexander Roob
"The introductory page of the Aurora Consurgens is an allegory of wisdom, also known as 'the south wind,' as a symbol both of the Holy Spirit and the totality of sublimation.
"Here, the south wind is represented as a large eagle, gradually uniting the two opposites. The three legs on which the androgynous being stands, refer to the three-footed stand on which the retort is exposed to the fire. After the coupling, Sol says to Luna, 'we will rise into the order of the most ancient [that is 24 sublimations or eagles], then will a burning light be poured into me and you' (Senior Zadith, in: Aurora Consurgens)."
|Two more depictions of the Alchemical Androgyne|
Alchemy & Mysticism: The Hermetic Museum by Alexander Roob
Left; "Ulmannus (early 15th century) began, like Jacon Böhme, with man's free choice between the worlds of wrath and love. 'Here you have three kingdoms in which you wish to be, your works are in accordance.' Man is created out of the twofold sun.' The inward, spiritual sun embodies the divine hermaphrodite. He is the personification of unselfish alchemy, consisting of 'jesus, the male stone of purity' (Mercurius/Spirit) and 'mary, the female stone of loveliness' (Luna/Body). Their unity with God the Father (Sol/Soul), the 'petrolith,' which strengthens against all the devil's temptations. Buch der heiligen Dreifaltigkeit, 15th century"
Right; "This androgynous being is the spectral, immodest nature from 'Lucifer Anti-Christ and his mother: one body and soul, fixed and volatile. Herein consist the natural arts of this world.' Their roots are the seven deadly sins. The four crowns are the elements, represented by the lower quadernity in Ulmannus' system: Mars (fire), Venus (water), Saturn (earth), Jupiter (air), 'the elements bring good and evil, separated eternally'. They are negatively united in the 'black memorial sun' as 'sol lapis and metal corporeal.'Buch der heiligen Dreifaltigkeit, 15th century"
|Right; one of the flashing images from the Guns, God & Government DVD. Left; the original image which appears in Alchemy & Mysticism: The Hermetic Museum by Alexander Roob.|
"'Here is born the noble empress rich/ The masters say she is like here daughter. She multiplies/ produces children numberless/ The are immortally pure/ and without nourishment. (...) I became a mother/ and yet remain a maid/ And was in my essense lain with. That my son became my father/ As God has decreed in essential way. The mother who gave birth to me/ Through me will be born on earth.' Rosarium philosophorum, 1550"
Along with representing Mercury, Manson's personification of the Androgyne also is symbolic of half of the songs of Mechanical Animals. In album artwork the opposite cover of the album shows Manson dressed as Omēga, the lead singer of the fictitious group Omēga And The Mechanical Animals. Instead of the song progressions being cyclical like Antichrist Svperstar or linear like Holy Wood, Mechanical Animals represents the same era of time and space. With the story told with The Triptych of Manson's albums Antichrist Svperstar, Mechanical Animals and Holy Wood, an autobiographical story of Manson's life about a boy growing up and influenced by the world and wanting to change the world, to start a revolution. But when that revolution was enacted it ceased to be dangerous and any method of change, it becomes another product. And the only way to destroy the corruption and stop the hollow revolution is to destroy what you create and thus inherently destroying yourself. Mechanical Animals represents the point in the story of this rise to fame and where the revolution becomes another mere product. The side and half of the album represented by Omēga And The Mechanical Animals shows the public side, the debaucherous and self-indulgent aspect of it. Ambivalent of the corruption of the revolution, this side of the album is full of facetious over the top hollow anthems of disenchantment. The other half of the album however shows not the public and indulgent side, but rather the internal and unseen conflict within; the sadness, innocence and sincerity which had been lost in the public light. The album's cover reflects this, just as the reverse side of Omēga reflects the indulgent and hollow perspective of it. The Androgyne demonstrates this fragile childlike innocence. And one of the more esoteric representations of this is that Manson has six fingers on his left hand. In a watercolor painting of Manson's called 'Easter Sunday' (displayed below) he had this to say in regard to the same deformity :
"This one is a few years old. It's an Easter painting, a holiday item. She has six fingers, which I also had on the cover of Mechanical Animals. It's a reference to Seraphim, a religious reference. Angels were said to have six fingers on one hand."Marilyn Manson,
Autumn of 2002