“He that endeavors to enter into the Philosopher’s Garden without a key, is like him who would walk without feet.”
The above quotation and image are from a 1617 alchemical “emblem book” by Michael Maier (aka Michael Majerus) titled “Atalanta Fugiens, The Flying Atalanta or Philosophical Emblems of the Secrets of Nature.”
It consists of 50 emblems (what we might call epigrams) each with an illustration (by Matthäus Merian) along with a discussion or discourse about the emblem, and then a related piece of music in the form of a fugue.
Alchemy isn’t exactly an open book to me, but that emblem above - “Emblema XXVII” - sounds fair enough. You need a key to alchemy, you need feet for walking. However a couple of observations emerge from looking at that image.
First, the fellow there doesn’t seem to be much hindered by the lack of feet. He’s standing up well enough and could presumably put one stump in front of the other. It probably wouldn’t be the easiest locomotion, and I imagine he couldn’t get very far very fast, but since he can stand he would, in some way or other, be able to walk.
Second, although the scale in the image seems a bit wayward, it looks as though anybody, preferably (though not necessarily) somebody with feet, could get over that wall without too much trouble.
Mind you, I expect most alchemists are not great climbers; or walkers.