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The Macrocosm/Microcosm schemata permeated the thinking of Hermetic philosophers and alchemists. The earliest known usage of this schemata can be can be dated from the 3rd century CE by the Greek Olympiadorus who stated, "the mythic Hermes calls man a small cosmos", the literal meaning of mikro-kosmos. Hermes Trismegistus's axiom As above, so below meaning that all that is in the Cosmos is mirrored in man the small universe, also reflects the Macro/Micro correspondence.

Throughout the Middle Ages the Macrocosmic quaternities of the elements and the seasons were linked to the Microcosmic quaternities of the four humours and ages of Man. The Macrocosm/Microcosm schemata was developed further by the Swiss physician and alchemist Paracelsus, who proposed that within man was an inner heaven with stars. Paracelsus's philosophy of correspondences was based upon the belief that for every ailment and illness in Man the microcosm there existed a cure in nature the Macrocosm.

The English physician and alchemist Robert Fludd (1574-1637) expicitly based his work Utriusque Cosmi Historia (The history of the two worlds) upon the Macro/Micro correspondence; as does Sir Thomas Browne in his binary Discourses of 1658 ; Hydriotaphia, Urn Burial which depicts the small, temporal world of man whilst The Garden of Cyrus represents the Macrocosm, in which the ubiquitous and eternal Quincunx pattern is discerned in art, nature and the Cosmos.

The great enigma of alchemy is the mystery between the Macrocosm and Microcosm. Equally the great unsolved enigma of English literature is the relationship between Browne's diptych Discourses; the Microcosm world of ''Hydriotaphia, Urn Burial and the Macrocosm world of The Garden of Cyrus.