References to the concept of the Golden Chain
Though the Golden Chain or 'Catena Aurea' was coined by Homer and was used as a reference from the Old Greek throughout the middle ages, it really flows into the processes of Alchemy such as we find in Rosecrucian and Hermetics tradition, and in fact we find symbolic references even in the Bible.
The schema below combines illustrations from Rosecrucian and Hermetic and alchemical traditions: observe the Golden Chain and the 'raining down' on the upper left, the Sun and Moon as Father and Mother (see Emerald Table below) and how their 'two streams' gives rise to the four elements (middle picture) from whose combination follow the three alchemical processes in nature (below right and left).
Lecture coverage and references
I am the living bread of life that came down from heaven.
The Tabula Smaragdina Hermetic or Emerald Table:
It is true, certain, and without falsehood, that whatever is below is like that which is above; and that which is above is like that which is below: to accomplish the one wonderful work. As all things are derived from the One Only Thing, by the will and by the word of the One Only One who created it in His Mind, so all things owe their existence to this Unity by the order of Nature, and can be improved by Adaptation to that Mind.
Its Father is the Sun; its Mother is the Moon; the Wind carries it in its womb; and its nurse is the Earth. This Thing is the Father of all perfect things in the world. Its power is most perfect when it has again been changed into Earth. Separate the Earth from the Fire, the subtle from the gross, but carefully and with great judgment and skill. It ascends from earth to heaven, and descends again, new born, to the earth, taking unto itself thereby the power of the Above and the Below. Thus the splendor of the whole world will be thine, and all darkness shall flee from thee. This is the strongest of all powers, the Force of all forces, for it overcometh all subtle things and can penetrate all that is solid. For thus was the world created, and rare combinations, and wonders of many kinds are wrought.
Hence I am called Hermes Trismegistus having mastered the three parts of the wisdom of the whole world. What I have to say about the masterpiece of the alchemical art, the Solar Work, is now ended.
References and further reading