Man has always sought to preserve and systematize his knowledge of the surrounding environment and of himself. This has been true not only of simple laymen or scientists, but also of alchemists, who often strove to explain natural events through various mystical practices, experiments, and protoscientific research.
In studying animate and inanimate nature, natural philosophers tried to lay bare certain properties of plants, natural substances, and objects, to classify and establish connections between them. Through this practice they were able to establish entire archives, which were necessary for studying and cataloguing the knowledge they had acquired.
As man’s reflection on nature, traditional culture is in some sense an act of natural philosophy. It was typical of man to bestow meaning on natural events, to imitate them or come into conflict with them. This fruitful interplay was the soil for the development of all manner of traditions, customs, and superstitions. Man sifted his knowledge as if through a sieve, separating the universal from the arbitrary and superficial and passing on the results of his observations to the next generation.
Tabula, in a broad sense, is the structure that reveals the universal rules and patterns used by thinkers, philosophers, and alchemists to express the results of their research. By their nature, objects and phenomena possess a universal “affinity” — they are connected to each other on the most minute level and it is sometimes difficult to immediately distinguish whether nature bears certain meanings on its own or man of his own free will attributes nonexistent qualities to nature. These processes are born, change, and spill one into the other, but they continue to bear the universal meanings that reveal human culture.