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The Alchemy of Change: A Process of Internal Transformation

Updated: Jul 19, 2021

The alchemical process of change through internal transformation is never easy. It is a slow and often tedious practice of working to transform the heaviness of emotional pain and trauma into a lighter, more integrated state of being. What the ancient alchemists discovered in their attempts to turn lead into gold was that through each step of the process they also were transformed internally on a spiritual level. As they focused on creating a new substance in the laboratory they found their experiences also translated into internal growth which could be applied to a greater understanding of this journey called life. They discovered as they worked that, by symbolically submitting their thoughts and emotions to the same alchemical practices, a new perspective was achieved. This was called the Grand, or Magnum, Opus and was the result of the Great Work of inner transformation. The metaphorical gold, or diamond, found in the rough.

We all have this capacity to grow from seeking within, where even Jesus said the kingdom of heaven resides. It is not easy, however, to make the decision to continually “go inward” in order to affect change in the outer world. Instead of becoming familiar with the uncomfortable parts of our own inner landscape, the fears and uncertainty we feel inside get projected out causing blame toward the other person, group, or even country. These projections happen without us even being fully aware of them unless they are met through introspection. Unless we understand and accept that all we see outside us is a reflection of what’s happening inside, we will continue to have division and discord on the world “stage.” Carl Jung quotes Goethe when he says, “All that is outside, also is inside.”

We have spent years and decades adjusting to super scientific advances, super tech, super stores, and super bugs only now to be forced back to square one, and when the life we have become accustomed to suddenly stops, who we are as individuals comes into question.

It is easy to be pulled into the vast web of dialogue and banter coming at us as a result of less face-to-face interaction and more online presence. It also becomes easier to point fingers and to express even justifiable disdain with so much craziness happening around us. But with the Holidays fast approaching, and a new year right around the corner, it is important to remember that division only breeds contempt and separation, whether in the outer world, or within. The only way to breed community and cooperation is by looking for similarities, first in our own inner conscious selves and then in each other. By finding similarities, instead of focusing on differences, we find the substance within humanity which creates bridges across the divide of those differences.

Haven’t we learned this yet? That beyond the diversity of belief, income, body size and body image, career choices, gender, and skin color we are all here together surviving the best we can on a planet seemingly suspended in a vast universe. This pandemic is touching all our lives in fundamental ways, whether by stealing our health or our freedom, but this is not an either/or affair. We all want both health and freedom, and in spite of having different ideas on how to accomplish these, a middle ground must be reached in compromise. We fear, however, that this means we must give up more than we possibly can, but if a virus can teach us anything, it is that regardless of what we feel we can’t give up, change can and will happen. It is how we choose to accept and integrate this change that will determine our success in health and freedom.

As stated before, the alchemy of change is never an easy task. We are required to submit our own desires and emotions, thoughts and beliefs, to an alchemical process of conscious transformation, sometimes over a flame that burns away assumptions, sometimes dissolved in a solution that blends old ways with new ways to form a new perspective. By pulling back our projections and placing them in the alembic, or flask, which is a symbol of our own bodies, we undergo a personal change whereby not only we are effected but those around us as well. Let’s come together and try to see beauty in the process and in the life we are given. Only then can we mend the rift and find peace again. We have to decide what we will look for before we can see it. An ancient saying tells us, “If we look for beauty, we will find it.” Let’s choose to see the beauty in humanity this holiday season. 🦚



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