Many people think about alchemy as being something connected with the chemistry efforts to change base metals into gold. I like to think of it as an archetype for the process of transformation. Most of my coaching clients tend to be alchemists, or at least be deeply in touch with their inner alchemist archetype. They are doing the work to transform what is not serving them into the highest expression of their true self. I believe our rapidly changing times are calling for more and more of us to be alchemists. Each of us has an inner alchemist waiting to be called upon, waiting to be acknowledged, waiting to be put to work.
Etymologically, it is thought that the word alchemy came from an old name for Egypt, Khemia, which literally means “land of black earth,” or from the Greek word Khymatos, which means “that which is poured out.” I find these origins interesting in that they correlate with how I’ve always seen alchemy…as an act of the Divine Feminine.
The Feminine Principle is the one that looks into our depths, calls us to see and transform our shadows, and guides us in birthing our greatest self. In other words, She asks us to go to the “land of the black earth” within our selves, dig deep into the soil, and nurture the seeds planted there. We have within us the seeds of our true spiritual essence, the part of us waiting to be expressed with creativity, the unique gift of who we are meant to be and how we are meant to contribute to the greater evolutionary plan for the earth and humanity.
As we tend these seeds, weeding out what casts shadows upon the seeds and opening them to the light of the spiritual sun, they are able to grow, strengthen, and eventually bear fruit that may be “poured out” in service and love.
While traveling in southwest Colorado, I visited numerous Anasazi pueblo ruins. I was humbled and awed by the history encountered. Displayed in a museum was what remained of a woven basket from the region that was over seven thousand years old. The pueblo ruins in the numerous canyons we hiked in were around eight hundred years old. I thought of the history and traditions of the indigenous people of this country, and the wisdom carried through the ages. These people were connected to Mother Earth, Father Sky, and the whole of the Cosmos. They survived based on that wisdom. I couldn’t help but wonder, as I gazed upon these ancient ruins, if we as an humanity are on the verge of being in ruins with our lack of connection to the Feminine Principle.
A significant part of the wisdom of the feminine comes from the many places we as a culture seem to avoid.
There is wisdom in pain. There is wisdom in silence. There is wisdom in loneliness and darkness. There is wisdom in heartbreak, crisis, struggle and death. It is in surrendering to this wisdom that the earth can be turned and excavated. It is in surrendering that the seed can break open, become a sprout and take root in that cultivated earth. It is in surrendering that the sprout can trust the trials of heavy wind, rain, heat or cold, and grow into the strong plant it is meant to become. It is in surrendering that the plant can withstand the weight of the growing fruit, which will eventually bear the seeds of the future. It is in surrendering that alchemy can occur.
Surrendering to the wisdom of challenge, trials and struggles does not mean that we don’t also tend to joy, creativity, lightness, expression or other things we tend to decree as “making us happy.” It simply means that we honor ALL aspects of the journey as valuable. We have a tendency to label our emotions or experiences as being “good” or “bad.” What if they are all good? What if every single experience has wisdom to offer us? What if each blow of the hammer, or scrape of the grinder is shaping and polishing us into the most magnificent gem?
Oh how beautiful the hammer becomes when we can see it with gratitude and honor its place in our evolutionary process as individuals and as a collective humanity!
My trip to the southwest during the budding springtime, with its awe inspiring history and the making of new friends, was one of many alchemical processes I have undergone. I returned from my travels a different person. I was exposed to new perspectives and came to understand life in new ways. I met unexpectedly with alchemical tools, such as the loneliness I experienced when leaving the area, and the silence of the long car ride home. As I write this article, I still wonder what fruits will come from these experiences. I am doing my best to surrender to the wisdom, to be with the feelings and let them work within me, to open to the possibilities that want to be born of me.
What can you see in your life, in this moment, as an alchemical tool? How is it working upon you, polishing you, grinding you, pressurizing you, or cultivating you so that you can emerge stronger and brighter than you were before? What is your inner alchemist seeking to transform?
Will you allow the magic of the science of alchemy to work within you and upon you to birth more and more of your essential nature, which is so needed in the world today?