Today is about initiation even though opposition and challenge are in the air because the goal can still be clearly seen. What is your wish today? Keep it in sight because you are responsible for manifesting it. By holding its energy you make it likely that it will break through on this material plane. This will take daring and courage. The Four Elements – Fire, Water, Air & Earth – are all opposed by their opposites today. This is not necessarily a negative situation. The union of opposites is the Fourth Step – The Marriage of the King & Queen – in the process of alchemy and this is the dominate energy of the day. Do you feel it? Call it forth. See how embracing only one side of the opposing forces creates an imbalance in our lives by allowing an overabundance of one primal form of energy. Let go. Let both. Allow yourself to be immersed in the increasing energy of transformation and apply it to what you now see as blockages or dead ends in the important areas of your life. You’ve come a long way. Made choices. Identified what is most important to you. Now all that needs to be done to achieve your dream is to let go and allow.
Today’s quotation is from William Shakespeare and captures the essence of today’s reading:
You are an alchemist; make gold of that.
A search of Google News today leaves very few alchemy trinkets that are bright & shiny and call out to be picked up and examined. They are mostly news about companies that have the word as part of their name. But, there is one from the British paper, The National, with the title: Wenger the Alchemist is Vindicated.
Who was this alchemist you may ask? I did. It turns out that Arsene Wenger is the coach of one of England’s premiere football (soccer) squads – Arsenal. He was vindicated, according to Richard Jolly because…well, here’s what Jolly had to say:
“Though Wenger has been too dignified to gloat, it is, already, a reminder of the Frenchman’s alchemy.
He prefers to find the raw materials for such golden displays at the training ground rather than in the transfer market and derives more satisfaction from victories achieved by his team, imbued with his ethos and playing his brand of football.”
While Jolly is only using alchemy as a metaphor for Wenger’s accomplishments, I draw my satisfaction from the fact that he turns to the Art for his writing inspiration and his attempt to have us admire Wenger. Alchemy may be magic, but it is good magic.
You can read Jolly’s full article can be here.
The Empress reminds us that beginnings are important and to create we must be grounded in the Earth and able to add our soul to whatever we are birthing. What is it that you want to bring into your world and what are you willing to give to do so? The Empress bathes us in the Feminine that is part of all of us and all that exists because nothing is manifest in this world that has no feminine energy. As we struggle to endure or rejoice in revelations, the Empress is there with us showing us that being centered and grounded in the earth is the opening for all that is new and fresh in our lives. In the beginning of the Work, it is a good omen if the Feminine is present and and you are able to embrace her, in fact, this is necessary for the completion of the Work. Embrace what you have in your life as the Empress embraces you. Accept what is already in your life as She accepts all of creation.
Several people have asked me about the images of women in some of the alchemical pictures they have seen. Talking with them about these images helped clarify my own thoughts and beliefs. My exploration of alchemy on all three of its levels – spiritual, psychological and physical – has shown me the significant role of the Feminine in the Art. In fact, it is clear to me that the role of the feminine and, more to the point, the Goddess in the practice of the Great Work is one of its most significant secrets. Many alchemists worked with a soror mystica – a mystical sister – without whom their progress in the Art would not have been possible. While on the surface, to an observer, she could be seen doing an assortment of tasks that supported the alchemist, and she may or may not have been a wife, below the surface something else was taking place. Alchemists did not believe they could create something out of nothing – this they left for their God or gods. They knew if they perfected their practice, applied it to themselves and advanced themselves spiritually they could co-create a new world and fill it with wondrous things. This they learned by recombining elements, most often polar opposites. If the many procedures or phases of alchemy are combined into seven, the fourth is usually referred to as Conjunction – the creation of the Lesser Stone – a necessary prelude to the completion of the Great Work. Another name for this phase is the Marriage of the King and Queen. This is the work that takes place between the soror mystica and the alchemist. The fusing or embrace of the feminine and masculine energies representing all other opposites was a necessary step to continue the Work. In this relationship, the soror mystica was an alchemist as well as her partner.
The Chariot is a mixed blessing. It is the seventh card of the Major Arcana and therefore the last step in the First Cycle, a propitious message for us today. The First Cycle is that of Sulphur or Fire and the energy to initiate new beginnings or continue a path of creation that has been present in our life for some time. This energy is welcome because it is the Fire with which we forge our intent and wishes into our world. We are the blacksmiths of our lives creating that which we can see and choose to bring into existence. But this Fire has also to be controlled unless it burns us and ravages what we already have. The Charioteer urges his steads towards the Sun which can provide the energy for us to shape our world or scorch us and what we carry with us. Plato told us that the Universe is generated out of the triangle and the square – three and four or seven. Hippocrates said our lives have seven seasons of seven year cycles and while we have extended our lives these cycles still influence and support what we create. So know that today the Fire from the end of the First Cycle is burning in our lives and if we have the courage to pick it up and light up our lives, the glory of what we believe most to be true will blaze in all of the spaces in which we live. Light up your life today.
The energy of this card lies outside the Three Cycles of Alchemy – Sulphur, Mercury & Salt – yet encompasses all of them. This energy is chaotic but fully charged with potential and manifested in our three dimensional world at this time. But like the Fool who blindly walks his path, Trust is the companion we must seek now. Trust is the lack of fear and the question to be asked today is who or what represents this in our life? Is this person – a friend, loved one, someone who has already passed, a part of ourself? Or is Trust a way we can look at the world but don’t as often as we wish or a way we want to be in our world? Recalling this companion and making room for them in our lives today will open ourselves to the knowledge and wisdom within and cast light on our surroundings revealing all the choices we have to create the world we want. Walk blindly without fear today.
If you’re looking for a forum or news about those heroic Autobots then you have to keep searching. But if what you’re looking for are people who want to see change in the world and create more rewarding lives for themselves, then you want to be part of the gathering that is happening in Los Angeles in October.
People from around the world are coming to share their knowledge, experiences and techniques for transformation at a three day conference. I’m fortunate to be involved in organizing this conference and in doing so have had the opportunity to talk to many of the presenters. Dr. Emoto of water consciousness fame and Mantak Chia and his insights into the Universal Tao will be there. But there are many others who will also make this time a memorable one: Theresa Ibis will share her perspective on the relationship between the ancient art of alchemy and modern quantum physics; Robert Bartlett and his workshop on practical alchemy; Hans Andrea from England will share the esoteric knowledge that is at the heart of Harry Potter’s story; and Don Estes’ presentation will focus on vibrational medicine.
Our website will give you much more info: www.alchemyconference.com but catch a sense of what will take place and the feeling about this gathering captured on this video: International Alchemy Conference
Justice is the eighth card of the Major Arcana and is the first card of the Second Cycle of Mercury or Spirit. Justice is all about balance and this is the characteristic we need to move into this phase of the Great Work. Without it, our current gains are dispersed and their energy lost. Be mindful at this time of not only the thoughts and related behaviors that you feel are moving you down your path but also those that you are neglecting by doing so. What is it in your life that you are ignoring now? What are your skills and abilities that have been ignored and set aside? There are valuable elements of the process of transformation hidden among them. Justice signals a major movement to another level of experience, perspective and work available to you. Pause in your efforts and reflect on what you have left behind or set aside. There is gold to be found in it.
Today’s message comes from the Sun and is one of blessings and completion for it is the nineteenth card of the Major Arcana and is part of the Third Cycle, that of Salt. Of the three alchemical energies: Sulphur, Mercury & Salt, Salt represents both the beginning and the end of the Work. In this, the Third Cycle however, it is the Philosophical Salt or the result of the process that emerges just as the sun does at dawn. The Work is nearing completion now. Perseverance, belief, steadfastness, sacrifice have played their role in our lives, all focused on that which we have placed the most critical importance. We have endured disappointment, laughed at our mistakes, danced to stoke the flame of our desires, shed tears when our hearts were pierced by the slings of others and perhaps have left the fire of our inner furnace to tend itself weary of the time seemingly without end that we have devoted to our quest. This journey on the winds of conflicting experiences and emotions is why our transformation must necessarily advance in cycles. Yet, now, just when the darkness surrounding our efforts has seemed impenetrable, the Sun bursts forth and showers us with its light and energy. It has been there all the time but we have allowed ourselves to be distracted by worldly concerns, routines and noise. Now as the energy of our work bursts forth once again, will we recognize how far we’ve come? Will we see what we have already created? It lies at our feet within our reach if we have the eyes to see. Will we seize this opportunity and complete what we have begun? The time and possibility are ours.
Alchemy has become such an embedded part of our culture that a search for the word using Google’s “News” filter will still identify thousands of links on any day. This is good news because it shows there is an awareness of the concept and nearly all of these items are positive. What is also evident is the extent of misconceptions about the principles of alchemy and what it really is or a willingness to use the concept in creative ways.
Christopher Hayes, The Nation’s Washington, DC Editor, used a basic principle of alchemy very creatively his article: “Bend it like Obama” published online yesterday at: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/08/03/opinion/main5210528.shtml
While describing the White House’s attempt to change the dialogue on health care from the passionate issues it stirs to a more subdued deficit reduction benefit of this course of action, Hayes uses a form of alchemical reverse engineering:
“In its healthcare messaging, the White House has taken an issue more intimate and immediate than perhaps any other in a voter’s life and transformed it into an abstract, technical argument about long-term actuarial projections. It’s a peculiar kind of reverse political alchemy: transforming gold into lead.”
After centuries of persecution for claiming that they could change lead into gold, alchemists now stand accused of working in the opposite direction. Alchemists would not do this because they believed in the cyclical perfection of nature and saw changing lead into gold as participating in this process. But, of course, Mr. Hayes is talking about political alchemists.
However, I do want to thank him for providing this new way to think about alchemy and inspiring a new feature of this blog. Living an Alchemical Life will now include a regular opinion column:
Alchemy in the News.