A Tarot reader I work with and love introduced me to the concept of Alchemy. She described it as the resolution of opposites and the birth of Something New being the essence of this ancient and esoteric practice. Historically, alchemists used something called an athanor; an oven that heats at a high and even temperature to transmute substances.
The discipline of alchemy has gotten me thinking this past year of how it is that we put seemingly unrelated things together, and then “heat” them up until they merge into a Holy Union.
I’ve been thinking about this not from the perspective of physical substances, as in turning lead into gold, but instead, in relation to the process of doing one’s own deep, and often difficult, psychological, emotional and spiritual work in the service of creating a new substance.
In other words, how do we take what we have been given and become the Alchemist in our own lives?
I believe this would require being willing to pay very, very close attention to ourselves. Not in the anxious, fear-based, judgmental ways that seems to be currently in vogue. But from the perspective of someone being deeply interested in themselves. As in, what makes me tick? Why do I do what I do? Why do I believe what I believe? Why do I say what I say?
This is about a close examination of one’s self and the life you are living. Not as justification to find fault, penalize or fall into victimhood, but as a daring and courageous attempt to go for the gold!
This requires allowing yourself and your life to be the athanor; the strong, steady and heat-resistant container for changing one thing into another. But instead of gold, the coveted prize is to Know Thyself. Something of this nature requires a willingness on your part to look, to spend time with yourself, to wonder about how it is you are living. It demands diligence, courage and patience to undertake such a lofty endeavor. For there will always be many, many reasons to quit the work of the Alchemist. Many voices, distractions, fears and dead-ends to undermine your commitment, that must be combatted.
But if you are up for it, begin to consider this: What in my life needs alchemizing? What feels impossible, but in need of transmuting? Begin your experiment there. And then, What happens if I try this? Or how about that? What if I turn it around and look at it like this? Or that?
Be willing to let go of the demands of how things are supposed to look, or even turn out. (This one shift alone is perhaps the greatest game changer. Or deal breaker if not tended to.) Instead, open yourself to the preciousness of your own life, and what is just begging to be transmuted. This requires learning to see that every unwanted piece of lead or scrap metal in your life is, in fact, gold in disguise. Just waiting to happen.
*Vici Williams is the Tarot reader I work with and she is not to be missed. Be in touch with me for her contact number at firstname.lastname@example.org