The word Alchemy is derived from the ancient name for Egypt, Al-chemia, meaning ‘black fertile soil’. Egypt is well-known for being the land of transformation. The origins of Alchemy are accredited to Hermes Trismegistus. Hermes was a sage who lived around 3000 BC in Egypt, also thought to be Thoth, the ancient god/neter of wisdom.
The principles behind the art and science Alchemy are very simple, transmutting Lead (base metal) to Gold. It is like an algebraic equation that can be applied to almost any transformational process. Alchemy uses steps of dissolution and recombination to attain the Gold. Like the Caduceus, Hermes’ staff, the two serpents continuously divide and recombine. The separating is the dissolution, the breaking down. The recombining is the point where we synthesize or integrate the experience. The goal is always the same, to create the Great Work, to know the perfection of life, the Absolute.
There are many types of Alchemy, all of them using the same basic equation as their form. Physical Alchemy works with physical substances in a lab. This is perhaps the best known form of Alchemy. But there is also Spiritual or Emotional Alchemy. This would be Personal Alchemy because the vessel for transformation is the person themselves, the Gold is spiritual enlightenment. Both types of Alchemy are a reflection of each other exemplifying one of the greatest Hermetic precepts ‘As above, so below’.
In essence what distinguishes the physical, from the emotion and spiritual, is the frequency of the vibration. We know this from basic Physics. In order for something to manifest, be physical, it needs to vibrate at a low-frequency. The higher the frequency the lighter the vibration, the ‘less physical’ and more ethereal it becomes.
For example when dis-ease is not dealt with on the mental/emotional level, a higher frequency, the frequency slows down and we develop physical illness in our body. Alchemy can work like a purification process. Cleaning out the closets so to speak, getting rid of the baggage and allowing us to vibrate at a higher frequency. In this case the reason or motivation for doing Personal Alchemy is not just enlightenment but quality of life, so that our mental patterns do not manifest into the physical world as illness.
Personal Alchemy can be practiced in many ways. We are living in the Alchemical Era as we move into the Age of Aquarius, times of great change. The message behind the Age of Aquarius is ascension or destruction, as we move along the axis from Leo (Ego) to Aquarius (Humanity). People, whether conscious of it or not, are going through the transformational process, spiritual evolution. When we move through the process consciously, that is enlightenment, illumination, awareness. When we move through it unconsciously that is struggle and strife, and hard lessons.
We know from the Mayan calendar that creation is speeding up. Changes that once took 20 years, now, since 1999, only take 360 days (http://www.mayanmajix.com/cycles.swf). In the year 2011, it will become even faster, changes that now take 360 days will take place in 20 days. For this reason we can actually see ourselves evolve, not like in the past where evolution moved slowly over generations. Because we are shifting and changing so quickly we need to find ways to process and integrate these changes. Thirty years ago it was common that people went to university, study a specific field, graduate and work one career in that field. Now the norm is that a person may have 5 careers in their lifetime, in completely different fields!
All this change can cause a lot of stress in our life. Basically life is moving faster than our minds are able to process. We have a great need to be centred. Alchemy can take us to this point of fusion, integration with the universe around us.
In most types of spiritual work it is generally accepted that our experiences are what we learn from. We are incarnated in a body in order to quantitate. The earth and our bodies are polar and therefore we can quantitate, compare. The earth and body become our laboratories for experience.
Most of us are very accustom to experience. We are in a constant state of experience. But the true learning comes not from the experience it’s self but in the processing of that experience, the separating and recombining of the event. Without processing we tend to just repeat the same experience. This is called ‘repetition compulsion’. We have the same experience over and over again until we ‘get it’, learn the lesson. Then we are free to move on to a new experience. This is a very slow and difficult, and often painful evolution.
A good example of this is the woman with an abusive husband. Externally we can all see this is a bad situation. Why would anyone ‘choose’ to stay in this situation? We encourage her to get out of this situation. Perhaps even assist her in doing so. She may leave this man, or end this relationship only to end up in another abusive relationship. This is because she has not transmuted the pattern, so it repeats it’s self. In order to transmute this pattern there has to be a shift, an awareness. This shift could come from processing of the experience, mentally, through therapy or some kind of self processing work (Alchemy). Otherwise she will probably repeat the pattern over and over again until she has had a big enough dose to cause the shift to occur.
We live in the day and age of mass communication. This has given us access to all types of information. There are books and workshops available to us, information all over the internet including all types of Alchemy and Healing. We have access to all the tools necessary for transformation. We can go through the process alone, with a partner or in groups.
I do different types of transformational work, personally and for others. My examples come from my own experience but there are endless types of transformational work available, one to suit each individual. I will present a few examples from my own work.
I facilitate workshop in 3 different types of Alchemy. One is ‘The Alchemy of Dance’ (www.UniversalDancer.com ). This is a process of transmutting the energy through our bodies. The process is done on many levels. We take music, the waves, the sound and transmute it into motion, the physical dance. On other levels the process of transmutting this energy through our bodies works on the emotional and spiritual levels. Women experience transformation and emotional release from moving this energy through their bodies. We separate and refine movements and then bring them back together in the greater dance. Not only is it experiential and fun but it teaches us principles, mainly that of no-mind and flow, that we can then take back and incorporate on a larger scale into the dance of life.
‘Journey to the Self’ is a workshop that works through the mental process. We use all types of tools but the main focus of the workshop is awareness and then processing. This is done in a group to bring in the larger perspective but his type of work can be done alone as well. It involved a lot of self inquiry, asking specific questions related to the different chakras (energy centers) of the body. By exploring the different issues associated with each chakra we can determine where blockages are held and work to remove them.
The last tool I use in workshops are vibrational Remedies, the Al-chemia Remedies (www.EgyptianFlowerRemedies.com ). Vibrational Remedies or Medicine vibrate at a very high, very pure frequency. In order for complete transformation to occur we need a catalyst to effect a shift on the vibrational level. This is what causes the lasting effect. When we can reprogram at the energetic or blueprint level, the old pattern no longer repeats it’s self. We vibrate at a higher frequency with a new, healthier program or blueprint to run on. We need tools that will reach deep enough to affect this level; therefore we use vibrational remedies or medicine.
No matter what type or method you use the process of Alchemy is a wonderful journey. ‘The path is the journey, not the destination’. As we embark on our Great Work the process unfolds we become lighter and lighter, changing and evolving our perspective, moving higher and higher. There is no limit, the possibilities are infinite.
Originally Published in the BCA Magazine
©Copyright 2006 Leslie Zehr