Alchemy begins with a radical possibility. In order for some new possibility to arise, something old and outmoded needs to die. Through decline, stillness, and deep rest, energy accumulates so that something new can come to life.
Liminal – from the Latin word limens, which literally means, “threshold.”
A recent weekend of teaching has caused me to reflect on liminal space and it’s connection to healing as the arising of new possibilities in our lives, and about how, as a man/survivor of sexual abuse/recovered addict, I’ve historically resisted, run from, and been afraid of this space.
Lately I’ve been thinking about the word “darkness.” When I hear someone say, “I’m having these dark thoughts” or “that was a very dark time for me,” I get that they assume I’m right there with them, making the same familiar association between darkness and evil, darkness and pain, darkness and suffering, darkness and generic badness of every variety.
But I’m not.
I had my first astrology reading when I was 28 years old. Sitting beside me, my astrologer Steven Forrest looked me in the eye and broke the news to me that I was going to be a late bloomer. With my natal Sun in Aquarius in the 11th House, the House of Future Plans and Goals, he counseled me to be patient with the process of discovering my life’s purpose. He told me, in fact, that the age of 54 would be significant. I understand now he was looking at the time when my Progressed Sun in Aries would cross my Ascendant. Age 54 seemed then like a very long time to wait for my life to begin.
Throughout my thirty years of practice as an acupuncturist and alchemical healer, my interest has focused on the soul – my own and my patients’ as well as the soul of the world – the animals, plants as well as the elements of water, wood, fire, earth and metal. Learning to understand and relate to the subtle energies that move and move through living beings has been the goal of my exploration.
That is why when my husband, Benjamin, suggested that we consider building a website and bringing our alchemical work to the internet, my first response was, “No way! Can’t be done!” Alchemy developed in organic, carbon-based reality where myth, magic and spiritual mystery rather than technology reigned supreme. Alchemy takes time. Its laboratory is the body and the natural world. It comes to life in relationship, in inter-active energetic fields of connection. And beyond all that, alchemy has traditionally been a secret teaching that was transmitted through symbols and riddles not well suited to the mini-bites of web communication.