Alchemy is the way human beings organized their ideas about spirit, matter, nature, love, and life before the invention of modern science.
For more than 2000 years alchemy shows up in the medicine, art, craft and religious practices of people in China, India, the Mid-East and Europe. It still shows up in our myths, movies, museums, kitchens, gardens, and dreams.
Alchemy is not – as many people now believe – failed science. It isn’t religion or magic and it is much more than the misguided attempt to turn lead into gold.
Alchemy is an ancient tradition whose goal is the transformation of an ordinary person into an extraordinary human being, an everyday life into a life imbued with spiritual meaning, divine purpose and passion. Lead to gold refers to the possibility of a spiritual upgrade, to the miraculous capacity of human beings to evolve to more refined, elegant, potent and complete expressions of their own divine natures.
At this time in human history when we are encountering crisis in the domains of health care, politics, education, economics, the environment, and almost every other aspect of life on our planet, it becomes clear that our current world view has reached an impasse. Science and the rational mind are no longer able to resolve some of our most pressing questions about how to heal ourselves and our planet, how to relate peacefully with our neighbors, or how to live a spiritually meaningful life.
Opening to alchemical consciousness can help us to move beyond the limitations of our current view of reality, beyond the limitations of the rational mind, linear time, and material phenomenon. As we integrate this “other” way of seeing and knowing, we may discover solutions to problems that seem insoluble from our current worldview.
Alchemists throughout time have been outsiders, outlanders, and outlandish radical activists who stand for the sacredness of matter and the precious mystery of life. This status explains why it has always been a bit dangerous to practice alchemy and why it has been kept a “secret art.”
And yet, the times we live in beckon for daring radical intervention that is, at the same time, effective. This call means finding a balance between our unique (and potentially revolutionary) authenticity and a protective and effective way of interfacing with the world as a radical alchemical healer and agent of transformation.
As modern day alchemists, we are turning to the wisdom of the past in order to reconnect to the rich multi-dimensional domain of the soul. In the process, we are moving forward towards a viable future filled with new and illuminated possibilities for ourselves, our communities, and our world.