Spiritual Alchemy: Understanding the 3 Stages
The ancient sages, since the time of Alexandria have long studied personal transformation and found ways of transmuting the self into the pu...
In 1936, during the Sotheby’s auction, the world bore witness to the unbelievable, irrational, and unacceptable surprise: Isaac Newton dabbled in alchemy. It would only later be found and forcefully turned to fact that the major portion of the modern world’s most influential genius work was on alchemy.
Alchemy is the art of transmuting energies, transforming one to the other, and in the process transforming the existing form into something new, and ideally exalted — far beyond the existing one.
Two Types of Alchemy
Alchemy can be categorized into two types: external and internal:
- The external alchemy was practiced by the people that tried to harmonize the external forces to transform matter into what they believed to be its purest form: gold. Except for the legends we hear, we know that these people failed, and became a caricature for the modern. However, what they were actually addressing was a continuous search for transformational harmony through understanding, reflection, and continued transformation.
- Internal alchemy is the alchemy of the spirit. It is practiced by sages trying to gain mastery over the self, through a journey of self awareness, understanding, compassion, and much more. These sages purified their inner selves and transformed it to achieve the purest form of spirit.
What is Spiritual Alchemy?
Spiritual alchemy is concerned with the transmutation of our personalities, allowing the persons to break free from the confines of socioeconomic and cultural molds and of their societies and era.
The purpose of such transformation is the realization of a pure personal self — an ideal which can universally resonate with all beings, and which can be identified across all cultures and civilizations.
The end result of such transmutation and transformation is to directly know the pure Being of ourselves.
Hence, in simpler words, it can be related to the idea of self-realization, except that with spiritual alchemy the goal is also to restructure our personality and the various levels of our identification with it — hence realize the limitless potential of our being.
Like external alchemy, spiritual alchemy is the art of the sages, and as a road-map for self realization, it uses colors and symbols detailing various steps in the journey.
Unlike external alchemy, the journey is a mean of “getting ourselves out of our own way”. The end goal is to find and achieve the highest possible purity of ourselves, and allow our best destiny to unfold before us.
The Stages of Alchemical Transformation
The Latin expression solve et coagula best describes the alchemical transformation.
Here, “solve” means the breakdown and separation of different constituent elements, whereas “coagula” is a reference to the reconstitution of separated elements into a new and higher form.
Hence, the ancient idea of transmuting other elements into the purest gold serves as a metaphor for the spiritual alchemical transformation.
All stages of the spiritual alchemy’s transformation is about breaking down various base aspects of one’s character that stand in the way of the realization of our ingrained and higher nature.
Thus, solve et coagula means developing our ability to clearly perceive our limiting characteristics, attitudes, and behaviors.
Consequently, the stages take us through the process of wearing them down, dispersing them, and then reconstituting them into a new holistic whole — a purer form of our being.
There are three stages of Spiritual Alchemy:
- Calcination — In alchemy, this is the process of thermal decomposition at breakdown. In spiritual alchemy, it is the process of gradually wearing down our egos (normally by the inevitable challenges we experience in our lives). The idea is that we are composed of ego and essence, and we have to bring the ego to fore and dissolve it away, allowing our essence to rise to the surface.
- Dissolution — In alchemy, ‘dissolution’, or ‘solvation’ is the process where a solute (think salt) dissolves in a solvent (think water). This is the ego-dissolution stage, where we must take responsibility of our perceptions about us and the consequent projections, which allows us to grow. In this stage, the practitioner moves from a victim-consciousness stage (blaming others for our struggles and problems) to the realization of our own distastes.
- Separation — Finally, the pure has to be extracted from the rest. In spiritual alchemy, separation refers to the true separation of our one set of thoughts and associated emotions from the others. For instance, forgiveness only becomes true once we have recognized the negative emotions we have towards the other person, and then authentically forgiving them.
In a world behest by technologies that skin time to milliseconds, we have become detached from our spirit and its true calling.
This imbalance is one of the fundamental problems facing our modern world, and spiritual alchemy is one of the solutions for taking a long journey of personal reawakening.
By Helen E. William, Dreamcatcher Reality
About the author: Helen Elizabeth Williams is the owner of DreamcatcherReality.com, where she is a staff writer. Her passions are: spirituality, meditation and polo. She adores all animals, but horses have a special place in her heart. She loves the diversity of our cultures, the beauty of simple people and the harmony of Mother Nature.