‘The body has to be spiritualized and the spirit must be incarnated. Both things must take place.’ M L von Franz
‘Only that which has been properly separated can be rightfully joined.’ Paracelsus
Alchemy 1: The Marriage of Heaven and Earth
No one could overestimate the importance of alchemy and alchemic symbolism in the western world. It’s mostly invisible, unless you know what you’re looking at. It’s there in the streets and open squares and fountains and parks and on the corners of buildings everywhere, in towns and cities all over Europe, in the art and the theatre and the customs and the literature, in the fashions and in political deals, for the kings and the nation-shapers, it’s part of the laws and social systems and affects the rights of people and other living things, it’s there shaping commerce and is represented on the coins and the notes, contained in theological interpretations and in the decoration of churches, present in medicine and the treatment of emotions, deciding on sexual mores and informing relationships with the environment and the people who live there. The tradition of Western Alchemy, in its many forms and styles, and whichever popular variation has taken hold in any age or era, has shaped, and continues to shape, our culture to a degree not usually seen, understood or appreciated.
That, before we even get to the questions of what it might mean for the alchemists themselves. Alchemy, is the most extensive and sustained ‘mystical’ path of the European world. It is a rich path of knowledge and self-realization, a via regia to the experience of the divine for the Western adept, with all the difficulties and rewards that one might expect. And it is part of that other Western tradition, which also continues these days, the ignorance of self-deception, ego-sustaining posturing and the smoke-and-mirrors trickery, to grift the gullible, and having the deceit to live off the conceit of others.
Alchemy 1 Workshop
The history and meaning of Alchemy. Western, Indian and Chinese traditions. Shamanism and blacksmithing. Mining and forging. Cloth dyeing, embalming, perfumes and cosmetics. Pharmacy and medicines. Symbolism, metaphor and literalism. Working personally as an Alchemist. Finding the Nigredo. Varieties of transformation. Gathering physical material, building an alchemic still and the distillation of elixirs and essences. Working with Fire. The alchemy of heat. Ritual purification. The Soror Mystica. The importance and variety of the Conjunctio. The unio mentalis and actualizing the Albedo. Astrology, planets and metals. Alchemy in the Bible. The Lesser and the Greater Work. The Renaissance, vanity and Western magic. Quantum Science, computers, virtual relationships and the control of Nature. Time and immortality. The Rubedo and the Philosopher’s Stone. Dialogue with the gods. The relevance of Alchemy in everyday life and in personal relationships.
Foundation workshop. Application regarding suitability. Homework. 6 day. Residential.