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MemberJune 1, 2022 at 10:32 am
Thank you for this writing, Lauren, for initiating such a rich conversation, for circling back around to your “lead,” and, as you say, articulating how it looks to be engaged with your Prima Materia in action. This paragraph brings so many threads of alchemical work together:
When I know that I can be trusted. When I trust the circuitous path of the spiral. Trusting that alongside the One Who is Lost is also the Invisible Companion and the One Who Gives Directions, both of whom visited me in dreamtime last night. I can be trusted to “stray from the path,” to experience isolation, disorientation, not knowing and not caring. And to find myself. Every. Single. Time. Because I was never lost. I cannot actually be lost from my Self. This is the Prima Materia in action. I am learning to trust who I really am.
In a way, you are speaking to one of the central principals of alchemy, the understanding that the ultimate formation of the Philosopher’s Stone – the Golden Flower – the Pearl of Wisdom – the illumination of the Self – happens not along a one-way, causal trajectory but rather through an ongoing oscillation between connunctio and nigredo, expansion and contraction, light and shadow. Without the darkening times, the lock-downs, depressions, despair and difficulties, the Stone is just a good idea, a bit of star spark, a flash in the pan. It is through the compression, the suffering, and the slow bearing of gestation, that the light can crystallize and embody and a new possibility – a new Self structure – a new consciousness – can actually manifest in form, in time and space.
Our work is not to get stuck in the muck of the compressions … which can happen when, rather than staying conscious, we numb out, completely abdicate to addictive behaviors or give up for the long haul on the practices we know will ultimately carry us through.
Yes, I believe that there are moments when we need to consciously collapse, to allow ourselves the spiritual tantrums, the dances of rage and despair, when we may turn to the solace of substances to temporarily ease or modify our pain but ….
… and this “but” is of central importance …
We need to have practices, tools, skills and resources in place that bring us back just as surely as the ocean currents reverse and carry us back to shore after a rip tide.
One of the greatest supports I have found in this regard is loving, caring, ongoing alchemical community. And this kind of community is strengthened through just the kind of raw, honest conversation you have initiated here, Lauren. This is how we get to know each other’s secret place of pain and vulnerability. And this is how we learn to stay attuned to each other’s processes and to call each other back when we have strayed too far into the wilderness.
It is happening here as we gradually come to know one another. And as I constantly remind myself, this formation of resilient, caring community is our most potent anti-dote to the isolating, killing pathogenesis of modernity.
This is Alchemical Healing in action!