"Awareness is the greatest alchemy there is. Just go on becoming more and more aware and you will find your life changing for the better in every possible dimension."~ Rajneesh
Mysterious stories through the ages have claimed that alchemists have changed lead into gold. Alternatively, alchemy can be a symbol of transforming our heavy "human lead" into the gold of the True Self.
The Seven Stages of Alchemy
Stage I: Calcination
Calcination happens when your old ways of protecting yourself no longer work. This is a frightening time because what you have held dear no longer feels meaningful. The death of the old can feel painful and distressing.
Growth Task: If you are in the Calcination stage of Alchemy, surrender to it. Allow this stage to burn away all the obstacles to your wholeness: such as old beliefs, people that are no longer good for you, and all that you have outgrown.
Stage II: Dissolution
After Calcination, the ego’s rigid control is released temporarily, and you may become aware of underlying fears and feeling emotionally overwhelmed.
You may sense the fear of expressing your true self. You might fear that you will be harmed, rejected, denied, criticized, or annihilated if you express who you really are.
Dissolution, uses the element of water to further release outgrown habits and beliefs. Dissolution typically involves crying, grieving and feeling lost.
Growth Task: The growth task in Dissolution is to accept and express your emotions so that you can access your emotional core. In Alchemy, the ashes of Calcination are dissolved in water (emotion). This gives you the opportunity to connect to your original feeling states before your ego’s protection system began.
Stage III: Separation
Separation is the stage where you learn how to make wise decisions. This is the level of intellectual exploration, symbolized by the element of air. Intellectual exploration is different from anxiously going up into your head when upsetting emotions arise.
Being in touch with all your emotions is essential for accurate inner guidance. At this stage, you are integrating the wisdom of your emotions, so that you can make wise decisions for your life.
Growth Task: The growth task in Separation is to connect your intellect to your emotions. Rejecting your emotions disconnects you from your soul's guidance.
Part IV: Conjunction
Alchemy’s mantra is “As Above, So Below.” Your heart is the conjunction point between heaven and earth. Conjunction calls you to love and accept your human journey. When you see your “mistakes” from the past as “grist for the mill” you make space for the expanded consciousness yet to come.
Growth Task: Rather than judging yourself, your previous "mistakes" can be viewed as a self-regulating mechanism that prevented you from manifesting your potential before the time was right.
Stage V-a: Putrefaction
Once again, you must face your ego’s attempt at dominance, but in the fiery Putrefaction-Fermentation stage, the quality, intensity and source of the experience is quite different from that in Calcination.
In Calcification, you were alone in your battle with your ego. This time you will sense other forces assisting you in your transformation process. So, even though Putrefaction can feel disturbing, depressing or despairing, you will also feel supported, and even encouraged by your connection to "Higher Help" and the nurturing energy of the Earth.
Growth Task: People at this stage report the ability to observe their disturbing emotions objectively even while feeling deep despair and fear. Putrefaction proceeds until it has “cooked” you enough to enter Fermentation. This transformation process is similar to how rotted grapes become fine wine.
Stage V-b: Fermentation
In Fermentation, new wisdom arises, founded upon the deeper breaking down of unhealthy beliefs. In alchemy, the brew must be transferred to another container - the newly developing True Self.
Growth Task: At this stage, you must maintain a state of egoless surrender, so you empty the old container of the outdated you, and build a new receptive vessel for when the catalyst is added.
Note: The catalyst in personal transformation may take any form, but it always includes new insight and an enlightened view of yourself. As old ideas and habits fall away, you will see how who have been - was mostly based on social survival strategies.
Part VI: Distillation
In Distillation, you will become more interested in the greater good. In this transformational stage you are spiritually and emotionally mature enough to merge with the collective conscious and unconscious without being overwhelmed.
Distillation embraces the light as well as the dark. Dark meaning the mysterious, unconscious, and unexpressed - not evil.
In contrast, because we have been taught to reject and avoid emotional discomfort, we seek only idealistic realms of experience. And, when we experience the darker aspects of life from such an idealistic mindset, it is easy to think that we must be doing something wrong.
As a distilled person, you do not expect life to meet your idealistic expectations, nor do you view adverse experiences as a devastating disappointment.
Growth Task: As a distilled person you will create your life from your soul rather than from your ego's survival strategies. You will surrender to the higher forces of life while honouring the existence of the lower levels of life.
Stage VII: Coagulation
At this stage you have travelled through all the lower stages: Calcination (burning out your ego’s control), dissolution (reclaiming and redeeming your emotions), separation (deciding what’s most important for your life) - many times!
You also will have travelled through the stage of conjunction many times to reconcile your conscious and unconscious mind in the center of your heart.
On the journey to wholeness, you can welcome Putrefaction-Fermentation, Distillation, and Coagulation - which serves to end one phase of your life, and begin another.
And, even though Coagulation is the final stage, the end is just the beginning of the next chapter of your life. There is no resting place. Your lifelong struggles to find your inner Gold are all part of your transformational process!
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