The Alchemy of Everyday Life was the title of the workshop presented today by Richard Sweeney, Ph.D., a Jungian psychotherapist, at New Thought Unity Church, sponsored by the Greater Cincinnati Friends of Jung.
I am still processing, but it was wonderful stuff – and really sheds a lot of light on current events on the planet, as well. The language of alchemy is also enlightening. Alchemy’s purposes were to transform base materials into gold, to free spirit from matter, and, much less well known, to transform the alchemist .
One of the key things I’m thinking about is how afraid we are as individuals and as a culture of the process of changing. Alchemy, from way back in the Middle Ages, talks about all the different ways everything begins to break down in order to change.
We go get medicine for depresssion. But what if depression is Calcinatio, burning, something new in our psyches/souls that wants to make space for us to grow? What if working every day at a meaningless job really is depressing? Our trying to talk ourselves out of believing that doesn’t mean our subconscious isn’t going to try to get our attention. In other words – what if depression is a message from our souls that our life is not working, and that change will be far better for us? Instead of medication, perhaps we should try listening to the messages we’re getting.
Is there wetness – oceans, waterfalls, bathrooms in your dreams, or tears in your day to day life? Might be Solutio, dissolving. Perhaps your ego is losing hold ‘so that a wider, more comprehensive viewpoint can be reconstituted’. If you’re not dealing with reality, perhaps your dreams or ideas will work on Coagulatio – hardening or solidifying, to bring you back down to the ground. Or if what you need is to be inspired and uplifted, your dreams and images might be of stairs, ladders, birds, flying – Sublimatio, uplifting or inflating.
When part of us wants to change, and another part wants to resist – too often we let fear rule the day. What we fight, what we try to push down and push away, will get stronger and push harder. We need to bring it all into the light to resolve it – to get back to the Prima Materia, matter’s original, undifferentiated, uncontaminated state – our own beautiful and powerful selves. What if we trusted our own Inner Selves?
And – as crept into our conversation today more than once – what if the Catholic Church quit trying to push down the other half of humanity, accepted all its members and became whole? We already know what has happened when it doesn’t.