Throughout 2019, I have found myself in a massive cycle of change and transformation; on every level and in every area of my life. These cycles have come before and seem to be occurring with increasing regularity in the world that we find ourselves inhabiting.
I am going to be really honest now. It has been a crazy, confusing, exhilarating and excruciating period of time where I barely know who, where or what I am from day to day. Just as I think I might have a handle on what is going on and where I am headed, my life throws me something completely new that shakes up the fabric of my story and throws it in the air to see what will settle.
You too huh?
(If ever we doubted that we live in an inherently interconnected universe all we have to do is talk to anyone on the street or our community to find out that we all seem to be living in the same story right now!)
The story is one of death and rebirth. Or perhaps ‘social alchemy’ is a better term for the process we are all courageously undertaking!
I first became fascinated by alchemy as a physical / social / psychological process in 2014 after my first journey to Egypt, one of its mythic birth places. I noticed that a distinct inner process unlocked within me after that first trip, and has continued in various mental, emotional and physical cycles to this day. I have been in a constant process of death, rebirth, refinement and reconnection that moves from the intense to the sublime.
I dubbed this transformative phoenix-like energy as ‘narrative alchemy’ and started to relate the various shades, colours and stages I have been experiencing to the more traditional process of alchemy as first discovered and passed down from ancient times.
Alchemy: the ancient art of transforming base metals to gold, or lower forms of consciousness and identity to higher, evolved forms.
Each of us experiences alchemy in our own unique way, dependent on our soul’s vision, mission and story, yet there are identifiable stages that we seem to individually and collectively experience as we undergo the transformative journey.
Human Narrative Alchemy
When we are born, we come into this world in our essential soul self or in alchemical terms the prima materia of this life time. Our starting point from which this life’s journey, adventure and soul alchemy will begin.
Then as we grow into our adolescent selves, a process of separation commences as we begin to experience ourselves as isolated and individuated. Especially in the Western world, our social norms emphasize competition and conformance in equal and polarizing amounts. Forever seeking superiority in tandem to safety and acceptance, we are asked to morph into the story of social acceptability in order to ‘belong’ and ‘succeed’ (often as the expense of others). This bi-polar social narrative is incredibly distracting and the classic hero’s call here, asks us to detach from its allure and forge out into our own more authentic territory – often alone. The real alchemy begins when we choose to consciously ‘separate’ ourselves from the tapestry of the dominant human story and find our own narrative threads again.
We adventure down many paths, through many challenges and encounter many guardians and gifts. Gradually we enter into the alchemical stage of conjunction where the elements of our life story start to join together in a deeper pattern, pointing the way towards our specific life expressions of joy, genius and passion. When we learn to follow our own threads without wavering, a deeper process of integration wraps its arms around us and we start to return towards a healthy life of connection and harmony.
This opens the way for the real transformation to begin. Few people until recent history ever reached this point in a single lifetime. Yet we seem to find ourselves at a moment in Earth’s evolving myth where time and evolution is speeding up. More and more of us undertaking the advanced stage of metamorphosis that comes at this stage of the cycle.
This is the fermentation process where the imaginal cells of our narrative fuse into a completely new form of human. Fermentation requires that we leave behind the old version of ourselves and transform into an evolved identity and level of consciousness; one based on unity. Our meta-stories transform, and we open to new awareness, ideals and beliefs that we previously never would have considered as possible. A shamanic death and resurrection often accompany this phase of life and expresses itself in the form of ‘crisis’ leading to creation of a new identity.
As our newly formed wings dry and we begin to take flight into a new world, our adventures lead us to the eventual distillation of our true self and story. Like the Phoenix, we leave behind the ashes of our old life completely and emerge in a distilled, essential form. Our true identity is purified, and we live our truth on a day to day basis.
As a living embodiment of our authentic story and truth, we eventually encounter the final alchemical stage of coagulation, where our spirit descends fully into the matter of our physical human form. It is during this final stage that we realize that everything in our external life stems from our internal levels of consciousness. We begin to live as a unified being where ‘me’ merges completely with ‘we’ and we start to reach the stages of non-dual awareness where the story of interconnection comes alive in the cells of our being.
Beautiful and perhaps even mythic words.
But what does all of this mean to you and I living in the noise of daily human existence?
“The practical process of alchemy becomes a daily choice – to consciously breathe into and let go of anything that we have outgrown, creating space for new understanding, experiences and opportunities to emerge. We surrender to the ‘gold’ of our soul story, which in turn grows and expands at the rate that our courage facilitates. It takes constant bravery to live in an interconnected world, where there is no one or no-thing to hide behind when life becomes challenging. We understand that ‘magic’ is our innate ability to co-create with the natural forces of life.”
Extract from Tough Bliss: Restorying Life
Each and every day presents us with a new opportunity to ‘alchemize’ our story and transform our sense of what it means to be human, in our times of expanding consciousness and realization of our inherent unity.
Or you could choose to shut down and succumb to the overwhelm of noise and confusion.
I know what I am choosing…….