When was the last time you saw this movie? Did you ever see it? Watched it from NetFlix tonight. Long time since 1990, when it came out, and Wyn and I first watched this tale of teen entry into political consciousness. Drama’s as dramatic as ever. Technology changes hardly matter. It’s the message the implodes within the heart; I was torn in two. Between the exhilarating hope of revolutionary change born in the 1960s to the dark violence of post-911 global terrorism, I found myself wondering, What currently compels us, as a species? Is the zeitgeist now at work of God or demon? Knowing that the alchemist believes they are one and the same.
“This…corresponds psychologically to a dark state of disorientation. The decomposition of the elements indicates dissociation and the collapse of the existing ego-consciousness. It is closely analogous to the schizophrenic state, and it should be taken very seriously because this is the moment when latent psychoses may become acute, ie., when the patient becomes aware of the collective unconscious and the psychic non-ego.” – Jung, The Psychology of the Transference, Chapter 7.
With my experience nearly the entire month of December, I can relate. Ego-deflation now alternates with ego-expansion. Alchemy is my only roadmap. I watch myself watching the Watcher.
Posting in this “ship’s log” is akin to standing up and speaking in Quaker Meeting: difficult, sometimes excruciatingly so, to discern whether the impulse to speak (or write) comes from the Ego or the Spirit. With good reason did the original Quakers physically shake, “quake,” before they unloosed the voice during silent Meeting.
The act of discernment is a difficult one: Is it the ego, and its wish for attention, approval, wanting—needing–to get one’s “two cents in” that feels the urge, as a mosquito bite one simply must scratch? Or is it truly the Spirit, the spark in us that lives in the Light, that prompts the leading? Every week, every Meeting, is an opportunity to practice the alchemical operation of Separation.
The young woman (in the dream) was rejoicing with me that she was over the roughest part of psychological growing up now. But at the same time she seemed to be trying to let me know that her life from here on in might not take the conventional paths of love-marriage-children and so forth. I could only hug her and in turn reassure her that it didn’t matter what forms the outer life took as long as individuation took place.
Of course I was embracing myself. Would that the dream was, in fact, indicating that the workings of Dissolution and Separation with even, perhaps, the beginning of Conjunction have begun….
So what comes after the incendiary experience of Calcination?
I need to memorize the alchemical stages of the soul’s transformation: Calcination, Dissolution, Separation, Conjunction, Fermentation, Distillation, Coagulation. Coloring and painting my version of the Azoth (the meditative emblem signifying Mercury, or the One Thing, the “A to Z” of all matter—my alchemist in the center being female) should help to cement the process in mind and body.
Thank you, Dennis William Hauck, for your “alchemy made easy” book, The Emerald Tablet. The Tablet is now much more accessible and a much-needed complement to my other heretical studies.
(I thank Fate and Fortune I wasn’t born in the 14-17th centuries. Calcination would have taken place literally then—at the stake—had anyone learned of such interests.)
I am hit with the combined force of all the physical functions at once and at full blast—”horse,” “carriage,” “servant-driver”, feelings, body-instincts, intellect. An alchemist would probably diagnose the condition as the soul being CALCINATED, the excess (desire) being burned to ash for the eventual release of essential Self.
I turn to alchemy for prognosis. DISSOLUTION is next, it seems. Can’t say as I’m looking forward to it. The good news is, I have the feeling it’s already begun, in the form of letting-go, letting “things” go, not “efforting” as much (as the current lingo would put it), giving up (some) of the tendency to name, analyze, label for the sake of simply feeling (experiencing).
An email from the Gurdjieff Foundation today informs me that this is the anniversary of the death of Lord John Pentland, long-revered president of the Gurdjieff Foundation in New York.
Fitting he should leave the planet on Valentine’s Day. For what is arising into new consciousness but another form of falling in love? And who’s to say that it isn’t the ultimate experience of being in love?
Like other equivalent experiences in my life, this one is as painful as it is life-giving. Maybe more so. I am barely a novice at this—the teachings, “the Work”—yet I burn, in the full sense of St. Paul’s usage. Something big is happening to me that only alchemy, Kabbalah, and now perhaps, the Work can help me through.