The word alchemy usually conjures up an image of some ancient white-haired dude from the Middle Ages, with bubbling beakers of mysterious substances. Indeed, alchemy was the literal attempt to transform base metals into gold, via some mysterious chemical process. Today, the word alchemy is being used quite a bit in alternative circles, and I think it’s a good thing.
When taken metaphorically, alchemy is the mysterious process by which a transformation occurs. This transformation can be physical, psychological, or spiritual in nature. The famous psychologist Carl Jung brought the term alchemy into popular usage. He believed that the ancient science of alchemy was actually an allegory to the growth and transformation of consciousness. It is the mysterious journey of human psyche, as it uncovers and assimilates knowledge from the unconscious to the conscious realms.
Healing is Alchemy
It is interesting to ponder that even in today’s modern age, with all of our technological advancements, and ability to see smaller and smaller parts, so many of the processes of the human body remain a mystery. Of course, through rigorous scientific observation, science can easily tell us what our bodies do, yet are quite at a loss to explain how the body knows what it knows and does what it does. What makes one patient respond positively to a treatment, when another doesn’t? Western medicine is extremely adept at understanding the “body machine,” and all of it’s minuscule parts. Yet it still cannot explain the deeper mysteries the underlie the healing process.
Looking to the Past
Ancient systems of healing like Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda (healing system from India) have a more holistic approach to healing illness. There is an inherent recognition of life-force energy (a.k.a. “chi” or “prana”) in these medical systems, which I believe is a crucial element missing from the Western viewpoint. This ancient healing knowledge evolved out of thousands of years of direct observation of the healing process. They see the interplay of natural elements within the body and psyche. The human being is seen as a microcosm of nature, and healing comes about through a balance of the elements.
Why are we so out of balance?
The excitement of being alive today is that we are living at the cutting edge of incredible innovations. Information has never been so easily accessible. Through the internet, and the plethora of information at our disposal, we are indeed “standing on the shoulders of giants.” Yet somehow, even with all of this knowledge, we as humans are not living fully in balance. Quite to the contrary. This is painfully clear when we look around us. Serious social problems threaten peace in many corners of the globe. We are also witnessing the rapid destruction our beloved planet Earth. New health issues arise almost daily. Autoimmune disorders, Autism, Cancer, and various other diseases are on a rapid incline. What can be the cause of this imbalance? How did we get here?
For so long, western civilization has ignored our inherent connection to Divine Nature- the web of life that connects us all. Some could argue that this disconnection is purposeful- a means of controlling us. For when we do not individually recognize our nature as powerful Creators of Reality, it is easy to be told what to do by a “higher authority.” I will leave it at that, and let you come to your own conclusions.
We are all Healing Alchemists
There lies within each of us the power to heal, to evolve, and transform. This is the beauty of human life. Through careful attention to our thoughts and daily actions, we can learn the root causes of our suffering. Practices such as Yoga, Tai Chi, Qi Gong help us to bring our bodies into balance, and help our minds to be clearer. Bodywork and massage are some of the most ancient healing modalities. Nutrition is also key to the alchemy of healing. Art, and the creative spark is very important to happiness and health.
I truly believe all of us are creators, healers, artists, and beautiful reflections of Divine Nature. All change is possible, even with the smallest effort. It is my deepest wish that all of us humans awaken to our inherent gifts, and know fully that we have everything we need inside of us to heal and be in balance.
By Brenna Moore