Simply put, the word alchemy means transformation. Alchemy has its roots in China and Egypt, followed by Arabia, and later medieval Europe, influenced by the Moors via Spain. The alchemists of old were seekers, concerned with transforming base metals into gold, via a mysterious chemical process.
I was introduced to alchemy as a concept through the writings of psychologist Carl Jung. Metaphorically, alchemy is the unknown process by which a transformation occurs. This transformation can be physical, psychological, or spiritual in nature. Jung 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
Even with all of our technological advancements, so many of the processes of the human body remain a complete mystery. Of course, science can tell us what our bodies do, down to the complex detail. Yet we are still 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 limited in its understanding of the “body as machine.” Yet it still cannot explain the deeper mysteries the underlie the healing process.
Wisdom of the Past
Ancient systems of healing like Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda (healing system from India) have a holistic approach to healing illness. There is an inherent recognition of life-force energy in the body (a.k.a. “chi” or “prana”) in these medical systems, which I believe is a critical missing piece of the Western medical viewpoint. Traditional healing knowledge evolved out of thousands of years of direct observation of the healing process. The ancient scientists observed the interplay of natural elements within the body and mind. The human being is a microcosm of nature, and healing comes about through a balance of the elements.
Why are we so out of balance?
Part of 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. Yet somehow, even with all of this knowledge, we as humans are not living in balance. This is painfully clear when we take a look around. Serious 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 such as autoimmune disorders, autism, cancer, and other “new” diseases are on a rapid incline, not to mention the rapid spike in mental illness. What can be the cause of this imbalance? How did we get here?
I believe that one of the major underlying causes of such extreme imbalance is the loss of our inherent connection to our own personal and collective Divine Nature- the Web of Life that connects us all. This is not hippie stuff, this is reality. Western culture has been so far removed from the inherent understanding of unity and interconnectivity. This unfortunate dominant paradigm makes humans see themselves as separate from Nature (as well as each other), and the body as separate from the mind and spirit. Yet now Western science has come full circle to prove what Indigenous peoples (as well as early European ancestors) have known all along: IT IS ALL CONNECTED. Perhaps this disconnection was purposeful- a means of control. For when we do not individually recognize our own nature as powerful Creators, it is easy to be controlled 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 uncover the root causes of our suffering. Often these are unconscious programs or patterns passed down to us from our families or the dominant culture. Everything is change-able, nothing is fixed. You are powerful and absolutely can thrive in your body, mind, and spirit.
The 4 Pillars of Healing Alchemy
- Mindful movement practices such as Yoga, Tai Chi, and Qi Gong to name a few help us to bring our bodies, minds, and hearts into balance.
- Healing Touch. Connection. Massage is one of the most ancient and profound healing modalities found across cultures. Everyone needs nurturing, healing touch in order to thrive.
- Nutrition is also a key component to the alchemy of healing. And while we nourish our bodies, we must also nourish our souls.
- Creativity in its many forms is also so important for our spiritual fulfillment and health.
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 manifest our desires.
By Brenna Moore