Tag Archives: change

Working through Depression with Alchemy

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“More than a school of thought, alchemy is a gnosis, a “way” of knowing. It is a deliberate attempt to grasp immortality in which the process is paramount. We all embody the archetypal journey of life, consciously or unconsciously. We are born in our essential nature but it quickly becomes covered with a hard-shelled core of the false ego. We long to return to our true nature. Alchemy amplifies and accelerates this process of self-actualization, connecting with a sacred sense of self.

Naturally, there is no absolute actualization, no final self-reflective insight. It is a recursive formula of returning, over and over on more subtle levels, to the sacred center where heaven and earth meet. You don’t have to heroically “succeed” at alchemy.

Not succeeding will deepen you as you improvise the narrative that is your life up to that point. How many times do we make, then lose the Stone? How many times do we lose our hard-won happiness or wholeness? The trick is to not paralyze yourself with New Age guilt over it. If a scientist has a failed experiment he or she doesn’t wallow in shame or analysis paralysis but starts over with new boundary conditions.

First, you must separate yourself from the herd mentality. When your comfort zone becomes constrictive, you have grown beyond it. Still, only a few adventurous souls will move beyond the cocoon of their self-imposed prison. If you suppress yourself too much, you become a stranger to yourself. Alienation is felt as chronic depression.

You have to change your level of game play, change your reality map. You die to one level to be reborn at a higher level. Dis-identify from the social hologram, dis-identify from rigid roles and soul-diminishing victimization to become open. To step up your game, you have to reconnect with your core, your deep presence and awareness. Reality speaks for itself if we listen closely enough to nature and our nature. But you have to retrain your eyes, ears, and heart to comprehend the intuitive language of alchemy.”

“The spiritual landscape is changing and alchemy offers a safe harbor for the drifting spirit beyond institutional or cult affiliation. Many paths are vying for participants but alchemy chooses you. It is a self-initiatory path that provides a structure or scaffolding for metaphorical death and rebirth, a generic process described in many traditions. But you must remain dedicated to the process.In exploring the unknown you are exploring yourself. The journey to wholeness often begins with a retreat – into oneself, your interior nature.”

From: Working through Depression with Alchemy http://ionamiller.weebly.com/nigredo-depression.html

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“”The ancestors. They are in our bones. Remember.”

“When societies lose their initiation practices, new ones emerge, for rites of passage are hardwired in the human psychological formula.”

“The classic tarot deck is a great representation of this, as it parallels the esoteric Jewish Kabbalah, in symbolically showing us the four levels of magickal morphogenesis through the suits of the wands, cups, swords, and disks. An idea begins in the archetypal ethers, funnels into the realm of dreams, visions, and emotions, moves down into the realm of thought and mental activity, and then finally becomes manifest reality.  Initiation, because it is such a psychically impactful experience, can affect all four realities at once in impressive and synchronistic ways, leading to a revived belief in apophenia. [the experience of seeing patterns or connections in random or meaningless data.] Again, initiatory experience is about reconnecting the separated aspects of the psyche. Ideas, emotions, thoughts, and physical things may quickly shift, as the psyche attains a new level of integration.”

via 21st Century Guide to Cross Cultural Initiation | Reality Sandwich.

The Glass Bead Game

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“Anyway, in the isolation of Castalia, a new art or science will be perfected. It will arise first in the music academies, where a system of glass beads of different sizes and colors, strung on a frame like an abacus, is used to represent musical themes and the rules of counterpoint, allowing themes to be reversed, transposed, and developed. Problems and challenges in music theory can be set and solved with the game in interesting ways. Soon other disciplines, philology, physics, begin to see ways to employ and expand the symbol sets. “Mathematicians in particular played it with a formal strictness at once athletic and aesthetic.” (“Strict” and “strictness” are ubiquitous words in the book.) From Chinese beliefs that music can model the structure of heaven and earth—and from the expressive possibilities inherent in Chinese ideograms—come further developments, until it will be possible for players of the evolved game to deploy a language of symbols (the glass beads themselves long since given up) to unveil the real relations among far-flung products of intellectual endeavor: perhaps a first theme of a Scarlatti sonata evoking an equation mentioned in an Arab manuscript, answered by an oddity of Latin grammar in one direction, a fragment of Parmenides, or a rule in Vitruvian architecture in another. When players begin to practice meditation techniques, games will become at once more personally expressive and more universal. Top players will introduce new symbol sets—alchemical emblems, the I-Ching; in weeks-long festivals their games induce in observers ineffable experiences of insight.”

WHAT IS THE GLASS BEAD GAME?

Taken from http://www.glassbeadgame.com/

Herman Hesse’s Nobel Prize Winning Novel,

The Glass Bead Game

lays the foundations for an Artistic/Conceptual Game, which integrates all fields of Human and Cosmic Knowledge through forms of Organic Universal Symbolism, expressed by its players with the Dynamic Fluidity of Music. The Glass Bead Game is, in Reality, an Age Old metaphor for what has been called, the “Divine Lila” (Play or Game of Life). This metaphor has been expressed by every great Wisdom Tradition known to man, and its players, the Magister Ludi (Masters of the Game), use as their instruments Ancient and Modern modes of Symbolic Wisdom traditionally presented through Sacred Art, Philosophy, Magick and Cosmology. For a more detailed elaboration of our vision of the GBG, see:

THE GLASS BEAD GAME

http://www.sacredscience.com/store/commerce.cgi?page=GBG2.htm

David Bowie’s “Sunday” from the album Heathen with text from Hermann Hesse’s novel “The Glass Bead Game”

“Nothing remains
We could run when the rain slows
Look for the cars or signs of life
Where the heat goes

Look for the drifters
We should crawl under the bracken
Look for the shafts of light
On the road where the heat goes

Everything has changed

For in truth, it’s the beginning of nothing
And nothing has changed
Everything has changed

For in truth, it’s the beginning of an end
And nothing has changed
Everything has changed

In your fear
Of what we have become
Take to the fire
Now we must burn
All that we are
Rise together
Through these clouds
As on wings

In your fear
Seek only peace
In your fear
Seek only love
In your fear
Seek only peace
In your fear
Seek only love
In your fear
In your fear
As on wings

This is the trip
And this is the business we take
This is our number
All my trials
Lord, will be remembered

Everything has changed” – Bowie

The Dignity of Daring

In the film, “Withnail & I”,  we see a pair of actor friends who are both down on their luck. They support each other, and though they bicker constantly, they are also deeply dependent on each other.

This film has achieved cult status in the UK – the clever script has many quotable expressions, the characters are recognisable as people we know, or wish we knew, or maybe wish we hadn’t known.

But it is the relationship between Withnail, and “I” – who’s name we only hear once when he is referred to as Marwood – that leaves the strongest impression on us. The story ends with Marwood leaving town, and the viewer is torn between wishing the best for Marwood, whilst feeling the pain of Withnail, who, despite being a very flawed human being, we have come to love.

Yet we know that Marwood has made the right decision.

In the words of Karlfried Graf Durckheim (1896 – 1988):

“The man, who, being really on the Way, falls upon hard times in the world will not, as a consequence, turn to that friend who offers him refuge and comfort and encourages his old self to survive. Rather, he will seek out someone who will faithfully and inexorably help him to risk himself, so that he may endure the suffering and pass courageously through it. Only to the extent that man exposes himself over and over again to annihilation, can that which is indestructible arise within him.

In this lies the dignity of daring.”

Here’s the script for that final scene in Witnail & I

I:  Right, I’m off now.

Withnail:  Already?

I:  My father will pick up my stuff in the week and do something

about the car.

Withnail:  But I’ve got us a bottle open. Confiscated it from Monte’s

supplies.  53 Margaux. Best of the century

I:  I can’t Withnail, I’ll miss the train.

Withnail:  There’s always time for a drink.

I:   I haven’t the time.

Withnail:  Alright, I’ll walk with you to the station. We can drink it

through the park. [He grabs his coat and an umbrella and takes

the bottle.]

The Park [It is pouring down with rain. Withnail offers the bottle to I]

I:   No thank you, no more.

Look, it’s a stinker Withnail, why don’t  you go home.

Withnail:  Because I want to walk you to the station.

I: No, really, I really don’t want you to.  I shall miss you Withnail.

Withnail: I’ll miss you too.

[I departs. Withnail walks to the fence and leans against it.]

 Withnail: I have of late, but wherefore I know not,

lost all my mirth and  indeed it goes so heavily

with my disposition that this goodly frame

the earth seems to me a sterile promotory;

this most excellent canopy the air, look you,

this mighty o’rehanging  firmament,

this majestical roof fretted with golden fire;

why, it  appeareth nothing to me

but a foul and pestilent congregation of  vapours.

What a piece of work is a man, how noble in reason,

how  infinite in faculties, how like an angel in apprehension,

how like a God!

The beauty of the world, paragon of animals;

and yet to  me, what is this quintessence of dusk.

Man delights not me, no, nor women neither,

nor women neither.

“I” is not afraid of the change, whereas Withnail has employed

his familiar tactics in an attempt to delay his friend,

who has possibly been given a small acting part in a stage play

that may lead to a brighter future.

At the very least it will be an alternative future.

“I” refuses the bottle proffered by his old friend, saying

“No thank you, no more” and then “I can’t Withnail, I’ll miss the train”…