Magnus & Spinner
Greetings friends of the fire… Here are some of our observations on the stages of the Alchemical Work, and how it is related to “popping,” or releasing our issues.
Consider some of the following linguistic metaphors.
At the fire circle, we each carry around our own issues. These could be visualized as emotional blocks; literal blocks of salt. Salt is know for its ability to preserve things; documents are often stored in salt mines. Salt preserves; it holds “memories”. These salty , memory blocks get stirred up by entering the space of the fire circle, and through drumming, dancing and trancing.
At a certain point, due to the sulfur, or energetic heat that is released from fire, drums and bodies, these blocks of salt liquify within us. Our vessel overflows, and this liquefied salt pours out of our body through salt sweat and salt tears. This is a natural part of the alchemical process. This overflowing of emotion and experience of deep feeling has been referred to as “popping.” We see it more as a release, which leads to real ease. Real ease in life is what connects us to Spirit, Above and Below, mercury, Alchemical mercury is often compared to Akasha, Chi, Prana, Hyle, or Spirit.
By going through these processes, we become illuminated, in the truest sense…. not guru-sitting-on-a-pillow illuminated, but shedding-new-light-on-our-lives, illuminated. When issues come up, friends often say, “what’s the matter?” Let’s examine the “first matter”, or prima materia of alchemy. The prima materia is often referred to in alchemical literature as darkness, chaos, excrement and lead. To transform lead into gold, or to spiritualize matter, early alchemists and we at the Fire, utilized the following formula “Solve and Coagula,” or, dissolve and recombine.
The first part of the Work of Alchemy is “solve” or to dissolve, to melt down, to liquify. Could this be some of what is happening at the fire circle?
In his alchemical writings,Carl Jung described the dissolving process of alchemy as “breaking down the boundaries of the ego, and allowing the chaotic material of the unconscious to pour forth where it can be inspected by consciousness.” The second part of the Work of Alchemy is “coagula” or to come back together, to rejoin, perhaps ourselves, others, or a new understanding.
In one of Terrence McKenna’s last lectures, “Unfolding the Stone,” he speaks of the Nigredo stage, that it is “the Saturnine world of what we would call manic-depression, despair and chaotic near-psychotic state of unbounded hopelessness, and that it is a precondition, then, for the alchemical work, through the stages of the alchemical opus.” … hardly a territory to dance through with ease and grace.
In our observation, this release signals the transition from Nigredo to Albedo, from the blackening and burning away of the ego and/or issue, to the dissolving of boundaries and getting more connected to the Self and/or others.
The second part of the Great Work is the Coagula, simply put, coming back together after the purifying process of an alchemical distillation. Often, at the fire circle, we have observed this as how we integrate lessons and experiences we have at the fire circle into the fire that night, into our relationships in community, and how we walk our path during the rest of the year on our much grander circle around the fire of the sun.
A quick review of the seven stages of the alchemical process, and how it specifically relates to this “popping” or releasing, (see D.W. Hauck, The Emerald Tablet):
- Calcination— (first chakra, Saturn, survival) The issue or issues within the physical container are brought up and heated by the Fire.
- Dissolution— (second chakra/Jupiter, blending) The element is dissolved in the sea of emotions.
- Separation— (solar plexus chakra/Mars, choosing) A choice is made to separate or release from the “issue,” (of energy, tears, or intense physical movement), and in so doing separate from the things which separate our individual egos from others and Self.
- Conjunction— (heart chakra/Venus, joining together through love) The shift to Albedo, the white, soft stage of the Work. The coming together of Self and ego, or the individual and the community. An important step; often it gives us deeper understanding of our Self in relation to our ego. At the fire circle, deeper connections are forged between the person releasing and the other dancers that receive or catch the energy and assist gently through the process.
- Fermentation— (throat chakra/Mercury, speaking) Refining, skimming the crud that rises to the surface off the top, to find a purer solution. This is the stage this issue of releasing or “popping” is in right now. We have had the experience of burning, dissolving, separating, and joining together. Now, we are speaking our truth and separating the subtle from the gross as we continue to refine.
- Distillation— (third eye, Moon, introspective visioning) At this stage of the Work, we have a pure, refined solution. We gain insight and understanding through “processing” our issues through the alchemical laboratory that is our body. By contemplating the past, while being engaged in the present, we can now make informed choices about how to move and interact at the Fire, or out in the world in the future.
- Coagulation— (crown chakra, Sun, illuminating) The beginning of the Rubedo phase of the process, in which our spiritual gold is realized. Consciously connecting to Spirit, releasing the light within matter, dissolving the boundaries between inner and outer experience. We bring our experiences and knowledge into the world, moment by moment, remaining in the flow. We connect with our highest selves, connect with Spirit, and with the earth. Also at this stage, we experience an accelerated rate of synchronicities.
At this point in the alchemical work, we re-enter the Fire, with our hearts connected to community and to Spirit. As we dance the Fire, the circle of life, new issues will arise in us, and the refining process begins again.
The alchemical furnace that is the fire circle is very much like the laboratory of our body. Both are continually evolving: processing blocks, and issues,pushing boundaries,and separating the “subtle from the gross, gently with great ingenuity .
Yours in the Great Work…
Magnus & Spinner