Miss Pelican's Perch

Looking at my World from a Different Place


Some Thoughts on the Process of Alchemy

Joseph_Wright_of_Derby_The_AlchemistA lot of us don’t like change.  A lot of us do. I am one who sits in between.  I hate the discomfort that change brings yet I know that a static situation eventually becomes so boring I could scream.

Aristotle once said that “change in all things is sweet.” Well, losing your job or getting sick are changes that would suck. Getting a raise or being able to move into a big house on the beach would be sweet. That being said, I think it is important to note the difference between “change” and “transformation.”   Change can be superficial and not always beneficial; transformation is deeper, complex, and usually can be quite sweet.

The need for transformation is embedded in our psyche. It is portrayed by various metaphors in our history, philosophies, religions, and culture. Medieval philosophers and scientists tried to use alchemical processes to transform ordinary metals into gold, or to develop formulae to give themselves eternal youth, beauty and life. This alchemical philosophy is seen in many cultures across the ages including Egypt, India, the Middle East and China. You can even see a type of alchemy in our contemporary world: young business and technology entrepreneurs create a product that transforms not only their own lives but the lives of everyone in the world. Literature and film are filled with stories of “rags to riches”. We love it when the little guy (or gal) rises to a successful life.

Transformation happens many ways. Sometimes it is a matter of nature. The caterpillar cannot keep the chrysalis effect from changing them into butterflies, or the water-bound tadpole cannot help becoming a toad and walking on dry land. We cannot help growing from children to adults and hopefully becoming wiser in the process.

Sometimes transformation is more deliberate on our part. A good transformation is based how well we deal with the randomness of change. A bad health diagnoses may be the thing that shakes us into embracing a healthier life-style. Breaking with a person who brings us sorrow may transform us into people who make better choices on who we let into our lives. Sometimes Cinderellas do marry their princes.

Transformation can also be on a deeply spiritual level and imposed on us from a spirit Who is transcendent. There are no shortages of accounts where people are transformed by what they perceive as their Higher Power. Ordinary shepherds like David are called by God to slay a Goliath and then become kings. Backwater fisherman are transformed into disciples and change history because the heeded the call of their Master.  How many people do you know who had broken lives yet were transformed by an unseen hand to lives of empowered success?  I know a bunch.

We love change and transformation or we would not spend so much time thinking on it. Transformation: it’s what we’re all about.


ljgloyd (c) 2016

Inspired by the prompt “A is for Alchemy” at the Soul Food Cafe.

About the image: Full title:  The Alchymist, In Search of the Philosopher’s Stone, Discovers Phosphorus, and prays for the successful Conclusion of his operation, as was the custom of the Ancient Chymical Astrologers, by Joseph Wright of Derby, now in Derby Museum and Art Gallery, Derby, U.K.– Public Domain per Wikipedia.