Practical Alchemy

gold coins

By Cathy Eck

 

The Fall of Alchemy

Years ago, I became very fascinated with alchemy — the notion that something with low value could be transmuted into something with great value.  I loved the stories about turning water into wine or lead into gold, and I studied them intently tearing apart every number and ingredient for symbolic value.  I felt in my heart that it could be done, but how?  Were the stories literal or metaphorical?

I wasn’t interested in getting rich.  I hoped that alchemy was about finding our own human value in the world.  I wondered if there was a practical side to alchemy, something that we could all use to improve our lives.  I’d come to realize that the truth about anything has practical value and works for everyone.

 

Missing Ingredient

It was said that alchemists were generous with their instructions.  Some published literal recipes and others embedded alchemical secrets in stories.  But it was widely agreed that alchemists left out one ingredient from every recipe or story — keeping the secret from the average Joe.

I spent months in libraries looking for the missing ingredient.  At first, I thought that perhaps different alchemists left out different ingredients, and I could piece together different stories and recipes like a puzzle.  But that didn’t work.

Eventually, I realized that the missing ingredient wasn’t physical.  Like an optical illusion, the True Self perspective was the missing ingredient.  Nothing was missing if I read the story through true eyes.  But if I read it literally through false eyes, it appeared to be incomplete.  Damn, that was cool!

Just like mythology and religious stories, alchemical stories took the same Humpty-Dumpty fall.  People lost their True Self perspective (eyes to see and ears to hear), and you can’t understand ancient stories unless you read them from your True Self.  From the false self perspective, they appear incongruent and disjointed.  They seem to be missing something or to be badly translated.

 

Gold to God

If you look at the word Gold, it’s God with an L.  The L in Hebrew (Lamed) was the central letter of the alphabet and the tallest letter.  The tallest could be conceived as the most powerful, the king, who in the ancient world was the center and often treated like a God.  Gold relates to a physical God.

In Greek the true King was the Christós or Christ (annointed or initiated one).  But the True King wasn’t just one person or King.  He was the high initiate, the True Self in all of us, an inner King.  When this part of us Leads (is the center), then we live and behave from a completely different perspective than when our false self leads.

 

Practical Alchemy

In the ancient mystery schools, alchemy was about the transformation of the false self to the True Self.  The final transformation was turning the body from the mortal form into the Temple of Solomon.  (Sol – Om – On were three words for the sun — the triune nature of God).  The initiate’s body was to become a temple for the sun, the True inner King.  But remember, this wasn’t a stupid pagan belief.  The sun was the metaphor for the perfect masculine (yang) energy because it gave light and warmth unconditionally without asking anything in return.  The True King took all of his joy from giving and loving (not taking and spending).  The sun, of course, is golden in color so ancient kings surrounded themselves with gold.

We are all leaders or suns in some way.  If we are leaders of a family, company, or classroom, we can practice being more like the sun.  We can practice unconditional loving and giving.  That’s practical alchemy.

 

An Alchemical Project

But I love to use practical alchemy to grow while creating material things.  To do this, choose a project, preferably one that involves an idea, as well as a hands-on component  — something you really want to do and don’t yet think you can.  Painting a picture, making a perfect pie, growing a garden, building something, creating a business, or training a pet can all be alchemical projects.

What you must recognize is that you do know or have access to everything necessary to take this project to perfection.  Only beliefs stand in the way of your success.

First get a clear vision of the result you desire.  Follow any inspired actions throughout the process — remember inspired actions have no emotional component.  You aren’t willing the project into submission.  If you are inspired to take a class or read a book that’s fine, but don’t give your power to the teacher or author.  Just get the information that you need to move forward.  You’re putting the pieces of a puzzle together, not submitting to another’s way of thinking.  Notice any fear or self-doubt that arises, and let that go as you move along.  Continue to take any action you feel certain of.  If you keep letting go, the inspiration for the next step will keep you moving forward.  If your results aren’t perfect, you look for what beliefs you have that produced the less-than-perfect result.  Continue following inspiration and letting go.  Then take action again.  Keep repeating this until you get to the perfection you envisioned.

We all do projects all the time; we just don’t do them from the alchemist’s mindset.  The alchemist was comfortable with not knowing everything; he didn’t need a step-by-step recipe or outline.  As you let go of your beliefs and follow inspiration, you find that you know more than you thought.  You grow in True confidence.

 

The Wisdom of Alchemy

When the ancient alchemist used the process of creating and the results of his efforts as feedback, he purified his own mind — his mind of lead turned into a mind of gold, his True Self.  He became the center, the True King of his world.  He became One that would Lead with unconditional love and the pure spirit of giving.  He became a master of life.

Can We Identify a True Self by Appearance?

The initiate's body

By Cathy Eck

 

In a culture where good looks are like a get-out-of-jail free card, it is natural to wonder how letting go will impact our body.  Lester Levinson, an American who reached the state of freedom, said that people who once looked beautiful suddenly looked plastic and ugly ducklings became beautiful swans.  More and more, I have glimpses of what he was saying.

 

Edgar Cayce and the True Self

About twenty years ago, I was doing research in the library at the Association for Research and Enlightenment (Edgar Cayce’s Organization), which is said to be the second largest metaphysical library in the world, after the Vatican.

Edgar Cayce was called the sleeping prophet.  He could place himself into a hypnotic state and answer questions.  He did over 14,000 readings.  I became very interested in Cayce’s work since he did many readings on ancient Egypt providing useful clues for my initiation research.  Often, while flipping through his readings, I would uncover little Cayce tidbits that inspired me to dig deeper into my own mind.  This was one of them.

Cayce had a study group that he was very close to.  At one point, he gave a reading that the group found so beautiful that their eyes teared, their minds went silent, and they experienced what Cayce called attunement.  In the language of initiation, their True Self was revealed.  When that happened, Cayce said he saw who they really were, and the difference was so great that he had to go collect himself.  Obviously, his false self came back into control; his True Self wouldn’t have felt the need for collection.

 

George’s True Self Shines

Shortly after reading this, I was trying to deal with a client who was very angry with my programmer.  While I knew the problem wasn’t serious and could easily be fixed, the client didn’t see it that way.  I brought my programmer and my trainer on this particular job into my office, and we called the client.

Now I must tell you something about George, my programmer.  He was a super nerd.  His clothes didn’t match, he had gigantic glasses, and he only showed signs of emotion when he talked about his toy soldier collection.

I dialed the phone and held my breath ready to be attacked.   As the client said, “Hello,” George raised his hand toward me and whispered, “Cathy, I’ve got this handled.”  As George masterfully alleviated the client’s concern and turned him from a raging bull into a puppy dog, I watched my eyes do something crazy.  I saw George’s True Self, and he was outrageously handsome.  He completely morphed before my eyes.

As the call ended, George went back to super nerd.  I never told him what I saw.  But I now understood why we are so drawn to beauty.  Before the illusion was masterminded, beauty meant that you were pure and could be trusted.  But then the illusion introduced the notion that beauty on the inside meant ugly on the outside and vice versa.  Now we can’t tell a book by its cover, and we are often tricked by false beauty.

 

True Self Versus False Self

I’ve learned a lot about the True Self since that time in my life.  It never goes away; it just gets covered up with the false self (a huge complex of beliefs and memories).  So the potential to return to true beauty is as great as our potential to return to our True Self.

Once we accept beliefs, we begin to see proof of them.  Eventually, we relabel our beliefs as the truth, and the false self takes charge.  The false self views life as unsafe and beyond our control, so it creates an army to fight off the enemy or a camouflage of good to protect its body.

In order to free our True Self and its body temple, we have to eliminate the army or the camouflage.  But we aren’t going to do this if we can’t let go of our beliefs.  We fear that we’ll die if we don’t have our protection.  We don’t realize that our beliefs project out our enemies; so our persona is only fighting our own false self.  Our false mind tells us that we have nothing to gain by letting go and everything to lose.  Most people believe the false mind; and work toward perfection of their persona.  Some personas are almost perfect clones of the True Self.  We can only tell the difference because the True Self has no enemies to battle.

The ancient initiates were described as beautiful and eternally youthful people.  But it was not because they had great personas, good genes, fine plastic surgeons, or an incredible workout routine.  It was because they were completely pure in mind.  They didn’t have any beliefs so they didn’t need a persona.

 

Can We Return to the True Self Body?

Cayce told his group that it was possible, but unlikely, to perfect their bodies in this lifetime.  However, he provided another clue that supported the body as a Temple theory.  He said that spirit is our life force, mind builds on that life force, and the physical is merely the effect.  This matches what the initiates taught.  First, they avoided fixing effects.  Second, they let go of the beliefs in their mind.  They didn’t just let go of some of them; they let go of all of them.  Then they let their spirit shine through.  This is why people painted the initiates with a glow around their body and head and called them Gods.

My favorite story as a child was the ugly ducking; I hoped it was true and that one day I’d be a swan.  I didn’t understand the story back then, but I loved it.  And as my journey has progressed, I understand why.

 

Ugly Ducking

 

For a related post about transformation, click here.