The Alchemy of the Public Health Crisis

At this time, we are all to face, individually and as a society, the choices between separation and unity. This is true of current politics, racial and cultural issues, genders, personal philosophies, family values, and every other conceivable aspect of relationship. Presently, we are asked by our government and other authorities to physically separate and isolate ourselves from our professional, social, and local communities. Presumably, we are to reunite after we are told the omnipresent threat of the virus has passed. Our homes are now our alchemical flasks, and we are as subjects to operations in the laboratory of the mind and heart.

But who are the alchemists? They can be us or they may be those who have their own suggestions for how we should be, think, and act.
Before continuing, I will introduce for the first time on this blog the alchemical process. The basic idea is that a substance is subjected to forces and actions to be broken into its fundamental parts,  purified, reorganized, and recombined into the transformed version.

The process has been described in many variations, but I will present the following seven-stage version:
Calcination. The whole starting substance is broken down to ash by fire.

Dissolution. The ashes are dissolved in water.

Separation. The desirable constituents of the original substance are filtered from the solution and isolated.

Conjunction. The constituents are organized in the new desirable way.

Fermentation. The constituents are integrated into a complete new substance.

Distillation. The new substance is purified and concentrated by boiling and condensing.

Coagulation. The new substance is allowed to solidify as whole.

The development of the public health crisis has led us from the calcincation from fear and reaction to the separation we find ourselves in today. What undesirable constituents are being washed away? And what is the intention of the conjunction and fermentation to come?

I do not wish to argue or speculate with answers to those questions here. But I assert that if we are unaware of the process, then the determinations are of someone other than we.

I encourage everyone to be his or her own alchemist in this time. What thoughts, patterns, and practices will you discard or promote during your separation? How will you intend to emerge back into the communities you choose? This is an unusual time, but one that offers great opportunity to each of us to transform ourselves and our communities through the values we choose rather than the values we may be being given.




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