I intend on presenting a series of posts that look at alchemy from a naturist and psychological point of view. If I accept that naturism allows one to achieve a physical state that is in holistic balance with the earth, with relationship with others and with the self, it is desirable that one looks for a psychological balance as well since we are as much spirit as we are body. I will draw on several major sources for this series. The first is a document written by Nigel Hamilton called “The Alchemical Process of Transformation.” The second source is a contemporary web site maintained by Adam McLean called, The Alchemy Web Site. The third source is a book written by Marie-Louise von Franz called, Alchemy: An Introduction to the Symbolism and the Psychology. The final, and perhaps most important source is to be taken from the works of Carl Gustav Jung.
I am not an alchemist. However, there is much in the realm of alchemy which allows me to better understand myself, allows me to remove all the layers that hide the essence of who I am.
In following the model of alchemy from a Jungian psychology standpoint, the exposure to the naked self allows for a transformation at a conscious level. With that transformation, I am able to be, to live more authentically, more aware of myself in the world. In adding the dimension of Buddhism to my journey towards awareness, I have found that even in Buddhism, alchemy has had a significant role to play in its history.
I can’t pretend to be an expert on alchemy, but I can talk about the stages of transformation as I understand them in relation to my experiences as a therapist and as analysand. This isn’t an easy process, but then one would not expect it to be easy. Awareness, enlightenment – these are the goals, to become as fully aware as possible, aware of self, others and the world. To approach these goals, one has to strip away a lot of layers and face truths alone and naked.