Nearly a year ago I read the book “Alchemy” by Brian Cotnoir and I’ve been sitting on it for a while. I just recently read the last half of the book “Sacred Economics” by Charles Eisenstein and it has stirred up a few of the ideas I’ve been sitting on over the past year based on principles of Alchemy.
1. Before you begin your Great Work you should have the funding for the highest quality materials available. This Work comes to you as a gift and is to be offered to the world as a gift. This is not a for profit or even a “break even” venture. Make your money elsewhere.
2. To do your best work, the body must be kept healthy through proper lifestyle choices and the mind kept steady through spiritual/meditative/contemplative practices. It is recommended to stick to one tradition.
3. All sources of conflict and disruption around your Work should be reduced as much as possible.
4. Your Work should be started with dedicating it to the alleviation of suffering and any results should be given over to the alleviation of suffering. Ones success with the Great Work should be put towards caring for the poor and the sick.
5. This final principle comes from “Future Primal” by Louis G. Herman and “The Bushman way of Tracking God” by Bradford Keeney and isn’t really alchemy, but I find it useful. When in doubt about if the vision you are birthing into being is Great Work, or not, ask yourself; is it for love or for libido dominandi — a lust for power. That is it. As Bradford Keeney said: “The final battle is between love and power”
What do I do if I am lost in the forest?
Stand still. Stand still
The trees ahead and the bushes along side of you are not lost.
Wherever you are is called here.
You must treat it as a powerful stranger and ask permission to know it and be known.
Listen. Listen. The forest breathes.
It whispers, “I have made this place around you. If you leave it, you can come back again.”
No two trees are the same to the raven.
No two branches are the same to the wren.
If what a tree or a branch does is lost on you, then you are surely lost.
Stand still. Stand still.
The forest knows where you are. You must let it find you.
—“Lost” by David Wagoner
I came across this poem at a time in my life when I was feeling quite lost, quite stuck and I found it very helpful. I am trying to live by it, to keep some time open to just listen and just be. I have started painting again. I have also started to work through the book “The Artists Way” by Julia Cameron. I am trying to work on what kind of artist I want to be to experiment with some different techniques and ideas and learn new skills. I feel that that label “Illustrator” is limiting and “Artist” is a better label but I know I need to narrow it down to something more marketable. I just haven’t figured that out yet. I’m just going to have to be OK with being unmarketable for a while. In the painting I did here I am trying to convey the idea of being lost in your own mind and taking the same advice to be still and get to know the “forest” around you.
I’ve found this diagram to be a nice framework for my exploration of holistic education with my son in mind and in my own search for optimal well being. http://www.hent.org/world/history/historical.htm
Currently I am:
Listening to Audio Book: The Art of Being by Erich Fromm
Reading Book: Child Honouring. This book includes essays by people mentioned in the chart above who are new to me; Matthew Fox, Raine Eisler, Fritjof Capra…as well as those whose work I was familiar with; Sanda Steingraber and Barbara Kingslover
Taking courses on:
Meditation with Bud Agnew at The Yoga Haven
The Happiness of the Child: Montessori Information Series through Full Circle Parenting