THE ALCHEMY OF LOVE
You bewilder us with your grace.
All evils transform into goodness.
You are the master alchemist.
You light the fire of love in earth and sky
in heart and soul of every being.
Through your love, existence and nonexistence merge.
All opposites unite.
All that is profane becomes sacred again.
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THE ALCHEMY OF DANCE
Early alchemists projected onto inanimate material, their own human psychic conditions. They projected mental states onto chemicals and matter. In their laboratories the importance of looking at the mind outside one’s self became a personally transformational act. To alchemists, everything is alive and full of spirit. Everything is a process rather than a static event. In dance, the body is the laboratory, the challenges of life the catalyst and the dance the medium of transformation. The process of physical, spiritual, mental integration is the gold often called enlightenment. In this condition, we open ourselves to the profundity of the universal consciousness, where deep healing can take place.
The last card of the Tarot, ‘The Universe’ or ‘The World’, is often referred to as the ‘Universal Dancer’. It is co-creation, the place where we are fully assimilated with all of existence and dance with the universe. In occult and spirituality, dance is used as a metaphor like this. However, dance is also a very real method, ‘way’ or technique for personal salvation and unity. Alchemy is all about transformation - literally of base metal into gold. Often the journey to personal transformation begins with demise into a dark, confusing and difficult place. Here unpleasant and repressed memories may emerge, the shadow may be perceived with all its shocking revelations. Through choosing to make a journey within, we can work with what we find and shine light onto negative experiences.These can then become springboards into more edifying and constructive ways of being.
My journey into dance has been part of my personal an alchemical transformation. The wretchedness of where I was when I started on my dance adventure propelled me into a career where I could help transform others’ lives and guide them to techniques I used to improve my own life.
Alchemy is a philosophy and practice which has sought means of transmuting one element into another (e.g., base metals into gold). Our ‘gold’ of positive, personal transformation is preceded by the stages of incubation and gestation. We need to look at what we need to change; we need to discover who we really are. Dance, like with martial arts, yoga and similar movement forms, can create both self-discovery and healing .The process of transformation requires introspection, discipline and desire. Trauma, illness and separation can plunge us into depression or propel us into a place of reinvention, which although initially painful will eventually be beneficial.
The word alchemy comes from the Arabic word al-kimia. an elixir of life or longevity, and the preparation of materials with uncommon or unique properties. Alchemy involves a quest for knowledge and wisdom. People in modern culture are often separated from their body. This schism prevents an embodied introspection and prevents a holistic self-knowledge. The Self is expressed in movement and gesture. We can learn from the body if we are brave enough to listen to its honest counsel. Dance allows a place for the introspection of embodied emotion which can be expressed and observed.
There can be no transforming of darkness into the light without emotion.' Jung .Dance is a living, dynamic, expression of the emotional self. Dance is a medium that has been used cross-culturally for its transformative powers. As an embodied method of communication, dance forms a bridge between individuals, the inner self and the greater social and spiritual environment. Dance can transform the energy in the person, the room and even the Earth. The prayer of dance transmits energy into Gaia, so she continues to provide for the people.
Growth is life. Dance gives us a chance to grow and develop, with improvements in skill come positive personality change. We are all part of the universe's growing complexity. If an individual experiences stagnation then they feel unhappy. A sense of evolution feels good because this is what our mission is, to expand- dance with its constant series of challenges which seem to spiral fractal-like into infinity, give one a never-ending, progression of advancement. The satisfaction of learning something new is presented next to the stimulation of reaching out for things that currently feel difficult even seemingly unobtainable. The achievement of dance goals sends a positive signal to one's sense of self. The potential for self-improvement all areas of life are obvious. If knowing is located in the body then changing the way the body moves must have a powerful effect on ones sense of self.
In trance or rapturous dance we can let go of our ego, we can use our bodies, the recipients of experience, to transform and to release the spirit. While I dance I cannot evaluate, I cannot hate, I cannot separate myself from existence. I can only be complete. I recognise that my painful experiences have made me who I am today. We can use the dark times to propel our growth and embodied spirituality. The dark night of the soul is part of the human condition. So much of pain is felt and experienced through the body and manifests as bodily dysfunction or disease. All experience positive or negative is given as a gift of learning. Dance can both relieve the pain of negative experience and reveal painful truths about ourselves. Our bodies can inform us about how we can change and improve. Dance can express elements of communication that cannot be expressed with words. It speaks about what words cannot say, but what needs to be said. The body is changed through dance; it can merge with the soul and with infinite love.
The human imagination and creativity is what lifts us into higher states of being. In alchemy, it is believed that the microcosm is a reflection of the macrocosm. When we want to assist in the uplifting of society we need to also work on ourselves. In most cases we need to work on the contamination of our psyches. We may be propelled to some form of therapy, where we can begin consciously the process of distillation of the golden being. Our bodies are made from the elements of mother earth. We are all a part of the transformation of the planet as the earth changes so will we and our personal change also affects her. Personal transformation is also global and universal transformation. The unspeakable elements connect us to the iridescent reality that we originate from. We all have a desire to penetrate the unfathomable mystery. Institutions of the establishment like to tell people where their minds can go or not go. Dance can give us a route to freedom and physical autonomy.
We all come from the realms of light and we will return to those realms. We may be born with certain genes or astrological configurations; these may make us have a fatalistic and passive response to who we are. However, fate can be overcome, we can improve ourselves if we are brave enough. We can achieve change through desire and ‘magic’. We are all influenced by our perceived powerlessness in an existential world. We may feel dis-empowered by the programmes others have installed in us and by the unseen masters who drive our ideological and economic systems. The challenge is to cleanse one’s self from the elements in society that deny the connection to the divine. Alchemy recognises this. Alchemy identifies a contaminated and purified state, the nigredo and the albido . The nigredo is the precondition to transformation. This means in the human condition that the negative dark nights of the soul are the springboard to be used to higher consciousness. No one can avoid life’s challenges, no matter how powerful or rich the person is. The point is that everything upsetting that happens to us, can be a catalyst for growth and increased personal and universal integration.
We can transform into something that feels better to us. In dance, we can use movement to reach out into the collective unconscious and assimilate the divine beings that reside there. "When a man undertakes to create something," wrote Paracelsus, "he establishes a new heaven, as it were, and from it the work that he desires to create flows into him. In order that it may be expressed, that it may resound, the word must be made flesh’’.