Buddha sat under a tree and explained the truth of impermanence. Alchemical artists drew, etched, carved or painted vivid images to represent that truth.
Eastern philosophy evokes nature to reveal the cycles of change — living life in accordance with flow. But the alchemists of old were crazier and wilder. They knew human beings were complex creatures and depicted our psychic atmosphere in phantasmagorical allegory. Breeze-caressed willow sprigs and geese flying south for the winter didn’t match the nitty-gritty human condition.
People are complicated creatures — a mix of animal instinct and human desire. The alchemists understood this. And so the psychological world was depicted with a tumult of clashing chemistries — trials of burning, freezing, steaming, dissolving and splitting depict the psychic clash or merging of antithetical forces.
The alchemical gold, the reward at the end of the opus — the art or work — is not just a reconnection with one’s harmonized, essential nature (that goose flying to Florida), it is a certain wisdom that only a self-reflecting consciousness comes to understand and embrace. A wisdom that transcends the limitations of duality, of time and space. The result is hard-won, but clear: When we align with the law of impermanence we discover the security of our center. We abide in the present — the ‘one moment’. And that is a golden condition. The natural condition.
It’s good to bring up gold because tomorrow’s New Moon in Leo is all about the soft, precious metal. Interestingly enough, gold is very much what Pluto’s continued grind through Capricorn unearths. You dig into the earth to free the stuff. And nothing digs quite as hard as Pluto, and no sign is earthier. Read more