In the 4-disc series Fundamentals of Spiritual Alchemy, Caroline Myss describes the energetic pattern of the mystical journey known as spiritual alchemy. Alchemy is the process of transforming lead into gold; thus, spiritual alchemy is the process of transmuting lead (places where we're "weighted" down with "stuck" energy) into gold (learning lessons and getting our energy into present time). Myss teaches the listener how to become "alchemists" by tracking their energy through their personal history, the 7 chakras, and the 8th chakra archetypal realm of symbolic sight.
Disc 1 (45:02)
Myss describes alchemy as the "science that gives energy a tangible form", and how that, for many people, the majority of their energy is "non-local". That is, their energy is everywhere but "here". This happens when we allocate energy to people, attitudes, beliefs, situations, memories, and so on. By getting energetically "hooked", our energy gets "stuck"-becoming "lead". Myss observes "you have *no idea* how spread around the cosmos you are". Citing the ancient Mystery Schools, initiates had to learn how to manage their consciousness and keep their energy within their own auric field.
She then delves into the concept of archetypes, which are neutral patterns that serve as "magnets" that direct the activity of the psyche. Describing the internet as an "alchemical wonder", there is now no boundary anymore as to who can enter who's "brain". The Alchemist is archetype is described, along with her archetypal model which includes 4 archetypes common to all (Child, Prostitute, Victim, and Saboteur) and 8 "personal" archetypes. (This information is the subject of her book Sacred Contracts: Awakening Your Divine Potential).
Using Prince William as an example, she describes how he manifests the Prince, Knight, and Actor archetype...as well as a strong Hermit archetype like his father (Prince Charles). Myss also describes the alchemical questions we often ask during our lives-and how the first half of our life is about the management of spirit into physical matter, while the second half is matter back into spirit. Encouraging listeners to "train to remain in present time", she warns that individuals hold onto their "weight" (lead) because they don't like speed; however, lead often turns into illness, so it's important to go down the "spiral staircase" of the alchemical lab which resides behind our eyes.
Disc 2 (50:24)
In Disc 2, Myss asks the questions: "Do you know where your spirit is? And if you do, are you willing to call it home? If not, why?" She cautions against laying out your spiritual journey on the proverbial coffee table, saying a "vow of silence" is a much wiser course because you don't lose energy for the alchemical journey when you keep it inaudible.
Myss teaches that there are 3 different levels of the Mystery School-3 levels of the psyche. She covers the Small Mysteries (external power and the physical, day-to-day world), and the Greater Mysteries (the internal realm where an individual learns to manage and retrieve energy). Unfortunately, she never clarifies what the 3rd level is, but I'm guessing it's the 8th chakra level of symbolic sight which she describes at length in Disc 4.
Using the Orphan Child archetype as an example, Myss describes how this particular energy results in others NOT allowing you into the tribe, and that they are under contract to exclude you. This type of agreements is made with all the players in our life before we incarnate, and is known as a Sacred Contract. So while an individual may suffer the broken heart of exclusion at the physical level, from the archetypal point of view, it's an agreement made out of support for the soul's purpose. Indeed, the law of magnetic attraction draws to us exactly what we need for the process.
Disc 3 (52:57)
Myss illustrates the tribal nature of the 1st chakra, and how the 1st day of something is best served by a ritual (like christening a ship with a bottle of champagne). She describes the importance of being grounded by ritual, and explains how those with a Wanderer archetype never feel like they belong in a tribe because the majority has never been welcomed with some sort of "baptism". Myss describes at length the mechanics of the tribe/1st chakra, and defines superstition as a tool used by the tribe to take a chunk out of your will so they can make choices for you. She also delves into tribal investments/lead attitudes such as "illness runs in my family", and asks tough questions like: "How much of your creative, spiritual self does your tribe control and you're not even aware of it? How much of you is connected to group thought forms (religious, social, ethnic, etc.) and you don't even know it?"
She then explores the 2nd chakra, which is the area of both creativity and control battles (where you are connected to others-lead weight to lead weight). She warns: "Control issues over memories-who was right and what really happened-is the biggest lead manufacturer because you don't even think of it as a negative thing...you just consider it a `memory'. The lead damage occurs when it becomes a mantra and you hold onto those perceptions." Myss goes so far to say that "one upmanship" games of control based in anger causes malignancy in the ovarian area.
Disc 4: (69:46)
"The best way to see your life is as a story", observes Myss. In Disc 4, she explains the Orphan archetype at length, citing Bambi, Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, Hansel and Gretel, the Little Mermaid, Cinderella, and Harry Potter as examples of this archetypal pattern. She goes on to tell a fascinating story about a woman from one of her workshops who was in the middle of incredible turbulence: her parents had died, she was an orphan, and because of the machinations of her brother, she was now excluded from a sizeable inheritance. As she explained her situation, which included how her brother's plotting backfired by disqualifying *himself" as well, Myss realized this woman's situation bore an uncanny parallel to the story of Hansel and Gretel. In fact, she helped with woman "see" the story, so she could use it to chart her own course for overcoming the Wicked Witch (the legal system).
Myss teaches at length about the 3rd chakra, which is the seat of personal power and self esteem. She also describes her 3 column model. However, since this is an audio workshop, we can't see what she's drawing. She does, however, illustrate this model in her book "Sacred Contracts".
The majority of this Disc is Myss' delightful symbolic explanation of the Wizard of Oz-how the house represents the Self, the tornado represents an out-of-body experience, the yellow brick road is the 3rd chakra journey to empowerment, the wicked witch is the shadow of fear, and so on. She even correlates the Tinman, Lion, and Scarecrow to chakras 4, 5, and 6. Interestingly, Myss correlates the poppy field (where they all fall asleep) to the Garden of Gethsemane-where the disciples of Jesus fall asleep, and he laments "Could you not tarry with me one hour?"
Her description of the symbolism of Dorothy's use of the crystal ball is especially brilliant, and Myss explains that no stone or aromatherapy scent will help you until you transmute your lead into gold (as Dorothy did by confronting her fears represented by the Witch). When we become "weightless" as a result of alchemical conversion, the crystal ball then becomes an empowered talisman.
The process of spiritual alchemy is not a mere curiosity stroll, Myss stresses. Rather, it's an *excavation* that takes time. She then goes through each of the 8th chakras, outlining the questions that need to be asked at each level as you begin to transmute heavy lead into the light-ness of gold.
So far, this has been the best audio workshop I've had the pleasure of listening to. If you're not familiar with the work of Caroline Myss, you may want to read Anatomy of the Spirit and Sacred Contracts first before you listen to this particular workshop. For those who have already read those books, the Fundamentals of Spiritual Alchemy will add more richness and depth to what is found in those books.