Alchemy, The Shadow, Dreams and Ritual.

Alchemy, on the surface, was the medieval attempt to turn lead into gold. It is really a metaphor for a much greater work, that of transforming the 'leaden' soul into the 'soul of gold.'

The shadow is that part of our personality we are least able to face, our biggest embarrassment, the part we can't see but that others often can't miss. Conflict with, or repression of the shadow creates spiritual turmoil.

The shadow, manifesting as the hard knocks of daily life, is confronted most directly in scary or uncomfortable dreams, and by working with these images in active, waking imagination we can resolve conflicts and re-own the life force that the shadow often steals from us. The dreams give us access to the shadow, provide an arena in which to work things out. (More about dream cultivation, recall, and processing).

A ritual is a form, like a series of dance steps, that helps to focus the mind and hopefully bring it to new levels of awareness.

Any activity can be a ritual; from washing dishes to a morning walk. What makes it a ritual is the performer's intention. And with focus and strong intention, activities performed consciously as ritual can open the mind to truly transcendent spaces. Rites often become elaborate and stylized, each tiny movement fraught with significance and solemn grandeur. Meditation, yoga, dance, and drumming, are some other kinds of activities that can be done as ritual.

Ritual engenders a feeling of reverence: the difference between 'You,' and 'Thou.'

To Dreaming

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