Separation in Alchemy
Recently, I wrote about the first two stages personal transformation, as described by western alchemy, calcination and dissolution. These phases focused on using the inner fire and water for personal growth. Today, I will likewise write about the third phase, Separation, and draw parallels to Taoist alchemy. In calcination, the metaphor is using fire to burn things to their essence. In dissolution, we use water to wash away the ashes of the previous parts of ourselves. In Separation, the components of dissolution are filtered out and any ungenuine material is separated and discarded.
Egyptians associated this phase with Scorpio and a descent into the underworld to bring back the true essence of ourselves. The trip back from the darkness was accompanied by universal truths and raising up the most noble parts of ourselves. Medieval engravings showed this as a white bird or dove flying over a burned and blackened countryside, symbolizing the first two processes mentioned above.
On the personal level, the alchemist underwent psychological transformations that mimicked the chemical changes happened in their laboratory. Separation requires decisive action and can be represented by a warrior with a sword, cutting to the heart of the matter—just as the adept will get to the heart of their personality.
In Taoist alchemy, the practiced has moved up to the area of the solar plexus, the adrenals, pancreas, spleen, and liver. This is the area of decisiveness, fight or flight, eating and hunger. This is the last stop up the core channel before the adept gets to the heart and the virtues of love, compassion, and a more complete understanding of fellow humans. The solar plexus relates to the earth, the seasons, and the five elements at a planetary level. Here, we get stuck in our animal urges, or we find a way to embrace them and apply them on a journey of spiritual growth.
These are all ideas for finding the gold inside yourself. If you want gold outside of yourself, please gain/apply relevant skills and do work.
The Alchemist’s Tao Te Ching:
Transforming Your Lead Into Gold