Alchemy and the Secrets of Vitality and Health in Hypnosis (Part 1)
By David Quigley
Many people have asked me why I call the work I do "Alchemy". The answer is simple: because Alchemy is the core of my work and is the secret of my own vitality. For over a thousand years Alchemists have taught secrets of longevity and health. In this article I will explain what that means. Most people think that the Alchemists were erroneous medieval experimenters trying to turn lead into gold. in fact, their main focus was the "Elixir of Immortality" - ie, the secrets of longevity. Even though such great luminaries from the Enlightenment as Roger Bacon and Isaac Newton were card carrying Alchemists, the modern world still dismisses their work as pseudo science.
The great psychotherapist Carl Jung, on the other hand, did not dismiss this work as mere superstition. He studied many of the ancient Alchemical texts, and discovered that the alchemists were engaged in a journey into some deep internal realms of imagination. The processes they described involved contacting powerful inner guides, which Jung described as archetypes. They interacted with these beings in mysterious ways that were described in the illustrations within their manuscripts. Ways that today we might call depth psychology, although the scholars of that time had no psychological language with which to describe these processes. Basically, according to Jung, Alchemy was a type of hypnosis therapy (he called it active imagination) in which the seeker in an alert state of trance comparable to deep prayer or meditation, contacted inner guides and utilized their power to transform their lives. Since my teachings are clearly within the scope of this venerable tradition, I choose to call my work Alchemy.
But the parallels between my work, Carl Jung's psychology, and the writings of the ancient alchemists are far greater than this. This article will show how the ancient alchemist's primary symbols and goals precisely parallel the work of Alchemy as described on my web library, and in my textbook, Alchemical Hypnotherapy.
The most important symbol to the ancient alchemists was the Elixir of Immortality, which was the primary objective of the alchemist's experiments. The large quantities of gold that history tells us were produced (?) by these alchemists were, according to their writings, a byproduct of this Elixir. This elixir was made from something called the philosopher's stone, and represented the ultimate achievement for the Alchemist. This healing brew supposedly conferred upon the alchemist either extreme longevity or eternal life.
I have no idea, frankly, if a physical substance like this elixir was ever created by the alchemical process. But I do believe in the writings of one Alchemist, who wrote "Transform yourselves into the elixir of Immortality."
I became convinced of the reality of this symbol by a peculiar event that occurred to me last year. In 1986 I trained a lovely 43 year old woman named Surja Jessup in the work of Alchemy. For years we saw nothing of each other, but I did show a videotape of her doing Alchemy in class on many occasions. Twenty years later she showed up for an advanced class, the one in which her video was to be shown. When she walked in the door I was shocked. She had scarcely aged in twenty years. And I should know, since I had seen her face on her video many times. At 63, she still looked 43! My first question for her was, "Who is your plastic surgeon?" Her answer was even more shocking. "No, David. No surgery, no makeup." Then after a moment of puzzled silence, "It must be this alchemical process." (Look for her story in a future issue.) Well, I knew that my body has become much younger in the last twenty years, going as I did from a host of degenerative diseases to a vital and passionate athletic body. But seeing Surja finally brought it home to me. There must be something about this process that keeps us young and healthy! So, how do we alchemists create this elixir in our inner worlds? Read on.
One of the most critical symbols in the alchemical writings was the image of a child who lives inside the belly of the alchemist. Called the homunculus, Latin for fetus, it was portrayed as a hidden infant within the alchemist which needed to be born to and nurtured by an inner father and mother, who were often referred to as Sol (sun) and Luna (moon). At least five centuries before John Bradshaw, the ancient alchemists were doing inner child work. But in their work, inner parents helped the adult self to rescue this inner child from childhood pain and trauma and provide a new, happy childhood for that child. This is exactly the way I do "Alchemy" with clients.
Another of the universal symbols of the Alchemists was the Prima materia. This was the primordial substance from which the ancient alchemists created the Elixir of Immortality. While many modern scholars translate this concept as "lead", (remember the legend of lead into gold?) the Alchemists themselves never described it as a metal. They referred to it as a black malodorous substance that is reviled by all. What is that? My guess was the same as Jung's ... human excrement. We understand this to be a reference to the dark, ugly emotions that live inside our bodies and cause harm to ourselves and, to the extent that we act out of these feelings, harm to others as well. Reviled by all indeed ... fear, anger, shame, grief, lust. Before such feelings were made popular by new age therapists, these feelings were reviled by men, who, like Sigmund Freud, regarded them as ugly throwbacks to our primeval animal past.
But the Alchemists did not revile and reject these things. They saw these basic human instincts as the very source and substance of their transformative process. They told us clearly that only from the darkest matter could their gold be created. And that substance is exactly what I use to transform myself and my clients. For in my experience the body and soul cannot be healed until one addresses the emotional pain locked up in our bodies. And that pain can only be transformed with unconditional love for that child who was so hurt. That love includes listening to all the repressed pain of childhood, releasing the screams and cries and moans that have been buried for so many years, and then replacing them with memories of tender love and care. In order to make gold, I've learned we must start with ... poop. Click to learn more about these powerful life enhancing techniques To experience this powerful process for yourself, call our therapy line at (707) 539-4989.
To your health!