Alchemy, the term, dates back to medieval days. It is considered the precursor to chemistry. Alchemy is interesting, as its focus was the transformation of matter, most popularly, lead into gold. This idea was eventually recognized as impossible, at that time. In fact these days there is a method called Nuclear Transmutation that can actually turn lead into gold, in minuscule amounts. The elements have been represented in alchemy since its conception, and they are present in what we can consider modern alchemy also.
However, the study of lead to gold is not the premise of what most people would recognize as modern alchemy. These days, what you will find researching “modern” or “spiritual” alchemy is the idea that, like lead into gold, we can transmute our being into something else. It is a way to transform yourself into what you want. With this in mind we begin to see how powerful an idea like that can be, and elementalism as an alchemical concept. Just as an alchemist of the medieval era would study turning physical lead into gold, elementalism seeks to transform our undesired aspects into something more.
Modern alchemy is not a religion, but a process of understanding the nature of consciousness and being. In fact most ideas around alchemy today encourage that you delve into the religion you understand and accept. The idea of being a singular part of a connected whole is strongly encouraged. That can be achieved through your own spiritual journey. Fire is the element of spirituality and change, so having a healthy amount of spirituality and creativity is important.
By balancing all four parts of our being, we are enabled to transform what is currently our life, into the life we envision. Many “maps” of this kind exist, astrology, the chakra system, herbalism, vitalism. Each of these is equally as intelligent in their own right, a part of the whole, when looking at them from a holistic approach. Just as they are part of the whole, so too is elementalism, and while we all cannot relate and understand those things entirely, these different maps give us a different perspective on the whole information. This is why elementalism works within the realms of all of these maps, and especially well in tandem with others. Maybe that’s because human’s work much the same way, capable of anything alone, but everything together.
One motto in Alchemy is “Solve et Coagula” which translates to “dissolve and coagulate”. It is the idea that something must be broken down to be built up into something new. In this same way the elements represents singular aspects of all things, and we can break down and reform them into the shape, or balance, of something new. Going back to the blog post on the Philosopher’s stone, our perspective of anything is the only thing we know of it. That implies the idea that how you perceive your being and its balance with existence is what makes up your reality. This is why it is important to visualize the future your will be living in, and see it becoming what needs to be. Take control of your perception and watch as you perceive lead change into gold.