I was sitting in the Moon Pavilion at Diana's Grove in Missouri. The summer heat and humidity was swelling to nearly unbearable levels. My internal longing for the rain to break loose from the clouds and offer release from the thick, oppressive air was foremost in my mind.
Our teacher, T Thorn Coyle handed us each a mini alembic. A vessel to hold our disparate parts and invited us to "cook them" in the fire of our belly where our will resides.
It was the first time I ever looked at myself as an Alchemist. We used the principles as an exercise for personal growth. We took those things needing work, put them together and added another element to create something new. Something other. Like the humidity building in the hot summer afternoon; Moisture, heat and pressure created rain.
Before that moment, Alchemy was just a series of beautiful, complex and mysterious images and tales of turning lead into gold. It represented Science and Mystery dancing on the fringe of "acceptable" society.
My little alembic still sits on my alter. Those dissipate parts, inner work and connection to my will brought forth courage. That courage supported a move halfway across the world, leaving all I held dear for something new.
I now live in Cambridgeshire. Cambridge University is a presence that can't be ignored but often is in the hustle and bustle of daily life. While running my errands in the shadows of the ancient University buildings, I sometimes fancy my feet covering the same ground as the rock stars of British Alchemy; Sir Isaac Newton and John Dee.
It is many years later and a long way from that hot Summer storm in Salem Missouri. The image of the Ouroboros comes to mind; the great snake eating its own tail. It is the symbol of eternal return and a sense of something constantly re-creating itself.