Alchemists work with consciousness to bring greater light, greater consciousness, to the world. The transformation of this in to that (the great secret of course is that that turns out to have been this all along, but that is a whole other story…). Advent is the Christian season of waiting for the new consciousness to emerge, to be born. It is the darkness of the womb, the expectation of transformation to come, but not yet here. It is like the time of the cocoon in the cycle of the butterfly, and you can’t rush it. We teach children this with their advent calendars and (much more thrilling) candles.
Psychotherapists sometimes fall in to denial about this stage. We are so excited about butterflies, so longing to help, to alleviate, to ease the pain which is brought to us, we can sometimes try and skip the waiting. This long, cocoon, ‘advent’ time of waiting before the new consciousness can come to the person is very important. It is a deep indwelling, which ripens the awareness to come, allows it to form. Many popular (populist?) therapy interventions promise instant relief from distress and quick solutions. Therapists who are working with alchemy would do well to treat quick fixes with considerable suspicion. All new consciousness needs its advent.