Albedo – alchemist’s purity, alchemist’s peril.

By the light of the silvery moon…..albedo is the whitening stage of alchemy. How do we recognise it, how do we work with it, and what are its dangers? Although we are often mightily relieved to move out from the dreadful clutches of nigredo in to the white, imaginative, open, diaphanous, cleansing rising of albedo,…

Solutio – the Alchemist’s surrender

Coming apart, dissolving, letting go of structures. The alchemical operation of solutio, the purification by water, is a fundamental and observable feature of the transformation of matter (and of what matters). The alchemical operations are ways of understanding how something is worked on in the process of transformation. So if we are changing lead to…

The Emerald Tablet

The earth reflects heaven and heaven reflects  earth, and there is no division between these realms. Everything proceeds from the origin. This knowing is, and is  engendered by Light and by loving reflection. It became known through the body and understanding gently emerged there approached with wisdom and love. It will be constant and it will…

Imagination and Psychotherapy – the neuroscience is friendly

The imaginal function is important to psychotherapists because it connects us directly to what is  not yet know. Psychotherapy is not about what is known. Any therapist who purports to be able to tell you what is ailing you and what you should do about it is one to run a mile from. No, psychotherapy…

The beauty of the wound

Have you ever been struck by how the most beautiful part of a tree is the wounded part, where a limb has been torn off? Probably it was a difficult experience for the tree, limited its capacity to function efficiently for some time. But it healed. It survived. And it was left with a unique…

Tolerating the narcissism of teasels…..

My teasels have sprung in to action, taking a huge amount of space in the borders. They are massive, clear, and very present – “Look at meeeee!!” “Here I am!!!!” “Get out of my way, lesser herbaceous cousin-plant…..it is ME!!!! Make room!!!!”  arms aloft, dainty waists, slightly weirdly alienesque eyes. I love them. They have a certain…

Transpersonal Co-creation

Therapeutic work, especially transpersonal therapeutic work can be usefully thought of as participating in three levels of co-creation:- the inner, the between, and the beyond. More specifically, I propose that we can think of transpersonal therapy as finding ways to help the client (and ourselves) explore life in three broad spheres of engagement. The inner, the…

‘Not in entire forgetfulness….’

The forget-me-nots take over the garden in early spring, and even though they threaten to squash out some of the burgeoning young plants trying to push their way up, I don’t have the heart to weed them out. They are so profuse, so hopeful, so intricately simple, and so faithfully reliable. They are glorious. I…

Yearning for Hidden Treasure

The spiritual bypass is what we call our unwillingness to explore the difficult aspects of our process. There can be a tendency for spiritually minded types (like me, and you if you are reading this blog…) to want to transcend. We love transcendence. The space! The freedom! The brush of angels wings! I am not…

Coagulatio – becoming earth, becoming spirit

The materialisation of spirit and the spiritualisation of matter. As above, so below. The alchemist’s job is to raise what is earthy to the level of spirit and to bring to through to full incarnation that which is in potential. It is a two way thing. Bring it down, raise it up. Don’t make the…

Vulnerability and Love

The word vulnerable means to be capable of being wounded. Being human is to live in that capability – we have vulnerable bodies, we are open to being hurt physically and in our hearts (as we reach out for love, attention, affection) all the time. Imagine being on a battlefield without armour, you would be…

Hello world!

It is my hope that this blog will let you peek over the garden wall in to the (sometimes paradoxically hellish) Eden of my research. I am exploring how (and why) transpersonal psychotherapists come in to contact with the archetype of the garden. The research explores alchemy, creative imagination, and contemplative experience, and looks at how…