Empathy – fuelling the alchemist’s fire.

Here is a paradox. Alchemy is a solitary pursuit, and yet for it to be successful it needs to be utterly shared, utterly given back, utterly given away. An attempt at alchemical transformation without this generosity, without love, is doomed to fail. You simply can not work the alchemical opus for your own, small, personal…

Vast Silence….

A poem today from the state of meditation. Cultivating presence through meditation practice is one of the most valuable things which any person who walks a path of service can do. This poem captures the experience of the meditative state well – although the practice of meditation is not really the point –  the effect…

Being imperfect….being enough….

Today’s post is offered as a salve for those who suffer the agonies of not being perfect. We long so much to get it right and most of the time we are imperfect. Actually imperfect is all we ever have to be, and adopting a kind and self-compassionate approach to our ordinariness is the only…

Love deeply, and without patience.

This poem is a plea for passion in the slowing down times of life. Like the Dylan Thomas poem which urges not to go gentle in to that good night, this poem calls out for persistent love. Not mistaking steadfastness for doing nothing – that is a powerful meditation for the day.   This poem…

Ode to Autumn. Keats. Landscapes of imagination.

Beautiful poetry for a beautiful time of year. Thank you to John Keats for his eye which could see this and his vision which led him to write it down. One of the things I have always loved about this poem is the personification of autumn – it brings the sense of the imaginal world…

The Bright Field. A poem for late summer.

In August there can be more time to stop the rush and tumble of our lives, and to bathe in the richness of what is here. Every second taken away from awareness of the eternal present is a second lost. Most of us lose most of our seconds, most of the time. Screwed up in…

A Blackbird Singing: full throated beauty.

This poem by RS Thomas captures this alchemy of joy and sorrow – the heart opening depth of the evening. It seems wrong that out of this bird, Black, bold, a suggestion of dark Places about it, there yet should come Such rich music, although the notes’ Ore were changed to rare metal At one touch…

A condition of complete simplicity (costing not less than everything)

Non-attachment, sacrifice, surrender, presence. These concepts are at the heart of spiritual development, at least in its more sophisticated forms. What could be more simple? And yet what can possibly be harder? Eventually you have to give your self over to something bigger than yourself. No-one escapes it. We come in to the world naked…

Storming out of the darkness

When transformation comes, it is sometimes at the pace of a glimmer, a hint, the tiniest and merest minute sign that something is different. But sometimes that spark catches, like an early May day, and the whole of a person’s life can be transfigured. Boom! Just like that. Did you go to the countryside this…

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,…

One or two honest words….

It’s possible that while sleeping the hand that sows the seeds of the stars started the ancient music going again -like a  note from a great harp –  and the frail wave came to our lips as one or two honest words. Antonio Machado (translated by Robert Bly)

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…