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)

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 upward pointing icicle and other miracles

So the upwards pointing icicle came to my garden one morning about five years ago. I still have no idea what to make of it. It was there, bold as brass, or a little icy excitement, emerging from the frozen ice of the pot. Icicles usually go downwards. This one went upwards. There was no…

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…

Advent, waiting, and alchemy.

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…

Therapy as safe harbour.

During times of turmoil, the therapeutic relationship can provide a refuge, a moment of peace, a place of safety. It is not always like this of course, nor should it be. Sometimes the therapeutic relationship is fraught and frightening – we use the therapy space to grow and as therapists we offer ourselves to our…

A blaze of light in every word….

‘There’s a blaze of light in every word It doesn’t matter which you heard,  the Holy, or the Broken. Hallelujah.’ Some poets and dreamers have been particularly generous in their contributions to the forming, the languaging, of what it means to be a human person. Psychotherapy is about this formation. Good therapy wonders as it…

How many goats do you have?

      Becoming Human Once a man came to me and spoke for hours about “His great visions of God” he felt he was having. He asked me for confirmation, saying, “Are these wondrous dreams true?” I replied, “How many goats do you have?” He looked surprised and said, “I am speaking of sublime…

Time’s fool, or the ever fixed mark?

The link we make between love and eternity deserves some attention. We offer a ring as a symbol of our love in marriage, because it is eternal – the ring, in its circularity,  has no beginning or end. We promise to love ‘forever’ (although in the Christian marriage service the promise is only until death,…

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…