Celebrating Alchemy

There is a labyrinth within the soul.  —John O'Donohue

In November of this past fall I was taking some training that was a very different approach for me and at times even during it was questioning its validity and rightness for me. On a night when I was about to complete the training and was still in the throes of self doubt, I had a trio of dream vignettes that told me to see what I was doing in an utterly modern way.  Modern in the finest sense of the word, letting go of the way I had been viewing myself and my creativity up until now.


I and another man live in a convent. The nuns of the convent have been caring for and housing the paint rags of the great masters. The man has somehow removed the paint from the paint rags of these masters that the nuns have been caring for, so that the paint can be reused and put into a modern printing press. I am staring into the drawer that now hold the "cleaned rags"-they are white linen-you can see flecks of the presence of the old paint but they are pristine and folded in the drawer. The man is worried that the nuns will be angry with him for taking this paint out of the rags.  I think he has done an amazing thing and I tell him it is very possible the nuns will be impressed and glad. This makes the man very happy.


Snippet two:  I have or own a huge vehicle like a utility truck as big as a Hummer, that is made of solid god. It seems that it is in the process being melted down and turned into something else, like a printing press.


Snippet three: I am replacing the inks in our color copier.  The inks are arranged like a large paint set.  I am removing the foil from the new ink paints—a gigantic tray of perhaps a hundred colors in their little pans. The colors are so clear, saturated  and vibrant and there are so many of them.  It is a very powerful feeling to open this brand new paint palette.  It is a moment in time.

End of dreams

This dream helped me to get current with myself and to see creativity not in terms of what it looks like-modern or ancient, but how it is being be used to create something new. The man in the first dream had the same anxieties many of us have when trying to do something totally out of our comfort zone--we are afraid we are making a mistake or doing something wrong.  Afraid we are going against the way it has always been. The removal of the paint from the ancient masters' rags to be put into a printing press seems almost sacrilegious.  But the rags are no longer in use, they are being cared for by the Feminine spiritual guardians in the dream.  The interesting part for my own character in the dream was one of admiration and awe, that this man had taken the primary ingredients of the Great ones and alchemically transformed them into raw materials for modern times, and in so doing—imbuing the modern vehicle with the sacred, without destroying the original materials.

The second dream snippet continues with the theme of alchemy and this time even uses the material of gold—a large utility vehicle of solid gold is being melted down and remade into a printing press. The snippet suggests that something valuable that was used in an utilitarian way is now being made into something that will be a form of communication, a new creative possibility for the gold.

The final snippet celebrates the feeling of power and awe that opening a brand new box of paints can inspire. The feeling state of the dream is one of being fully present in 'this moment in time'.  It is like an announcement on a loud speaker—"look at this, feel this, these are your new materials—feel their power and potential."

In working with the dream material I saw that I had been protecting an old view of myself, but that no matter how sacred I felt it to be,  life was bringing me a totally new way of presenting myself.  Not only as a painter of images but as a painter of words. Whose golden value was to be a new way (for me) to communicate to others, and that I could celebrate this transformation asone of many creative opportunities and shifts that will occur during one's lifetime; not to be afraid of change but to realize that we are a labyrinth and a mystery and there is good reason to feel joy and awe in the infinitely complex, and altogether unknown aspects of who we are.