The Alchemy Project
Alchemy is not merely a laboratory process to discover the elixir of life or the Philosophers’ Stone but was understood to also be a metaphysical process, concerned with the development of the soul. For my CP I decided I wanted to do a series of paintings working with the rich symbolism of the alchemical process that would lead to an appreciation of the stages of alchemy as stages of the souls journey to wholeness – of becoming a fully realised human being. In the course of doing this project I wanted to let chance happenings or synchronicities guide me to a certain extent. I found this approach to be liberating in that I could allow the paintings to come through me rather than from me. The paintings are meant to be meditated upon.
It is this spiritual and psychological aspect of alchemy – an aspect that has survived the rise of modern scientific chemistry — that captured my interest. I am writing about my process of producing a series of paintings exploring spiritual and psychological alchemy.
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Alchemy is rich in symbolism and the symbols themselves were fertile ground for cultivating the enlightenment of one’s soul or, as Jung would call it, the process of individuation (Jung 2013 p201f, Connolly 2013 p5, and Ramsay 1997 p44).1
This is the path to “becoming one’s own self” (Jung 2013 p395) in which one may “unify polarities and conflicts, and develop … wisdom” (Matsumoto 2009 p254).