How to unleash the child of wisdom found within?
The ostensible goal of alchemy is to change base metals or lead into gold. Seen from a psycho-spiritual perspective, this goal can be likened to the transformation of our current state of being, largely based on a restrictive structure loosely referred as the “ego,” to one that is consciously held in unity and wholeness referred to by Carl Jung as the “Self.” Accordingly, changing lead into gold presupposes the existence of a state of mind associated with metal and the egoic personality that is to be transmuted into its ultimate gold-like expression, represented by the alchemists’ Philosopher’s Stone.
Jung referred to the journey from ego to Self as “individuation” whereby an individual becomes distinct from the collective via the integration of the conscious and unconscious aspects of its psychological makeup. In other words, the Philosopher’s Stone is born out of the alchemical integration of lead’s egoic personality into the golden totality of the Self.
Jung proposed that the psyche is composed of three main components: the conscious, the personal unconscious, and the collective unconscious. The conscious mind is the part that informs and defines our everyday awareness, cemented and delimited by the aforementioned egoic personality or the “I.” The personal unconscious is formed by repressed contents such as feelings, habits, and memories that were at some point too difficult to face and were thus relegated to the backseat of the mind. The collective unconscious is the ancestral and communal psychic heritage of humanity that informs the other two aspects of the mind through images, symbols, and guiding forces or archetypes. Whether we are aware of it or not, the three levels of the psyche inform and influence each other throughout the course of our lives.
It’s important to mention that the unconscious aspects of the psyche are only unconscious relative to the ego. The aspect of the mind that believes to be the totality of who we are, the ego, is but a tiny star amongst the vast firmament of the unconscious mind, populated by originating forces such as dreams, myths, and various symbols of spiritual and religious import.
Having clarified the multilayered nature of the mind may help us better relate to the…