Symbolically, alchemy represents our attempts to refine or improve ourselves individually and collectively. The goal of alchemical transformation is to attain a higher state of consciousness and access our true Self, also known as the Philosopher's Stone. This process consists of seven stages of chemical, physiological and psychological transformation.
I. Calcination is the initial phase in the seven steps of alchemical transformation. Chemically, the Calcination process involves heating a substance in a crucible, over an open flame until it is reduced to ash. Psychologically, this process represents the destruction of the ego and our attachments to the material.
II. Dissolution the second phase involves dissolving the ashes from Calcination. Chemically, it is the dissolving of ash in water. Psychologically, it represents the breaking down of artificial structures and the unconscious, rejected parts of our psyche. It is a process in which our conscious mind lets go of control in order to allow the deeper, hidden aspects of the Self to surface.
III. Separation is the third phase in alchemical transformation. Chemically, it is the isolation of the components of Dissolution by filtration and then discarding unworthy material. Psychologically, this process is the rediscovery of our true essence, the previously rejected parts of the rational mind. It is a conscious process in which we embrace our shadow self so we can decide what to discard and what to integrate into our personality.
IV. Conjunction is the fourth phase. Chemically, it is the recombination of the saved elements from Separation into a new substance. Psychologically, it is the birth of our true Self, the divine union of opposites.
V. Fermentation is the fifth phase in alchemical transformation. Fermentation is a two-step process that ultimately leads to a new level of being. Chemically, fermentation is the growth of bacteria in an organic solution. Psychologically, the fermentation process starts with divine inspiration and synchronicities. Fermentation can be achieved through intense prayer, deep meditation, breath work or with psychedelic plants. Fermentation is living from intuition and knowing when to take inspired action, while learning to trust and connect to something totally beyond the physical.
VI. Distillation is the sixth phase in alchemy. Chemically, it is the boiling and condensation of a fermented solution to increase its purity. Psychologically, distillation is the agitation and sublimation of psychic forces to ensure that no impurities from the inflated ego are incorporated into the next and final stage. Personal distillation consists of a variety of introspective methods that help shift our level of consciousness and ultimately changes our perception of reality. Distillation is the purification of the unborn Self, our highest potential. Free from emotions and egoic attachments.
VII. Coagulation is the seventh and final stage in alchemical transformation. Chemically, Coagulation is the precipitation or sublimation of the purified Ferment from Distillation. Psychologically, Coagulation is first sensed as a new level of awareness and self-confidence that is beyond all things; many experience it as a permanent state of higher consciousness, the ultimate embodiment of Spirit. Coagulation releases the Ultima Materia of the soul, the Astral Body, also known as the Philosopher’s Stone. Physiologically, this final stage is marked by the release of a fiery liquid energy that drives physical transmutation and becomes the brain ambrosia or hormone that brings on the materialization of Spirit in man. This is true atonement (at-one-ment) with the mind of God.