Everyday Alchemy

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There is an ancient Alchemy riddle below....do you know the answer?

"The key to life and death is everywhere to be found, but if you do not find it in your own house, you will find it nowhere. Yet, it is before everyone's eyes; no one can live without it; everyone has used it. The poor usually possess more of it than the rich; children play with it in the streets. The meek and uneducated esteem it highly, but the privileged and learned often throw it away. When rejected, it lies dormant in the bowels of the earth. It is the only thing from which the Philosopher's Stone can be prepared, and without it, no noble metal can ever be created."


I do not claim to know the answer to this riddle, but the question alone leads to some very intriguing thoughts and helps put a new perspective on life.

The well-known definition of Alchemy is “the process of taking something ordinary and turning it into something extraordinary, sometimes in a way that cannot be explained.”  Here you see the symbol for Alchemy, the simple yet profound geometric shapes that represent the “philosopher's stone” and “squaring the circle.” This alchemy shape also has a metaphorical meaning: “Attempting anything that seems impossible.”

The philosopher's stone, was an imaginary substance that alchemists believed would change any base metal into silver or gold.  Circles often represent the spiritual because they are infinite—they have no end. The square is often a symbol of the material because of the number of physical things that come in fours, such as four seasons, four directions, and the four physical elements—earth, air, fire, and water.  The union of man and woman in alchemy is a merging of spiritual and physical natures. The triangle is then a symbol of the resulting union of body, mind, and soul.

This past year has given me numerous opportunities to use Alchemy in my own life, to see the wealth of opportunity and lessons at my fingertips, and respond with gratitude instead of fear.  I have come to understand that we all possess the ability to alchemize our lives, to turn painful circumstances into invaluable lessons. We all have the power to decide what we place our focus and attention on, and how we choose to respond to whatever life hands us.  I truly believe we are each our own best healer and advocate, and have all the answers we will ever need within us.