At some point, we will be asked to revision the ideas which have accompanied us to this moment in our lives. Even our most sacred beliefs can become encrusted over time, worn out symbols of a living reality that is no longer so alive. To bring the old ways into the vessel and heat them with the fire of our desire, vision, passion, and longing. One of the common ways alchemical work begins is through the operation of solutio, where the solid and fixed material of our lives dissolves and returns to its original state, becoming raw material for imagination.
While we might romanticize this washing away, it comes with a certain devastation. It is not oriented in improving our lives, positive thinking, or what we would ordinarily think of as self-development, but is a required “darkening” we must go through so that we can begin our work anew, with fresh vision. In contemplating the various solutio moments of my own life, they were not times of peace, joy, and contentment, but of revolution where I wasn’t quite sure if I would make it through to the other side. In many ways, I did not, at least the “me” who was there at the start of the process.
If we do not engage consciously in the process of dissolution, as many have discovered, life will bring dissolution to us, by way of transition, change, and psychic upheaval of all kinds: the ending of a relationship we thought would last forever, a shift in our health, the loss of a job, an unexpected depression, the inability to find meaning. In its wisdom and its creativity, psyche is bringing disruption as a harbinger of wholeness but by nature the whole will always include the dark, not only transcend it.
Without the healing waters of dissolution, we remain stuck in habitual consciousness, unaware of and run by the unconscious lenses through which we engage self, others, and world. It is through the illumination of these reality-tunnels that we can harness the creative, magical power of the imagination, dream a new dream, and weave a more majestic story. To discover new lenses by which to open our senses to the qualities of the sacred world.