Spiritual Alchemy

Posted on vr 15 december 2023 in tools

This is a type of shadow work. It helped me tremendously and I am thankful for having found these through the writings of John Michael Greer. He published the teachings starting in July 2021.

Back then, he wrote:

Spiritual alchemy begins with the transmutation of the emotional life. This is the work of the material covered in the outer order, which is named the Octagon Society. I will caution my readers that this work is not easy. Its material requirements are very simple -- it's the work itself that's hard. [...]

I have not enjoyed doing this work, but I do feel better afterwards. There have been a few lessons where initially I thought I don't have any experiences of that kind. After a day of chewing on the lesson, I realized there were numerous examples. Some even happened just the day before!

The lessons provided me with a structured way of working with difficult emotions and the memories that keep them in place. By feeling these emotions again in a safe context and accepting, forgiving and even loving what happened to me helped me release these emotions.

As of August 2023 I have made a first pass through all of the lessons. I realize there is still more work to be done, for sure.

All the material has been collected and published on a dedicated website for the Octagon Society.

To get a feel for the work, start with the Preliminary Lessons. They help stir up memories and emotions, some long repressed, so they become available for transformation. The preliminary lessons are for working on:

  • Blame. Because: Carrying the weight of blame causes more harm than the things for which we blame others ever did.
  • Shame. Because: Carrying the weight of shame causes more harm than the things for which we feel ashamed ever did.
  • Guilt. Because: Carrying the weight of guilt causes more harm than the things for which we feel guilty ever did.

The Main Lessons are about exploring and transforming different emotions and aspects of mind:

  • feeling good or bad - Acceptance: We can heal and learn from our experiences only if we accept them.
  • feeling sad or unhappy - Happiness: Happiness is a decision we make at every moment of our lives.
  • feeling fearful of anxious: Joy/Courage: your capacity for joy/courage is measured by your ability to let go of fear.
  • feeling angry: Peace: it is not feeling angry but clinging to anger that deprives us of the peace we seek.
  • feeling hurt or harmed: Forgiveness: we can advance to the heights of our spiritual path only to the extent we can forgive ourselves and all others
  • mental models and changing them: Strength: every person can become who and what they want to become.
  • desirable qualities: Teaching: we teach others all the time because of who and what we are, whether we know it or not, whether we like it or not.
  • loving what is: Unconditional Love: Love is the ultimate expression of our freedom as spiritual beings.