Alchemy is one of those funny things that every journalist, author, and artist needs to understand in order to do their jobs right.
It is a way to delve into your own unpredictable and unruly subconscious to understand the traumas around you, even if you were a success on that battlefield.
Turning lead into gold, learning what is gold, and what is pyrite, in a way.
But you cannot study it unless you have suffered a spiritual death of sorts.
I studied the mythos of alchemy for years as an author and an artist who works with metal. The backbone of my stories under A Dangerous Woman Story Studio was and continues to be alchemy.
The royal art of creating noble metals to get into Eden.
Or, how to unrig a game where you are given a losing hand, so that you are not distracted by the tricks in order for you can achieve your own paradise on your own terms.
Or, even more blunt, how to bravely stand up to tyrants who plunder and hoard as they exploit and destroy, without becoming one of them so that you can live a life rather than merely cower as you exist, taking sides of two exploiters, pretending that one you chose is a god while the other is nothing more than a devil.
I thoroughly enjoyed the enigmatic and eccentric ways of it and know the texts by heart: the Mutus Liber, the Ripley Scroll, the Red Book, you name it.
Alchemy involves a peculiar pastiche of concepts, from the Book of Genesis (how can we have it all and still screw things up over something stupid) to chess (always an allegory for war, make no mistake), to Gibberish (making perfect sense by speaking in tongues, or trying to tell people something reasonable, only they think you’re an idiot and they are brilliant).
There are others, but this isn’t a lesson in alchemy.
Alchemy was the odd concept that rebelled against the confines of the ortgeist and zeitgeist: women were considered equal to men, and there was no pat on the head for saying it because it was Truth. Plants and animals were to be revered, not exploited. The concept of altruism (you are not an alchemist unless you share your wealth with others) was a hallmark as well.
It is the art and science of idealism.
There were many charlatans who spoiled the idea of re-inventing yourself, making it into a get-rich-quick scheme, but for those who studied it, it was a way of studying your soul as you understood the world around you.
One of the concepts in alchemy was the Ouroboros — the serpent that eats its own tail.
It is, on the surface, a symbol of infinity, and that everything comes full circle.
But it also is a perfect symbol of what happened to journalism.
It was the predator that could no longer hunt and then turned on itself to survive, becoming its own prey.
Like the serpent that exposed Adam and Eve as thieves and rule-breakers and got them kicked out of paradise, the serpent could not find another catch.
And so, it began to destroy itself in the bargain.
Journalism killed itself, and it has come full circle.
And now there is a vacuum, a vortex in the centre of that snake.
Citizens need to be informed, and no, social media is not cutting it. Littering your Facebook feed with someone else’s propaganda posters is not informing or being informed.
You did not verify that information, and no, googling is not verifying.
How do we inform people so they do not become a predator’s prey?
It is time for a rebirth, but the current model of journalism is dead, and still in denial of what has happened to it.