On Becoming an Alchemist: A Guide for the Modern Magician

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Many regard alchemy as a metaphor for inner transformation. But this is only half the story. According to Catherine MacCoun, alchemy is no mere metaphor. It’s real magic. Transforming the inner world is, for the alchemist, a way to transform the outer world. Through studying the principles of alchemy, we can achieve extraordinary effects from ordinary actions by understanding how the world really works. We can perceive the hidden connections between the spiritual and the material worlds. Knowledge of these ...

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On Becoming an Alchemist: A Guide for the Modern Magician

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Overview

Many regard alchemy as a metaphor for inner transformation. But this is only half the story. According to Catherine MacCoun, alchemy is no mere metaphor. It’s real magic. Transforming the inner world is, for the alchemist, a way to transform the outer world. Through studying the principles of alchemy, we can achieve extraordinary effects from ordinary actions by understanding how the world really works. We can perceive the hidden connections between the spiritual and the material worlds. Knowledge of these connections enables us to influence external phenomena through the powers of heart and mind alone. Yet alchemy is not, like some forms of magic, the exercise of mind over matter. It is the art of taking what already exists—whatever presents itself—and transmuting the harmful into the helpful, the useless into the valuable.

On Becoming an Alchemist initiates us into these secrets, showing us how to think, perceive, and operate as an alchemist. It offers practical advice and exercises that will help the modern magician to:

● Understand and apply basic principles of alchemy
● Transmute setbacks, failures, and losses into sources of magical power
● Navigate one’s inner world with poise, confidence, and common sense
● Intuitively show up in the right place at the right time to benefit from magical coincidences
● Discover the potentials latent in any situation by awakening subtle perception

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

MacCoun follows up her acclaimed novel Beyond the Abbey Gateswith a richly gratifying exploration of alchemy. Writing for the advanced magical practitioner who is a novice alchemist, MacCoun represents this ancient art as a kind of spiritual graduate school. Through her vivid storytelling and crystalline prose, she maps out the mental landscape of alchemy, showing how the process is similar to that used by religious mystics. MacCoun devotes the first half of the book to encounters with spirits the practitioner can expect while on the alchemical path. In the rest, she explains how the everyday can become fodder for spiritual growth. Using the traditional components of alchemy as a metaphor, the base metal of a tragic life event or even a bad mood can become source material in the process of personal transformation. Everything in MacCoun's cosmos stands ready to lead the adept toward the deeper truths of reality. This approach may disappoint literalist readers who are hoping for the secret to transforming base metals into real gold, but for MacCoun the purpose of alchemy is the construction of a philosopher's stone in one's heart, leading to the total transformation of the self. (Feb. 12)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590303696
  • Publisher: Shambhala Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/12/2008
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.22 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.01 (d)

Meet the Author

Catherine MacCoun is a literary collaborator by profession and has written five published volumes of nonfiction. Her novel, Beyond the Abbey Gates, was originally published as The Age of Miracles, in 1990, and reissued as a Trumpeter book in 2006. She has won numerous grants and awards for her writing, including a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship in prose.

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Table of Contents

Principles
In Quest of the Philosopher's Stone     3
Unlocking the Secret Codes     19
Separate the Subtle from the Gross     38
Levity and Gravity: Navigating the Vertical World     69
Living Backward: Time, Freedom, and Magical Intuition     113
Procedures
Commencing the Great Work     143
Calcination     153
Dissolution     163
Separation     175
Conjunction     189
Fermentation     201
Sublimation     217
Radiation     232
How to Meditate     243
Night School     249
Further Reading     261
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