Beating You to the Punch

Journal Date: Tuesday, January 5, 2021

I’m still up.

I’ve been working on my writing, reading my book on CPTSD, and cleaning my room.

“The inner critic has its own version of excessive honesty which I sometimes call ‘beating you to the punch’. Afraid of being criticized (as in childhood), the inner critic can launch the survivor into a ‘confession’ of her every defect in hopes of short-circuiting anyone else from bringing them up. Sometimes hearing the criticism from yourself feels less hurtful than hearing it from yourself. After all, it’s old news to you and your critic.” –Pete Walker

Yup, that sounds like me. 100%. 

Or at least, it used to be. 

I’m improving, but I’m not completely free from this yet. 

It’s pretty embarrassing though to think of all the times I’ve done this, and in the worst ways, too. 

So many self-betrayals…

No wonder I had such a hard time with people. Especially when it comes to dating.

I can’t believe how hard I was trying and also how much I was compulsively destroying all chances at love right off the bat.

I’m glad that I’m at least aware of this now, so I can do better.

The Symbolism of the Phoenix in Alchemy

The phoenix is a mythical bird that is deeply rooted in alchemical symbolism. The bird is said to live for several hundred years before bursting into flames and being reborn from the ashes. In alchemy, the phoenix is seen as a symbol of transformation and renewal, representing the process of turning base metals into gold and achieving spiritual enlightenment.

One of the most significant aspects of the phoenix in alchemical symbolism is its ability to rise from the ashes. This process is seen as a metaphor for the alchemical process of transformation. Just as the phoenix burns in its own flames and is reborn from its ashes, alchemists believed that they too could transform themselves through a process of burning away impurities and achieving spiritual enlightenment.

The phoenix also represents the concept of regeneration. The alchemists believed that all matter could be transformed and regenerated, and that the phoenix was the ultimate symbol of this process. By working with the phoenix as a symbol, alchemists were able to tap into the regenerative powers of the universe and create new things out of old.

In addition to its transformative powers, the phoenix is also associated with the element of fire. Fire is seen as a powerful symbol of purification and destruction in alchemy, and the phoenix’s association with it emphasizes the importance of these concepts in the alchemical process. By working with fire, alchemists believed they could purify themselves and achieve spiritual enlightenment.

The phoenix is also often associated with the sun. The bird is said to represent the sun rising in the morning and setting in the evening, and its cycles of death and rebirth reflect the daily cycle of the sun. This association with the sun is particularly important because the sun was seen as a symbol of spiritual enlightenment and divine wisdom.

Finally, the phoenix is also associated with the concept of the philosopher’s stone. This legendary substance was said to have the power to transmute base metals into gold and was the ultimate goal of the alchemical process. The phoenix was seen as a symbol of the philosopher’s stone because it represented the transformative power of the stone and the ability to achieve spiritual enlightenment through the process of transformation.

In conclusion, the phoenix is a powerful symbol in alchemical symbolism, representing the process of transformation and renewal. Through its association with fire, the sun, and the philosopher’s stone, the phoenix embodies the core concepts of alchemy and the quest for spiritual enlightenment. By working with the phoenix as a symbol, alchemists were able to tap into the regenerative powers of the universe and achieve transformation on both a physical and spiritual level.

Less is More

Journal Date: January 3, 2021

Looking back now, I think these issues were what ultimately caused my last breakdown (and subsequent loss of absolutely everything: my job at Polarity, my casita, most of my friends, etc).

Reflecting on this, I can see how my lack of patience and my inability to be satisfied were what destroyed all of the very real good I had in my life at the time.

Working at Polarity was a dream, and incredibly healing and stabilizing for me.

My coworkers there were like my family– I even called them “my little familia” whenever I talked about them to other people.

I enjoyed the work I did, and I felt skilled and competent in all my duties there.

I was making more money than I’ve ever made before.

I was able to move into my first apartment on my own without roommates, and created my beautiful home, my “casita” that I loved so very much.

I had more friends than I’ve ever had in all of my life until then. People I felt I could count on. And I had many acquaintances that I liked and could spend time with, as well.

By all measures, I had all of the things I’d dreamed of, right?

But I was still miserable.

It seemed that the more I had, the more anxiety, fear, dissatisfaction and disapproval I felt.

I needed more, more and more.

 It was this relentless drive to somehow prove, once and for all, that I was a good person, after all.

But the more I got, the more I just felt higher levels of guilt, shame and fear.

I was trying to compensate for my very troubled past. 

I felt this need to overcompensate, as if to make up for this, to be so over-accomplished that it would somehow erase all that I had ever been before.

It was motivated by denial, it was an ego driven attempt at erasure of all my lived experience, a wish to run from all that was still dark and painful inside.

None of that ever went away, regardless of the goodness everyone saw on the outside.

It festered there, increasing my desperation, fueled by the belief that I didn’t actually deserve any of it, and that it would inevitably be take from me, just as everything else had been.

So I continued to need more, more, more.

I added more work: tutoring on the weekends.

I added a volunteer position: Business Development Associate at the Woman’s Global Leadership Initiative (10 hours a week). 

I enrolled in a graduate program in Counseling Psychology.

And on top of that, I was still engaged in my mad dash towards reading every book in the world during the few spare moments I did have…

It was all part of the same mentality I’ve been stuck in this week. 

Never feeling like I’m enough. Trying to add more and more until I just crack under the pressure.

I don’t want to do that again.

If I keep getting caught in this mentality, I will never find myself truly healed, either. I will never be what I want to be, no matter how much is there on the outside to prove myself to the contrary.

Maybe what I actually need is less

Maybe what I need is to slow down, and enjoy what I do have in the present moment.

There’s a lot I can legitimately be frustrated about, to be sure. I’m not going to sit here and deny that reality.

But it’s not all bad.

I’m in school again, in a program I like. I’m working again. I’m slowly developing my writing and my business. 

I have a wonderful little pup to keep me company. I’m healing and having great success with my inner work. I have several friends that I’m in touch with. I have time to meditate and rest when I need to. I have a home to live in, plenty of space, and a reasonable amount of privacy and time to myself. I’m in good physical health, for the most part.

All of these things are opportunities for me to feel good about my life and about myself.

In fact, I feel like right now I’m being called to reach for less, not more. 

Called to simplify my life in every way. And then devote my full attention only to what I’m truly in alignment with.

So as much as I may feel frustrated and complain that I’m ready to get this show on the road already, I think my higher self knows that I’m not entirely ready to move on yet.

In a way, I’m still sorting through my past. I’m still in the Separation phase of alchemy where I make decisions about what to save and what to discard as no longer necessary…

As much as I may want to, there is really no rushing the process. To push on before the matter is ready is only to delay the work further… It will just create a mess which will need to be dealt with later, and for longer next time.

I can easily get caught in comparing myself with everyone around me, and feel scared that I will never catch up.

It’s true. I won’t. There’s no catching up, and there’s no need to.

For whatever it’s worth, I’m here. This is the truth of my life.

There’s no need to run blindly towards the next thing– no need to desperately escape the terror of my past.

The kind of person I want to be– and am becoming– feels no compulsion to repress or deny.

What for?

My past (or present) pain doesn’t invalidate me, the way I always thought it did.

I don’t need to share it with everyone I meet, but there’s no need to hide it either– especially from myself.

If anything, I can be proud of what I have been through. 

I went to hell and back, it’s true.

And here I am– I made it. 

I survived incredible suffering. I am resilient. I am strong. 

And despite it all, I never lost my capacity for love.

The world may have done everything it could to crush me, but my soul and my heart– those they could never reach.

Cultivating Patience

Journal Date: Tuesday, January 5, 2021

I’ve been feeling so frustrated.

I think I’ve been feeling like, “Okay, I’ve done all this work, I’m experiencing this (very hard won) healing– so when is my life actually going to get better?”

I’ve never had much patience, but I have even less right now.

I just want this to be done, for my life to be good now, for everything to just be better and for me to be perfect and presentable and “officially healed” now.

But I don’t think that’s how it works…

The transformation I’m experiencing is real, but it’s not something that happens overnight.

I can’t just wave a magic wand and be “fixed.” 

I have to grow into a new way of being.

And it’s not about becoming a totally new person– it’s more about becoming a whole person, and allowing the truth of who I am to be expressed in a healthy and authentic way.

I need to integrate, rather than eliminate,  the difficult and painful elements of my past selves that have been so troubling to me.

And quite honestly, I just need to grow up and be more patient.

Good things take time.

The life I’m building for myself is one of those things.

I want to have faith that when the time is right, it will come together more concretely for me, and I will see the results that I have hoped for.

I’m just going to keep working at it, watering these seeds that I have planted for my future self, and trust that they will sprout when the time is right.

The truth is, I’ve been frantically scrutinizing my life these past few days, wondering what’s going on, trying to figure out what the hell I’m doing wrong that my life isn’t perfect by now, imagining if I can just figure it out I can somehow change it all right now.

I hate it when I do this to myself.

It’s like, I get frustrated for a second, and then all of a sudden my entire life is up for review, ready to be abandoned at a second’s notice.

I end up destroying the good I do have in my life because of this bad habit of mine.

I really would like to be more patient with the process. And refrain from these acts of self-betrayal and self-abandonment (not to mention self-sabotage).

Don’t abandon ship so rashly. Stop searching the horizon for the next best thing you think is going to save you.

That’s not even how it works.

There’s no being saved here.

You can practice staying in the messiness and uncertainty of it all.

Don’t rush to get there, don’t demand from life an ending to this story you have to be proud of, thinking it will redeem you and finally make you worthy.

To some people, you will never be worthy.

To the right people, you already are.

The Language of the Birds

Birds have fascinated humans since ancient times, and they have been associated with various beliefs and myths. In alchemy, birds have several meanings, depending on their species, color, behavior, and other characteristics. Some of the most common birds in alchemical symbolism are the phoenix, the peacock, the eagle, the crow, and the dove.

The phoenix is perhaps the most iconic bird in alchemy, representing the cycle of death and rebirth, the purification of the soul, and the attainment of immortality. According to the legend, the phoenix lives for several hundred years, builds a nest of aromatic woods, and sets it on fire to consume itself in the flames. From the ashes, a new phoenix arises, symbolizing the spiritual transformation that alchemists sought. The phoenix is often depicted with wings spread, surrounded by fire, and holding a serpent or an egg in its beak.

The peacock is another bird that has strong symbolic associations in alchemy. Known for its beautiful and colorful feathers, the peacock represents the integration of opposites, the harmony of the elements, and the attainment of enlightenment. In alchemy, the peacock often appears as an emblem of the Philosopher’s Stone, which is believed to have the power to transmute base metals into gold and grant eternal life. The peacock is sometimes depicted with a serpent in its claws or a crown on its head, indicating its regal and mystical nature.

In the fermentation stage of alchemy, the symbolism of the peacock and the cauda pavonis takes on a specific meaning. Fermentation is the stage in which the prima materia, or the raw material, is broken down and transformed by the addition of a fermenting agent, such as yeast or bacteria. The peacock symbolizes the raw material before fermentation, while the cauda pavonis represents the colorful and transformative process of fermentation itself. The colors and patterns that emerge during fermentation are a sign that the raw material is being broken down and transformed into something new and more complex. Just as the peacock sheds its feathers to reveal new ones, so too does the raw material shed its old form during fermentation to become something new and more refined. The symbolism of the peacock and the cauda pavonis therefore represents the transformative power of fermentation in alchemy, as well as the ever-evolving nature of the alchemical process itself.

The eagle is a bird of prey that is associated with the sun, the element of fire, and the masculine principle in alchemy. The eagle represents the soaring spirit, the divine nature of the soul, and the pursuit of excellence. In alchemy, the eagle is often shown with wings extended, holding a thunderbolt or a scepter, and gazing at the sun or the stars. The eagle also symbolizes the alchemist’s aspiration to rise above the mundane world and attain spiritual enlightenment.

The crow is a bird that has ambiguous connotations in alchemy, representing both the shadow aspect of the psyche and the transformative power of darkness. The crow is associated with the element of air, the lunar cycle, and the feminine principle. In alchemy, the crow often appears as a messenger, a guide, or a trickster, leading the alchemist to the hidden depths of the unconscious. The crow is sometimes depicted with a key or a lantern, indicating its role as a guardian of secrets and mysteries.

The dove is a bird that represents peace, purity, and love in alchemy. The dove is associated with the element of water, the moon, and the feminine principle. In alchemy, the dove often appears as a symbol of the Holy Spirit, the divine grace that descends upon the alchemist during the process of transformation. The dove is sometimes depicted with an olive branch or a heart, indicating its role as a bringer of blessings and healing.

In conclusion, birds have played a significant role in alchemical symbolism, representing various aspects of spiritual transformation, purification, and enlightenment. The phoenix, the peacock, the eagle, the crow, and the dove are some of the most common birds used in alchemy, each with its unique meanings and associations. By understanding the symbolism of birds in alchemy, we can gain insights into the alchemical process and the mysteries of the universe.

Lies I Was Told About My Mother

Journal Date: Sunday, January 3, 2021

One thing that has been a relief is allowing myself to say goodbye to the myth that my mom “really loved me,” but she just didn’t know how/was “incapable” of showing it (or that I was unworthy of receiving it, according to some).

I don’t think my mom ever loved me.

I actually have begun to believe she has spent the majority of my life hating me, resenting me, being envious or threatened by all the things in me that reminded her of herself and who she wasn’t.

To be my mother meant having to continually confront me as her living mirror, reflecting back to her everything she was so determined to repress, deny, or destroy in herself.

It is only recently (in particular within the last year) that I have begun to understand the magnitude of my mother’s own pain, the depth of her suffering, her own inner torment, which was then turned outward onto me.

My mom hurt me because that is what she knew. Clearly, she had been abused– and it’s not over, it never ended, it continues to this day.

Abuelita, in her own misery, chose my mom out of her daughters to be her scapegoat, servant and supporter.

I don’t think my mom ever considered resisting this role that had been made for her.

When her mother criticized, critiqued, crushed my mother, she gave in, she complied, and accepted her fate.

Another existence was unimaginable to her. 

“That’s just the way it is,” she told herself.

When I was born, I disappointed them immediately by not being Andrew, by not having been born a boy, my first (and likely only) sin to have been born a woman.

But regardless, the role was there, ready and waiting for me. I would be compliant, obedient and submissive; penitent and ashamed, easy to control, to crush, to repurpose and use as they saw fit.

My mom had done it. There was never any questioning that.

So why couldn’t I?

To see me live the way I did was probably not just insulting, but also a great source of fear and insecurity for my mom.

What if that wasn’t “just the way things were?”

What if there were other ways to be a daughter, and a woman?

What if the true order of things was not what it seemed, and she had sold her own soul away for less than nothing?

Maybe it’s true that my mom was actually determined to crush me, the way it seemed back then.
Maybe she needed to, in her eyes, in order to maintain the illusions on which her entire life was based.

If I didn’t submit, and turn control of my entire self over to her, then… maybe there was another way.

Maybe she had actually wasted her life being a servant and prisoner to a pathetic, unhappy woman who only wished her harm.

Maybe that would mean my mother wasn’t “a good woman”– but simply a foolish one.

What a horrible prospect, to consider that everything you’ve ever known was a lie. To consider that maybe Abuelita wasn’t her savior, but her greatest oppressor.

Maybe the betrayal she would have had to admit experiencing seemed impossible to bear.

Maybe it was too terrifying to allow, so she never did allow any lapse in her prior judgment, no wavering of her appraisal of her situation.

Maybe she preferred to condemn me to a similar fate instead of run the risk of being confronted with evidence that her life was a lie. A complete and utter lie.

It seems likely, to be honest.

In my mom’s eyes, it would never be safe to question her own mother’s motives, and in doing so, allow the possibility of rage or resistance against her.

Instead, she decided to on the transference of all these confusing, fucked up feelings onto me.

She could never act out her anger at her mother for her own abuse, so I paid the price in her place.

All of the turmoil and antagonism she denied her mother then became my load to bear.

Everything my mom could never accept was transformed, and became the cross that I believed was mine, which I still carry to this day.

It’s strange to stop and consider: none of this was ever really about me at all, in all likelihood.

It’s probably true: I don’t think my mom ever saw me. 

She has hated me and gone against me without ever knowing a thing about me.

Isn’t that something?

None of my greatest complexes, insecurities, wounds, etc. ever really belonged to me.

The deepest parts of me, my most secret shame, what I believed was “too personal” to admit to another living being– it was anything but that.

It was entirely impersonal, in a way. It was a product of the struggles between two entirely other people, my mom and her mother.

And their struggles, in their own way, were shaped by the pain of those who came before them, by the relationships and social structures they inevitably found themselves in.

In some ways, the fabric of my identity was woven not by myself, but between so many others.

It almost seems like any girl could have taken my place in my family, and it wouldn’t have changed a thing.

I hardly existed for them other than as a rack to hang their dirty, soiled, shameful projections on.

I don’t know what’s worse:

  • The idea that my mom truly believed I was worthless, disgusting, a “lost cause,” a bad woman, etc.


  • The idea that it had little to do with me, and was more just a manifestation of power struggles that did not have their source in me, which have now molded and shaped my actual life to conform to projections that had little basis in my reality.

It’s pretty funny/sick/twisted to think that a lot of my horror at the second option is totally ego-driven.

It’s like, “What?! I’ve been faithfully performing this role for decades and you weren’t even really watching?”

“You missed the whole performance,” is what I’m upset about, it almost seems.

It’s like I would rather be seen, and hated for who I am, than ignored. I’m mad about the lack of real attention. My ego’s bruised– I thought I mattered, even if only in a fucked up, problematic, unforgivable kind of way.

Another major component is annoyance at all the time wasted.

It’s like, you’re telling me I could have just stopped doing this years ago and freed myself to live my own life, because they’re not even paying any actual attention to me here at all??



Then there’s also the disturbing idea that I’ve never, ever had a mother, in any way.

Part of me prefers an abusive mother who hates me than a complete absence of interest in me at all. 

It’s like I’d rather believe she has these strong negative feelings against me, and is truly “out to get me,” than face the fact that I just don’t matter to her at all. 

I hardly have any real existence for her– when I do show up by chance in her awareness, it’s just kind of an annoying little reminder that once upon a time I was born, and unfortunately had something to do with that.

Whether I’d never been born or I died today, it may not even make that much of a difference to her.

I’ll probably never know for certain what the deal is with my mom.

But it all seems pretty disturbing, no matter which way you look at it.

Rita probably had it right eight years ago when she told me one day in therapy: “Your mom is never going to be a mother to you. You need to be a mother to yourself.”

Honestly, that’s probably all I really need to know.

Getting all caught up in the why and how and what for may just be a waste of time.

Even if I were to somehow arrive at “An Answer”, it still wouldn’t matter. It wouldn’t change anything. I would still be the same person, in the same position.

I would still be a daughter who never had a mother, and who never will. 

Nothing can change that.

To continue to focus my attention on the details of my mother’s experience is just more of what I don’t need.

It’s what got me into this mess in the first place.

To do this is to place my mother at the center of my life story when she doesn’t belong there.

It is me, my own self, that deserves to be centered now.

It’s my life, and I deserve to live from the center of my being, not anyone else’s.

This time, I can choose to let everyone have their own story without getting caught up in it, or needing to make it my own.

My eyes matter too, and are worth looking through.

I can stop avoiding myself, and decide to live grounded in my own being. 

My existence needs no explanation from the outside to make sense and have meaning.

The Ouroboros

The ouroboros is an ancient symbol that has been used throughout history in various cultures, including ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome. It is a symbol of a serpent or dragon eating its own tail, forming a complete circle. In alchemy, the ouroboros is considered a symbol of unity, wholeness, and the cyclical nature of life and death.

Carl Jung, a prominent Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, explored the symbol of the ouroboros in his theories on alchemy. According to Jung, alchemy is not only a precursor to modern chemistry but also a spiritual and psychological practice. Jung believed that the alchemical process was a metaphor for the journey of self-discovery and the integration of the unconscious and conscious mind.

The ouroboros, for Jung, represents the paradoxical nature of the self. The snake eating its own tail represents the idea that the self contains both the beginning and the end, the past and the future, and the light and the dark. The ouroboros is a symbol of the eternal cycle of life, death, and rebirth.

In alchemy, the ouroboros is also associated with the concept of the Philosopher’s Stone. The Philosopher’s Stone is a substance that alchemists believed had the power to transform base metals into gold, and also had the power to grant immortality. Jung believed that the Philosopher’s Stone was a symbol of the self, and that the alchemical process was a means of achieving individuation, or the realization of the self.

The ouroboros is also a symbol of the union of opposites. Jung believed that the self was composed of both masculine and feminine elements, and that the process of individuation required the integration of these elements. The ouroboros represents the idea that the self contains both the light and the dark, the conscious and the unconscious, the masculine and the feminine.

The ouroboros is a powerful symbol in alchemy that represents the cyclical nature of life and the paradoxical nature of the self. The ouroboros is a symbol that continues to fascinate and inspire people today, and its message of unity and wholeness remains relevant in our modern world.

Entering the Hermes Field

Journal Date: Saturday, January 2, 2021

I remember early on into the first month or so of quarantine– I was reading a book on alchemy, and it was describing the process of “entering the Hermes field,” and how to use this in your own spiritual development and awakening.

In the book, the author creatively describes a meeting with Hermes, and suggests that you can also directly communicate with him, and ask for guidance.

So I decided to try it.

“Hermes, I’m ready– show me my shadow. I’m ready to see the truth.”

I was answered almost immediately, that same night.

It was a lot– it felt very intense. So much so that I had to modify my request a little bit: “I’m ready, but please just show me what I can handle right now. Not more, and not less, just exactly what I am capable of handling at any given moment.”

Honestly, I was scared.

I was coming up against things I’d been running from for a lifetime.

And it hurt. It was painful to see what was there to be seen.

Painful, but not exactly surprising.

I already knew I was pretty messed up.

The surprise came just a few months into it, though, when the things I was seeing shifted from how I was wrong, and started to reveal to me how others needed to be held accountable.

This was where it started to get really difficult. 

I was used to being the one to blame. My inner critic was so easy to activate, it was already so natural for me to punish myself.

But what do I do when I have to hold other people accountable?

That was beyond terrifying to me.

How could I begin to come to terms with the vast amount of mistreatment from all those people I felt so powerless with?

This was the hardest thing: to come to terms with my family and how they had treated me.

I’d never really allowed myself to consider this.

I’d rather throw myself under the bus, and punish myself, than face the truth of what my family was.

I resisted.

But it soon became undeniable.

There was something deeply wrong with the narrative I’d been sold about who I was, and why they acted as they did toward me.

The narrative was coming undone, even though I’d done my best for 32 years to hold the bundles of lies and patchwork logic together.

I’d changed myself to fit their demands.

I’d sinned just to earn a place in their hell.

And it was all starting to unravel itself before my eyes.

There was nothing I could do to stop it now.

I could look away, but the thread had been pulled loose, and was now coming undone through a life of its own.

Saturn Square Pluto Fears

Journal Date: December 22, 2020

Since I don’t have enough to worry about, I decided to go online and start worrying about astrology and all the messed up transits I’ll be going through next year.

I’ve been terrified of the Saturn square Pluto transit that will be happening for me starting in mid-February 2021.

And now, thanks to the internet, I just realized Saturn will be transiting through my 8th house of death for the next three years, so now I can go ahead and start stressing about that too, while I’m at it.

I took some time to re-read all the predictions that were scaring me to death about these transits, and I’m glad I did.

It doesn’t have to be a horrible experience.

It’ll be challenging, most likely, but that doesn’t have to automatically mean bad.

According to Jessica Davidson, this may be a time in which “buried memories may resurface, and you may re-experience old fears and hang ups that you thought were long dead. You’re confronted by the past so you can let it go and move forward in your life. Use these transits to explore what’s really important to you. Turn inwards to discover how your soul wants you to live, where to put your energies, and who you should strive to become.”

When looked at that way, it may not be such a bad thing. I’ve still got inner work and healing left to do, and this is just part of the process.

There are still things I know I need to let go of before I can step into what I want for my future.

Coagulation | The Seventh Phase of Alchemy

The seventh and final phase of alchemy is known as coagulation, in which the alchemist completes the Great Work and creates the Philosopher’s stone. 

In laboratory alchemy, this is thought to occur after the process of distillation is completed and the matter congeals into a solid substance. 

In personal alchemy, it signifies the completion of the process of solve et coagula, or dissolve and coagulate. 

In what is known as the lesser work, the elements of the lower personality or ego are burned away and dissolved in order to be recombined into a greater whole. 

The great work culminates in the final union of the purified self with the greater whole, a union of the microcosm of man with the macrocosm of the universe. According to Paracelsus, the result is a “completely healed human being who has burned away all the dross of his lower being and is free to fly as the Phoenix.” 

On a spiritual level, the completion of the great work is thought to produce an entirely new body for the alchemist, an energy body of golden light that would survive beyond physical death. Paracelsus referred to this body as the Iliaster, or “the Star in Man.” 

Once the Philosopher’s stone has been created, the alchemist can then use two operations, projection and multiplication, to increase the effects of his powerful achievement. 

Projection is the use of the Philosopher’s stone to transmute base metals such as lead into gold. According to Dennis William Hauck, “it is said that just a tiny piece of the Stone or a pinch of the red powder of projection made from it is enough to perfect the metals and transmute lead into gold.”

Multiplication is the ability to heal and increase the amount of whatever it comes into contact with. “Just a touch of the Stone or a grain of the red powder will cause plants to grow to perfection or cells to be healed and multiply perfectly,” says Hauck. 

This highlights the ultimate purpose of achieving coagulation and creating the Philosopher’s stone: it is not simply to transcend the material plane, but to bring the spiritual wisdom encountered back to heal the earth and other people.

As the Emerald Tablet says, “Its inherent strength is perfected if it is turned into Earth. Thus you will obtain the glory of the whole Universe.”