I don’t know how it happened, but I’m doing yet another round of alchemical initiations.

That’s a lie. I know how it happened. My baby’s father looked at me with his large, liquid eyes and batted his long, dark eyelashes at me.

This isn’t even just my second round of spiritual alchemy, either. It’s like my fourth. And it’s my second time doing this particular flavor of elemental alchemy.

What’s This Now?

This isn’t “meditating on the elements.” It’s more high tech than that.

Basically, you fill up a room with astral machinery, break your friends’ magical nature up into parts, sleep all but one part, then wake them up one at a time over the course of months or years.

Or, alternatively, place a series of connections to an egregore (soul of a tradition) in your friends’ auras, put the connection points in containment, and the bust them out one at a time.

I’m doing the second one at the moment. Having done the first one, I don’t recommend it.

There’s fire, and then there’s fire. But on the other hand, there’s fire.

The naive assumption is that there’s the element of fire, and that fire alchemy is fire alchemy, so if you’ve done it once already, you know what to expect.

There are many types of fire. They all feel different. They all do different things.

The Venusian fire is all about Desire and Praxis.

The Saturnine fire is about defining boundaries and containing power.

Solar fire is about illumination, revelation, and truth.

Right now, I’m having a fine, fine vintage of Saturnine fire permeating the left-hand facets of my magical essence.

Strong presences impact the process.

I think I may have mentioned that after 15 years of hard work, I managed to undo the damage done to my spiritual life by a couple of authoritarian asshats trying to pass themselves off as clergy for Dionysos.

The damage, of course, was compounded by later clergy who I consulted who gave me very helpful advice like, “just stop fighting it” (stop fighting what? My panic attacks?)

For the goddamn record, the appropriate response to someone telling you that they are looking to recover their relationship with a deity after having been bullied and abused by clergy is never “just give in.” They’re not “fighting” the deity, they’re being viscerally and uncontrollably avoidant because they are injured.

Other responses were, “the problem is that you have an Ariadne soul shard” (which recommends what course of action exactly?) and “you should try using dead people as a way to reconnect to him.” (I can at least see what they were going for, I guess?)

The actual answer was years and years of tearing away and burning thoughtforms and toxic connections, using the Red Pentagram tech, some mental-health related cauldron spells based on the Mithras Liturgy, and finding people who could actually carry him for me so that I could have experiences of him that were not frustrating and terrible (habituation).

So this particular elemental refinement, one of setting boundaries and containment, of cutting down through fire, coincides with having completed the process of getting the last of that astral garbage cleared out between me and a deity of … literally the opposite of everything this elemental refinement is trying to do.

This round of Saturnine Fire is doing different things than the last one.

I haven’t slept this well in years. And I have a baby waking me up in the middle of the night.

If I had to guess, though, the timing isn’t random. The work of this round of fire alchemy is about bringing some balance and sanity to my afflicted Bacchic aspect, just in time to have Dionysos actually help me with it.

Dionysos. He drinks and he knows things.

Fire Alchemy: It’s not just for breakfast anymore!

Here’s the truly astounding thing. Not only have I signed up for this round of spiritual alchemy, but also, when I’m done, we’ll be switching systems, running through a whole different refinement process (my second time through that one, also), and then theoretically syncretizing the two to create a third refinement process, which I will go through also, unless baby’s father loses his focus and gets bogged down revising the same initiatory charge like 9 times. Which is a thing that happens.

No, but seriously, why?

Here’s the thing I am asking myself: what even is all this for?

Life is hard. Spirituality should basically give us comfort and make us better people. What’s with all this extraneous nonsense anyway?

Either

A. We live once. In which case making our own lives better is really our highest aim.

B. We have an eternal afterlife, in which case nothing we ever learn about living in the physical plane will ever matter again.

Or

C. We reincarnate, and anything we need to learn, we’ll learn, given enough time.

Why are transformative initiatory processes important? Maybe just living well and not being an ambulatory sack of assholes is enough.

And then I remind myself that this is my hobby. Like, maybe some people do body modification as a hobby. I guess this isn’t different. Body mod people say that it’s about making their body feel like it belongs to them. They see the power they have to add things to their body or cut things away, and it’s a statement: This body is not me. This body is mine. I am more than this form and I have power over it.

Spiritual alchemy is a way of making me feel like my life and my narrative belong to me. As I watch my personality and the texture of my life change, as old patterns give way to new ones, I am reminded that I am more than this story and persona. These things are not me. They are mine, and I have the power to change them.

But yeah, this is your “Thenea under construction” banner.