ALCHEMY The Soul of Astrology by Clare Martin. The Wessex Astrologer, PO Box 9307, Swanage,BH19 9BF, UK. www.wessexastrologer.com. Trade Paper. 125 Pages. £12.00. $16.80.
I very much enjoyed reading this book. One reading will not be enough. It is so juicy, so deep, that multiple readings will be required to fully grasp what is being said. But its well worth it. It is the distilled essence of many, many years of study and reflection.
This book would be suitable for both beginners and advanced students. You don’t need to know a lot of Astrology to understand it. It is basically about the philosophy of astrology (the most interesting part of Astrology) rather than the mechanical details of chart erection and interpretation.
Here she marries Astrology and the ancient science of Alchemy and shows how they are related. In fact, if I understood her correctly, she is saying that the Horoscope – and especially the transits of the outer planets – are in reality alchemical processes in the soul and should be understood this way.
Alchemy was never really about transforming physical lead into physical gold. This was only the exoteric side of it. The esoteric side – the real Alchemy – was about transforming psychological lead – the negative qualities in the psyche – the negative events of life – into spiritual gold.
In more simple language – stripped of all archaic symbolism – Alchemy was (and is) about taking a lemon and making lemonade – as in the famous expression, “when life hands you a lemon, make lemonade” – convert the lemon, the undesirable event, into something positive and healthful.
Alchemy is one of the most important things a person can learn here on earth. For, life is constantly handing us lemons and we need to know how to convert these things.
There are the lemons that life hands us everyday and there is the BIG Lemon that is our mortal 3D personality with its negative karmic momentums, fears, worries, angers, hatred and false view of life. It is good to handle the little lemons as they come, but the job – the Magnum Opus – is not complete until we tackle the BIG lemon. For it is the BIG lemon that is causing all the little lemons to come.
The Alchemist of old was really the Yogi of the Western Tradition. It was a form of yoga Western style. The object was transforming the human personality into what it was intended to be.
She shows that the Horoscope is the place where this happens. The Horoscope is the Alembic – the container – where the transformations happen. The transits of the outer planets are performing
alchemical transformations in us. No major transit of an outer planet leaves us the same as before. We always emerge transformed in some way.
It is as if the Cosmos itself is performing an alchemy in us whether we like it or not. However, as she clearly says , it is much better if it is consciously understood.
I’d recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about either alchemy (she has read all the major texts) or astrology. More importantly she opens doors to the philosophical side of both disciplines.