Notes On Alchemical Psychology is a series of texts dedicated to personal creative therapeutic work, merging the old ways & the new.
Our collective heritage of healing has always embraced me, it held me when I stumbled, and soothed me when I ached, inspiring an unceasing zest for life. I walked its miraculous, joyful, and often thorny path since early childhood, and I would like to start to honour it in my work now more directly.
This begins as a scribe’s pilgrimage of sorts, merging what I have learned in the sphere of the elegant, respectable left brain academia with what I have experienced in all the roads that led through the wild, ephemeral mysteries of the right hemisphere. I am one of many, the integration of the old ways & new discoveries will only increase in the years to come in a way that will become acceptable in the practice of psychotherapy. And if I can give a few pointers towards a synthesis of paths in this fragmented, unwoven universe, I’m here, and I am ready.
AUTHOR: ©Milana Vujkov
Notes On Alchemical Psychology
The tide seems to be turning, times have been shifting to yet unencountered paradigms. The sense of unease with what we hereto considered to be reality grows with every new virtual persona we develop on our little patch of screen. In my work, and practice, I have come to understand that there is, in fact, very little difference between the occult and the virtual. It’s a messy state of affairs if our psyches endure more daily stimuli than they are able to process, thus giving rise to mental instabilities, overwhelming emotional states, and spiritual uncertainties of a new kind. For better, and sometimes, for worse, the ways we understand our nature and heal our pains are increasingly becoming infused with ancestral ways that endured through the long period of ridicule, suppression, and not infrequently, persecution. An old remedy that has become necessary for the worlds we are now building in thin air. In a strange, but somehow, expected way, we are going back to the spiritual basics, as familiar grounding is scarce, and the rational mind turns out to be more a conman than trickster, after all the attempts at its enlightenment.
Our planetary heritage of storytelling and healing is vast, extraordinary, both geographically specific and culturally fluid, perpetually effective, and experienced by most – but seldom included in the curricula of contemporary psychology. However, when tracing the origins of the science of the psyche, one finds that this tremendous vault of soul investigation is the backbone of all modern psychological theory. At least in Western society, the ancestral magical ways are still mostly accessed in private, or within alternative frameworks, and largely disenfranchised in the public spheres of academia. Half our human experience has been thus invalidated for professional study, and open to considerable misuse in practice. This most curious state of affairs in the profession has its origins in the way it was postulated a century ago by the founder of the science of the soul, Sigmund Freud.
The method of psychoanalysis always had a distinct occult feel to it, something of an exorcist shine, so breaking away from any ties to the supernatural needed to be vehement and permanent for psychology to establish itself as a scientific discipline.
This attitude remained in all schools branching out from this position, transpersonal and archetypal psychology, as well as the psychology of anomalous experiences being exceptions to the norm.
However, in our popular culture, esoteric life has now become not only mainstream, but overwhelmingly present in all segments of society. In the West it has an added intensity to it that, in a way, seems hazardously superficial when unleashing certain aspects of the psyche hereto untapped in the life of an individual.
In other words, it often lacks roots and context, as it has in societies across the globe more connected to their ancestors, land and heritage. Nevertheless, the fascination is fully visible in cultural content, and it is here to stay.
Yet, the dogmatic approach to the numinous in humanities still continues, with a few exceptions, which is now almost a common sense paradox, as all the material of our existence should be deemed valuable enough for ideologically unbiased research. Especially, when its part of a lore which endures for millennia.
We are rapidly developing a collective emergency to expand our understanding of our natures, and the nature of life, itself. Of what our psyche is, and more specifically, where it is. The frontier of the contemporary human has for an entire century been their own mind turned inwards, all its content deemed a product of the self. Bodiless and disconnected from the Source. The focus and drive towards our own miniature spheres was inevitable, given the potency of this new science of the psyche and its myriad applications. Some healthy in their motivations, some sadly entirely predatory – within the systems of military, commerce and government. The question is, while we’re mining our subconscious levels in order to regain functionality, or being mined as mere behavioural data by obscure players and systems, what happens when we encounter the very present and grave dangers in the deep seas of our unconscious selves, individual and collective? These gorgons had been locked and monitored for centuries by spiritual gatekeepers – and for a reason. In other words, if one had a spiritual disorder, one would visit the medicine man, who had the tools and the knowledge to face this challenge. Who are people rooted in a system of belief i.e. ideology which disregards the spiritual to turn to? The psychological schools available to individuals who are not within a spiritual framework certainly do not have entity removal, soul retrieval, and demon banishment in their curricula. But they do have a diagnostic criteria that would frame this experience as the person’s own pathology, and the chemicals to treat the disorder. In a way, instead of offering a key to unlock the cell of suffering, they offer a more comfortable cell.
If this seems too extreme a position, consider that even someone as highly trained as Jung almost lost himself forever between the pages of his red book.
This is the challenge we now are about to face. Awareness and quality information is our protection, not monitored ignorance. So here is to expanding and healing the field, and making all our experiences equally valuable and valid.
Disclaimer – These notes follow a personal journey, and are offered as philosophical & creative inspiration. Although I am a psychologist by education, the material within them is not therapy or substitute for therapy. However, they are dedicated as temenos for accessing the therapeutic numinous, in hope of being of good service to your soul in exploring the potentials of each moment in time.