“Calcination” illustrates the 1st step of the alchemical process and is an integral part of the “black” phase of alchemy. The metal associated with this phase is Lead, which is physically known for being heavy, dense, durable and poisonous. It is spiritually and emotionally linked to our greatest fears, patterns or blockages which keep us from expanding into the truth of who we are. This primary step also corresponds to the element of fire, which burns the material or narrative down to it’s bare bones; down to ash, and is known to be the only element that can transform Lead. Upon great transformations, shifts in consciousness, and quantum leaps, we must first burn through the stagnant energy which keeps us small and comfortable in unhealthy patterns. The experience of Calcination, quite obviously, isn’t pleasant. It is often felt as a shock to the system, a burning away of the past, which our egos often want to hold onto in order to avoid change, and to avoid the mysterious unknown…
The imagery of this piece speaks volumes… Each element is designed to invoke the energetic signature of the Calcination process.
The stained glass windows, which are notoriously made with Lead, represent the windows of the soul which are often clouded by our old stories and limiting beliefs. Because we often associate stained glass with churches and places of worship, I thought it was important to tie in the shadowy element of this process through it. In that we cannot demonize Lead because it’s poisonous, just like we cannot demonize fear, old stories or limiting beliefs because they often holds us back. We actually must take the time to sit with the poison, sit with the heavy feelings, and give them gratitude for their true function, which is to teach us how to overcome them and become light as a feather. That is the soulful element of this step of alchemy.
The glyph of Saturn in the top window reminds us that we may look up to this planetary energy as a fantastic guide in moving through this hard work, because Saturn rules these aspects of the human experience. Saturn is both intimately connected to this step, and is also our guide through it. The Root Chakra glyph in the bottom window represents the importance of looking deep within ourselves to pinpoint what fears and blockages are keeping us from moving forward and expanding into our deeper knowing, our complete security within ourselves, and our biggest power.
Fiery flames behind the window give us a glimmer as to all of the colors that are possible to experience on the other side of Calcination, and that we must go through and understand the blackest black in order to fully experience all of the other colors.
The pine tree requires fire to release their seeds and ensure their continuum, and we also require the burning away of what blocks us from continuing our soul’s evolution; to step into our truth, our gifts, and our purpose.
Ravens represent the death walkers, psychopomps, who guide the dead from the over-world to the underworld, which is why they are often depicted as bad omens. But in their truth, ravens can help us to bring greater awareness to the dead-weight we are ready to let go of and set fire to, so that we may become lighter and ascend to higher planes of consciousness.
2 skulls represent the burning through the mind, where the fears, limited beliefs and old stories live, to get to the bare bones, the prima materia.
This visual talisman is intented to invoke the spirit of Calcination and Saturn, activating the Root Chakra and helping us burn through the fears and blockages which keep us looping in unhealthy patterns.