The Alchemical Fire is Lit!

Aries: Back to Life!

Aries: Back to Life!

Well we’ve just completed our Aries weekend, and what an extraordinary start to the new alchemical round! A very exciting workshop, very dynamic as you would expect and a wonderful bunch of participants. It was an interesting mix to have some people who are starting the journey for the first time, and others who have been round most of the wheel already. Indeed we had two participants who had been through every sign except Aries, being as they started the journey last year in Taurus, and were ever-presents for the rest of the year. They both shared how appropriate it was for them to complete the wheel with Aries – the sign we normally associate with starting, of course! And it really struck home to us all, yet again, how the journey really has no ending or beginning, as the wheel continues to turn, just as the in-breath continues to follow the out-breath and as the re-birth of new life always follows on from the death of the old.

The Mighty Aries Ram!

The Mighty Aries Ram!

Colette – as ever – created a breathtaking Aries altar for us and Lynne’s stunning ram’s head, found on Dartmoor several years ago, took centre stage. Colette’s altars have become such a powerful learning aid on our alchemical journey weekends and it is hard to imagine running a workshop now without them being present. They provide the most extraordinary focus for our journeying. Each altar really helps to strengthen the integrity of the alchemical container. And the Aries altar was stunning – its fiery theme combined with the innocence and wonder of new life, as the birth of Spring bursts forth marked on the altar with lambs and young chicks breaking out of their shells. The great ram’s head oversaw proceedings like Ammon, the great ram-headed god of the Egyptians who oversaw the Pharaonic dynasties during the astrological age of Aries, from around 2000BC until the time of Christ. The Greek culture too is full of ram symbolism, with Zeus taking on the ram’s horns of Ammon during that period and Alexander the Great famously adopting the horned look also, believing himself to be the child of Ammon.

Our weekend was full of life, full of energy, full of dynamic possibilities and through the music and play and guided journeying that we entered into, a pulsating life force began to stir within each one of us. We sensed it as a group too, and each seemed to offer mutual encouragement to the other to express more and more of our fiery essence to come in line with the season.  As the weekend progressed, it felt as though we were all growing in confidence, in our ability to seize the moment and draw from the boldness and courage of the Aries energy to express that impulse for life that is so redolent in the natural world at this time of the year. And it was a potent reminder to me of the nature of alchemical work and how the true alchemists always sought to penetrate the secrets of nature, not so as to exploit her as our modern scientists intend, but instead to imitate her transformational processes and integrate them into their own spiritual journeys.

Aries_group

It was wonderful to feel the added support of Colette and Lynne who have both stepped up to join Anthony and myself in a facilitative role with the workshops – Lynne bringing her astrological insights and deep sensitivity to transformational process, and Colette her natural sense of ritual and body wisdom.

Sunday’s pilgrimage, led by Anthony, was an absolute treat.  I’ve already talked about the walk in my previous blog which is drawn mainly from my experience of our 2009 Aries weekend pilgrimage.  This year, we followed the same structure, visiting the Girt Dog of Langport, first his nose at Burrow Mump, where we all sniffed the air again in anticipation of all the juicy synchroncities we are going to find as we journey round the year.   We had a perfectly clear line of sight view over to Glastonbury Tor, so were able to trace the Michael leyline that links these two enigmatic sites.  We were reminded of the local tradition that happens on Easter Monday each year (and has for centuries) when people throw buns into the mouth of a great dog, from the bridge across the River Parrett.

Our Group Walking Down from Walton Hill

Our Group Walking Down from Walton Hill

We were again warmly welcomed by David Hatfield at Wagg Drove, and did our annual ritual in his fabulous roundhouse temple, which is devoted to the Glastonbury Zodiac, honouring the Girt Dog and asking for his blessings and companionship on our journey.  We lunched while David regaled us with stories and then we were off to the Aries figure from Walton Hill to Street, and along its high street, or “Synchronicity Street”, as we now like to call it – a street so full of Aries symbolism on one side and Piscean symbolism on the other, where one of the Piscean fish leaps out of the lamb’s head!  Read more about this here.

It was a profound weekend and one I will remember for a long time to come.  I’m so grateful to all present who so generously offered their free-spirited participation. And this is just the beginning , of course!  The workshops remain open this year, so anyone can join the journey at any point in the year.  Last year we had four new participants join in Taurus, and all have continued to follow us around the year.  It’s Taurus the Bull next – in just three weeks time!  Details here.

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