Alchemical Inner Reconciliation (A.I.R.), The Art of Sustainable Transformations

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A.I.R.

The candidate finds himself in a cave, dimly lit by an open fire whose flames cast shadows on the earthen walls. Alone, cold, and scared, every so often the aspiring Hero feels his internal equipoise disturbed as an involuntary shiver races through his body. Sitting there in the semi-dark he ponders the events in his life that have brought him to this place of initiation, and his rational mind questions the sanity of it all. Yet something inside of him has hungered – yearned for this moment, when he will truly begin his inner trial, his ultimate quest.

Still, now that it's upon him....

The sounds of soft, wet, footsteps in the mud, and the almost inaudible sound of a bell ringing, breaks the reverie, enticing his attention. From the belly of the cave, a form is trying to coalesce from the shadows –

Is my mind playing tricks on me? Is that a nymph, a man, a centaur?

So begins the Hero’s Journey.

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A Hero's Journey. Perhaps a Heroine's Journey. Just what does either entail? An overarching purpose? Strange encounters with Natural external and internal forces -some call creators of gods- which can be as dubious as they can be helpful? These are the things we were told as children, and some of the archetypal symbols have worked their ways deep into our psyche, only to resurface in our literature and cinema – or perhaps more chillingly into our dreams and nightmares.

However, the Hero's Journey is more than a courageous adventure in a newly discovered land. If we look into our past, to the mythological stories that allow us all to fathom our own heroic potential, we catch a glimpse of something which unveils the epic and its Hero to be more than they seem, and we begin to wonder if we are not more that we seem. A singular theme runs through the tale. At its core, the true quest is for Initiation – a confrontation between the individual and his abilities to subdue and work in concert with the creatures and gods he finds within himself. A preparing of the individual for the many trials to be faced. Though unknown to the individual at the beginning of his quest, all the circumstances of his life have been preparing him for this Initiation. This preparation culminates in an inevitable meeting with a mentor, an Initiator.

While this book will introduce you to the forces utilized in the processes of Inner Alchemical Initiation, and some of the tools wielded by the candidate under the tutelage of his initiator, it will not initiate you. True alchemical initiation requires a Master and Apprentice, it happens from mouth to ear. In the end, if you are reading these words then you are prepared for initiation, if not in this lifetime, then one shortly to follow, for after all time is but a mental construct and the Magician resides in eternity. If present circumstances determine me as your Initiator, I sincerely hope that you may learn to deftly wield these forces through the mastery of their tools. As the Journey unfolds, you may find yourself no longer as candidate, but as the true Hero who holds the Staff of Mercury in one hand, and the Thunderbolt of Zeus in the other.

Now let us begin. I will say from the outset that in order to achieve success with this training and work, you will need to be willing to devote some time to your work and self. If you are looking for a flash-in-the-pan technique that promises life changing transformations in ten one-hour sessions, then this is not the right book, nor am I the right guide for you. Certainly, many have had dramatic changes occur in their lives after taking courses that advertise such results. However, for us the question is not if these changes can occur in such a short time, for indeed they can. For us the real question is if these transformations are sustainable. There is a good reason why, for many, these changes flash up and almost as quickly flash away. I speak more on this in the section on "Speed or Endurance".

While it is true that one can learn and use all of the metaphorical "Tools of the Gods" on their own without a mentor, there is however a very good reason for having one. Aspiring Heroes must go through a preparatory period in which they are trained and conditioned. Hero’s such as Hercules, Jason, Achilles and some even say Dionysus needed the tutelage and guidance of Chiron, the wise centaur, to ready them for the journey that lies just ahead. Like Chiron, a mentor (that has gone through this process and integrated the changes it has brought about into their daily life) is in a unique position to understand the seemingly Herculean trials that the student will face and has to surmount.

Being able to cry Nike! (Greek for Victory!) after any of the inner tests presented to the student, builds his confidence in the Journey. However, due to the extremely humbling nature of many of the trials, he needs the gentle aid of his Initiator to help him see many of the victories he thought were utter losses. This aid may include something passive like advising patience and not chasing the experience, but instead living the process. Or it may be something much deeper and more active, such as delving into the labyrinth of behavior patterns and slaying the mental minotaur by identifying muddled perceptions that obfuscate the light of our souls, which in turn keep us from living and expressing ourselves fully.

By now you may be asking Okay, so just what are the Tools of the Gods? What is this "A.I.R." stuff? Alchemical Inner Reconciliation is, at its core, a spiritual practice of self-discovery. It is an Inner Hero's Journey. It is termed Quintessence Healing because it represents – as do other methods similar to it – the purest and highest attainable healing an individual can go through. True spiritual awakening is about coming out of the false beliefs of who and what we thought we were, into the conscious awareness of the truth of Self. While undergoing this inner journey, real "Sustainable Transformations" are brought about in the life of the practitioner which heal (balance) their body, soul, and spirit.

The particular methodology employed in A.I.R. work has been used for millennia in one form or another by various esoteric groups, and up until about one hundred years ago, was considered a secret teaching. Not many today realize – even with the plethora of information available on the Internet – that the West has a highly developed system of inner work and development termed The Western Inner Tradition (or WIT) equal to that of systems found in China, Japan, and India.

Many who have studied oriental paths have heard of Chi or Qi, and Prana, as well as the Meridians, and Nadis or Chakras, and how in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayuverdic Medicine of India, life and healing virtue are found flowing through everything from plants and animals, to minerals and metals. Would it surprise you to learn that the operations described by the alchemist for working on the seven metals of the ancients were not just solely directed at the physical manipulation of substance, but also on the inner stars or Chakras of the alchemist? For the alchemist, Alchemy was of a dual nature, composed of an inner work which was reflected onto the methods used to manipulate substances in the physical, outer laboratory. Just like the Tibetan Monks who use mantras to create transformations in the inner and outer world, the Western Inner Tradition uses sound and color combinations (Western Qabalah) to accomplish these same effects.

I bring up these examples to illustrate that truth manifests and expresses itself in various forms throughout the planet and it is not the domain of any one culture or system. The fact that these various systems developed in different places and at different times, and yet all share a central commonality in process and outcome, speaks volumes. Indeed, a candidate must be aware that much of what has come into the common knowledge of the outside world about supposed esoteric subjects such as astrology, tarot, etc. are but bastardizations of the true esoteric use of these tools.

While I have many tools available to me when helping individuals as they train in A.I.R. to unfold their awareness and bring about balanced wellness, I believe in keeping things simple. For the sake of simplicity there are five main tools that I use most often in A.I.R. healing, two of which have a modern bent, and three others that come straight out of the practical vault of the ancient Western Hermetic Tradition.

What I want to emphasize now however, and what always must be remembered, is that these are just tools used in sessions. They do not represent, and are not the totality of A.I.R. itself, anymore than the sword, lance, or bow used by the Hero represent the Heroic quest itself. While such tools can and do represent inner physical and psychological qualities, and proficient use of them demonstrates mastery of the principle in question – the bottom line is, the quest can only be completed by the Hero, not the tool. If the Hero lacks the internal fortitude necessary for completion, no tool – not even those from the Gods – will suffice.

Again, gentle reader, while the Hero does not initially realize it, the circumstances of his daily life and experience (good and bad), have been preparing him to undertake the quest. Just as he is about to enter fully upon his transformational journey, he will always meet with an Initiator who imparts to him an essential training – a training that will, when triggered by specific steps he takes on the path, allow him to coalesce all past experiences into what he needs for completion of the final stages of the quest.

The Inner Hero's Journey requires a willingness to peer into what at first looks like the Stygian depths of the Self. What is found there can be frightening, but if life had not prepared you for undertaking this work, you would not be here, you would not be reading these words, you would not be seeking to grasp the Staff of Mercury or the Thunderbolt of Zeus as you sail the Argo into uncharted seas.