The following article has been written in an attempt to provide the reader with a deeper understanding of the theory surrounding the obscure pseudo-science known as Alchemy and the modern applications of this ancient art since its marriage with the practice of Hypnotherapy in a single system called Alchemical Hypnosis. It shall be noted that the theories and perceptions presented are subjective and personal to me, the author. I ask that you employ a gnostic discernment within whilst reading, and only entertain those ideas with which you resonate. Please enjoy.
Let us start with a brief description of the ancient, yet recently refined, art of Hypnosis. With roots traced as far back as ancient Egypt, Greece, and beyond, humans have been using hypnosis to reach altered states of consciousness for many millennia. Back then, and even in contemporary times, hypnosis was used as a method of entertainment, something of a primitive side-show act; and for other reasons like transcending time and space to speak with the 'gods'. Hypnotherapists are trained to help their clients fall in to a deep state of relaxation beginning with a skilled hypnotic induction which is used to bypass the rational, logical, often hyper-critical conscious mind using particular relaxation methods, language, and visualizations. Alchemical Hypnotherapists utilize techniques from many modern schools of Transpersonal Hypnotherapy and Psychology including Gestalt, Regression Therapy, and Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) to help their clients achieve, maintain, and navigate a comfortable trance state.
It has been stated that a trance state requires two things: focus and absorption, so it can easily be said that a long car ride can be entrancing and a restful watch of the television produces and even requires a light state of trance to enjoy. Interestingly enough, and something that will be explained later, is the level of suggestibility the mind reaches when in this state. The subtle flicker of the television mixed with its enchanting programming literally captivates its watcher, leaving them open to the product purchase suggestions provided by advertisements. We automatically begin to believe that we need this ultra-soft roll of toilet paper because our minds are vulnerable to the very suggestion. Ideas become beliefs and beliefs become actions and perceptions.
When the conscious mind has been attenuated through a relaxing hypnotic induction such as the flicker of the t.v., the endless droning of the car tires upon the highway, or the hypnotherapist's calm, comforting voice, a new part of our psychology known as the subconscious mind begins to surface. This part of our psyche represents the mysterious home of our belief systems where all traces of our ancient to recent personal past has been indelibly recorded. When this enigmatic aspect of our cognitive composition comes to the forefront, the real work of hypnotherapy can begin.
The Subconscious Mind is a term of convenience which refers to a metaphysical structure of perception which finds its physical home in the Limbic Cortex of the brain. The subconscious is the seat of the primal, symbolic, childlike mind. As mentioned above, it houses the belief systems which can either limit or empower us, but do heavily filter and mediate the way we perceive reality. Quantum Physics suggests that the single individual or 'observer' basically creates his external reality first internally with the help of the subconscious mind; for he cannot see what he does not first believe.
According to this theory, the process occurs in imperceptible fractions of a second and takes advantage of a 'lag' in perception, so from our vantage point reality comes from the outside first, instead of the converse. (read more here) The subconscious and its faculties serve as limiters and governors of his perception to defend against any new ideas that would serve to threaten his paradigm. New ideas are introduced slowly and carefully so as not to short-circuit the delicate physiology of the brain and constructs of the psyche.
Consider the image of the iceberg, with a large bulk of the structure existing beneath the surface and a smaller above. The underwhelmed area of this picture above the surface can be compared to the conscious or verifiable aspects of our psyche: the ego, memory recall, intellect, aspects of our personality, moral compass, feeling language, etc. The surface of the water is an important part of this image as it is emblematic of the tenuous filters that separate the two very different regions above and below. These filters are made up of all of our concrete beliefs about the world. They mostly refer to our supposed or learned principals of physics, mathematics, sociology, psychology and science, and dictate what we believe to be possible. These filters help to compartmentalize life into safe little boxes which retain our sanity and security and maintain our comfort about the world around us.
These filters represent the maze of awareness that hypnotherapists help clients to traverse when employing hypnotic induction. For a deeper understanding of an induction, it would be best to witness or receive one, for they come in many forms. (Session Video) But for the sake of this article, simply put, an induction is a relaxing guided journey which serves to incite a tangible move from the conscious mind - our critically-thinking and questioning mind - into the expansive, powerful, and abundant home of our core beliefs about ourselves - the subconscious mind. It is within this realm where the real change happens.
When accessed, as mentioned above, our subconscious mind becomes highly suggestible, meaning that it is open to and tends to immediately accept and integrate positive Hypnotic Suggestion - the most powerful tool of the hypnotherapist. This does not mean that everything is instantly absorbed - quite the contrary, in fact. Hypnotherapists must be mindful of the language used as to not suggest anything that the client himself would not want to integrate; for a certain faculty within the client still serves to discern, even in the relaxed state of hypnotic rest. Much like the television watcher; although he perceives the products presented as attractive, he still has the choice whether to purchase or not - the same principal applies in hypnotherapy. With the help of the client's intuitive guidance and these well-placed, masterfully-timed suggestions, we see them act as transformational affirmations, literally refining the skewed belief systems of the client, thus altering the external reality over which they govern.
Our subconscious mind has but one more use, however. As well as it being an archive for our memories and belief systems, the subconscious also functions as a vehicle within which we are afforded the ability to traverse the waters around the iceberg itself - the Unconscious Mind.
The Unconscious is a collective apparatus, a wholly metaphysical construct which interconnects each and every 'iceberg' of perception or individual in the common world. It houses the collective interests of every seemingly separate aspect of our experience of 'the other' and plays an integral part in our inner world from an unseen level of influence. Our dreams take place in the vast and unpredictable world of the unconscious for it contains the archetypal elements, the symbols, which are the very fabric of our psyches.
All things shown to us in dreams are but individualized tangential possibilities played out in a beautiful symphony of relevant imagery, colors, and characters. Oftentimes, our deepest fears are expressed in the form of nightmares as the unconscious allows for every possibility created by the conscious or subconscious minds to safely express themselves and wash away, hindering not the fragile psyche of the experiencer. You see, we create every possibility we imagine either in the physical or astral realms, so the imaginings we've breathed life into which do not support our narrative in this life are expressed safely in a world of wonderment whilst we sleep. This element of the human experience is a built-in protective mechanism which serves to keep murderers, ghosts, and werewolves from becoming a part of our living reality. Be grateful for your nightmares for they are truly here to help. The wisdom of the nightmare is held in the subsequent conscious mind, waking state processing of the symbols of the dream (murderer = new awareness of home security / cheating spouse = deep conversation with partner regarding the values of the relationship).
We see now, as stated before, that just as the darkest of our innermost expressions can be seen as a chance for negative release which ultimately concludes in a systemic catharsis, as such in nightmares; so too can we see that all of the impulses put forth by the wise unconscious can be categorized as pure. The unconscious mind, in its unburdened, unblemished state affects in a very curious way, the individual psychic construct (the IPC for short; comprised of the conscious and subconscious minds combined, or the mind/body/spirit complex). The unconscious, in its infinite wisdom and intelligence, puts forth an impulse of learning to the individual, most often in the dream realm first and then into the physical. The IPC is exposed first in the dream state to a possible circumstance which reflects an opportunity for future learning, such as a car wreck or meeting someone from the past. This is done first in the astral realm so that the IPC can become accustomed to the weight of the underlying wisdom before it manifests in reality. Sometimes, however, the IPC misinterprets this underlying tone of the impulse and attributes to it a negative perception or experience. This can most easily be seen in the cancer victim; the cancer manifests as a signal created by the body which is desperately working to convey the teaching of the unconscious. The IPC in its undeveloped state can easily misread the often powerful message coming through, assuming that it is something negative like a disease. We must begin to see that the body is the physical antennae of the unconscious, and all aberrations that occur in the body can be seen as misunderstood messages from this realm.
Now in the context of hypnosis therapy, we have much to learn from the unconscious mind. Ultimately, the Alchemical process can be seen as a conversation between the unconscious and subconscious minds. The conscious mind uses the submarine of the subconscious, if you will, to traverse the vast symbolic depths of the unconscious. The subconscious being the archive of all aspects of the psyche, good, bad, and indifferent, puts forth the presenting problem in the hopes of discovering the underlying cause (the wisdom/learning) who's secret is held in the unconscious.
Previously inaccessible to the conscious mind and only glimpsed through in dreams, hypnosis allows the awareness to deep beneath the veil to witness this amazing world. It is this very process that yields the amazing results proffered by delighted and amazed clients of the work worldwide.
With these precepts of the hypnotic mechanism and the 3-mind construct in place, the work of Alchemical Hypnosis can truly begin to change and transmute the emotional lead, the heavy, poisonous, archaic belief systems we carry on a daily basis into golden expressions of one's true, unburdened, and authentic nature.
And here's where Alchemy fits in.
Alchemy is an ancient occult, or hidden, practice that some would argue is older than hypnosis. Its most famous venture, as an early precursor to modern science and chemistry, was to derive through a precise mixing of ingredients, a substance known as the 'Philosopher's Stone' (A magical concoction that was rumored to have the ability to transmute, or transform, base metals into gold and was highly coveted in this ancient subculture). As time progressed and more obscure texts regarding Alchemy began to surface, researchers started to notice that this often lifelong, arduous, seemingly futile search for this mythical potion was something of an allegory.
Those revisiting these ancient manuscripts, of whom the famed psychologist Carl Jung was a part, were amazed to see that the true transmutation actually occurred internally, within the hearts and minds of the Alchemists themselves. It was shown that both the 'lead' or 'base metal' they were referring to, as well as the 'gold' it was transformed to were metaphors for the practitioner's emotional spectrum. Lead represented depression, listlessness, anxiety, and fear, while gold was seen as joy, creativity, love, and spiritual buoyancy.
"...the entire alchemical procedure...could just as well represent the individuation process of a single individual."
- C.G. Jung
This process of internal symbolic alchemy was made possible with the implementation and daily use of powerful inner guides or 'Archetypes', a term coined by the reverent psychologist himself. These Archetypes come in many forms such as the Inner Healer, Warrior, Mate, Mother, Father, Child, etc. Alchemy's processes were found to be very similar to that of ancient shamans, who worked to achieve an altered state of consciousness within which they could communicate with divine beings, elementals, guides, and sacred spirits. This ancient, invaluable methodology has now been synthesized into a comprehensive program which, under the direction of the skilled Alchemical Hypnotherapist, allows clients to perform internal symbolic alchemy as the ancient alchemists once did, and is readily available to those who diligently seek relief from internal imbalance. And with the work of Alchemy, relief was and is still readily achieved.
In summation, Alchemical Hypnosis was born of two amazing traditions of therapy, one internal, archaic, and extremely individualistic and the other scientifically backed and verified as a legitimate, albeit somewhat misunderstood and under-appreciated form of talk therapy. The marriage of these two great philosophies was conceived and fully developed by world renowned hypnotherapist and teacher David Quigley of Santa Rosa, California, whose foresight allowed two rather complex systems of coordinated introspection to become one, and are proving themselves to be a match made in heaven; truly producing a sum which supersedes its parts. The natural ability for the human mind to be able to relax to a point where an arena of real change can be accessed, combined with the amazing technology of Inner Archetypal engagement is a revelation in terms of therapeutic efficacy. Utilizing a safe, light state of trance and the interactive process between therapist and client generated therefrom, clients are empowered to change the aspects of their life with which they are displeased. During session, Alchemical Hypnosis practitioners or Alchemists support, encourage, and educate their esteemed clientele, whom, because of their training in Archetypal communication actually become Alchemists themselves! The wonderful techniques of hypnotic suggestion, exciting inner journeys, and the ancient shamanic method of entranced spirit communication during interactive process are employed to assist the client in