Alchemical refinement is not a permanent state.
As you live your life, you are walking through a world of lead, and subject to endless dross that is hurled on you, that you are forced to carry on your shoulders, that fills your shoes like sloppy rainwater you have to walk in, that makes your golden heart look like tarnished trash to the people you love.
You become a walking pile of shit.
Hence, the need for the alchemical burning to be constant and perpetual. You are never forever out of the dark.
It is so much work. And you always refine out, heart newly golden, glowing with light, and full of hope that it will all change and all will be the way you have been working hard for it to be.
Some of us are admired for our intellect, or magical knowledge and prowess, our perceived strength, our way with people, our certain something-or-other… so many people are dazzled by our shining gold veneer, and believe being in the presence of that luminosity is being in the presence of gold…
…but we’re nothing but piles of shit.
And some of our magical lives are the endless dross-shedding, purifying, and refining… and not for high and mighty divine power or misguided literary and superhero fantasies… but for the basics, the things that come simply to others.
So you put yourself in the athanor, the retort, the flask, the forge, so you don’t drown in the dross.
Home. Steady secure work. Loving partner. Peace. Healing. Elusive, all of that. Elusive beyond reason.
And here’s the irony of magical power: being able to make a tree spin… being able to call up a wrath of demons… being able to sing a crowd into religious ecstasy… being able to heal someone just by laying your hands on them…
…and still come home alone, with an empty bank account, unable to see a future…
…is to be reminded that the purpose of magic is its own, not yours… it does not exist to do what you want it to do for you.
So back to the forge…