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Observations placeholder

Godwin, Joscelyn - The Great Work



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

Joscelyn Godwin

It must be obvious that our current civilisation marks one of those crucial days on which either the work will move forward into a new phase, or else – to put it bluntly – the vessel, heated beyond endurance, will blow up in the Alchemist's face. Then he will have to begin all over again, which doubtless he is quite prepared to do having inexhaustible patience; and in any case, if what Plato tells is true, he has seen this happen before.

However in this year there is a difference. Whereas the Alchemist was working by the more usual method, known as the 'Humid Way', now he is following the 'Dry Way'. The latter is a much more rapid process, which will yield tremendous results if it succeeds, but which is extremely hazardous because of the greater temperatures to which it subjects the matter in the sealed vessel.

The choice of the Dry Way is responsible for the unprecedented acceleration of historical events over the past 500 solar years …. the Dry Way requires the crucible to be heated mercilessly, and no more dew, no green plants can be fed to the matter within.

The Alchemist it seems made his last direct intervention in the 7th century AD... now he awaits events within the flask that either will allow him to open it again in triumph or will spell the ruin of all his work so far. Much of this will depend on the behaviour of the matter itself, over which he has little control, but which is ruled by the stars and by the degree to which it has previously been prepared. No wonder that the coming century is scarcely imaginable

Western civilisation has certainly been different from all other civilisations … the 'traditionalists' bewail western materialism, secularism, the decline of traditional religions, the loss of philosophical certitude.... The 'evolutionarists' extol the emergence of individual consciousness, freedom from dogma, global awareness.

My alchemical analogy tries to hold these opposites in tension without deciding for either, because I find such a state more productive of insight than the dualistic taking of sides.

The state of the Great Work at which we find ourselves is correctly speaking, full of obscurity.

The source of the experience

Godwin, Joscelyn

Concepts, symbols and science items

Science Items

Activities and commonsteps