The Metaphor of Alchemy

The common notion of Alchemy is that it was a pseudo science whose aim was the transformation of lead into gold; however; Alchemy is actually a spiritual science, and the transformation of lead into gold is a multi-layered metaphor wherein lead and gold take on various meanings according to context. In all contexts, lead represents something of lesser value and gold something of higher value. The use of the metaphor was not to obscure the true meaning, but rather it was due to the fact that it very difficult to succinctly describe the actual "lead" which is the starting place and even harder to define the desired result symbolized by the "gold."

For our purposes, the "lead" is ordinary human existence with all its inherent dissatisfaction, suffering, mediocrity and confusion. The "gold" is unlimited potential also inherent in human existence but seldom unleashed. It is important to understand that the lead of human experience isn't a lack in the circumstances you find yourself in but rather the consciousness by which you experience life. The gold therefore isn't measurable things like dream houses, dream careers, dream relationships etc, but rather a state of consciousness that has been freed from the bondage of mistaken perception. Thus Alchemical Transformation is primarily a transformation in consciousness that then transforms every aspect of life.

The following table of paired meanings for lead and gold gives some elaboration as to the aim of Alchemical Transformation. Each of these correlations to lead and gold are actually the same as the other correlations, simply seen from a different lens of perception.









Mistaken identity

Who you really are



Life Without Meaning

Meaningful Life

Ordinary Mediocrity

Extraordinary Life

Conditional Happiness

Unconditional Bliss





The art and science of Alchemy has appeared in many cultures and in many time periods with similar defining characteristics using surprisingly similar metaphors. Project Global Alchemy and G.A.T.E. use the term Alchemy not to be specifically identified with the exact forms propagated in Renaissance Europe (from which we have the word alchemy) but to poetically express alignment with a style of view, method and action that a deep understanding of alchemy in its many manifestations conveys. Key components of this style are:

  • All transformation is ultimately self transformation
    • As within so without
    • We must become the change we wish to see in the world
  • Phenomena and existence is spiritualized rather then negated or escaped
    • All aspect of one life can be harnessed for Alchemical transformation
    • Alchemy can transform every aspect of ones life
    • Every aspect of ones life spiritual and material, is woven into a single tapestry of healing, transformation and liberation
    • The body is seen as the vehicles for spiritual transformation and not an obstacle to it.
  • Being and existence is identified as having three inseparable dimensions - physical/sensory, subtle energetic and consciousness
    • While the three dimensions are interconnected and affecting one will affect the others consciousness is the root dimension and true transformation must be a transformation of consciousness.
  • All three dimensions are utilized and addressed
  • Recognition that no life circumstance, no material object, no relationship, no job, no career, has the power to give or take away happiness.


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