The Four Quadrants of Global Alchemy Skillful Means

The range of possible domains a Global Alchemist may engage to create transformation can be divided into four general domains. These are not rigidly distinct domains but are meant to help identify possibilities.



First Attention




Second Attention (Esoteric)



When considering the basic definition of Global Alchemy as “The Art and Science of becoming the change we wish to see and expressing this in heart centered visionary life engagement.”, then the inner quadrants are mostly concerned with becoming the change and the outer quadrants are concerned with expressing in activity. However, one of the special qualities of the alchemical approach is the harnessing of outer strategies to support inner transformation as much as using the inner to transform the Outer.

The terms first and second attention are borrowed from the Toltec teachings (at least as put forth by Carlos Casteneda). While there is both art and science to both first and second attention engagement the first attention has more the flavor of science and the second attention has more of the flavor of art. First attention is related to the world as most people know it, the world that there is more or less consensual agreement about. This includes not only the world readily measured by science but also our social agreements. Because it refers to a dimension of life most people are only dimly, if at all, aware of, and because it is, not concrete in nature, the second attention  is difficult to denotatively define. Ascribing it the flavor of art is connotative. Second attention relates to a whole range of subtle dimension of life that most people are not directly attuned to but is, none the less, actually highly causative to what appears in the word seen by first attention. Two key understanding about the second attention is that it relates to a whole range of subtle dimensions and that these subtle dimensions are formative to the appearances in the world of the first attention,

FA-O strategies are what most people talk about as how to accomplish objectives. They are the concrete actions you take that other people can observe. Most people rely primarily on this domain to achieve their objectives.

FA-I strategies are the strategies of psychology and personal development. This is about creating the right mindset and developing ones character and skills

SA-O is the use of actions in the domain of the second attention to create specific First Attention Outer world results. It can be a little confusing as second attention itself relates to what can be called an ‘inner world’ however for these quadrants “inner” is referring to the inner transformation of the individual. The second attention relates to an inner dimension of shared reality, though one more subjectively perceived (when it is perceived at all). At the level of second attention the division between innner and outer becomes more blurred. SA-O is strategies that work through the agency of the second attention world but are directed towards specific first attention outer world results. Some of these strategies can work, in the same way FA-O strategies, without necessarily requiring the person to become the change. Also like the FA-O when SA-O is used this way the results are usually limited in duration, tend to have a high long term cost and is not in accord with alchemical process.

SA-I This is the hardest arena to describe as both the means and the results are largely outside the domain of the conceptual mind and is the specialty of alchemy. It is primarily the engagement of this domain that cultivated the Philosopher’s Stone of the Visionary Heart. It is in this domain of engagement the one seeks “the kingdom of heaven by which all else is added unto thee” This is connected to what the Toltec called the Third Attention which transcends and includes all 4 of the other quadrants because the duality of inner and outer as will as first and second attention is transcended.

SA-I is the only quadrant directly related to Absolute Truth but is also included both relative methods and can have relative objective similar to the FA-I quadrant. The dividing line between what is FA-I and SA-I can become a little blurry as first and second attention belong distinctly to the inner world and more and more of what used to be considered esoteric is entering the public domain. Both work with consciousness, however FA-I, is more psychological and oriented more towards how ones mind state effects ones interaction with FA-O, while in SA-I the work consciousness is more spiritually based and focused. Also SA-I works more with the subtle energetic nature of the individual to facilitate changes in the individual

How most people engage the quadrants

As I said most people focus most of their attention in FA-O quadrant in the false hope that they can manipulate phenomena to provide what they believe will bring them happiness. It is a false hope because phenomena are not a true source of happiness. When Outer Phenomena seem to cause happiness it is because it has fulfilled an condition that has been internalized as begin required for happiness. But this is a conditional happiness and conditions always change.

A few put effort primarily in SA-O also with the false hope that they can manipulate phenomena to provide what they believe will bring them happiness. This strategy shares the same flaw as the first one but it adds an additional flaw. While SA-O (as well as FA-I and SA-I) engagements can cause changes in the outer world that seem independent of any causes from FA-O strategies, often called miracles, synchronicities or serendipities, several factors increase the likelihood and frequency of these ‘miracles’ occurring. First action in the FA-O that are congruent with aim of the SA-O increases the likelihood of synchronicities even though synchronicities don’t seem causally relate to the FA-O actions. For example you engage a SA-O strategy to get a better paying job. If while you are engaging in this strategy you also say look at online Job sites that might have job opportunities it will be more likely that you have a friend call you out of the blue with a job offer then if you just do nothing. The avenue that brought the Job was not directly related to the FA-O strategy that you where applying but it is, from an alchemical perspective, less likely that you would have gotten that call if you hadn’t applied the FA-O strategy, This is related to what is called the Principle of Congruence. It is also highlights the need for the joining of the inner and the outer. People often fail to understand the need for this joining when trying to apply the co called “law of attraction”. Although many teachers of the “law of attraction”? do warn against this mistake.

Also it is often action that the joins inner with outer (Here inner refers to SA-O, FA-I and SA-I and outer to FA-O) Action is the main mechanism of the outer word. When is using any or all 3 of the ‘inner’ strategies often the most efficient mechanism for expression in the FA-O world is the inspired action of the person seeking the change in the FA-O. In other words you are often the messenger that carries the ‘message’ from the inner dimensions to the outer.

Some People engage FA-I almost exclusively. These people tend towards being mostly happy but may not have much of what the world labels success. Most people whom the world labels successful and seem to be relatively well adjusted (as apposed to say a alcoholic or drug addicted celebrity or a workaholic business person) engage both FA-O and FA-I strategies (often with a dash of SA-I)

Some people engage almost exclusively SA-I. Iif done skillfully this will lead to profound happiness and bliss and is of unimaginable benefit to both themselves and all beings. . If not done skillfully it can lead to all manner of dysfunction and even insanity.

The Global Alchemist’s approach to the 4 domains of Engagement

The Global Alchemist’s approach is different then all of these. Global Alchemists do not look to results in the FA-O, by whatever means (direct FA-O engagement or indirectly through the other three), as a source of satisfaction and happiness but rather as heart inspired visionary expressions that support their inner transformation and create benefit for beings. The Global Alchemists learn to use each and every domain of engagement as an integral strategy that is expresses the Core Intention through their unique Visionary Heart Path.

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