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  1. (Comment from original posting in 2005)

    Many modern interpretations of alchemy view it as a process — or say it should be viewed as a process — for the purification and perfection of the human soul. I’m not entirely certain that the original alchemists were truly that ‘deep,’ but some may have been. But either way the ‘modern study’ of alchemy is intriguing and in fact may actually have something when taken as a personal development regimen.

    Repeatedly one sees common themes in things such as Tarot, alchemy, and the Journey of the Hero. The purification of the self through either the Tower or the furnace or the Underworld is recurring, whether through design or modern interpretations or happenstance. I’ve read a book which likens the major arcana to various steps on the path of the Journey of the Hero, and it’s quite remarkable in this interpretation. There are many sources on the web which discuss alchemy as a metaphor for personal development.

    Like most sets of symbols, alchemy can be interpreted in a variety of ways, but much of what a person gains from it — as with the study of other systems such as Tarot or Kabbalah — is in the consideration of the symbols themselves, and the metaphors within. Again, this holds true mainly for the more modern interpretations. It can be debated if people such as Crowley, Fludd, Dee, and Bacon had in mind a unified psychoanalytical model of personal development based on the monomyth! That doesn’t mean that modern interpretations and views are automatically rubbish, mind you.

    Of course, the fact that there are so many points of correspondence between all these systems might mean that there really is something buried under there.

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