The Time and Emotion of an Alchemist’s Putrefaction

Decay is employed in various areas of alchemy, notably the beginning. That initial presentation is related but dissimilar to putrefaction— symbolically tied in destruction but of a different (spiritual) mechanical practice. The first is a sudden and drastic shift from perpetuation to change, as routines are shattered by the beginning of transmutation.

In contrast, the later process of putrefaction must be slow. Optimum conditions can speed up the rot, but it eats at its own pace.

Am I going to rot away to nothingness? No, because I’m present, I’m aware, I feel myself crawling from the compost that was once a piece of me. However, some mold only grew on the surface, indicating dead but consumable energy. I was impatient and didn’t give it the time or circumstances to digest.

While no alchemist can expect perfection so early in transformation, I know I must return to earlier teachings as I’m not ready to progress into new territory. In my recovery, I often take one step forward, two steps back, then three steps forward. This is also true in my alchemy and I accept that I have not been successful in putrefaction.

This is a victory. I’m not ready for the test of Xanthosis but I’ve learnt crucial skills which will aid me in my return to previous stages. Ebb and flow is a key concept in alchemy. Forward, backward, we work in cycles which follow the path of ouroboros. I have reached the tail and I enter a maw that has grown stronger thanks to my work. The mouth of the serpent will always be familiar as we never lose our core value, but we work with change and I haven’t changed enough.

I undervalue my eccentricities. I still hide my greatest strengths. I feel shame for what gives me great power because I don’t feel worthy of being powerful. I’m not ready to leave the stage of gaining awareness. An alchemist’s physical age isn’t indicative of their potential as a being’s development isn’t linear or consistent— I grew up and died and was born again several times before I hit puberty, but for all my experience, there is much for me to be before I can call myself an alchemist of the pelican. 

The time isn’t right. I’ve known deep in my heart I must raise my children before I can progress. This last year in the cusp of dawning orange has proven to me that I was right. My emotional maturity grows every day but I haven’t healed my inner child and so am not ready to parent to a child, and so am not ready to leave Albedo. 

Melancholic stupor is suffocating and when I break free, it hits harder than ever when it returns. How can I breathe with all this weight on my chest? How can I walk when my feet are so heavy? I can’t keep my head up, I’m so tired, I’m so sad. How sad can a person be before they forget they’re a person, that they’re more than a vessel for this overwhelming emotion? 

Everyone around me forgets, they forget that I live in the belly of my childhood torture chamber, that I have return to pick through the remains. I made a specific choice when I moved back into the house I experienced such long lasting horror in. I live here amongst all this rot. I sleep in it. I eat in it. I eat it. I consume the metaphysical flesh of my trauma. So long has it been eating away at me, now I dine.

So no, my state of being isn’t ready to move on. My inventory of self is sorely lacking. I have discovering to do. I can’t embody something I don’t understand. With putrefaction is the reality of willingness— I have not fully relinquished myself to this process.

I will, however, accept and use all the rot has taught me.

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