I just dove into Green Hermeticism: Alchemy and Ecology, an interesting read for sure. Some may not be aware that hermeticism or alchemy is the sacred science of nature or what Wilson calls the science of life. Hermeticism goes back to the Egyptians and appears to be the perennial philosophy underlying most wisdom traditions and religions.
When most people think of alchemy, they think of changing lead to gold, but this is by no means the goal of alchemy. The true purpose of alchemy is transformation of the soul by awakening from an unconscious state (lead) to a conscious state (gold); to quicken nature's processes towards spiritual transformation. Living in harmony with nature and natural laws is the goal and source of alchemical practices.
Contemporary science focuses on the pragmatic, what works, but ancient wisdom traditions, rooted in hermeticism, focus on a holistic “spiritual state of encounter.” Modern world views, rooted in the rationalism of the Enlightenment, dismiss the notion that the material world interacts with the spiritual world or that ancient wisdom traditions have validity. Living within the rhythms and patterns of life is considered pagan or superstitious. When society moved toward industrialization, nature was no longer considered sacred; it was simply a commodity, a dead resource. But nature is full of life and we are part of it.
The central doctrine of hermetic thought is of an ensouled universe, the One or the All. The One does not represent a deity, it is every potentiality, the creative force of the cosmos, the prima material. Maybe what scientists before the Enlightenment called aether or what has been called chi, prana, life force. (May the force be with you) Because all emanated from The One, all is connected.
We live in a relational process between the subjective psyche and the objective world. This relational process and connectedness is exemplified in the almost mystical ideas of quantum physics. Quantum mechanics has shown that an independent, objective reality does not exist; we are participants in the processes of manifestation. Analytic thinking separates and dissects the material world, but holism and connectedness is a core component of the energetic world. This is evident through experiments in quantum entanglement. Everything is connected because it is literally one thing- electromagnetic energy vibrating at different frequencies. Is this energy field The One that ancient alchemists referred to?
The idea that matter and consciousness are interconnected is also expressed by the proponents of the Gaia hypothesis. The earth as a living being receives no credence in academia but it aligns with ancient wisdom traditions. We are not separate from nature and we will never rule nature.
Objectivism and separation have led us to egotism and a shadow expression that has distanced us from each other and nature. Hate becomes easier than love. Competition and exploitation become the norm over cooperation and prejudice and tribalism allow us to fear openness and tolerance. We lack intimacy with the world, the divine and ourselves. Recognizing and remembering nature as sacred is necessary for the transformative path towards healing our current ecological and cultural woes.
Bamford speaks of alchemy as sacred ecology. He calls us to learn to think and be in harmony with our Mother, her beauty and cosmic nature. Alchemy is the sacred primordial science of nature that has existed from the beginning of humanity’s spiritual journey. We need to reclaim the world as animated with life and to remember that the physical and spiritual lives of people are linked to nature and each other. We are one. As above, so below. The living energy underlying nature and the cosmos is our source. Nature sets the pattern, we need only to observe to see our path. This is the first step to becoming an alchemist, a magician scientist, a catalyst for transformation.