Alchemy 101: Alchemy in Relationships and Love

Updated on August 26, 2017

The Sacral Chakra at Play in Relationships

Spiritual Alchemy: The Alchemical Marriage

In alchemy, there are three essential parts to the being: the soul, the spirit and the body. Alchemical marriage, also known as the "sacred marriage," is the process of bringing these aspects of self into union: the merging of masculine and feminine, of soul, spirit and body, of physical and ethereal. In this sense, alchemical marriage is a transformative process, a metaphor for the Great Work itself. The transmutation of human flesh and folly into the spiritual "gold" of the unified being, sometimes known as Christ Consciousness.

To Work on Your Relationship You Must Also Work on Yourself

Alchemical Relationships

All spiritual alchemists must go through the process of the Great Work on their own, the unification of their own imperfect being with their higher self. Ancient alchemists believed that this was both an internal and an external process. While the Great Work must be completed on an individual level, it can also be mirrored in our mundane relationships, facilitating an even greater spiritual transformation.

Marriage is by far the most spiritually intensive relationship humans can engage in during our time on earth. Ancient alchemists saw a valuable parallel between their spiritual work and the institution of marriage. In fact, all alchemists were required to have an opposite gender counterpart, often known as a sister in the practice. The reason for this is that alchemists understood that while the ultimate goal is to balance masculine and feminine traits within the self for greater spiritual ascension, there is also much to be learned from the experiences and knowledge of the opposite sex.

Masculine-Feminine Balance in Relationships

In alchemy, the delineation between masculine and feminine is not based on the physical but on the quality of certain energies. For example, the sun is known for having a distinctly masculine energy, associated with things such as material wealth, ambition, drive, motivation, etc.. Meanwhile, lunar energy is dark, cool, creative, maternal, nurturing and passive. The true alchemist understands that in order to manifest the fabled Philosopher's Stone (conscious awakening and spiritual transformation) in our own lives, we must strike a balance between both our inherent masculine and feminine qualities. From the manliest "macho man" to the most archetypically feminine woman, we all have masculine and feminine aspects within ourselves that must be drawn out and perfected through the alchemical process.

When it comes to the alchemical process of calcination, there are no better refining fires than those found in human relationships! Especially those of the romantic variety. Balance is crucial to any relationship, but absolutely necessary for one that is going to withstand the fires of spiritual transformation. Balance comes into play when two people in the same relationship are projecting the same energies, which is where we move beyond the stereotypical, human notion of masculine-feminine and into the spiritual qualities that transgender human notions of gender. On the surface level, this can be quite daunting with our modern sensibilities, but rest assured that alchemy does not require an abandonment of feminist principles or individuality in a relationship. Quite the opposite, in fact!

The key is knowing and recognizing the inherent strengths of each person in the relationship. Say that one partner is naturally inclined toward wealth building while the other is more inclined toward building a comfortable home and nurturing. The non-alchemical perspective on such a relationship would be, "Oh look, they're a traditional couple" or "how backwards, a man doing a 'woman's work'!" An alchemical perspective recognizes the inherent strength of both partners, celebrates the balance and cohesion between energies that allows that couple to get done what needs to be done (doesn't matter who it is; someone has to do the dishes and ensure that the bills get mailed out in time!). Beyond that recognition, there is a conscious melding that occurs within the sealed ritual chamber of the romantic relationship. In an alchemical relationship where both partners are recognized and valued for their strengths, those energies are allowed to calculate, to be stripped down to their most basic essences, and purified both through conflict and interpersonal growth. In the end, not only will each partner be more him, her or theirself, but the process of merging spiritually with another person will enable the best qualities of that other person to manifest within the other as well.

Can you manifest the balanced masculine-feminine qualities of the alchemical rebus without being in a relationship? Absolutely! But for those who are so inclined, it really is a wonderful opportunity for extensive growth, both as a person and as a couple.

Alchemy Balance in Relationships

How Does the Sacred Marriage Fit in With LGBT issues? Is It Homophobic?

The short answer: No! This concept is in no way exclusive to heterosexual or cisgender couples. As spiritual beings living a physical experience, we all have masculine and feminine aspects within us, and it is entirely possible to have an alchemical marriage between two male partners, two female partners, or any other permutation of gender and orientation. In fact, many alchemists believe that these experiences offer unique insight that can lend itself to greater balance and understanding of the masculine and feminine forces at play in the universe. Being cisgender and heterosexual means being perceived as "the default," so many people never critically analyze gender or sexuality in the way that gay and transgender people must in order to come to the realization of who they are.

Unfortunately, the misconception that alchemy is in itself homophobic or transphobic or in any way supports such a worldview stems from a misunderstanding of alchemy at its most fundamental level. The true alchemist understands that there is more at play when it comes to the masculine-feminine polarity than physical traits. Concepts such as gender exist on multiple levels, and the possible permutations of a spiritually balanced relationship are virtually endless. Those who see only on the physical, external level may twist alchemical terms to suit their own agenda, but they lack any inherent understanding of the ancient hermetic truths.


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