The Alchemy of Allowing Mystery

The Alchemy of Allowing Mystery

by Isabella Vickers, Managing Editor

[Allowing the Mystery of Mercury’s Retrograde journey, I surrender to the temporary inability to add inspiring images to the following post due to technical difficulties. I apologize. I’m visual; I appreciate the power of image. AND I allow that we can use our own powerful imaginations to conjure images of the alchemical sisters mentioned below.]

The greatest mystery in our lives is not any of the esoteric philosophical wonderings we all have from time to time… what happens when I die? where does love come from? . . . will my children grow up to be kind, loving people? The real mystery is . . .what can I do when I have tried and tried to make my life an authentic expression of my desires and it is definitely not turning out to be that way? The real mystery is what to do when you are suffering and cannot see a way out. You find yourself in a double bind. You cannot go backward, but you do not see a clear path ahead. It is a mystery, a conundrum you cannot avoid, because it is staring you right in the face.

You have two choices when faced with a profound personal mystery. You can grow neurotically anxious about it and ruminate on the unfairness of the universe and how some other person has betrayed you or why you are growing older but not necessarily wiser. Or, you can analyze the situation and take the existential behavioral route to mystery solution.

A woman existentialist is an intelligent and spiritually inclined person with a penchant for taking action. She carefully analyzes her situation, determines its causes to the best of her ability, and then takes action to fix the situation to her liking. When, however, she comes to the conclusion that there is no action she can take to make the situation turn around, she faces the mystery of what to do when there seems to be no resolution. Our existential woman has a plan for this eventuality, too.

She recalls the great women through time who have faced similar dilemmas. It was a mystery to Rosa Parks why Caucasians hated African-Americans with such intensity. Joan of Arc was perplexed when Anglican Church officials refused to allow her the validity of her own spiritual beliefs. And what exactly did these women do when faced with these seemingly insoluble mysteries . . . they performed mental, spiritual and behavioral alchemy right where they stood. Parks decided to quit trying to figure out any deep rationale for prejudice. She simply accepted it, because she understood Caucasian fear of the animated nature and growing assertiveness of her race. By accepting this reality, Parks freed up her mental and physical energy to work toward a solution. She stayed on the bus, the rest is history, yet the mystery of human prejudice continues, though in increasingly small degrees.

Parks used the art of existential alchemy to change prejudice, fear and violence into a justifiable civic rights act that changed American forever. Mystery completely solved? Nobody will ever know the deepest psychological root of prejudice, but at least women know what to do when faced with prejudice of any kind. They alchemize it from fear and immobility into reasonable action.

Women have been performing alchemical acts for thousands of years. The Greek maidens who helped conduct the annual Eleusinian mystery school initiations in worship of the Goddesses Demeter and Persephone and the Roman women who did the same worshipping the goddess Diana in Rome strengthened the animistic power of women in these two cultures, which had concretized patriarchal and masculine structures. They conducted secret ceremonies that alchemized the initiates from fear of feminine power to spiritual trust in it and the will to militate for it in Greek and Roman society.

But this brings us back to our original dilemma. What will you do when you are faced with a mystery in life? Consider the existential facts of a situation you do not like. You probably contributed to your uncomfortable situation some way, and you can choose to take remedial action to the best of your ability. And suppose that does not bring the result you want? Then you accept that you have been placed in this situation so your consciousness can grow to understand that you are not in absolute control of anything, even your own mind sometimes.

The early alchemists of the 14th century, like Richard Dorn, thought they could change lead into gold, and they conducted elaborate laboratory experiments to accomplish this. Of course, they failed, but in the process they realized that they were not truly seeking material riches, but rather the mental and emotional comfort that came from wealth. They decided that real alchemy was not changing baser material elements into the higher metal gold, but to change anxious, neurotic thinking and emotions into spiritual peace and calm.

You can do the same. Sit quietly and meditate on the fact that situations are what they are, despite your efforts. Make a conscious mental choice to say, “While I do not know the reason for this mysterious situation, there is something I must be supposed to learn from it. I accept that I cannot avoid my situation. What am I missing? What is it that I am supposed to learn from all of this? How can I be a more spiritual person in this case?”

When faced with insoluble mystery, listen to your intuition, and while you are waiting for answers to appear, set about your day doing something good for someone else. Go dancing, make a colorful salad, plant flowers, help someone carry their groceries. You will be surprised how quickly the mystery of frustration and confusion alchemize into joy.

Special gratitude for karmic resolution, which allowed me to alchemize this article.


Isabella Vickers is an artist, a writer and a dreamer. She is passionate, curious, and actively living a creative life. She practices as a Jungian-oriented psychotherapist and creativity coach in Oregon’s beautiful Willamette Valley where she utilizes intuition, creativity, and expressive arts to facilitate growth and healing. Isabella is proud to be the Managing Editor of Cosmic Cowgirls Magazine where she writes the column “Dare to Bloom.” You can see her art at: and Isabella Vickers Art, learn more about her therapy work at:, and follow her column right here on

Author: Isabella Vickers

Share This Post On

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: