The Alchemical Mandala

The charts for the alchemical journey of self transformation often take the form of a mandala or sacred wheel. This is because the sacred journey never ends. It also usually brings you back to where you started but the second time around you know where you have been. The mandala is a dynamic map of the stages of development necessary for transforming ourselves.

The most basic mandala form is the four step diagram known to adepts as the rotation of the elements. There are four stages. Earth (E) is followed by water (W) followed by air (A) followed by fire (F). Then we come back to earth. This pattern follows the laws of nature where earth is on the bottom with water above that and air above that and fire above that.

When an alchemist starts to work on him /herself this beginning stage is known as putting the fire under the earth. When putting the fire under the earth the alchemist is working against the natural order of things or working against nature. To cook a meal is working against nature according to alchemy. To cook my beliefs about myself is to change my unconscious patterns in my life that are not working for me. Changing my unconscious patterns is also a work against nature. In this important work I learn to overcome the things that are holding me back from reaching my goals in life.