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On Becoming an Alchemist

A Gude for the Modern Magician
Paperback Book
December, 2008
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Banyen's Description: 

True magicians don’t cause things to appear or disappear. They take what already exists—whatever they’re presented with—and transmute the harmful into the helpful, the useless into the valuable.

The most accessible discussion of the psycho-spiritual dimensions of alchemy to appear in years, On Becoming an Alchemist helps readers to understand how this alchemical transmutation is achieved—not through trying to change circumstances, but through changing ourselves. At its essence, practicing alchemy involves developing an understanding of our relationship to the situation, person, or object in question—and realizing that by changing our viewpoint, we can exert influence over people and events. Refreshingly, the alchemical principles presented can be applied to all the ordinary challenges of life including relationships, family life, work, health, finances, and creative endeavors.

This richly gratifying exploration of alchemy is written for the advanced magical practitioner who is a novice alchemist. Presenting this ancient art as a kind of spiritual graduate school, through vivid storytelling and crystalline prose she maps out the mental landscape of alchemy, showing how the process is similar to that used by religious mystics.

Using the traditional components of alchemy as a metaphor, the base metal of a tragic life event or even a bad mood can become source material in the process of personal transformation. Everything in MacCoun’s cosmos stands ready to lead one toward the deeper truths of reality. 

“Catherine MacCoun is a great communicator, and she knows her stuff from the inside too. Blows a bright and refreshing breeze through the musty halls of hermetic and magical symbolism, and lays it all on the line. Highly recommended.” —Gareth Knight, author of Magic and the Western Mind

“A true alchemist, Catherine MacCoun has transformed profound ideas into a gold standard of what a book on magic should be. Excellently written with prose that sparkles with clarity and wit, this book can serve novice and advanced practitioner alike with equal grace and insight.” —David Spangler, author, Blessing

Catherine MacCoun also wrote the acclaimed novel Beyond the Abbey Gates.

Publisher’s Description: 

Many regard alchemy as a metaphor for inner transformation. But this is only half the story. According to Catherine MacCoun, alchemy is no mere metaphor. Its real magic. Transforming the inner world is, for the alchemist, a way to transform the outer world. Through studying the principles of alchemy, we can achieve extraordinary effects from ordinary actions by understanding how the world really works. We can perceive the hidden connections between the spiritual and the material worlds. Knowledge of these connections enables us to influence external phenomena through the powers of heart and mind alone. Yet alchemy is not, like some forms of magic, the exercise of mind over matter. It is the art of taking what already existswhatever presents itselfand transmuting the harmful into the helpful, the useless into the valuable.

On Becoming an Alchemist initiates us into these secrets, showing us how to think, perceive, and operate as an alchemist. It offers practical advice and exercises that will help the modern magician to:

Understand and apply basic principles of alchemy
Transmute setbacks, failures, and losses into sources of magical power
Navigate ones inner world with poise, confidence, and common sense
Intuitively show up in the right place at the right time to benefit from magical coincidences
Discover the potentials latent in any situation by awakening subtle perception

To learn more about the author Catherine MacCoun go to magicians don't cause things to appear or disappear, says MacCoun, a modern-day alchemist. Instead, they take what already exists and transmute the harmful into the helpful, the useless into the valuable. Alchemical transmutation is achieved not through changing outer circumstances, but through changing ourselves. Here is a guide to recognizing, cultivating, and using the magic of your inner wisdom and intuitive power to apply the principles of alchemy to the ordinary challenges of life: relationships, family, work, health, finances, and creative endeavors. Now in paper. 224 pp.

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