Colm Holland’s 40 Days of Alchemy Meditations at home.
Meditation 13 - Lead
"This third, dull lead, with warning all as blunt:
Who chooseth me must give and hazard all he hath.” *
(* Shakespeare - The Merchant of Venice.)
Yesterday we spent time looking at what we truly want in life and how in Alchemy that’s represented as Gold. Today we look at the metal Lead, that which the ancient alchemists believed could be transformed into Gold.
If you know Shakespeare’s play The Merchant of Venice then the story goes that the selection of one of three boxes is the choice that Portia’s suitors have to make to win her as their bride. A lead box is one and the alternative choices are made of silver or gold - but only one contains the image of Portia and the promise of her hand in marriage. They can choose one box.
Each box also comes with a forfeit if they choose wrongly. As you can see from the quote, the price of choosing the lead box - if it is the wrong box or even if it is the right box - means that the suitor will have to give up all that he has, even his own life.
Of course Portia’s image lies within the lead box and her true love Bassanio makes the correct choice - unlike the other suitors - and they are married. Bassanio in choosing lead shows he has the wisdom to know that our real treasure lies in what is mostly despised and feared.
In Alchemy, Lead represents those weakest and most vulnerable parts of our psyche - the parts we would rather reject because we fear their power and control over us. And yet, like Bassanio we can choose to open and face those Lead parts - even though they are surrounded by the fear of the death of all we have - because he knew that by embracing Lead he would find true Love.
The parts of myself I most despise are worthy because they will take me to Love.
This is one of the fundamental truths of Alchemy. Those parts of ourselves that we attach the least value to - are in fact our greatest treasure - if we choose to embrace them in the name of Love.
The transformation of lead into gold is precisely what this metaphor means. When we know that the symbolic change of lead into gold - the priceless reformation of our despised self into our true self - it is the most valuable asset we will ever find.
And it starts with embracing our weakness with Love.
This is the path to True Empowerment and joy.
Our mantra for today is:
I choose to acknowledge and embrace my weaker self with the help of Love.
And remember, to encourage you throughout these exercises I have asked Love to give you everything you need to be the Alchemist in your world.
Colm Holland is a writer, mentor, speaker, alchemy trainer and adventurer.