As I walked through the dense forest on this crisp, cold winter afternoon, I came upon his tiny cottage. Unlike our houses ~ even our remote, rural houses ~ his cottage was not built along the edge of a road or even near a path. In order to find his place, you must know the general direction in which to search, and then wander carefully. On the outside, it blended well with the forest, and even at close proximity, you might not see it among the trees.
I entered as I had been instructed to do, opening the heavy wooden door, and approaching him in his work space. And there he was, engrossed in his craft. Sitting at the sturdy wooden desk, he leaned into the candle light, as the afternoon was dark inside, light coming in through only one tiny window to the right of his desk. With great patience and focus, he held the glass globe in his left hand, and gripping a very small wooden brush, he continued to paint the delicate surface with tiny red birds. He did not look away from his work, and made no effort to finish what he was doing on my account. I could feel that he knew I was there, and that he was expecting me. I stood patiently near his desk, trusting that he would eventually acknowledge me.
After some time had passed, he told me that he knew why I had come, and that we would begin soon. In the meantime, he invited me to come closer, observing his work. His cottage was lined with high shelves, just above head’s height along the walls. They were stacked with heavy books, bottles of unknown substances, and handmade glass globes ~ the daily stuff of the life of an alchemist and artisan. He was utterly without hurry, with total focus, completely absorbed into the process of creation. He invited me to sit with him, offering his blessing upon my mission. I was absorbed into his timeless presence, complete absence of thought. He invited me to relax into that space, a way of life that was free from the concerns of the modern world. In his cottage, there was not even a trace of the busyness that plagues our modern culture. There was no place else to be. Working for productivity, money, deadlines, and goals were utterly foreign in his world. “Do what is yours to do. Do it with love and devotion. Put all of your attention there.”
After some time passed, he placed the freshly painted glass globe on the shelf, and turned his attention to me. He understood my mission, and my request for his support ~ as the last fully connected ancestor on the line, he led me in peering down through generations, observing the rift passed from father to son, openly sharing his own story. As a gentle and intuitive man with gifts of magic and creativity, he was his father’s son, sharing the gifts of his people since time beyond memory. When his own son came of age, he refused to learn the family trade, and descended into hostility and anger, considering his father a weak, soft man who left his family and his community vulnerable to the hostile and destructive forces of the outside world. Puzzled by his son’s strange and unfounded fears about invasion and foreign powers, he sought to teach him about the higher wisdom of their line’s alchemist tradition, filled with magic and power and had kept their people safe and well for generations. His son, filled with rage, fled the community and was never seen again.
The son travelled to a distant land and made a home for himself there. He provided for his family by learning to use his body’s strength to build, to clear the land, and to fight foreign invaders and enemies. He died young in an accident, leaving behind a young son. Without his father’s strong dissuasion, the son found his way into the natural inclinations of his father’s people: gentleness, creativity, intuition, and mystical knowledge. And on and on it continued, down the line: gentle father, rebellious strong-willed son, and rebellious strong-willed father, gentle son. The lack of understanding between their two distinct ways of being and inhabiting the world continued to drive separation and hostility. With each gentle father and son, there was a deep yearning for reuniting the family and honoring differences with respect. And with each rebellious strong-willed father and son, there was a total hostile rejection of anything not rooted in brute physical force. On and on it went.
Calling them all forward, the alchemist spun them all into a fine smoke-like wisp, and encased them in one of his unpainted glass globes. Spinning layers of protection and prayer together, he set in motion a powerful process that would intend to create harmony, balance, and resolution. When he was complete, he floated the globe to one of his shelves, storing it safely away as his magic amplified. Once more, he sat at his wooden desk, and picking up his still-wet paintbrush, he returned to painting tiny red birds on the glass globe. He didn’t even wish me well upon my journey home, once more completely absorbed in the creative flow. I slipped out the door, walking through the cold winter afternoon’s waning light.
Some days passed. I waited for him to call me to return.
When the day came, I returned again to his tiny woodland cottage, grateful to know the direction far better than the first time. I entered without knocking, and again, found him at his desk, still absorbed in painting the same glass globe with tiny red birds. His attention to detail was immaculate, and simply being in his presence pulled me into a deep meditative state. I sat with him in pristine silence for a time, now less impatient than before. After a few minutes, he sat down his work and stood, walking to the shelf where the magic healing globe rested. He floated it off the shelf into his own left hand, and brought it over to where I was sitting, joining me. He called his son present, and he came. Without any explanation or struggle, the two men embraced. He told his son of his wish that things had been different, and how he had missed him every day of his life. And his son offered his apology for his abrupt departure and the pain it caused the family, wishing that he had been able to accept his father’s ways without having to conform to them himself. In their embrace, all past hurt and misunderstanding was cleared. Then, the son turned to his own son, embracing, sharing their regrets and misunderstandings and sorrows, clearing anger, pain, and grief. And on and on through the generations, ending with Edisonia, my father’s mother.
Circling around together, these men began to discuss the thread of toxic masculinity that ran through their line: the masculine tendency to dominate, control, and destroy anything that creates the perception of threat, anything that seems to subvert their will, and anything that doesn’t satisfy their desires. Calling for the masculine energy in their lineage, and in the world in current day times, to return to balance, they entered into a pact to flood the masculine in every direction, in every associated lineage, and in every way, with a healing current that would bring transformation and healing of all the toxicity of the dominant, patriarchal expression of masculine power. As they activated the healing current, they began to glow, becoming brighter and brighter, connecting with the best of their personal selves, as well as the best of the Divine Masculine. Gradually, they faded from my awareness, continuing their process without my observation.
The alchemist returned the glass globe, now empty, to the high shelf, and once more returned to his desk. Picking up the glass globe with the red birds, he continued his work. Asking for his blessing once more, he shared a similar message as before. “Create your work. Do it for the love of it. Don’t ever worry about money, and don’t ever create what you create because of money. Simply be present with your work, give it all of your energy. Single pointed focus.” And with that, he was finished.
I stop in to visit the alchemist fairly regularly. Each time I enter, the process is the same. Each time I invite his insight, the message is the same. Though the 21st century world is filled with demands of busyness, multitasking, focus on productivity, and financial needs that seem to expand every single day, he continues to call me into presence with the deepest truth of my work, insisting upon my authenticity and sincere heart, and reminding me that faith and trust are only truly present when we are pushed to the test. And so, I continue to do what I do because it is within me, waiting to be born, mine alone to carry.