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The Transmutation of Gross Reality into Vital Essence
...a journey of perception


There is a dense form to everything that celebrates time in this realm. Chemistry 101 verifies 107 elements which manifest in the science of measurement. This number and the capacity to analyze matter in its physical minutia, enables us to feign enlightenment. Those of science will not be fooled by that which is not proven!

Long ago a 16th century, mystic physician, Paracelsus, worked with matter. His teachings, writings and healings were infused with a reverence for essence. In his time matter was composed of four elements, and each element had physical as well as spiritual properties. Earth manifested as solid matter, and also resonated as the weight of rational priorities. Water meant liquid as well as the spirit of response and flow. Air enabled breath; spiritual air nourished concepts, ideas and thought potential. Fire burned substance, and subtle fire inspired.

Today we refer to these essences as symbols. We use them in occult references, in poetry, and in psychological typing. Let’s play with these intangibles as see if, in their subtly, there is substance? Since we’re playing with time as well as matter, I’ll inject the quandary of alchemy into this experiment.

When we think of alchemy, we tend to restrict the term to faulty melding of medieval lead. We think of fools impossibly conjuring base metal into gold. In its retreat from today’s science, alchemy has seeped into the toolbox of psychological analysis. Like the essence of the elements, we revere alchemy symbolically, if at all. In actuality alchemy is an ongoing process that mirrors spiritual evolution through physical growth. Plants, for example, are catalyzed in seed form. They sprout, they respond, they become something somewhat different every moment. If we think of the earth’s mineral content as base material, sunlight may be interpreted as being Sofia, divine wisdom, continually inciting growth.

In his book, The Hidden Messages of Water, Dr Emoto illustrates intention’s influence on water molecules. The dense matter of the molecule is affected by the subtle experience of the energy relating to the water. Positive intentions of love or generosity crystallize water molecules when frozen. Negative intentions of dread or animosity create globulous and unsightly formations.Visualize, if you will, different observable qualities expressing through the same quantifiable matter! This is really not such a far step from Paracelcus, is it?

Mysticism is often kept in some mental compartment akin to Pandora’s box. It’s too dangerous for everyday life, and only a spirit of heroic proportions can handle its energy. Perhaps, it’s not whether or not we’re mystic, but rather whether or not we’re aware of our subtle reality. The Secret Life of Plants reveals the conscious response of plants to communication and environment. How can the dense matter of plants enjoy music, attention and beauty? Perhaps, plants have a subtle reality too?

Science has calculated that 85% of the human brain is water, and 75% of lean body mass is also water. Let’s ponder the possibilities of working with that water in physical as well as subtle ways. In the dense body hydration maintains function. Thought patterns, muscular coordination, nervous responses, and organic processes work with necessary levels of water in and around cells. Subtle energy treatments including Reiki and therapeutic touch affect the body without physical manipulation. It’s possible that the body’s water content responds to the healing intention as directed by patient hands. It’s also possible that the subtle essence of each element within the receiver is able to interact with the direction of applied energy.

In the process of alchemy, we find no reward until our base experience is infused with ‘Sofia’. Base materials in childhood may include the runny noses, the restless growing pains and the endless questions seeking active vigilance. Concurrently, a dynamism ignites when these base materials are infused with the magic of inspired relationship. Grubby little urchins transmute into heavenly angels offering light, love and infinite possibilities.

In the practical world base materials may include our daily agendas, the food in our pantries, the bills on our desks, and the parameters of our identities. Sofia may be found in the spontaneous glance of an attractive woman, the courtesy of a youth, or the surprise of finding a lost earring. For a moment we are elevated from the predictable mundane and given pause to taste a slightly higher vibration. Symptoms may express as a deeply released breath, a broadened smile, or a much bluer sky.

We seek the sustained elevation of vibration when we reach for a ‘superfood’, a Rumi selection, an herbal cleanse, or a romantic tryst. We are really seeking some form of Sofia to infuse our dense experience with heightened awareness, wellbeing, and vitality.

There is a way to find this vital access to higher experience. It is required, however, that we suspend our perception of solid matter to do so.


by Toni Zuper
Alternative Healing
Center City, Philadelphia


published in Yoga Living -- May 2007 issue