the alchemy of life
In a history book I read once
it was pointed out that the human race distinguished itself from other species
when we began to exercise consciously our capacity for change.
An encounter, a vision, an accident, an idea, a visit…
every day unpredictable elements present themselves to us.
By activating a dialogue between our imaginations and these elements,
we can change aspects of our lives and our environment,
and potentially induce alchemical transformations.
Alchemy was the first psychological discipline.
The transformation of simple metals into gold was a metaphor
for the internal transformation and evolution of spirit
that the alchemists themselves underwent
during the process.
A voice speaks and sings on
a bed of undulating sound that resonates and penetrates my body,
gracing me with a feeling of power and majesty.
I feel huge.
The movements I make seem to extend far into the space around me,
which feels four dimensional,
embracing time in its architecture, and giving body to the invisible.
I feel my thoughts and movements
initiated by a golden light in the center of my body.
Everything I do and think,
and the intense circuits of energy surrounding me with which I interact,
are simultaneously weighted and graceful.
We are a spectrum of light,
an intangible body,
a corporeal thought.
Paris radiates power and vision.
Thousands of years of history are woven into
her architectures and her spiral form.
Statues hover everywhere –
embodiments of events, knowledge, and achievements.
They are a permanent observing presence.
Molière, Pascal, Descartes, Racine, Cleopatra, Greek gods and goddesses,
among many others speak to us from the walls of the Louvre,
Beethoven, Mozart, Rossini, Pergolesi, Apollo, the Greek muses…
from the heights of the Opéra Garnier.
They, and the buildings which support them, tell all kinds of stories,
and bring us close to something deeply human.
They know what happened before, and that knowledge extends from them.
Their histories can be felt in the air of the streets,
where they intermingle with 21st century life.
An intangible architecture is present in the city
that is formed by her history.
This intangible architecture nourishes her tangible architecture.
Her structures exude human experience and beauty.
Three women, moving slowly together,
are projected life-size
in black and white on a screen at eye level.
I stand in front of them.
We are in the room together,
though they seem far away, veiled,
in their black and white world.
They are moving slowly closer to me,
and then one by one they penetrate the veil,
which spreads water as they break through
and they are in color, vivid, standing there with me.
They have transformed, become warm,
the essence of their beings and their relationship to each other
accessible and radiating outwards towards me.
A few minutes later they retreat again into their black and white world.
But I feel rich, having witnessed their transformation,
having been the recipient of their vibrant selves.
is part of a series called Transfigurations.
About the series, Viola writes:
‘Transfigurations…refers to the moment
when a person or an object is transformed,
not by external means, but from within.
The resulting change is absolute and thorough,
affecting the heart and soul of the subject…
for a person
it reformulates the very fiber of their being,
finally radiating outward
to affect everything around it.’