Calcination: Your Personality & Your Rejected PartsSep 05, 2022
The personal transformational process of Alchemy asks us to surrender what no longer serves us as we move towards what does.
Calcination represents the burning off of the mental algorithms that keeps us in painful repeat patterns influenced by past conclusions on ways to operate. These antiquated algorithms are backchannels for the parts of us still remaining in the shadows. We push parts of ourselves into the shadow areas of our unconscious when they are rejected by us.
“ . . . Everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is. If an inferiority is conscious, one always has a chance to correct it. Furthermore, it is constantly in contact with other interests, so that it is continually subjected to modifications. But if it is repressed and isolated from consciousness, it never gets corrected.” - “Psychology and Religion” (1938). In CW 11: Psychology and Religion: West and East. P.131
Each of these parts have their own identity, perspectives, and beliefs, just as the conscious ‘you’ does. All parts of us have needs that must be met, just like the conscious ‘you’ has needs to be met. Our inner parts all sit around this large round table and influence how we perceive and judge, just like at King Authur and the Knights of the roundtable. (More on that later.)
When we reject parts of ourselves that are by placing them in shadows, they still have their say, just in ways that seem to be self-sabotaging. If you’ve ever been on an ineffective committee with people who are argumentative, you understand that very little is accomplished besides the development of hypertension and Diabetes Mellitus Type II for the amount of stress endured. Similarly, when we reject parts, there is a lack of alignment in our inner world. This neutralizes our efforts to live and experience the life we truly desire.
“The cooperation of conscious reasoning with the data of the unconscious is called the ‘transcendent function…. This function progressively unites the opposites. Psychotherapy makes use of it to heal neurotic dissociations, but this function had already served as the basis of Hermetic philosophy for seventeen centuries.” - Carl Jung
Part of the Calcination process is a Radical Self-assessment. The following is an excerpt from “Designing the Mind: Principles of Psychitecture”, in his letter to Princess Elizabeth, Rene Descartes defined the attributes that constitute an “ideal life”:
- (Cognitive) Use reason for its highest purpose: to evaluate and judge the best possible course of action, as free as possible from passion and bias.
- (Behavioral) Have an unwavering will for executing whichever actions were judged to be the best.
- (Emotional) Understand that beyond clear reasoning and a resolved will, everything is outside of one’s power, and should be no cause for stress or regret.
So we speak the same language here, let's remove the word ‘best’ and put in its place ‘healthiest’. This removes much of the ambiguity associated with words like ‘best’ or ‘good’ because healthy requires more objectivity. I can believe it is good to drink wine. This is a belief. Ask the same individual if it is healthy to drink wine and they’d be required to become aware of other factors, such as age, health condition, etc.
While defining his version of an ideal life, Descartes highlighted the importance of leaving all that is outside of one’s control outside of one’s worries. The phrase “Wu Wei” comes to mind once more. Not only does an ideal life require acknowledgment of one’s limits, but it also requires acknowledgement of one’s abilities, strengths, and gifts. Humans are much more than meets the eye. There are several aspects that make us, us. I’ll highlight some aspects here:
- . . . the physical aspect which includes our very own body, our instincts, and our bones and muscles. The body is the temple and amazingly adaptive self-healing suit we travel through life in. Do you know what is required to alchemize this aspect of self as to live a physically enriching life?
- . . . the emotional aspect of our life which includes the different emotions which we experience daily and reveal our motivations and conscious/unconscious needs and desires, which prod us to action. Do you embrace or resist your emotions?
- . . . the intellectual aspect of our life which includes our mental functions, our IQ, our logical perspective, and all the mental processes we indulge in every day. The primary dichotomy of the personality is the judging and perceiving process. Perception represents now only how we interpret the symbols we see daily, but with the influence of out personality, it also determines what comes into our conscious awareness. When was the last time you read something that challenged your worldview?
- . . . the social aspect of our life which includes our interactions with our fellow human beings, colleagues, relationship with our significant other(s), relative(s), and friend(s). Social wellness is a major growth need as we suffer when we experience a disconnection from the Other and from Life itself. How do you self-sabotage your way out of reaching out to friends, colleagues, and family?
- . . . the spiritual aspect of our life which includes our belief system and our relationship with the infinite energy that flows through the whole of life. Spirituality is a personal and unique element of human nature which is explored through self-discovery and evolves over time. Established religions are group practices while spirituality is an individualized experience and connection with the Divine. What are your beliefs/biases/reactions when you explore spirituality?
Spirituality helps individuals to attain solitary peace while religion assist individuals in developing a daily practice. Through spirituality, individuals seek hidden inner truth while in religion truth is already defined. Religion guides individuals to understand the outer world while spirituality assists individuals to understand their inner selves.
If you seek transformational change, begin with making a thorough assessment of these five aspects and as you explore, pay particular attention to areas that are in need of development, or are the source of disharmony. An ideal life is a life of balance. To understand how to create energetic alignment that then produces what can be perceived as an ideal life, we must understand the various aspects of Self.
“To confront a person with his shadow is to show him his own light. Once one has experienced a few times what it is like to stand judgingly between the opposites, one begins to understand what is meant by the self. Anyone who perceives his shadow and his light simultaneously sees himself from two sides and thus gets in the middle.” - “Good and Evil in Analytical Psychology” (1959). In CW 10. Civilization in Transition. P.872
We begin with the ultimate rule, know thyself. Our personality is the interface, or the interaction that occurs at the intersection of Us and the Other. Only when we’ve made a radical assessment of our personality are we able to objectively assess these five aspects of our life. To understand your personality is to understand that many of the decisions you make are more of a reflex reaction as opposed to beliefs to be treated as undeniable facts. This slight shift of increased awareness of our mental process governing our reactions will lead to us being aware that we are awareness, or what I call mindful.
Our addition in conversations, which is a meeting of personalities and perspectives, to make project our beliefs onto the Other as a matter of rightness/wrongness through conscious and unconscious motivations and desires, is the source of much of the collective suffering we see in society today. This false need prioritizes what we see over what the present moment may be asking us to see, which is the Other.
Some people think a conversation is a confrontation. - Vernon Brown