Metamorphosis

 
In nova fert animus mutatas dicere formas
corpora; di, coeptis (nam vos mutastis et illas)
adspirate meis primaque ab origine mundi
ad mea perpetuum deducite tempora carmen!

I intend to speak

of forms mutated into new beings

Ye Gods, (from whom these miracles spring,)

inspire me now, change me, let me glimpse the secret

and sing, better than I know how,

of the world’s origin,

this creation

of all things

from the first

to the very latest.

Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Lines 1-4
Antonio Pollaiuolo.  Apollo and Daphne.  One of many tales of transformation in the Metamorphoses,  Apoloo lusts after Daphne and she escapes him by turning into a bay laurel.
Antonio Pollaiuolo. Apollo and Daphne.
One of many tales of transformation in the Metamorphoses. Apollo lusts after Daphne and she escapes him by turning into a bay laurel.

Metamorphosis: via Latin from Greek: μετα- (meta-), “change” + μορφή (morphe), “form”

I. Metamorphosis is a biological process by which an animal physically develops after birth or hatching, involving a conspicuous and relatively abrupt change in the animal's body structure through cell growth and differentiation.
II. A complete change of form, structure, or substance, as transformation by magic or witchcraft.
III. Any complete change in appearance, character, circumstances, etc.
--- Transformation, transmutation, growth, evolution, transcendence, evolutionary leap, shift, transfiguration

butterfly

The Essence and Significance of Metamorphosis

Metamorphosis is essentially a radical change in the nature of something.

When applied to the realm of biology it means a change in physical form, such as occurs in the butterfly and the frog; which is wondrous and astounding yet still within the domain of science and evolution. This evolution is the result of growth and the process of time.

The metamorphosis which we are concerned with is a fundamental change in being, in the essence of the object. Whereas in the caterpillar and the butterfly the outer form is transformed, in the human being the formless essence of Man is transfigured.

Icon_of_transfiguration_(Spaso-Preobrazhensky_Monastery,_Yaroslavl)
Icon depicting the Transfiguration of Jesus. From the Spaso-Preobrazhensky Monastery, Yaroslavl

Alchemy is fundamentally the art, the science, and the practice of this inner transformation. Metamorphosis is the goal of Alchemy. The turning of lead into gold is symbolic of the transmutation of the base human animal ruled by self-centered living. into the divine human being whose identity transcends the physical body-mind entity.

This transformation is wholly outside of time; meaning that it is not the product of gradual change, of linear time and the process of becoming. It is a break in continuity – immediate and instantaneous. Change through time is no change at all, but rather the continuation of the past. This change of being is outside of time, of cause and effect, and the illusion of becoming, or gradual improvement.

It is a necessity for the individual to inwardly revolt against all limitation and conditioning; to undergo a radical inner transformation, an evolution in consciousness. This revolution is the freedom from the known, the throwing off of the conditioning inherited by man. It is the establishing of an intelligence transcending thought and mind.

This intelligence is born from the inner silence of the mind. It is in this silence alone that can something new, fresh, and truly creative can flower. We must shed the old skin, the old identity, the old existence; for something wholly other to grow. We must die to what we are and what we know in order to be perpetually reborn in newness.

From an undivided consciousness something immeasurable may be born – that nameless thing of a thousand names.
The sacred

metamorphosis


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