In order to begin the endeavour, something capable of transformation needs to be found.
This is the alchemist’s ‘prima materia’; Something ubiquitous, found always and everywhere, and yet also, fiendishly elusive.
It evades our grasp because it is the ‘spirit of chaos’ and we can only make sense of patterns.
This prime matter is the ‘water of the beginning’ and it contains a ‘demon that drives people mad’.
This is the vast sea of possibilities. All elements are present, but they are in conflict and repel one another; All connections are dissolved.
But this is the only stuff that can be worked upon: it is double-edged though; a tightrope walk.
“if thou gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will also gaze into thee.”
It is not ‘of the light’ and the way is not marked. It can only be found in the places we fear to go.
The whole thing is unwieldy and utterly mistakable; You easily take it for something poisonous or wrong or mad on account of that mixture of unconscious material — It is everything bad under the sun. Yet it is the only thing that contains life, the only thing that contains also the fun of living. A differentiated function is no longer vital…. It no longer yields the spark of life.
Jung ~Nietzsche’s Zarathustra (1988)
There is no foothold or form here. It is pure dissolution.
And yet it churns. There is movement; A swirling vortex.
A dark sphere of ‘hylical water’.
It is everywhere, including within ourselves; The part of us we do not know and dare not acknowledge. Although we have caught glimpses from the corner of our eye.
This is the circle that must be squared. An act of differentiation and ordering Discerning the two sets of opposites. Fire and water, earth and air; The four elements.
What remains is the fifth element; The quintessence
The pure well-spring, cleared of projection and detritus (detritus being the machinations issuing from our quarternary of worldly elements)