“The Great Work” by C. G. Jung
At each stage of our life, at each circle we manage to close, we have to dive back into the Shadow, we have to begin the Work again. Not everyone understands. Not everyone knows and does. The alchemy of living is not for everyone. Indeed, the further one is from his Centre, the less he will understand, even though the paths to enlightenment are infinite.
In the end, alchemy is for initiates. And we would like to be those initiates. But the seed does not grow because we push it, it will grow when its time comes, and it will take all the incubation it needs. That is why the Great Work is only for a few, different people who are not understood by the world, because they understand things that the world does not even see. The initiate is the one who begins the search again each time, he has subtler antennae, he is in the world while being outside of it, he lives defended by a purity that preserves him. He sees things that others do not see, he speaks words that others do not understand, but he enters the heart of the world and communicates with its spirit because he goes against the tide, like the Buddha’s bowl on the river water. Others may seek him out of greed, out of a sense of usefulness, to buy cheap transformations from him, out of a desire for use or possession… because they are immersed in matter and seek ways of power.
The alchemist has the power, but not the power, of the world over the world. Those who want to become alchemists believe that they are pursuing the spirit, but often seek only something that distinguishes them from others. But the goal is not success or wealth, power or health, but the overcoming of contradictions to reach the place where one energy circulates in all things. And how is this power achieved? By connecting with the Collective Unconscious, which is the great ocean that surrounds our psyche, that is, with the soul of the world.
On this path, the consciousness is aided by the unconscious and its bridge is the soul: “…connection between our conscious ego and the great sea of the personal unconscious flowing into the still larger collective one.
– Jung – The Secret of the Golden Flower – The Great Work