The Alchemical Way of Change
Wooing was a frequent metaphor in medieval alchemy. The troubadours’ ballads of courtly love can be read as coded instructions on how to get to Platform 9¾. The suitor was admonished to become infinitely patient, gentle, and attentive to the lady’s fluctuating moods and whims. To win her, he must learn to empathize with her, tone down his boisterous masculinity, and attune to her feminine style. The central paradox of these stories is that to attain a magician’s power, one must relinquish the impulse to force and conquer. To change anything in an alchemical way, you must allow it to change you.
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