Alchemy Means Constantly Transmuting Yourself
In many spiritual disciplines, the desired outcome is an ideal state, such as enlightenment or inner peace, that one strives to maintain consistently. In alchemy, the nearest thing to an ideal state is an ongoing state of disarray. At first you undertake the Great Work in order to be able to work magic. Gradually you discover that the Great Work is the magic. You are constantly transmuting yourself and, as a result, you are able to transmute other phenomena as well. If you were ever to declare yourself finished, all your magical influence would vanish overnight, for it is only in their unfinished state that phenomena are transmutable.
— On Becoming an Alchemist, p. 149