It has long been believed that early alchemists were obsessed with turning base metals into precious metals such as gold, and indeed there were extraneous alchemists who experimented with metals in an effort to do just that. However, alchemy was and is more than turning lead into gold. In fact, it is more than transformation in the physical and scientific sense. It also includes personal change and transformation.

Most people are familiar with carbon to some degree. We are carbon-based life forms as we are all organic organisms. Carbon is the fourth most prevalent element next to hydrogen, helium and oxygen. What I find fascinating about carbon is that it is a model for alchemic transformation and for the possibilities to change.

· If the molecules in carbon are arranged in a certain way, you get a dark, soft substance known as graphite.

· When these same molecules are rearranged in a different configuration, you get a clear (although sometimes tinted) very hard substance known as diamond.

· Both graphite and diamonds are made from the exact same thing – only their molecular structure is different.

What does all of this have to do with us? For one, we are carbon with an intellect. We are capable of determining what we want to be. Like carbon we can rearrange our “molecules” and transform ourselves.

I have heard it said that our emotional make-up and a large part of our personality is set by a certain age. I hear people affirm this belief with statements such as “I am who I am”, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”, “I am a product of my environment” and so on.

Carbon is affected by circumstance (heat and pressure) and outside influences. But unlike the carbon that lacks the ability to choose and determine, we are capable of overcoming our circumstance and creating – or recreating – ourselves. It is only if you accept that “you are a product of your environment” or “that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” that you will be bound by these beliefs.

Change is not always easy for people. It takes a lot of work. You need a clear picture of who you are and what you want to be.

Both graphite and diamonds are useful, each in its own way. I’m not sure that this is a matter of being one thing over another. It is only to say that YOU have the power to choose for yourself that which you wish to be and that change is possible.

Is it simple? Easy? No, although I would venture to say it is easier than turning lead into gold.

The one thing I DO know is that to transform your life into gold… you have to get the lead out!

Dare to change.

In Spirit, Ralph P. Brown

Author's Bio: 

Ralph P. Brown (Mohawk name: Tawennihake) shares ancient Native American Indian philosophies and beliefs so your can make the most of this life!

He is a registered tribal member of the St. Regis band of Mohawk Indians. An educator and instructor on the use of the Medicine Wheel, he is a pipe carrier, ceremony leader, traditional storyteller and author of "Awakening the Eagle: A Guide to the Medicine Wheel" and "13 Virtues to a New Life: A Journey Around the Medicine Wheel" available at or Amazon.

Having lived with several tribes and studied with many Medicine Men, he brings to his work a lifetime of study and experience. Ralph a self-taught artist paints brilliant water colors and also uses a stipple style to create pointillistic impressions of his cultural and spiritual ideas. He draws inspiration from his native culture, nature and his unique perspective on the world and his spirituality.

He and his wife Anita live in Nebraska where they own and operate
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