Phoenix is the mythological bird that resurrects itself, taking on new shape and life from the ash of its former body. Alchemy is a medieval chemistry that focuses on the transformation of matter - particularly that of base metals into gold. Together, Phoenix Alchemy is the individual work of assisting your own psychosomatic and psychospiritual deaths, and from the remains birthing something new into the world.
"If you seek a spark, you will find it in the ashes." Elie Wiesel
What is a psychosomatic death?
The word psychosomatic can be broken down into two words: mind (psyche) and body (soma). Psyche is defined as the soul, mind or spirit of the individual. Soma is the physical body in which we feel and sense our existence. Death, as it is more commonly understood, is the ending of an organism's life.
A psychosomatic death is the ending of a way of being that was once fashioned together by the psyche, and finds expression through the body.
What is a psychospiritual death?
The word spiritual highlights the unique, varying, and multi-dimensional ways in which each individual recognizes and accesses deeper states of consciousness. It is an inward journey where the deep imagery of the psyche and the unconscious are worked with.
A psychospiritual death is the ending of particular beliefs and ways of perceiving life that find expression through our imagination and non-physical (emotion/sensation) body. To die psychospiritually is to make room for a newly imagined way of belonging to the world - to embody a new cosmological dream.
This work involves:
Identifying what is dying
Deepening your conversation with the part of you that is dying
Grieving and lamenting the loss of this part of you
Gathering the ashes and remains
Cultivating patience for the birth of something different and new
Phoenix Alchemy Sessions vary in time, and are dependent upon each individuals journey. Though we partner together, there is also, and most importantly, the work that is continued with yourself on your own. As your Death Doula, I will both guide you through tricky and tumultuous terrain, as well as assist and bear witness to your death.
"In what ways will we choose to live when we fully remember the naturalness and ecological necessity of death?" Bill Plotkin
There is more than one way to die!
Psychosomatic and psychospiritual deaths house all of the other ways in which we die throughout the course of our life. Simply put, we could perceive these "other" deaths as "smaller" deaths by comparison to their larger and more infamous sibling, Death, which results in our physical body returning to the body of the Earth.
These other deaths are just as real of an ending, and are felt and held just as much by the body. Equally so, our ego (seat of consciousness) experiences these deaths, and does not discriminate or underestimate the reality of such a dying process.
How to know if you're entering a dying process
Death can come in the form of a relationship ending, a personal belief or cosmology collapsing, or the ending of a particular vocation or the work that we take up in the world. Sometimes all three of these and more, combined! Death can also show up as a complete dismantling of who we know, understand, and believe ourselves to be - the story of who we are and what our purpose is in the world.
As your Doula of the Divide, I will be partnering with and assisting you in your journey through your psychosomatic and psychospiritual dying process.
"Death unseats the dominance of the conventional self that psychologists call the ego. The ego falls apart, awash in feelings of sorrow, anguish, despair... the shattered ego's surrender to the inescapable reality of death ushers in a wider perspective - a larger self that can accept death, not as punishment, but as part of the circle of life." Miriam Greenspan