SOLVE ET COAGULA: THE ALCHEMIST’S MAXIM
Solve Et Coagula was the ancient maxim of the Alchemists, known, of course, for turning base metal into gold. It means, essentially, to break something down into its most basic elements (solve) and to then have them come together (coagula) in a different form. This was accomplished—according to Alchemists—when the energy holding the elements together was released and used to reassemble them into something of higher quality and more value.
Solve Et Coagula has meaning in healing and counseling and life coaching, too. Because in order to empower people, the individual’s patterns of behavior and emotion need to be separated into their parts, examined for whether they strengthen or weaken that person, then reassembled into the strongest possible architecture. The parts of a person that are, metaphorically, made of base metal are, thereby, turned into gold. Pain-2-Power.
As Zvorad Slavinksi, author of Return to Oneness, has written:
So, the real meaning of these words is the formula that the alchemists used to effect this transformation. It could be described as a process where something is broken down to its elements, a process which produces energy and compels reconstitution in a purer form. The same meaning we find in the well-known scientific terms: Analysis and synthesis. We first break something down into its parts and then make a new, better or more acceptable whole.
This process is as true for relationships between couples, or within families, or inside companies as it is within an individual. The specific elements of communication and patterns of behavior that govern the interactions between people in any setting can be identified, studied and then reconstructed into a better whole.
The Alchemist is inventing nothing. The ingredients for a better, more powerful reality already exist in the person or the system being transformed. The art is in seeing those possibilities, which requires reducing complexities into the ingredients that fuel them, optimizing those ingredients and reassembling them into a more powerful architecture.
Dr. Keith Ablow