"The wedding of the sun and the moon in alchemy is very important. Not because we're going to have a wedding up in the sky of two luminaries, but because we're going to have a union of the principles for which they stand inside of the human body itself."
- Manly P. Hall on Spiritual Alchemy and the Great Work
Today I want to share the bigger spiritual purpose of my work, specifically around the mission to heal the relationship between men + women, and why this is so much more than just something that would be nice to have.
I’m going to cover bits around the esoteric practice of Alchemy, how this provides the map to divine union, and why this is a profound path of spiritual enlightenment.
I will include practical takeaways on how we can take this advanced knowledge and put it into practice in our lives - within inner work and the work of relationships. This is the most important part, so you can understand what is required and become part of the very real evolution of human relationships and spiritual development.
What’s exciting to me is that we have the roadmap on how to step into evolved relationships. We actually know what needs to be done in order to create this new paradigm. While it’s true that most of us have never witnessed this modeled in our lifetime, we aren’t flying blind.
Every bit of information that I have uncovered around the higher path is embedded in the work that I do, and it’s only expanding and becoming more potent with what I continue to learn and understand in my lived experience and spiritual study.
I am devoted to creating the path to higher love and making it accessible to whoever is drawn to it, and so this article is my most comprehensive attempt at describing what Divine Union is and how we move towards it.
Before I jump into Alchemy and how it provides the map to divine union, I want to provide some context on why I do the work that I do and how deeply personal this is for me.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with my story, this will help explain the drive behind my work, why I am endlessly passionate about it, and the reason I feel this is my mission in this lifetime.
Eight years ago, I was two years into a dark night of the soul surrounding the very painful ending of my marriage. After peeling back many layers to make sense of what happened on a psychological level, which was a brutal and confronting process, I couldn’t deny that what happened had roots in childhood trauma and my parents’ dysfunctional relationship.
And so my inner work moved from a more surface level approach of attempting to work out present-day things with my son’s dad in therapy, coupled with stress management, to full blown shadow work.
And thank God, because the things that reside in our unconscious are what’s really running the show. So I cut to the chase and traced everything back to the root cause. On the way, I made sure to clear all of the skeletons out of the closet. For those who have courage and grit, this shadow work is the lightning path to change.
Eventually, all of it made way for me to be able to see the bigger perspective. I was able to see the patterns that have repeated generationally between men + women in my family line. Then I was able to witness these same patterns in the lives of my clients. And now, after working with hundreds of people over the years, in addition to my own lived experiences, I have lightning fast pattern recognition. This, coupled with a honed intuition, helps people trace current day relational challenges back to the original wounds that need to be healed in order to make way for healthy relationships.
But there is something bigger here beyond just the psychological application. As I was doing my own work, I came across this radical notion that relationships may in fact be a catalyst for spiritual evolution. In his book Transformation Through Intimacy, Robert Augustus Masters makes the claim that you can use the material that comes up in relationships (especially romantic ones) to heal, grow, and evolve together.
My life (and work) was forever changed in that moment. I began a deep dive into the principles of conscious relationships, and began to apply them in my life. To this day, I consider it a huge key that unlocked a major part of the puzzle, and I continue to guide clients in using relationships as a form of shadow work - and beyond that, as a container for growth, joy, and expansion.
A little bit later, I was guided to connect the dots regarding feminine and masculine energies and how they relate to Divine Union, another huge piece of the puzzle. That took years for me to understand on a deeper level, and the work I want to share with you today relating to Alchemy is my deepest level of understanding yet.
So, as my work evolved in the world, healthy relationships morphed into conscious relationships, which then led to Divine Union - and now my vantage point of what is happening on a higher level between men and women is extraordinarily expansive and very much tied into the bigger picture of spiritual evolution and enlightenment.
Thankfully, I began studying esoteric spirituality in childhood as a young seeker, so diving deep into the material on Alchemy as a way of connecting the dots was something I was already prepared for. I am grateful for that.
So, let’s talk about Alchemy and how it directly informs the path of Divine Union. In particular, I want to illustrate how this expands things that I've spoken of before.
The first discovery I’ll share validates an internal hunch that I had years ago regarding the masculine and feminine energies, and how we must clean up the distortions within their current-day expressions to elevate them into their purest, highest forms.
This is a way to conceptualize the difference between feminine energy and The Divine Feminine, and masculine energy and The Divine Masculine. If we are going to put the word “Divine” in front of these terms, we must be aware that we are referring to purified forms of these frequencies - their true essence - not versions that have been influenced by programming, conditioning, trauma, and other things that distort their expression.
For example, while the phrase “toxic masculinity” has been misunderstood and misused by people who incorrectly claim that ALL masculinity is toxic, there is a truth behind both “toxic” masculinity and “toxic” femininity when you understand that the expressions of both of these energies have been distorted.
Essentially, how we are expressing both femininity and masculinity on a collective level is NOT the true essence. In other words, the true Divine Feminine and true Divine Masculine have been tainted by programming, conditioning, and trauma.
True Divine Masculine attributes include action/will aligned with a higher purpose, critical thinking, intelligence, courage, protection, assertiveness, accountability, and responsibility.
In opposition to this, the inverted (or shadow) aspects of the masculine that we see playing out on the collective are tyranny, authoritarianism, dominance, violence, and power-over (persecutor). Also, rigidity, a disconnection of the head from the heart (cold, robotic behavior), narcissism, psychopathology, and atheism/lack of faith or connection to the Divine.
True Divine Feminine attributes include love, care, open-heartedness, nurturing, receptivity, compassion, empathy, and pure intuition.
The shadow side of the feminine includes victim/slave mentality, people pleasing, emotional manipulation, blind faith, and naïveté (being easily manipulated/controlled). And one huge aspect of the shadow feminine that is playing out collectively right now is the use of beauty and sexuality as currency - a way to (intentionally or unintentionally) manipulate and control men. Much of this is hidden under the guise of ‘sexual empowerment’ and yet is an inverted use of sexuality, women’s version of using sexuality as a control game of having power-over.
There is much to clean up on both sides, and while this is not an exhaustive list, it touches upon some of the major distortions.
Last year, I began to ask, “what is the pure expression of the feminine? And what is the pure expression of the masculine?” I knew there was some importance to this beyond my understanding at that time.
My curiosity had to do with the obvious fact that we are not currently embodying or living these higher expressions, and I wondered what things would be like if we did.
I knew it had something to do with the inner work that women must do, and separately, that men must do, and I could see that it would vastly improve relationships and heal our wounds, but it wasn’t until I studied Alchemy that I learned the true esoteric key behind that internal nudge. Alchemy states:
1) The purification of the masculine and feminine MUST occur before Divine Union is possible.
YES. This makes perfect sense. Just as so many spiritual and psychological traditions encourage us to peel back the layers of the false self in order to step into the True Self (through healing trauma, deconditioning ourselves, etc.), the same process occurs when we consciously and specifically hone in on the masculine and feminine energies within us.
Essentially what this teaching from alchemy points to is, the shadow aspects of both the masculine and the feminine must be transmuted into the pure essences of the Divine Feminine + the Divine Masculine. This is a requirement of Divine Union.
This purification is done through shadow work. Men and women must grapple with, and come to terms with, the purified essence of masculinity and femininity. This is really a reclamation of the exalted form of both, a transmutation of what has been distorted.
And so on a practical level, you can review my outline above of shadow vs. divine characteristics of the feminine and masculine, and get to the root of why these shadow expressions may be operating in place of their higher, purified expressions.
This purification of the masculine and feminine is also done through the principles of conscious relationships, which is shadow work done in partnership (relational shadow work).
In the Alchemical container of relationship, a light is shined on what is hidden (the unconscious becomes conscious) allowing for healing, growth, and evolution of both partners.
When both partners are familiar with what the shadow aspects are of the masculine and the feminine as opposed to their higher expressions, they can practice healing these areas together through conscious practice of polarity and shadow work.
Using relationships in this way to heal and grow together is the spiritual purpose of relationships, and it is why we incarnate with other humans.
We all have blind spots and need the 'other' to hold a mirror so that we can take shadow work to a more complete level as opposed to trying to do it all solo.
So, as a reminder, the 'stuff' that comes up in relationships is alchemical material for us to use in order to heal wounds and evolve. The more we run from these invitations, the more our lives will serve up bigger and bigger lessons for us to learn.
(Trust me, I learned this the hard way - it’s no fun!)
With the purification of the feminine and masculine, moving us towards the Divine Feminine and Masculine, you can see progress here on a collective level - although you must be tuned in to see the bright spots, since it’s easy to become disillusioned with all of the darkness.
Moving on to the second discovery I wanted to share with you in relation to what Alchemy shows us about Divine Union, and this ties into a big theme that has been popping up over the last few years, is this question so many women are asking: “Where are all the conscious men?”
Now, I’ve spoken about this quite a bit on the podcast with my male colleagues and am someone who is a huge supporter of men’s work, so I know with 100% certainty that there are MANY good men out there who are actively involved in ‘doing the work.’
At the same time, there is a truth to the imbalance with regards to the number of women who are ‘awake’ vs. the number of men, especially in relation to this new paradigm of love, sex, and relationships. Without a doubt, women are much more tapped into this domain, they see it clearly in their mind’s eye, and are deeply yearning for it.
I talked about the awakened woman’s role in healing men earlier this year, and also led a women’s group shortly afterwards called Visionaries of Love, so this discovery through Alchemy felt very important:
2) The feminine goes first.
The rise of the Divine Feminine (our inner work collectively towards embodying this higher frequency) holds the key to the rise of the Divine Masculine, an invitation and catalyst for men to evolve.
This relates to the descent before the ascent, the cycle of death and rebirth, and the movement from the false self to the True Self through layers of ego death.
All major spiritual traditions have their version of the ‘fall’ of humanity and the way out, and the ‘fall’ is synonymous with the descent process.
The descent has a purpose, and serves as an evolutionary vehicle so that we can learn hard lessons, become more resilient, and develop embodied wisdom from hard things and challenges we have been through.
Some call it the ‘dark night of the soul,’ and it has been illustrated in the stories related to the Descent of Inanna and Persephone’s underworld journey. These are deep feminine initiations.
And so the descent is associated with the feminine, while the ascent is associated with the masculine.
Again, in Alchemy, the Divine Feminine comes first (in her purified form, having come up and out of the underworld) and acts as a catalyst for the development of the Divine Masculine.
[Advanced explanation from my personal notes: In Alchemy, Silver (feminine) becomes Gold (masculine). The Descent of the Feminine into the underworld leads to Albedo, the process of spiritual purification through the burning out of impurities from the ego, leading to the Divine Feminine Essence.
She comes up and out with purified heart and intuition (and embodied wisdom) leading to the development of the Awakened Mind. This is where the Higher Mind becomes possible, led by the heart and intuition (thus, a connection to Divine Will). The Mind is no longer led by the ego, which is the lower level expression of the masculine. It is led by a higher mission and purpose rooted in love, service, and truth.
This is the ascent/masculine process where the transmutation into Gold (masculine) occurs, representing a purified and enlightened consciousness, the Divine Masculine Essence.
The completion of both the descent and ascent leads to Divine Union, the unification of the Divine Feminine + Divine Masculine principles, leading to the unification of the Human + the Divine.
Both parts are necessary, the Feminine and the Masculine energies must work together for this Alchemical Marriage to occur.]
Hopefully you can see how this is playing out on a collective level right now, and why women are awakening in larger numbers as compared to men within the realms of love, sex, and relationships.
However, men can also take this into their own hands by skillfully working with and integrating their inner feminine. This is related to Jung’s anima integration, and I will have to write another article to dig into this process, but it has to do with the integration of the head and the heart and trusting the feminine force within. Men who have a distrust of emotions, intuition, or even faith in something bigger can further their own evolution and growth by understanding how the interplay of the masculine and feminine within can radically change his life. Leaning in to the descent process of going down and in (tied to shadow work), and opening to the other intelligences of the body, heart, and spirit are key here. This will collectively help men discover purpose rooted in their higher mission, connecting to what really matters, and bringing a sense of fulfillment and nourishment that is unparalleled.
The practical takeaway for women here is to have patience. We are in a huge time of transition and cannot expect men to awaken overnight to the vast spiritual potential of relationships. Rather, we make the invitation and invite them to the table.
Women have long inspired men as the muse. We need to continue our inner work, especially relating to any wounding around love, sex, and relationships, shadow work relating to purification of our feminine energy, and even animus integration (which is beyond the scope of this article, but is integration of the inner masculine).
Additionally, we learn how to do the outer work of evolved relationships, including practicing conscious relationship principles and understanding the conscious interplay of masculine and feminine energies within romantic partnership.
And perhaps the most important work of all is surrendering to the Divine - developing that clear channel of intuition and being led by the bigger thing.
Any ego based desires around wanting a conscious relationship NOW need to be checked and cleared. We trust divine timing and continue to deepen into our spiritual and psychological work in preparation.
There is a lot to work with here! The frequency of an awakened woman who has embodied wisdom from actively pursuing this path is enough of a catalyst for men to awaken without her needing to say a word; but there are some other factors at play as well.
David Deida states, “The Divine Feminine settles for nothing less than the Divine Masculine.”
Awakened women who are devoted to Divine Union do not enable the shadow masculine aspects outlined above. They take a stand and call men forward into the Divine Masculine - with love. They do not settle because they are lonely or bored or unsure of their worth. Participating in relationships with men who display these characteristics/behaviors with no desire to change and grow, especially when sexuality is involved, teaches men that there’s no reason to do anything differently.
The awakened woman does not often get involved with these types of men because she finds the characteristics of the shadow masculine repulsive.
Individuals who embody the shadow aspects of either the masculine or feminine are attracted to each other. I would argue that the vast majority of relationships between men and women include this shadow dance. In particular, we see the victim/victimizer dynamic playing out constantly, which is why I speak about the empath-narcissist dynamic so often and help clients become empowered empaths with boundaries and discernment. This is shadow work coupled with inner union.
The good news is that individuals who embody the higher aspects of the masculine and feminine are also attracted to each other. And the work continues in relationship as the conscious use of polarity deepens and refines these qualities. Women have the opportunity to relax and soften even deeper into their feminine, men get to practice and hone their evolving masculine, AND both can move towards inner union, the key to Divine Union.
Women who are tuned in have the ability to see men at a soul level. We look into their eyes and glimpse their full potential. This can be a blessing and a curse! However, there is something important here. This ability allows us to be the oracle in the relationship and provide the catalytic energy that cuts through bullshit with the sword of truth. In this way, when a man has done the work around taking personal responsibility, and embraces accountability for his highest good (not as a punishment, but as fuel for growth), it is easy for him to put his ego to the side and trust that his woman has his back with deep love and devotion. What is actually happening in this case is that she is helping him move from the false self to the True Self.
This can absolutely happen the other way around, as well. When he is deeply tuned in to his woman and can see her at her highest, he holds that bar for her with love.
For both partners, it certainly helps when they have their own guides and mentors when it comes to embodying the Divine Masculine and the Divine Feminine, so that some of the pressure can be taken off of the relationship. Additionally, having good support people in your corner to help do deep shadow work is a must.
Up to this point, this article has been a lengthy outline of a rich path of awakened relationships. Before I start to wrap up, I’m going to recap some of the takeaways that I feel are important to explore in your life if you are drawn to this work.
A Guide for Inner Work:
And, if you know of someone who would benefit from reading this article, please share it with them. I am grateful for you!
Leigh-Anne LoPinto is a psychologist, breathwork teacher, and relationship coach based in Los Angeles. She works with clients all over the world to strengthen foundational relationship skills, heal core wounds, practice conscious relationships, and move towards true Divine Union.
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Read the companion article here:
Towards Sexual Sovereignty: The Alchemical Purification Process of Human Sexuality
Leigh-Anne LoPinto is a Los Angeles based psychologist, relationship coach, and breathwork teacher with 12+ years of experience.