People who are guides, therapists, agents of change, holders of space, facilitators, coaches, healers, and so forth are familiar with the word “transformation”. We hear it in workshops, read it in self-help books, and banty it about in conversation.
Transformation sounds lovely. We say that we want to transform our lives, to become better people. To have a word for it — transformation — makes it sound easy. Is it? In a group experience a few years ago, post-Jungian analyst Marion Woodman declared to all of us, “There can be no transformation without sacrifice. What are you willing to sacrifice in order to transform?” The room got very quiet as we chewed on this, not entirely liking it, yet knowing in our guts that she was right.
To transform is to change into another form of energy, to transmute into another substance, to undergo a radical alteration, to be stripped and rebuilt. Reflect on the myriad myths of death and resurrection. Trump 13’s Great Reaper in the tarot. Think about Scorpio’s penchant for elimination and total transition. Pluto’s power to slurp us into an underworld inititiation. Not always pretty or elegant, but certainly thorough.
To transform takes courage, or at least a willingness to keep journeying without always knowing. Let’s be honest; not many of us would call out, “Hooray!” if Life said, “OK, I’m going to dismantle you piece by piece, throw out what doesn’t work, keep bits of what does work, knead you like a lump of dough, then gradually construct your real self.” I’m not sure that it’s about becoming a happier person, but it IS about becoming a more authentic person.
Transformation is noble work; therefore, it deserves to be rescued from buzzword hell. By all means, let’s transform, but let’s do so conscious that it’s not all bubbles and roses. What are we willing to sacrifice in order to truly transform?
Using the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot deck, I asked, “What is transformation?” and received the Hierophant, reversed. This suggests to me that transformation is a deeply personal initiation ritual and a time-honoured tradition that we carry in our personal and collective psyches.
Please leave comments and questions, my friends. Let’s have a conversation about transformation.