How the shaman uses alchemy to heal pain

By Ishtar Babilu Dingir

I explain in my book The Sacred Sex Rites of Ishtar, about how alchemical transformation is used to achieve the Divine Marriage. But as everyone knows who hasn’t been totally brainwashed by modern day Rom Coms, the apple blossom and confetti wedding between the bride and groom is just the beginning of an alchemical process of self development, and not an end in itself.

There’s no crescendo of soaring violins in real life, nor couples galloping off into the sunset. For many of us, the work begins on the wedding night itself. Ohers manage to stave if off until after the honeymoon, but no-one manages to avoid it altogether, because they’re not meant to.

The wedding was a promise, a commitment, to the work of self-transformation, ‘for better and for worse’. And so what are landmarks of this journey? How do the challenges present themselves? Well, in a myriad of ways, limited only by the diversity of Life itself, but the sign that a challenge is in play is common to them all, and that is emotional pain.

Emotional pain is the ghost in the machine which rears its head just when it’s least wanted. He’s the uninvited drunken guest at the wedding; she’s the bad fairy at the christening. Its presence is signalled by a range of emotions, from a feeling of mild irritation at having to go beyond our comfort zone – like having to put up with your spouse’s relatives at Christmas – to the twisting pangs of envy and jealousy, the stomach-churning fear of loss, the dull thudding ache of resentment, the inner emptiness of loneliness and the raging, gnawing emotional bonfire of betrayal and grief.

All of the above, and more, can be matched to the stages of an alchemical process. So the shamanic-alchemic approach to healing pain is to work with these processes. We transform pain into something useful rather than try to block it with drugs. Emotion is ‘energy in motion’ (e-motion) and it has to flow, like a river. Damming it up with tranquillisers and such only stores up trouble for the future.

Most of us carry around unresolved emotional pain and that translates, particularly later in life, to physical pain because our inter-dimensional mind-body continuum can no longer flow or dance with the energies.  The energetic rivers, streams and waterfalls become dammed up and stagnant, and this leads to stiffness, particularly stiffness of the joints – hips, knees, shoulders.

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Read more about The Sacred Sex Rites of Ishtar here

The actual way to heal pain shamanically and alchemically is very simple. But in order to be able practice this method, we have to trust it. And in order to reach a solid platform of trust in it, we need a few new cognitive steps in our staircase of understanding, and I will be providing these here.

First of all, let’s deal with the shamanic-alchemic bit.  As a shaman and budding alchemist,  I work interdimensionally with my own personal spirits, who are the only ones who know the full story about my pain and what alchemical stage I’m at in my life journey. There are certain processes observable in Nature that can be quickened in this way. The spirits provide the quickening…

But it’s not just about speed…. It’s also about opportunity. Getting rid of pain as fast as possible is the way of modern Western medicine, its underlying philosophy/business model being that sufferers need to be quickly fixed and got back to work. Most holistic healers know that pain is just the body’s way of telling us something is wrong. But to shamanic alchemists, pain is also a sign of something that’s right. Our body is using the pain signal to tell us that the time is right to for us to work through what’s ailing us in a way that will further our evolution as a soul or spirit in a physical body. It is our ticket to ride…

Healing pain in this way is really all about a new way of seeing ‘reality’, in which nothing is fixed permanently and everything is in process, with the process taking the form of a dance. To my mind, the body is just a song dancing – and problems only come when the singing stops.

Even mainstream science now is realising that nothing is nailed down and everything is in flux. At the quantum level of matter, atoms are dancing – to steps which can be found in sacred geometry, holographically and fractally, as Above So Below. How ‘fixed’ something appears to be is mainly dictated by two things – the pitch and rhythm of the song vibrating the atoms into the dance, and also the alchemical stage the material is at in its process.


When the alchemists of old wrote about transforming matter to create the Philosopher’s Stone (the stone that turns matter into gold), they named the matter about to undergo the change as First Matter, Prime Matter or prima materia.

For a long time, modern students of these old medieval texts wondered what the prima materia was and were annoyed that old alchemists weren’t more specific. But when you understand that these alchemists worked with allegories and symbols, you begin to see that prima materia can be anything you want it to be… It’s about process, and what’s important is that you have some material to put into the process.

In working alchemically with pain, the pain itself is the prima materia which we use to put ourselves, with the help of the spirits, through the various stages of alchemical transformation. These stages are known as calcination, dissolution, separation, conjunction, fermentation, sublimation and finally radiation.

But we don’t have to become an alchemist or need to know much more about these stages to be able to process our pain, because our spirits always know which stage we’re at and what we need to do next. They help us through each step of the self-transformation process and my own experience is that without them, it would be impossible, because it is they who transmute the pain into something more nourishing… let me explain further.

In the journey or trance state, we ask our spirits to show us the root cause of our physical pain. We often can’t remember the emotional trauma which is now causing our neck to ache, or our knee joints to seize up, or our jaw to be so stiff that it’s gone out of alignment, because our instinctive reaction is to try to forget the painful event as soon as possible. In extreme trauma, that forgetting can be almost instantaneous. We are, in other words, in denial about it, asleep to it, not realising that the memory or emotional imprint still exists but is stored in another place which we cannot reach.

Perhaps a good metaphor for this process would be retrieving lost files on a computer. The spirits find the lost video file of the memory of the event and then, through a process of unravelling the substance of it, transform it into something which other beings would value as food. In other words, the pain can be given to the spirits as an offering.

Even in this dimension, we benefit from this sort of synchronictic exchange every day of our lives. Where does the oxygen that we breathe come from? A lot of it comes from the trees around us, who breathe out their waste products in the form of oxygen. The trees then breathe in our waste in the form our carbon di-oxide, which is necessary food for them. This is a metaphor for the perfect symbiosis which exists in the whole of the creation. There is no such thing as ‘evil’ in absolute terms. There is just energy in the wrong place, and when energy get stuck in the wrong place, we feel pain. But this can be transformed into something more useful.

Learning how to get this pain moving is real shamanic alchemy. And I have to say, from personal experience, that when you feel the spirits take your pain and then fill your body with healing energies, it is blissful verging on ecstatic!

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