Gaia Alchemy: The Reuniting of Science, Psyche, and Soul (Paperback)

Gaia Alchemy: The Reuniting of Science, Psyche, and Soul By Stephan Harding, Stephen Harrod Buhner (Foreword by) Cover Image

Gaia Alchemy: The Reuniting of Science, Psyche, and Soul (Paperback)


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A bold exploration of the reintegration of rationality and intuition, science and soul, to foster individual and planetary healing

• Examines how integrating important alchemical images with Gaian science can offer insights into our interconnectedness with Gaia

• Looks at how the four components of the living earth--biosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and lithosphere--mesh with the four elements of alchemical theory and the four functions of consciousness as understood by depth psychology

• Offers guided meditations and contemplative exercises to open your receptivity to messages from the biosphere and help you connect more deeply with Gaia

During the scientific revolution, science and soul were drastically separated, propelling humanity into four centuries of scientific exploration based solely on empiricism and rationality. But, as scientist and ecologist Stephan Harding, Ph.D., demonstrates in detail, by reintegrating science with profound personal experiences of psyche and soul, we can reclaim our lost sacred wholeness and help heal ourselves and our planet.

The book begins with compelling introductions to depth psychology, alchemy, and Gaia theory--the science of seeing the Earth as an intelligent, self-regulating system, a theory pioneered by the author’s mentor James Lovelock. Harding then explores how alchemy, as understood through the depth psychology of C. G. Jung, offers us powerful methods of reuniting rationality and intuition, science and soul. He examines the integration of important alchemical engravings, including those from L’Azoth des Philosophes and the Rosarium Philosophorum, with Gaian science. He shows how the seven key alchemical operations in the Azoth image can help us develop deeply transformative experiences and insights into our interconnectedness with Gaia. He then looks at how the four components of the living Earth--biosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and lithosphere--mesh not only with the four elements of alchemical theory but also with the four functions of consciousness from depth psychology.

Woven throughout with the author’s own experiences of Gaia alchemy, the book also offers guided meditations and contemplative exercises to open your receptivity to messages from the biosphere and help you develop your own Gaian alchemical way of life, full of wonder and healing.
Stephan Harding, Ph.D., obtained his doctorate in behaviorial ecology from Oxford University and is one of the founders of Schumacher College, where he is Deep Ecology Research Fellow and Senior Lecturer in holistic science. A student of James Lovelock, he has taught Gaia theory, deep ecology, and holistic science all over the world. The author of several books, including Animate Earth, he lives in Dartington, Devon, England.

Stephen Harrod Buhner (1952–2022) was an Earth poet and the award-winning author of many books on nature, indigenous cultures, the environment, and herbal medicine. He comes from a long line of healers including Leroy Burney, Surgeon General of the United States under Eisenhower and Kennedy, and Elizabeth Lusterheide, a midwife and herbalist who worked in rural Indiana in the early nineteenth century. The greatest influence on his work, however, was his great-grandfather C.G. Harrod who primarily used botanical medicines, also in rural Indiana, when he began his work as a physician in 1911.

Stephen's work has appeared or been profiled in publications throughout North America and Europe including Common Boundary, Apotheosis, Shaman's Drum, The New York Times, CNN, and Good Morning America.
Product Details ISBN: 9781591434252
ISBN-10: 1591434254
Publisher: Bear & Company
Publication Date: January 18th, 2022
Pages: 320
Language: English
“Few things are more important today than bringing humane values to the science, technology, and information sectors. It requires a person of vision and imagination. I have known Stephan Harding for many years and have seen firsthand how his genius and big heart help science evolve to the next level. This latest book, Gaia Alchemy, is a beautiful blueprint for transforming contemporary knowledge and returning soul to our planet.”
— Thomas Moore, author of #1 New York Times bestseller Care of the Soul and Soul Therapy

“In this time of global crises and evolutionary opportunities, it’s vital that we reclaim our innate human ability to learn from our animate Earth using our feeling senses, our imaginations, and our dreams. Western science, in contrast, has specialized in learning about our world, using logic, quantification, and the illusion of separation. Harding shows us how to alchemically unite and integrate these two modes of knowing and why it’s both necessary and rapturous, and he does so with brilliance, imagination, humor, grace, and, above all, heart. Gaia Alchemy is a worldshifting masterwork, an essential read for all twenty-first-century lovers and defenders of life.”
— Bill Plotkin, Ph.D., founder of Animas Valley Institute and author of Soulcraft, Wild Mind, and The

“Harding shows how Western empirical science, which is at the root of so much material progress but also the cause of blatant destruction, can find its way back into the heart of subjective living experience. Gaia Alchemy points to a new union of calculating and intuiting mind, of measuring and of contemplating beauty, and does so from a firm foundation in Western culture, not by borrowing from Asian or Indigenous cosmologies. Profound, erudite, timely, and immensely necessary, Gaia Alchemy builds a bridge between the head and the heart. A landmark work for the Anthropocene.”
— Andreas Weber, Ph.D., philosopher, biologist, and author of The Biology of Wonder, Enlivenment, and

“Desperate for a way beyond the reductive mindset of contemporary science, a keenly creative biologist excavates the medieval ‘Great Work’ of alchemy, the immediate precursor of modern science. This book is a record of Harding’s deeply personal quest to bring alchemy’s esoteric insights to bear on the catastrophic situation in which our planet now finds itself.
— David Abram, Ph.D., author of The Spell of the Sensuous and Becoming Animal

“A brave book that offers a profound celebration of the marriage between science and soul, showing convincingly that there is no conflict between reason and intuition; in fact, they are good companions. A close collaborator of James Lovelock, who proposed Gaia theory, Stephan has been able to develop an original and authentic understanding of relationships between science and psyche. In this compelling book, rooted in rigorous science and poetic imagination, Stephan outlines a new paradigm for a holistic worldview. Read this book and it will inspire you to look at the world and see it whole.”
— Satish Kumar, cofounder of Schumacher College and editor emeritus of Resurgence and Ecologist

“A remarkable and lively synthesis of leading-edge science and the deep wisdom of the archetypal psyche. Harding’s bold and engaging vision works its own alchemical transformation on the reader, guiding us from the lead of the dominant mechanistic and disenchanted worldview to the gold of an experiential understanding of Gaia as the ensouled body in which we live and have our being. This book will prove invaluable to those seeking a more integral approach to Earth System Science, to the psychologically minded who long for deeper connections with the living Earth, and to all who are called to participate in the Great Work of our times.”
— Sean Kelly, Ph.D., author of Becoming Gaia and Coming Home

“In this bold and extraordinary book Stephan Harding, an eminent ecologist, makes a surprising defense of alchemy as a tool with which to reconnect with the more-than-human world. Pursue the path of alchemy, he says, and we can restore ourselves to ourselves, and, even more importantly, to Gaia, the living soul of the planet. By offering exercises that anyone can try for themselves, Stephan opens doorways so that everyone can experience Gaian consciousness firsthand. At a time when so many are looking to Indigenous cultures for the answers to our ever-mounting ecological ills, it is refreshing to find someone offering homegrown tools, techniques, and methods that stem from the intellectual roots of Western culture. All the tools we need are to be found in the alembic of the unconscious, in the union of opposites between the scientific rational domain of logos and the deep waters of mythos. I can think of no better guide to steer us through this muchneeded process.”
— Andy Letcher, Ph.D., senior lecturer at Schumacher College, program lead for the M.A. in Engaged Eco

Gaia Alchemy arises like a phoenix out of the ashes of our terribly precise but ultimately life-denying sciences of reduction, abstraction, and objectification. Harding’s storied and deeply personal account of his imaginal journey into Gaia alchemy is a timely invitation to each of us to cultivate ways of knowing and being adequate to the great Planet-Being with whom we live.”
— Jonathan M. Code, M.Ed., lecturer in sustainable land management at Royal Agricultural University

“Stephan Harding’s teaching is always illuminating. In Gaia Alchemy, he shows how, through the relationship between science, alchemy, and depth psychology, we can reach toward an experience of nondual Gaian soul in our lives.”
— Peter Reason, Ph.D., professor emeritus at the University of Bath

“Stephan Harding tells an enthralling new story of Gaia, one where we begin with Gaia rather than ourselves. His unique union of science, myth, and alchemy--invoking both our rational and intuitive ways of thinking and exploring how they may and must come together--brings us into a new vision of a Gaia consciousness. A brilliant book.”
— Jules Cashford, Jungian analyst and coauthor of The Myth of the Goddess

“With the emergence of a Gaian science that restores mind to Earth, we have a new lens through which to divine alchemical meaning in geo-ecological processes. This is the dazzling new vista for the healing of both Earth and ourselves that Gaia Alchemy opens up.”
— Freya Mathews, adjunct professor of environmental philosophy at La Trobe University and author of Re