Separation: Purification by Air
SEPARATION is the third of the operations of transformation in alchemy.
Chemically, it is the isolation of the components of Dissolution by filtration and then discarding any ungenuine or unworthy material. In the Arcanum Experiment, Separation is represented by the compound sodium carbonate, which separates out of water and appears as white soda ash on dry lakebeds. The oldest known deposits are in Egypt. The alchemists sometimes referred to this compound as Natron, which meant the common tendency in all salts to form solid bodies or precipitates.
Psychologically, this process is the rediscovery of our essence and the reclaiming of dream and visionary “gold” previously rejected by the masculine, rational part of our minds. It is, for the most part, a conscious process in which we review formerly hidden material and decide what to discard and what to reintegrate into our refined personality. Much of this shadowy material is things we are ashamed of or were taught to hide away by our parents, churches, and schooling. Separation is letting go of the self-inflicted restraints to our true nature, so we can shine through.
Physiologically, Separation is following and controlling the breath in the body as it works with the forces of Spirit and Soul to give birth to new energy and physical renewal. Separation begins in the Navel or Iron Chakra located at the level of the solar plexus.
In Society, Separation is expressed as the establishment of clans, cities, and nationalities.
Separation on the Planetary level is represented by the formation of landmasses and islands from the powerful forces of Air, Water, Earth, and Fire.