‘Words and magic were in the beginning one and the same thing, even today words retain much of their magical power’ ~ Sigmund Freud
It can be easy to surmise that alchemy is just an old fashioned pseudoscience, some obsolete hocus-pocus about turning lead into gold, or at best, just another older word for ‘chemistry’.
However, the scope, history and impact of alchemy is, in fact, a much bigger wheel – with a whole lot more spokes!
And it’s not just a science either, but also an art, philosophy, medicine and even a way of life.
That’s probably what makes it so utterly fascinating. That, and the fact that it’s actually shaped the very world we live in today.
Just like pretty much everything involved with alchemy, even the word itself is confusing, but put simply it comes to us from the 7th-century Arabic word for; ‘black or blackness’.
Despite the origins of its name, alchemy goes back a whole lot further than the 7th century. In fact, a pretty decent place to begin looking is around 12,000 years or so ago in Ancient Egypt.
Legend has it that about 12,000 years ago a powerful god of writing and magic called Thoth appeared on the scene and created a mysterious Emerald Tablet that encoded all the alchemical secrets. A kind of magical ‘How To Guide To All Things Alchemy’ if you like!
Over time the ‘Thoth’ archetype transformed himself and travelled the continents. He became known as ‘Hermes’ to the Greeks, ‘Mercury’ to the Romans, and ‘Ningizzida’ to the Sumerians.
Without wishing to muddy the waters too much more, old Thoth ended up being known as ‘Thoth Hermes Trismegistus – the Three Times Greatest’, and the sum of his knowledge was somehow recorded in a book called the Corpus Hermetica that mysteriously found its way into a Byzantine library around 4 A.D.
Fast forward to the fifteenth century, and the Corpus Hermetica re-merged from its silent slumber, found its way to Italy, and was translated into Latin at the court of Cosimo de Medici.
Well, it basically kick-started the Italian Renaissance!
Since then, it’s continued to preoccupy some of the greatest minds in history including John Dee, Nicholas Flamel and Isaac Newton. Oh yeah, and as of very recently, some pretty clued up copywriters too!
‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.’ ~ John 1:1
Alchemy, at its heart, is about improvement via transmutation. And that includes the physical, mental and spiritual realm…and definitely covers words!
So, if alchemy is about making things better via transformation, then it makes sense that alchemical copywriting is about applying those same principles to turn words into gold…or maybe even something more valuable!
But before we go further, I should make it clear that being an alchemical copywriter is not something you ARE, but rather something you strive to become by understanding, refining and acting in accordance with the following principles…
Anyone with even a cursory knowledge of religion or numerology will know that 7 is a very special number. So, it’s probably no great surprise to hear that there are 7 Alchemical Principles, hence the 7 Copywriter’s Alchemical Secrets!
(Note: Confusingly there are also 7 stages of alchemy, which are important too, but different from the 7 alchemical principles.)
‘All is mind, the universe is mental.’
What we think we become.
If you think about it, before we write anything down, it’s usually a thought first. When we write that thought down something magical happens; it becomes a ‘real’ thing. You quite literally create something out of nothing! Or, to put it another way, you transmute something that started out as a non-physical thought into something physical.
And just as incredibly, whatever you have written can then take on a life of its own. For example, if you then go on to sell, post or publish that bit of work, you have no idea where it will end up, who might read it (or what its consequences will be). To illustrate this point, you only have to look at the big impact viral memes are having these days.
In short, the aspiring alchemical copywriter knows all about the Principle of Materialism and how thoughts manifest reality, so when they write copy take great care and precision with their embedded intentions, subtle nuances and linguistic dialectics!
‘As above, so below; as below, so above. As within, so without; as without, so within.’
The alchemical copywriter understands that everything is connected and in correspondence with everything else in the universe.
So when they sit down and write something they know that their words and actions, no matter how seemingly small can create big changes and have even bigger outcomes.
That’s one of the reasons why they are so careful about every single word they use and where they put them.
‘Nothing rests, everything moves, everything vibrates.’
There is only one thing that never changes, and that is change!
The alchemical copywriter understands that everything is in a state of flux at some level or another. So they know they must always be adapting to new styles, learning about new technologies, applying different methods, and be open to new ideas.
They are also aware of the importance of continually reviewing and updating their own material and approach to work.
‘Everything has its polar opposite, we live in a world of dualism.’
When it comes to creating compelling copy, the copywriter aware of this principle knows that extreme opposites are paradoxically the same thing just at very different ends of a spectrum. To help you understand this concept better, just think about time, temperature or air pressure as examples.
The knowledgeable copywriter can apply this knowledge to their copy and thus create distinct contrasts and clever apposition of opposites, i.e. warmth – cool, difficult – easy etc.
It is also something that can be used to great effect to appeal to their audience’s emotions and make their work even more compelling and persuasive.
‘There is a rhythm. There is a cycle. What flows in, flows out.’
An alchemical copywriter understands how the rhythm of life works. This means they not only know how it affects them personally but their target audience. It also allows them to take complete advantage of the present and not get unduly sidetracked by events from the past or things that have yet to happen in the future!
Different seasons have a different feel and focus. Fashions and trends tend to work in cycles, and people’s interests, priorities and views inevitably fluctuate over time. Knowing how these cycles operate and working with them, rather than against them, is a powerful tool in the alchemical copywriter’s tool kit!
‘Every cause has its effect; every effect has its cause; everything happens according to law.’
This might be a pretty obvious natural law, but its implications are often overlooked by many as they go about their daily tasks. However, not by the alchemical copywriter! They know that what they write has consequences, sometimes big, juicy, important ones.
But, if they are wise enough, they will not get overly caught up in all the ensuing dramas created by ‘cause and effect’, such as; success and failure, hubris and humility etc. Instead, they will treat everything that happens to them as valuable winning and learning opportunities.
Furthermore, they know they need to be pro-active to get new clients or to create new promotional material, courses and products. If they don’t then as a result of ‘cause and effect’ they will cease being masters of their own free will and instead become slaves to it!
But, and it’s a big ‘but’ they are also always receptive to the messages the universe sends out to them via this principle – which it ALWAYS does!
‘Everything contains two elements; masculine and feminine.’
Just to make things 100% clear, this has nothing to do with sex, sexism or identity politics.
Gender is everywhere, in everything and in everyone. It’s basically how things are created. But can also be destructive and dangerous when handled unwisely!
We all have a masculine and feminine aspect. Put simply; masculine energy tends to be assertive and explorative — feminine energy receptive, nourishing and protective.
Knowing about these complicated forces, how they work together (a union called the Alchemical Wedding), and how to employ them correctly in carefully crafted copy, and targeted to the right audience, is what truly makes a skilful alchemical copywriter.
While most of these principles seem pretty obvious, the devil is in the detail.
All these things can and do take a long time to permeate your copy, and a whole lot of effort. Of course, if you have set your mind on it, and want it badly enough, there is another simpler route…
Just contact us at Kreatív Copywriting, and we can help get you started and guide you on your way.
In the meantime, we would love to know your thoughts about ‘alchemical copywriting’ in the comments below!
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