Showing posts from January, 2011

Black Swan: Alchemy in a Tutu

For any mother who has taken her daughter to ballet classes at the local studio, the irony is evident. We hand our daughters wands and tiaras, while in the waiting room the mothers talk of all that goes on in our adult lives: husbands who have returned from war with deep psychic wounds, struggles with jobs and the efforts to keep a house (either clean or from going to the bank). Meanwhile, through the large plate-glass window, our daughters leap and twirl, engaging dreams of princess-ness. The dichotomy of girlhood and womanhood is clearly pronounced. The film Black Swan draws on an ancient motif. The whole goal of the alchemical process is transformation through a slow drawing forth of the "active feminine," or "mercurial," principle from within matter. It is the "dark nature" that dwells within things, including the alchemist, and once the "soul" of matter is released, the soul of the alchemist can work with it and make new things come about