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Al Khemy Chamber
Nigredo, or blackness, in the alchemical sense, means putrefaction, decomposition. By the penetration of the external fire, the inner fire is activated and the matter starts to putrefy. The body is reduced to its primal matter from which it originally arose. This process is also called ‘cooking’. The black earth is closed up in a vessel or flask, and heated.
Psychologically, nigredo is a process of directing oneself to find self-knowledge. A problem is given full attention and reduced to its core. This is not done so much in an intellectual way, but especially by feeling the emotions. By really going into to it, one causes putrefaction, the decomposition of that in which one had been stuck. The confrontation with the inner reality is often painful, and can lead to depression. But once in the depth of the darkness, with the discovery of the seed of the problem, the seed in the ‘prima materia’, the white light is born (=albedo, whiteness, the next phase). A state of rest arises. Insight into the problem has been gained, it has been worked out emotionally, and knowledge arises on how to handle it in a more positive way and to build a more pure attitude.
Being deep in nigredo, a white light appears. We have arrived at the second stage of the Great Work: albedo, or whiteness. The alchemist has discovered within himself the source from which his life comes forth. The fountain of life from which the water of life flows forth giving eternal youth.
The source is one: male and female are united. In alchemical images we see a fountain from which two streams of water flow into one basin.
Albedo is the discovery of the hermaphroditic nature of man. In the spiritual sense each man is a hermaphrodite. We can also see this in the first embryonic phase of the fetus. There is no sex until a certain number of weeks after conception.
In Jungian psychology Venus/Aphrodite is the archetype of the anima (in alchemy also the ‘soror’ or ‘wife’ of the alchemist). The anima is the collective image of the woman in a man. It is an image especially tainted by his first contact with his mother. The anima represents all the female tendencies in the psyche of a man, such as feelings, emotions, moods, intuition, receptivity for the irrational, personal love and a feeling for nature. She is the bearer for the spiritual. Depending on the development of the man she can also be the seductress who lures him away to love, hopelessness, demise, and even destruction.
Rubedo is the continuation of albedo. That is why they are often seen connected to each other, like the White Queen and the Red King. Once the inner light has been discovered it must be made into the only reality in our consciousness. After having descended into the unconscious, into the darkness, into the underworld, we found the Light, we found the volatile Spirit. Now the volatile Spirit, or quicksilver, has to be fixated or coagulated. This means that our conscious, or attention, must completely penetrate our unconscious, or soul, or everything that lies hidden in ourselves. By doing this we fixate (that is bring it into the conscious) the volatile and make it durable. When everything in ourselves has been purified and the Light appears, we have to fixate this Light and make it durable so it remains always present.
When the unification of all energies of the four aspects of totality has been achieved, a new state of being arises that is no longer subject to changes. Chinese alchemy calls it the ‘diamond body’ which corresponds with the ‘corpus incorruptibile’ (untouchable body) of the European alchemy. It is also the same as the ‘corpus glorificationis’ (glorified body) of the Christian tradition.
In yoga traditions, rubedo corresponds with the unification of the spirit of man, called atman, with brahman. Atman is a part of brahman. Brahman is the soul of the All, it is the breath or the energy flowing through you and giving you life and consciousness. Atman is the individual self, brahman is the univerself self.
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Creative Commons Sampling Plus 1.0 License.
List of audio files used:
- creepybackground by alextundra from freesound.org +)
- Low Gong Hits by By Gezortenplotz www.freesound.org +)
- Silent monks chanting by cormi from http://freesound.org +)
- Mild religious chant 2 by insinger from http://freesound.org +)
- Floating Synth Pad by Jack Braglia [www.BlastAudioSolutions.com] +)
- Tibetan bowls by phluidbox from http://www.freesound.org" +)
- Singing Tibetan bowls by ryancacophony from http://www.freesound.org +)
- old Castle Background by www.soundsnap.com *)
*) Soundsnap.com license