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1 Nigredo , “the blackening”
This stage involves a purification of the earthly nature in us through burning, fire.
Just as material death is necessary for the material rebirth of things- an apple, for
example, has to putrefy before its seed can take root and produce more apples- so
spiritual death is necessary for the spiritual rebirth of man.
As Grossinger points out, "Alchemy is thus a form of chemical research into which
unresolved psychic elements were projected. The alchemical nigredo, the initial
phase of the operation which produces 'black blacker than black,' is also an
internal experience of melancholia, an encounter with the shadow." 1
This is also the necessary first stage in Jungian analysis -- confronting that which
has been rejected or repressed is essential to becoming whole. 2 In a painful selfexamination, one enters a “conscious dialogue with their shadow, becoming aware
of their unconscious projections, identifications and contradictions”3 in order to let
them go. This stage is experienced as entering a dark and chaotic unconscious
inner world and eventually as a death. Images of fire and burning often accompany
the images of death and endings. 4
To move to the next stage however, to the Albedo or, the Whitening, one has to go
through certain sub-stages. Transitions from black to white sometimes go through a
series of other colors,5 notably darker blues, the blues of sobriety, puritan selfexamination; the blues of slow jazz6.
As a turbulent dissolution of the nigredo, the blue transition towards the albedo is
“like that sadness which emerges from despair as it proceeds towards reflection.
Reflection here comes from or takes one into a blue distance…This vertical

1 Alchemy – 1973 by Richard Grossinger
3 The Modern Alchemist: A Guide to Personal Transformation 1994 by Richard and
Iona Miller
4 The Alchemical Process of Transformation, Nigel Hamilton, 1985
5 Cf. Norton’s Ordinal (HM 11:38— 39). “Physicians have discovered nineteen colors
intermediate between white and black in urine.... Magnesia (a term for white]
throws out a mild, pure splendor in the subtle stage of our Art; and here we behold
all colors that ever were seen by the mortal eye — a hundred colors, and certainly a
good many more than have been observed in urine.”
6 For a rich, curious phenomenology of blue, see William Gaas, On Being Blue,
Boston: Godine, 1976.

James Hillman. 8 Kurt Badt. 56.[3] Its compounds are commonly encountered as copper(II) salts. Decorative art prominently features copper. copper was principally mined on Cyprus. both by itself and as part of pigments. P.”Univ. inherent permanence. later corrupted to сuprum. which often impart blue or green colors to minerals such as azurite and turquoise and have been widely used historically as pigments. The Art of Cezanne. In the Roman era. Copper is essential to all living organisms as a trace dietary mineral because it is a key constituent of the respiratory enzyme complex cytochrome c oxidase. muscle and bone. Then onto yellowing and finally reddening. the one which supports the composition and is most appropriate for shadows.withdrawal is also like an emptying out. The Art of Cezanne. and a constituent of various metal alloys. Chapter : Alchemical Blue and the Unio Mentalis. Chapter “Shadow-paths and Contours. “The deepest shadow color in Cezanne’s paintings. a building material. 56. cuivre (French). It is a ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. California Press. Koper (Dutch) and Kupfer (German) are all derived. 1981. 9 Kurt Badt. announcing the arrival of something real. p. California Press. or a profound listening”7 Blue is like that shadow moving in the darkness. Cezanne based his painting on “shadow paths and contours” 8 out of which ‘real things’ emerged as local high points.”9 Blue was now recognized as belonging to a deeper level of existence. Pure copper is soft and malleable. 1965. An Annual ofArchetypal Psychology and Jungian Thought. Chapter “Shadow-paths and Contours. It expressed the essence of things and their abiding. from which the words copper (English). hence the origin of the name of the metal as aes сyprium (metal of Cyprus). The main areas where copper is found in humans are liver. The metal and its alloys have been used for thousands of years. 1965. the creation of a negative capability. It is used as a conductor of heat and electricity. a freshly exposed surface has a reddish-orange color. Architectural structures built with copper corrode to give green verdigris (or patina). is blue. 7 Silver and the White Earth. Copper is a chemical element with symbol Cu (from Latin: cuprum) and atomic number 29. .”Univ.

Being abundant in native form. Sulfur is an essential element for all life. Sulfur is referred to in the Bible as brimstone (burn stone) in English. Sulfur occurs naturally as the pure element (native sulfur) and as sulfide and sulfate minerals. brightly colored polyhedron shapes. Elemental sulfur is a bright yellow crystalline solid when at room temperature. Under. sulfur was known in ancient times.Sulfur or sulphur is an abundant. ancient Greece. and is widely used in biochemical processes . Elemental sulfur crystals are commonly sought after by mineral collectors for their distinct. China and Egypt. mentioned for its uses in ancient India. non-metal. It was needed to make the best quality of black gunpowder.