Stages of Alchemy

When I meditate, I am working at becoming more aware. The work is powerful, time-consuming and life-changing. All effort produces change. Each day I sit in meditation, I go through the transformation process. It’s a never-ending work as I see it and know it. But the impact of even small changes on a daily basis is significant.

The same kind of transformational work goes on each time a person engages in therapeutic processes such as undergoing Jungian psychoanalysis. Alchemy is the transformational model that Carl Jung used to frame his own practice.

I am doing a bit more pre-investigation before jumping into the use of alchemy for personal transformation as a therapeutic model. A not so quick search of the literature and websites has yielded more information than I can actually use. Below are a listing of some links you might find useful.

My focus will concentrate on the Magnum Opus, or the four stage process, rather than the seven stage process that is discussed in most studies of alchemy. The four stages of the Magnum Opus are easier for me to discus in psychological terms with the focus on effecting change in consciousness, bringing a deeper awareness of self. As I understand it, this process is best likened to a spiral with each journey through the stages taking a person deeper and deeper into the personal unconscious in order to bring that which is hidden into the light of ego consciousness. Using Buddhist terms, one could say that this is the path to enlightenment.

The four stages are:

  1. nigredo – blackening – The Shadow
  2. albedo – whitening – Anima / Animus
  3. citrinitas – yellowing – Wise Old Man
  4. rubedo – reddening – Archetypal Self (wholeness)

In future posts, I will visit each of these stages, hopefully giving you a better understanding of the stages in terms of finding a way out of darkness, the Dark Night of the Soul that you may be suffering.

9 thoughts on “Stages of Alchemy

  1. Dear Friend,
    Thank you for this clearly written and understandable Post.
    In your life as teacher you shared your knowledge with kids, by others, aiding them with their mental development and in return also learning from them.
    Now in this part of your life you share not only your knowledge that you gained in life with others, but also the awareness that you gained in your life through others.
    To me, one is only able to do so when one is in possession of the “urge” of “devotion”.


  2. Why find our way out of darkness? We shine light on it and expand our consciousness. This is internally speaking, of course. There will be internal manifestations of fear which only indicate a void of understanding. Once these manifestations are understood, we will no longer fear them. The terrifying dark wolf becomes man’s best friend. There is external darkness that must light itself and there would be good reason to escape that. I may have misunderstood and i am also considering my personal experience with traveling into the darkness. I appreciate you sharing your journey and I will be following!


  3. Pingback: Stages of Alchemy | Image of the World |

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