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SNODGRJL
06-19-2009, 07:46 AM
Hi,
I'm embarking on the Great Work. I am, at this point, unclear on how one engages in the nigredo phase. In fact, I'm not even sure I need to. After my divorce, I went through a very difficult period. That was in 1987. I came out of that experience wounded but wiser. So my question, then, would be, does previous experience with leaden depression, mortification, etc., count? Thanks.

solomon levi
06-19-2009, 08:33 AM
I'm sure it counts for something, but the question should
probably be, are you white/albedo yet?

Awani
06-19-2009, 12:50 PM
Sure it counts!

It sounds to me that you might already have passed this phase, so like solomon levi probably suspects you are already working with albedo (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albedo_(alchemy)).

But I think VITRIOL is an easier path of understanding and in this case I think you might be working through the calcination (http://forum.alchemyforums.com/showthread.php?t=49) towards dissolution (http://forum.alchemyforums.com/showthread.php?t=48)!

It is all words in the end and the words themselves have little meaning. Alchemy is a highly allegorical art (in my opinion) and should not always be used as dogma, but more so as a wise guide.

:cool:

SNODGRJL
06-19-2009, 03:01 PM
I'm not certain what phase I'm in. I read an excellent book by Catherine MacCoun called On Becoming an Alchemist, which helped, but I'm mostly used to and grounded in labwork. The all-important spiritual side to the work is new to me. Further complicating matters is the fact that I'm a cusp Leo/Virgo who favors distillation. In fact, most of my practical labwork involves distilling salts. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

solomon levi
06-19-2009, 07:16 PM
It's difficult for someone else to help you.
It really depends on what kind of alchemy you practice,
what definitions and what goals you are looking for.
For me, the nigredo would be a period of stilling the mind until
one can be silent and look at the world without a past/images,
then I would consider myself albedo and virgin. But I don't think
most people look at it that way. It depends on your background, I guess.

And then, only you know if you're white or not.
If you are, there's no sense digging up dirt just so you can feel like
you're working on yourself. But if you're not, it's really important to
get all the shadow matter out into the light. Without knowing you
better, I think this is something only you can answer for yourself.

I can suggest another book though - my favorite on spiritual alchemy
is "The Hermetic Tradition" by Julius Evola.

solomon

Play_Dough
06-19-2009, 08:47 PM
Hi,
I'm embarking on the Great Work. I am, at this point, unclear on how one engages in the nigredo phase. In fact, I'm not even sure I need to. After my divorce, I went through a very difficult period. That was in 1987. I came out of that experience wounded but wiser. So my question, then, would be, does previous experience with leaden depression, mortification, etc., count? Thanks.


I'm not certain what phase I'm in. I read an excellent book by Catherine MacCoun called On Becoming an Alchemist, which helped, but I'm mostly used to and grounded in labwork. The all-important spiritual side to the work is new to me. Further complicating matters is the fact that I'm a cusp Leo/Virgo who favors distillation. In fact, most of my practical labwork involves distilling salts. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.


"I went kicking and screaming to the gate of hell, only to discover that I was being thrown out".
Sum Guy - Alchemist, 3rd Millennium

{side note: Leo (fire) - Virgo (Earth) combination is 'scorched earth' and requires 'water' for balance. 'Water' is very yin and easy to 'mediate'.... it flows where directed.}


Here is what 'was so' for me... and still is.
The alchemical phases of spiritual alchemy are not constant but are always shifting, until completion. The shifts can be monitored by advanced astrological methods (transits). The key planets (opinion) to observe (both natal and transits) are Pluto, Mars, Saturn and Uranus (any transits involving these planets).

The phases are not 'caused' by planetary movement, however, they (the astrological transits) reveal trends...... kind of like an extended weather report.

The 'nigredo phase' is 'laundro-mat'.
Imagine having a child who was 'playing' all day in the garage. The child is covered in oil, grease, tar, pitch, chemicals, and filth.
The child is so scrungy that he or she cannot be cleaned all at once because the process would be fatally traumatic. So, the child is washed in phases.

We too are 'washed in phases'.

The most helpful information during these 'washings' is to have a clear idea (when possible) of what the finished product is going to be like.

The 'finished' (in process) product:
- is highly ethical
- is 'detached' but compassionate
- trusts in the flow of events even though 'fears' are being triggered
- takes no (or minimal) action out of 'fear'
- is temperate
- strives for 'balance' (until attained)
- is free of material ambition or ego gratification
- cultivates the 'eternal presence' (centered, no rushing)
- has amnesia (erases personal history)
- has complete (as possible) faith in 'The One'
- realizes that 'death' is something that you are being 'lifted out' of.... as such 'death' is a 'past item' and not a future item.
- associates with like-minded individuals (avoids 'the profane')
- cultivates (gradually) the virtues
- is diligent in caring for the physical body (diet, exercise, consumption)
- experiences everything as emanating from "The All Good" (no second guessing)
- cleans out every spot in the home that is full of useless junk (shopping bag-lady stuff) and 'gets ZEN'.
- is free of false-ego
- cultivates gratitude
- contemplates 'ideals'
- strives for perfection but avoids compulsive behavior
- enjoys what is given but, otherwise, seeks nothing (avoids vain seeking)
- cultivates a sense of satisfaction
- stays 'mercurial'
- vanquishes the 'victim' consciousness
- is never disingenuous and is free of 'deadly sin' (lust, sloth, envy, etc., etc.)
- is incorruptible (Virgo likes that!)
- sees 'The One' in all
- visualizes 'emptiness' (within the self) like a hollow wind-instrument capable of producing beautiful music
- notices that most 'crap' stops when the mind stops churning
- embraces 'adaptation' as the ultimate tool for navigation
- unravels all dysfunctional actions and associations
- becomes an 'eternal child'
- erases (from the mind) the status-quo paradigm
- cultivates perfect faith and trust

We spiritual alchemists are in the process of 'extracting' our mercury from our own sulphur which captivated it by our own 'self-infatuation'.

The Zen Master says "I do nothing and everything is accomplished".
In other words, all will be done for you (within reason) you only need to 'show up'.

We continue to go through phases of light and dark until we are free of karmic complications and begin to experience our true nature as an eternal spiritual entity with remarkable powers that diminish when used for strictly selfish reasons.

To recognize that we are 'inverted gods/goddesses' who have (previously) abused our powers to produce bondage rather than liberation.... and that 'joy' and
comfort are our natural conditions.

Our primary job is simply to surrender and to adapt, once we have committed to the path.

Anyhow, that (above) is a recount of my experience.

The 'gold' goes into and out-of the purifying fire until it is free of all corruption and has, once again, been restored to its original condition.

Consider this (as one alchemical/metaphysical point-of-view).... you are in a hologram of your own mind/consciousness. You are surrounded by 'things' to which you have sacrificed your power...... the goal is to get back your power!
....and then to use it wisely.... to separate, with gentle diligence, the subtle (spirit/consciousness) from the 'gross' (matter).... and to ascend, incrementally, to 'The Above' (ideal).

With each victory, the rewards are immediate.

"The One" mediates and we 'adapt'. That is the key.... 'adaptation'!

.

Lapis_Lazuli
06-19-2009, 09:52 PM
play dough, I really liked your post, excellent!

SNODGRJL
06-20-2009, 08:08 AM
Thank you all for the wonderful data. I feel like I have a sense of purposeful direction. Now I can work on the practical side of alchemy while enacting transformation within. Before I was just playing with a chemistry set.

Salazius
06-20-2009, 08:26 AM
Very complete Play Dough, nice !

The Nigredo can be more present in one's part of life, and can be such as depression, or cyclic depression, followed by regaining of energy and a wanting to make and create new interesting things (green stage), a period of stability follow, (white) and maybe new projects and ideas, or openings (red), but, these are leading to a new work on you => nigredo.

To be Alive, you need to die a lot.

SNODGRJL
06-21-2009, 10:14 AM
Salazius, you mention the concept of dying to live. With regard to the nigredo phase, that injunction really resonates with something I came across by the Jungian analyst Stanton Marlan. I'm currently reading one of his books entitled The Black Sun: The Alchemy and Art of Darkness. In that work he writes, "The theme of the wound can also suggest a hidden innocence, which is also a subject of mortification" (22). As a Catholic, I am familiar with the concept of mortifying the flesh: "For if you live according to the flesh, you will die, but if by the spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live" (Romans 8,13). Marlan's reference to the wound--what exactly that might be--is unclear. Furthermore, the relationship of the spiritual wound--which he maintains must be experienced to heal oneself psychologically--to mortification is unclear. So, generally speaking, I would appreciate, within the context of the nigredo phase, any thoughts that you might have on mortification. Thanks.

Salazius
06-22-2009, 09:37 AM
Well, mortification is Nigredo phase, in french "mortification" is composed of "mort" "death", and "ification" mean "process of", so, mortification is a process of, for death.

Anything that can make a change is a death process, more the death is profound, more the reborn is high and dramatic.

The point is to "kill" the idea of separateness from the "Unity/God, Life, Light, Love."

solomon levi
06-22-2009, 10:23 AM
Well, mortification is Nigredo phase, in french "mortification" is composed of "mort" "death", and "ification" mean "process of", so, mortification is a process of, for death.

Anything that can make a change is a death process, more the death is profound, more the reborn is high and dramatic.

The point is to "kill" the idea of separateness from the "Unity/God, Life, Light, Love."

Well put Salazius.
I love the relationship between change-death-birth.

And for the Catholic, or Biblically-minded, I've always thought that Jesus saying,
"It is not I who do these things, but the Father within me" is precisely what
Salazius has said in regards to killing the idea of the seperate self/ego.
And the same from St. Paul - "I die daily".

horticult
06-22-2009, 09:55 PM
sex = birth = death

horticult
06-23-2009, 03:57 PM
1 gate btween worlds. Le petit mort. Read Merezkovskij.

SNODGRJL
06-24-2009, 02:03 PM
Thank you, everyone, for your excellent feedback. Play_Dough, you should write a book: your response was thorough and inspired. All of you are knoweldgable and kind. The information will definately help me along my journey.

rebis
03-10-2010, 04:00 AM
Very helpful summary thank you Play_Dough.
And Snodgrjl - I'd just earlier today recommended The Black Sun on another thread!