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The Alchemical Nigredo

In today's The Embodied Podcast episode I discuss the first of the three phases of the alchemical process, the nigredo, the blackening.

This Blackness is the alchemical nigredo containing the outdated ruling principles of the ego. These are dissolving in the solutio.

“Right at the beginning you meet the “dragon,” the chthonic spirit, the “devil,” or, as the alchemists called it, “the blackness,” the nigredo, and this encounter produces suffering… In the language of the alchemists, matter suffers until the nigredo disappears” (Jung & McGuire, 1987, p. 228).


Alchemy is a beautiful metaphor for the different processes that are happening within us.


The difference in alchemy and modern objective science.


Psychologically, the Nigredo stage of our process is accompanied by a sense of meaninglessness, feeling torn apart, feelings of dismemberment. This psychological dismemberment, and that depressive energy that goes with it, are indications that we're coming to awareness of the shadow.


The instincts and the emotions are intimately connected to the autonomic nervous system, so that connects the shadow to the body.


The nigredo is not the time for heroics. Instead of cultivating the slow, steady capacity to see what's happening within the darkness within ourselves, the Hero tries to slay the dragon, slay the serpent, then misses the wisdom that is found within the darkness.

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Thanks for being here.

Much love,


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