First of 7 Circles -Operation of Alchemy

  1. Calcination -A black crow on a skull visits to start a journey heated upon a flame until reduced to ashes with the death of the profane, death of the ego and death of interest in the material, destruction of the ego and all its defence mechanisms. All self-perpetuating delusions and attachments to appearance and material possessions, the basest instincts constellated in the persona, heated up. Hellfire reduces one’s life to shambles, the beginning of the black stage (Nigredo), and the loss of most basic components. Working with fire to burn away mental constructs and reveal a person`s true essence.
  2. Dissolution -Time and Jupiter – white/grey light. Outward appearance is superficial with an unemotional “tinny” temperament. Motivated by physical cravings and monetary gain, but also a good provider for the family. The black soul bird is undergoing dissolution, with water taking the forms of dreams, voices and visions—interference with the innermost parts. Ashes of calcination in water or acid/dissolution work on the heart and the id to release buried emotions that conceal or distort true nature. Showing pain and revealing wounds. Making the unconscious conscious. Opening personal floodgates and generating new energy
  3. Separation– Wilful aggression, the hot-tempered person, dominated by conquering energy. Turns inward. Sulphur is the active masculine force. Domineering and abusive. One will fight for others with unquenchable passion. The blackbird turns into two white birds and descends to retrieve saved remains of calcination and dissolution. Coming together of soul and spirit. Frozen energy is released from breaking down habits, crystallising thoughts, assumptions and beliefs. Hardened feelings such as blockages, neurosis and phobias are all released. All shadow material walled off in shame or taught to hide by parents or society is now on show to be transformed. The first application of air in the work
  4. Conjunction-Single symbol of both gold and the sun. Yellow/light green. Courageous but humble, full of spirit but sensitive. Too idealistic and wants to stay here with a dangerous young/immature connection to feeling and intellect. Bird of the soul leaving earth together. The uplifting of fire via a spiked crown – the reaction of one mind. Forces of the anima (soul) move towards forces of the spirit, empowerment of the true self. A fragile child as a crude hermaphrodite but grows in strength, learning to discern intuition—the birth of intelligence of the heart and the start of individuation (Jung).
  5. Fermentation-Standing bird of spirit. Metal copper and planet Venus. Turquoise/green. The emerald tablet/vision “you will discover”. Leave by the fire of imagination, deep meditation, prayer, contemplation, and therapy. Consciousness outside the realms of the body and earth. Golden pill, yellow stage of alchemy (albedo) meaningfulness and profound images
  6. Distillation-Symbol of air and spiritualisation. Indigo blue with gold specks of planet mercury. Unicorn apprehended by a virgin (purification) state of innocence. The balsam (yellow glue) must be hardened with stone and made permanent.
  7. Coagulation -Realm of the queen. Silver and the moon. Purple/silver grey. Feminine and reflective, volatile and manifestation. Releases ultima Materia with “vitriol”. Rubric -free of dogma, without ego is the most initiative requiring purification and clearing away of worldly concerns.

The 4 Rubrics

  • 1stRubric–living in truth, without deceit centred and most versatile
  • 2ndRubric– orientation between heaven and earth, as above, so below. The one mind ascending and descending forces. Conscious of both realms and all levels in between. Union of fire and water is the ultimate act of creation ouroboros – all is one, one thing is all. The Composition is devoured and melted, dissolved and transformed. Becomes dark green stubborn like lead. They are taught to serve a hidden reality via modern society, which destroys links to the divine and replaces it with dogma.

1. Fire-thought/thinking
2. Water-feelings
3. Air-intuition
4. Earth- sensation
5. Fire and air- masculine-active
6. Water and earth -feminine -passive

  • 3rd Rubric -Slings and arrows of outrageous fortunes eliminate ego attachments to the material world. Free oneself from self-deception: water -the realm of unconscious powers, fantasy, magic and even madness. The night, the below. Water represents all possibilities with infinite potential—a symbol of freedom of matter to change. If we repeat old habits and beliefs, we become imprisoned by a tyrannical Ego and keep creating illusions to keep in control. The earth element is the conjunction, the coming together of creative and receptive forces.
  • 4thRubric – work with the forces of the above
  • Father (sulphur) masculine
  • Son (androgyny /mercury) quicksilver ability to dissolve gold
  • Mother (salt) feminine

Sun king-The authority and strength over the rational and visible world. A fiery dragon of rejection with unconscious walls in a cave beneath him, ready to attack should he grow too arrogant.

Moon Queen– the chaff of wheat fertility and growth with a bow and arrow. Symbolises of the heart and body as part of existence, feelings and emotions.

Saturn is marked with the cypher and metalhead of the ancient old man time, heavy, dull and like lead—the soul’s inertia and weight, stubborn and materialistic with a melancholic temperament. Passive-aggressive, keeping others waiting, very loyal and family orientated.

Make the golden moment “chemical wedding “permanent in a state of pure consciousness called the “philosophers stone”, managing opposites within. Four elements of air, fire, water and earth, with the Fifth element of quintessence, the magical world of Hermes.

The eternal fire (divine mind and will) drives the reaction, the spiritualised air coming from the word (thought) of god that acts upon the chaotic water (the one thing) to create the earth, precipitated matter appearing out of nature and separating the subtle from the good. Surrender to outside force and life force introduced to a substance—purification =Suppression of the ego. Personality must make room for a higher identity. Fermentation begins with meditation and inspiration. Distillation -moving oneself from the concerns of living in the everyday world. The Ego with no psychic importance will not survive and dissolve all that is inferior within.

Dionysus’s categories become part of the psychosis with a sense of alienation, deadness and strangeness. Psychosis means “soul animation”. Light will go out as we enter the depths of our bodies. Luminous light will surface to see in the dark and create consciousness from the heart. Splitting from the body means splitting from the feelings, and we become afraid of them.

Oedipus complex– father’s unconscious sexuality and mother’s competitiveness toward other women with incestuous desires for a stimulating and attacking father, seductive and sadistic with punishment for erotic feelings.

The fusion of opposites

Incompatible object combines with bizarre objects. Horizontal splitting of mind, body and spirit. Sense of division and terror of the responsibility of the world and societal illusions. An intra-collective field, the collective unconscious with a field-like quality.

Borderline stick at Nigredo process, characterised by despair and panic without the union of the “conjuntio”. The existence of the unknowing, which knows aspects of fears, anger, hate and love, is an awakening of love during bewildering chaos. The Ego`s repression is reviving the unconscious layers, be it sexuality with survival and aggression with survival—the clash between progressive and regressive forces with the dissolution of old structures in conjunction with new ones. New structure levels with hierarchal orders acquire and sustain dominance. Abiding Eros in conflict with destructive instincts. When Eros prevails, psychosis can be inverted. Unbound passion leads to psychotic processes. Our first encounter with the Prima Materia will lead to feelings of frustration, bewilderment, disassociation and disintegration when separation brings in the feelings of opposites and the terror of abandonment, kept separate by splitting. Creates a distorted perception of reality and associated fantasies and behaviours. Unable to idolise. To hold the positive split off by the negative.

Opposites in mad parts fused, annihilate each other, despair, and part believes they can’t change and have no effect on it. To facilitate change, the person will have to sacrifice omnipotence and align with a reality that may open one to the possibility of failure and vulnerability. The person will fragment and will feel ungrounded and disorientated amidst new feelings of emptiness, absence and deadness. The person may feel negative emotions, such as hatred, and want to withdraw and attack. Split and fused before the separation of opposites that do not complement, compensate, or balance. The opposite will destroy any previously perceived conceptions and open new perceptions. A new human field can emerge known as the “conjuntio”, where the heart has less armouring. You may hear the two opposites come out as double binds as they cannot process the contradictions as the opposites are not integrated yet. Each bind forms a disassociated part creating a default confused state .X+Y doesn’t exist with equanimity; they annihilate each other or create a world of distortion and bizarreness.

Impotent rage with induced despair with a fear of attachment all prevail. Defensive idealisation is employed with extreme tenacity to block experiencing hatred and rage toward an object to maintain an ideal self-image.  Numerous attempts to restore identity via defences after fragmentation to counteract the void of bonding with parts and beliefs are believed to be wrong. Ego boundaries are surpassed by taking up all the space (engulfment) or taking up none(withdrawal), push and pull dynamic between 2 people.

Like a negative hermaphrodite with separate entities stuck together, the positive hermaphrodite is where the two halves become whole and a third. Madness leads to fear of attaching any sense of ordering and meaning, defended by anger, within the hazy space concealed by suffering, splitting, indulgence and psychological acumen. Emerging Eros with hatred to stay with any regeneration of the mother meant death but longed for the help and care that was never there. Fused to a power-hungry mother trying to flee but facing a psychological death to join with others is joining the mother. Infused with underhanded overwhelm, anxiety, terror, envy, confusion and humiliation. They need to learn to face psychotic parts despite fears of rejection and abandonment again. With integrated parts, consciousness expands to gain control of their own thoughts and behaviours.

These parts are open wounds that bleed delusions and help the ego accept the limits of its own consciousness and capacity for control. Distrustful of authority figures due to lack of connection to father. Need to let go of unconscious rage at my parents and enter the “not knowing” and then process the rage and work with it more effectively. Psychic incest can feel as real as real incest, and making sense of the two and their differences will make the opposites emerge. The fourth is called the sacred marriage, the conjunctio, moving from a fused state (one) to one of the opposites (the two). The pain inflicted on the person`s narcissism may create erotic currents to create intense feelings for a union. A deep craving for the other becomes very seductive and alluring again. Albedo leads to the death of structure and affects emotional incest, allergic to feelings of abandonment and betrayal experienced in the Nigredo. When the mother’s body image is enlivened in you, you can’t make contact in an effective state, leading to the transformation of a sadistic super Ego into a benevolent idealised self-object. Freud– changes in Ego development. Jung– individuation and changing internal forms.

Object relations

Deals with psychic structures are acquired through the passage of stages of separation and rapprochement. The Nigredo aims to purify one from the ever-present regressive desires with archetypal processes such as the conjuntio. When opposites combine, they create a bizarre object being strange to one another—an inner deadness of thought devoid of meaning where we see the dark side of god. We acknowledge the abuse and abandonment so intolerable that they became merged with deeply negative archetypal images that imprison us with despair and hopelessness.

The narcissistic bubble is created where the self-objects are not real objects and are experienced as tormenting self-objects. Nothing can be introjected or internalised if they are not experienced as real objects. A therapist, through mirroring, becomes an external object and not an extension of the narcissist and then can become a source of identity. When the source is too dangerous, the person cannot do anything good inside without destroying it or being destroyed by rejection. Narcissistic fusion occurs, and a non-communicative, non-state to avoid any intrusion of opposites and exposure to the narcissistic injurious and abuse, pushing the person into a psychotic area.

Alchemical vision is to see through authentic eyes and feel the subtle realms of the interactive field. Does not seek social and economic adaptation with ego strength and capacity for relationships, sexual maturity and spiritual ideas. The self is not a personal or impersonal one but in kinship with a higher, larger self.

A continuous Nigredo leads to a whitening of the albedo. Fears of abandonment are overcome with no more radical splitting from within with no total identity loss. Calcination and incineration of the gross body have finally taken a “soulish” spiritual form. The soul returns as bisexual, unified with anima and spirit. Albedo still lacks blood, symbolic of the passion of life and must have the rubedo!!!

A glorious state of consciousness can only reanimate blood by regaining the unity of the psyche. Countertransference errors are common when dealing with the Nigredo and will bring about psychotic and difficult experiences; ignorance will rear its ugly head. Results in rage are linked to chaos or prima Materia or lead, which contains a demon that drives the adept mad. Need to create a container for anxieties, shame and panic/disassociation when the split is made present and experienced.

A person with no meaningful connection feels like one is living in a parallel universe whereby one acts impulsively, on autopilot, with a non-feeling approach and little intrusion to avoid humiliation. Passion for left-hand contact and focus on the analytic process.  Experience passion without losing consciousness and the capacity to deal with soulless abandonment. Such a passage is essential for the existence of a stable individual self. Without such a passage, the self is forever guarded by a variety of narcissistic and schizoid defences. A self that had not fled from the body, more dissolution and devouring aspects of the unconscious, unconscious people exploit each other to fulfil narcissistic needs and demands enacting sexual, aggressive and economic needs. Together, they can form structures that foster care for each other, creating a status quo that encourages each person to avoid change—a fused co-dependent structure. Dominance for an exchange for security with demands for total obedience in attitude and thinking serves several varieties of addiction and habitual soul-killing behaviours. Protecting each other from their own madness and overwhelm. The relationship brings out childish, regressive yearnings, and the partner feels dangerous with disallowed parts normally projected onto a partner.

“The boundary less adolescent is joined with an adult who never became an adult, caught in a double bind”

General acting on passion, one dies a meaningless death or causes suffering for others. He does not act on passion and dies an older man fantasising about passion. The realisation of nigredo needs a high level of consciousness and unconscious suffering. the loss of psychic union. The pain of slaying the dragon does not have to mean despair.

Albedo -the abstract, ideal state needs the blood of the rubedo. Must be founded upon a prior illumination of the solar phase. Links passion with others without fear of engulfment and contamination—an impregnation where the soul ascends to heaven, leaving behind a dead hermaphrodite being. A person experiences a terrifying state of disorientation and loss of any form of outer connectedness, still in the process of being impregnated by a higher form of consciousness. The splitting against narcissistic structures, solar and lunar, helps overcome ambivalence against such structures where two substances are combined, and energy is released (cold fusion).

  • Lunar consciousness. Undifferentiated, informal. Ill disciplined and overly empathic.
  • Solar Consciousness – too penetrating, destructive must be right rather than relatedness.

The Unconscious dyad is dead and a single being with two heads where we enter the Dark Side of the conjuntio. Nigredo follows the conjunction, which can be very dangerous as one can’t separate from the great goddess without integrating the shadow side. The shadow embedded with narcissism has issues of rage and sadism used to suppress wisdom and the underworld—Union state followed by death “Nigredo”. Sequences of union and death proceed where the prima Materia is refined into an embodied self—separation of males from their mothers. Where men must develop the capacity to separate from their mothers, passion leads to destructive aspects of the goddess and the total fusion and impossibility of object relations.

Aggressive inquiring and new independent acts incur anxiety because it means leaving the world of fantasy and external possibilities; separation will be experienced as “fear” by being abandoned in the relationship. Desire with compulsive qualities impedes purification, puts consciousness to sleep, and seduces all other faculties into a merging fusion with the object. Fusion, the collapse of the gap or the interval, remains a constant threat.

Women represent the great goddess, and the dragon represents the archaic drives towards fusion states. Drives overwhelm any sense of creative interval between people through which passion can have in mastering the outcome in action. Any incest or sexual intrusion will have great resistance to any union state and stay active in a union drive. The woman has been slain and therefore transformed. Edge of being devoured by unconsciousness and states of passion (hate/love), killing any connection where one wants to avoid the ordeal. Always on the edge of experience, attacks of hatred, anger and envy. Dragon chained to the mother and allowed commitment to the process. Castration denotes the sacrifice of the libido and regression to the unconscious. The conscious mind gives up its power and possession in the interest of the unconscious. Only the union of opposites will release the energy.

Enormous frustration arises out of neglect. Aggression with no outlet fantasised attacks leads to castration, pre-oedipal disorder, and terror of separating clings to a lesser form, abandoned, not seen or loved. Separation leads to death, the death of passion and the link that motivates one for separation; enthusiasm and passion turn to despair.

“Poor ego weakness Vs Drives will be cast out as the terrible mother to the outer structures and subtly attack it. Two major reactions, narcissism or borderline state, impossible fusion and separation drama.”

  • Narc maintained fusion by control and separation by defences which ward off affective involvement.
  • Borderline- radical shifts towards fusing, loss of identity recoiling into a distant state with the object now carrying a projection of dread and danger.

When defences fail, psychotic areas emerge and are impossible to regulate these fusion drives—neither able to separate nor stay fused.

Hauck, D. W, 1999. Emerald Tablet: Alchemy for Personal Transformation. 1st ed. Strand, London WC2R 0RL: Penguin Books.