The period when Ego consciousness moves towards the darkness and conflict (nigredo), facing the devilish energies of fear, addiction, mania and inner criticism. Devils become initiating allies, where distillation and circulation cook, clean and whiten the unconscious realms. The process of moving from nigredo to albedo represents the washing of the old dark unconscious and brings about the whitening with the full red blood of activity. One’s consciousness begins sorting, heating, soaking and drying as the Prima Materia (primitive formless base of all matter) opens to the chaos of stuck complexes. Old problems and beliefs dissolve by washing away dirt and distilling insight into the intermediary between opposites. The philosopher’s stone is the self, a living dynamism transmuted at all dimensions.

When the heat builds up, it can activate the psyche, where drives and archetypal presentations can burn your life up in a destructive way where compulsive and addictions may occur. Descent into the nigredo is the polarity of light, where an inner flame may appear between dark and light opposites. The concept of Awakening develops a connection to the outside and makes one visible to the outside world. Dante’s inferno and the ascent of purgatory, where souls are plunged into the river of forgetfulness, and all memories are washed away, good with the bad. The second immersion is when the memory returns but without the affective component, where one can experience history without judgement.  One`s false memory is kept in constant repair as a defensive barrier to deeper immersion. During the individuation process, Jung talks about the acceptance of the objective psyche and the pettiness of the ego and relating to it. Acknowledgement of the void, the subjective space generated by our desires and illusions, clouding our ability to see our true reality, will allow us to fill the void with meaning.

“An inflated Ego Judges life from an idealised ego position and not one of joy and pain and full of paradoxes.”

The Dark hole is a void state of alienation that prevails when the ego is cut off from its connection to the objective psyche, consciousness from the unconscious. PTSD blocks symbolic thought and playfulness, where creative instinctual life is foreclosed. To link the disowned realm, a sacrifice is needed, where one may acknowledge their mother was incapable of being the mother they wanted and needed and acknowledge their father’s weakness. Think about a feeling instead of acting on it and become more aware of it as we rescue ourselves from the void. Letting go of idealised images of family members, giving up fantasies and processing grief for what one has lost, bringing communion to oneself by merging the opposite realms. Primitive consciousness splits; as a survival defensive mechanism, higher consciousness joins together. Renewal and death of the old personality occur in the dark feminine in a three-tiered process.

  • Activation of the heroic masculine – strong enough father
  • Transforming the dark feminine – positive anima or negative witch who promises change.
  • Anima – upwards to spirit. Downwards into the flesh and painful expansion of the personality through greater knowledge of oneself.

Loss of the fused relationship catastrophically tied up with another, or they project their negative aspects onto others. The fusion leaves one with no felt connection within and no inner world as a place for comfort and meaning.

The desire to return to the maternal womb with less of one’s identity creates space in the psyche and the possibility of 2 traumatic experiences.

  1. Collective unconscious pours in, filled with chaos leading to inflation and insanity
  2. Psyche splitting away, merging with the mother and nothingness.

Only time will tell if it’s a new birth or eternal loss; regression may lead to entrapment or liberation.

Experience of the self is a defeat to the ego, collapsing down into the abyss and despair and pain of separation from God or mother. Separateness creates a space where consciousness can emerge. What seemed like a living truth begins to feel like a fairy tale where the ego takes an ethical stance to try and deidentify with the collective unconscious as a one-sided driven complex. The individuation process leads to the union of spirit and soul, reason and feeling, intellect and Eros, Full knowledge of one’s heights and depths of character with the capacity to reflect on an effect (expression of the soul) without acting out (body action), imagination connects the self and the ego. Sublimation and regression are well-developed ego defences that allow us not to know. Entering the void creates a space filled with the self and wisdom as the ego allows itself to melt into the self, lost in oneness; it loses the capacity to know and feels like it is dying. 

Mature ego strength is needed to resist fragmentation that threatens the person when close to the void (envious life experiences / damaged psyche), with the ability to foster a connection with the void instead of avoiding it. The self can manifest and develop if it gives the void it’s functioning. The immature ego with arrested development, like the narcissist or borderline, is overwhelmed by emptiness, sustained injuries at the preverbal level of development, and has no words for the experience. Too much Ego fixation leads to ideology and too little to addiction, looking for overstimulation as an escape mechanism.

A movement to the self ferments tremendous chaos due to the destruction of psychic apparatus clashing and the struggle to allow new consciousness into worthless toxic forces. The ego must submit and let go, surrender to transcendent grace where love and compassion can reside in an inner yin/yang experience of unity—separation of personal and impersonal elements. Ego fantasies must be killed off with tremendous pain, sorrow and detachment, the experience of burning to ash to bring about a new experience. Ego death when entering the Void, the void borderlines feel when being abandoned or rejected. The other and immersion’s awareness and emergence emerge out of a separate form after the painful ego surrender.

Suffering can add conscious fuel to the inner fire. The ego must allow the emptiness to penetrate us and reflect our suffering and how we discover how the ego has lost its way. Opposites define each other and can’t live in a true self or reality without each other. When the ego is split, so does the collective unconscious split. Ego consciousness is about the control of life split between ego and self (God-consciousness). A redirected Libido creates a new connection to the symbolic and returns to infuse the person with awareness. Addiction is an unconscious opting out to regression to avoid the divine centre to incarnate (infinite ego). Ego differentiation from the psyche’s control emerges out of identity with the anima, animus and shadow self. The unsophisticated desire for contact with the divine can lead to wishes for higher stimulation, compulsion and reckless sexual behaviour. The ego becomes lost in individuation while deconstructing archetypes and reconnecting to instincts.

“Lack of instinctual energy constricts vitality, and the opposite desire can turn demonic or run amok.”

Initiation occurs through the force of desire and differentiation of feelings, Eros and religious instinct and can’t occur without contact with the chaos beyond ego control. The leap usually means a singular or combination of sacrifices, be it financial, social or marital, as we lose the false self based on ego identification. Instincts gain strength within us and create a fire that burns through many false attitudes and psychic energy and must change to create a relationship between ego and self. The fire burns what is inessential if we work with it and make the necessary choices and sacrifices; we develop a clean glow containing living waters. (unconscious)

The alchemical Death, Dismemberment and Rebirth

  • Soaking (solution)
  • Cooking (Calcination)
  • Honouring separateness (Seperatio)
  • Divulging secret pain with honesty (Nigredo)
  • New inner harmony (Conjunction). new spirit with body and agent of change

Difficult life situations and experiences can throw us into the waters of the unconscious and create an invitation for freedom, as we can see how far we have fallen away from our true nature. This helps us create

  • A Heightened feminine principle of Eros
  • The elevated status of the individual in relation to the uniformity of the masses
  • Address problems of evil
  • Reconciling opposites in the psychic structure of human being
  • Enter the descent – lowering the threshold of consciousness and seeing larger facets of the psyche. Stilling the mind and emergence of renewal and differentiation.

Great differentiation from lead into gold to relieve the spirit of critical judgement, negativity and unconscious fear. We may not survive the process as the psyche and body may not fulfil the containment. The initial death of the ego leads to the descent, dissolvement and detachment where a crisis can birth the dark primitive feminine, creating illness, physical pain, marriage or work problems.

  1. The sun becomes darkened. The light of consciousness no longer possesses vitality.
  2. The sun submits to the vast night sky, consciousness emptying and waking movement in the unconscious.
  3. Lunar field gaining energy and unconscious activation
  4. Religious instincts awaken – archetypes and instincts fuse and connect to the divine source and constellate a new organisation.
  5. The moon creates a new organisation of the soul and archetypes, marrying the sun and inner unity appearing. Lunar rebirth – as the Ego humbles to the evolving instincts and perceptions, we learn to differentiate in the psyche (soul, mind and spirit) and psychosis (vital principle directing behaviour) and discover the self, shadow, and wisdom via integration and honesty.
  6. Submit to a wider reality and the unknown for a period known as the darkened sun creating pregnant darkness. The moon/Sun conjunction of opposites happens in the darkness. Must have some fixity (sealed vessel) so the spirit does not fly off, disintegrate or leak away. The making of the divine waters requires the spirit to be contained.
  7. Principles are mirrored in different mediums of attaining fixity for transformation and can’t be of leaden consciousness and thinks it has its own answers. The ego also fears containment and discharges energy via unconscious attempts to reduce anxiety and tension.
  8. Moon poisoning leads to the shutdown of emotions, addiction and extreme responses. Where the psychic realm of the mother remains in the unconscious, it leads to lunacy. The dark side of the moon and lunacy, where instead of grieving, one may overstimulate the emotional and physical body and need to reconnect to the unconscious feminine. The lunar dimension cuts off, demeans and devours due to suffering to the divine feminine.
  9. Continuous rounds of deaths and rebirths for a new organisation of psychic life (harmony between sun and moon). Psychic relation to the psyche, logos and Eros
  • Logos – a non-personal truth
  • Eros- what transcends personal ambition and relationship with new personal values

Ego learns to carry water for the self, to partake in life in sun/moon mysteries. Imagination helps us live in the crack/void between opposing worlds. The snake eats its own tail, self-transformation and shredding of the snake’s skin. Ouroboros (eternity) divine circulation of psychic energy brings about the philosopher’s stone, the divine child.

Unconscious-induced fear and panic in civilised people let the unconscious go its own way, exceeding the courage and capacity of the average European. They run away from their unconscious and enter the ouroboros and perils of the soul. Loss of instinct ensues -atrophy and disorientation in everyday human situations. The conscious mind is swamped by childishness or obliged to defend itself against inundation (flooding). Cynical affectation of embittered resignation, with the departure from the intellectual forces, the dreamer from the domination of the unconscious and infantile attitudes. Anima conflicts with the father, and the father rejects the dreamer. Unknown woman (anima), an unknown man (shadow), and a wise old man (mature personality)

The Nigredo is produced by the elements’ separation (Solution, Putrefaction and Revision). Union of the male and female (conjunctio). The washing (Baptism) leads to the albedo (whitening), or the soul is released at death. The ego needs to work with expansion and contractions, becoming more humanised in the process. The neurotic ego has no dialogue between the I and thou, and their moral standpoint is penetrated by the “Truth” of what one can or cannot handle. When one can embody the wound (void), they can let go of ego defences and start accepting ego reality.  Due to lack of contact, love or mirroring, the mother’s wound can be regenerated upon acceptance. Need to rid oneself of guilt for being an individual and the tension of opposites to create a dialogue between humans and the divine. The left and right brain hemispheres in a union

  • Morning star–(Venus) guiding feminine principle from darkness to light
  • Saturn – Grim Reaper. devil in a cloak
  • Mercury– polarity and fixation and mutuality.
  • Yin –magnetic, receptive and containing – encounters the lead and modify the feminine
  • yang-active and penetrating
Wilkman, M., 2004. Pregnant Darkness. 1st ed. U.S.: Hays (Nicolas) Ltd, U.S.