We find our authentic soul below the layers of cultural conditioning, where we meet sirens and monsters along the hero’s journey, with the ego attempting to stifle our growth with fear of complacency. The subconscious programming of our culture has controlled us, and we need to transform this to regain the reigns of our thoughts, feelings, and instincts, where we can become autonomous with our choices and desires. Once we feel that this encounter is sufficiently grounded and established to let the higher self develop, we are then available for spiritual guidance.
Symbolism is the historical medium for the individual to speak of the unspeakable, to express the repressed or suppressed.
The seven stages of the spiritual alchemical process are as follows.
- Nigredo – the blackening, where the alchemical fire begins with the day-to-day trials in our life, where we encounter the shadow via self-reflection and inquiry. We realise the centres of our buried pains and unrealised potentials are burdened with guilt, frustration, and disappointment.
- Calcinatio – the beginning of the dissolving of the ego and misidentification with ego desires, illusions, and delusions
- Rubedo – The reddening and unearthing of childhood pain, silently dictating our decisions, creating a victim consciousness full of injustice and inability to make decisions.
- Sol Niger – the black sun of the holy war between ego and self conflicts and resolutions
- Seperatio – Ego and self are clearly defined as having different agenda, ideas, and ambitions. Differentiation
- Purifactio -The ego`s negative reactions are harnessed with the assistance of the higher self and philosopher’s stone. The shadow is sublimated with a positive and creative aspect of the adepts’ inner attitudes.
- Heiros Gamos – The sacred marriage and resolution of the opposites, with the soul, transformed and actualised. The union of the masculine and feminine within the human psyche and the balancing of the personality.
The initial fire starts to transform the ego consciousness, where the prima materia is going through the process, where the individual realises the cycles of destructive behaviours and requires a brutal, honest and objective view of their subconscious, as the persona layers are peeled back and ruthlessly discarded to embrace the soul underneath. We locate the care complex and become aware of the lasting damage to our soul at the expense of materialist gain and ego pleasure—the heart chakra opening with the red passion of sensuality connecting the spiritual and material realms.
The fire burns hotter and hotter, bringing new experiences, events, and people into our lives to embrace and conquer as we change and transform into a higher awareness, with a greater view of the world and a dramatic change in our outer realities. The hero is imprisoned within the dynamics of the material world, their nearest and deepest relationships and demanding situations, which need to be broken down, analysed and reconstituted. One surrender to the conflict between the ego and self and surrenders to the higher realms, passing through the desert where an inner substance comes from within after they have defeated their demons. They create an intimate bond between suffering and the development of self-awareness, an emotional exorcism that needs to be filled with the spirit; otherwise, one will return to the rigid darkness and unconsciousness.
The sacred marriage is forged by merging the opposites, the shadow integrated, and the soul actualised. The unconscious water has been cleansed, distilled, and transformed, the squaring of the circle. The square shows stability and balanced roles, where Unity is represented by a circle and the four elements by a square.
The production of one from four is the result of this process of distillation and sublimation, creating the “quintessence.”