**ALERT! ESOTERIC GEEK POST BELOW!**
In alchemy, nigredo, or blackness, is the putrefaction or decomposition of the material. It is the first step in the process of transmutation. Carl Jung in Psychology and Alchemy interpreted nigredo as a moment of maximum despair, prerequisite to personal development.
You could say that was my experience Friday as I struggled against feelings of inertia, insignificance, blocked creativity, and rage. I wanted to pull everything out of my house into the back yard and burn it in a magnificent fire.
Instead, I decided to clean my studio. I am not an expert on alchemy. In fact, I have read very little about it. But as I was looking at the above photo, I thought “oh, this looks like nigredo or dissolution,” which took me down this trail of thought.
The next stage is albedo, or whiteness, which is a distillation and further purification. For two days, I went through boxes and piles of paper. Some stuff went into the trash. Other things went into a box to be given away or sold. Here is a view of the effluent — those things washed away down the hall and out of my life!
At this point, I decided to invest in some clear storage bins of various sizes. This allows me to organize my supplies according to material or use: paints, brushes, pens/pencils, fabric, yarn, papers, collage images, boxes, beads and ribbons, etc. Putting those supplies I decided to keep and seeing the cosmos, or order, come together in my studio was a type of citrinitas, or yellowness. In this stage of the alchemical process, silver is turned into gold — everything begins to come together and the light of the sun dawns — metaphorically speaking.
And then, it was done! Clean, organized, and ready for the next creative project. This final stage of rubedo, or redness, is the finding or unveiling of the perfection that always lay hidden within.
Not only is my studio and my temple ready for my future Work, I am inspired to learn more about alchemy. It is my experience that we find spiritual processes of transformation in our everyday lives — but only if we (1) know to look and (2) honor the divine within the everyday.