Alchemy not to be taken literally. It offers another way (metaphorical) way to talk about the psyche. Talking alchemically is therapeutic, it frees from imagining yourself as a damaged self, ego, etc…

In alchemy, you know you’re talking in metaphors. In psychology, the language is literalized, which becomes more oppressive

”We call reality the fantasy we don’t see as a fantasy”

Work of alchemy to free the soul from its cage (anima in prison)

Alchemy providing metaphors against which you can imagine various moments of your life

Ideas not to be judged only if they work (pragramtic, practical). They can also be judged by other means, are they fertile, beautiful, interesting, do they move the mind, the soul? (you never meet fully individuated Jungians, doesn’t mean individuation is a bad idea)

Secrecy in Alchemy

Secrecy is a necessary element of ritual (even among kids’ games and lovers talks)

The naive man gives away his goals (which should be secret)

Secrecy is an ontological/existential state. A special kind of being happens.

Lovers have a secret language that creates a sacred space. Artists can’t talk about what they’re doing.

In alchemy, that’s what meant by “not opening the vessel”.

Alchemy has a secret language, there’s no possibility to verify, since each writer has their own secret language

Materia Prima

  • Color: Undifferentiated (grey, beige)
    • Nothing is clear
    • In alchemy black is an achievement

Massa Confusa

  • represent the initial psychological state/frame. When in massa confusa you should not use the sword, because you’d be killing all the seeds of potential that are within you
    • you need a vessel big enough to hold the whole massa confusa, including the parts of yourself you think you don’t like
    • we might be tempted to act immediately - the hero needs to act - and diagnose the problem
  • inertia and desire to stay just the way you are - mass as something that resists change
    • to be confused is to be inert (there’s no direction)

Ugly, Despicable Face

  • How many times have we been ashamed of our face?
  • How long can we stare in the mirror?
    • shame of one’s own ugliness
  • There might be something essentially shameful about how we look
    • not only social, conditioned by society and parents
  • There’s a call toward beauty
    • the soul tends towards beauty

Other Examples

  • Inner fire
  • Slime of the small world
    • petty things in life, gossip etc…
  • Pitch - sticky blackness that sticks to everything
    • everything that looked great yesterday now looks bad
    • worry as a pitch that keeps you stuck
      • worry about where you are

Where does Materia Prima come from?

It is uncaused - it comes out of itself. Radix Ipsius (root of itself)

  • In psychology, everything needs to be explained by something else (childhood, parents, poverty, trauma).
  • This alchemical view, allows each individual to have its own destiny. You do not have to conceive yourself in terms of a personal biography, you are the cause of yourself.
    • Only the self can create the self Carl Jung
    • We’re made by imagination, not by personal history.

Heat Charcoal and Fire

Yellowing of the white

About yellow and sulphur

Opposite are inherent in yellow.

Both color of decay (withering leaves, indelible stains, decaying teeth and skin), and of sunlight (life, spring, honey, gold). Also connected to desire and jealousy.

Lion and Dragon

Yellow is considered a “middle color”, in the transition from white to red.

In alchemy, yellowing of metals due to Sulphur.

In life, when things stink (go wrong e.g. “this marriage stinks) it’s the sign of sulphur making changes. The feeling of putrefaction is an awareness of changes happening (feeling bad or wrong, it’s sulphur becoming aware of its own wound). Sulphur can’t be worked with until it’s dried out

Sulphur has been left out of therapy for so long (quiet atmosphere, pencils), but started coming back (e.g. Primal scream).

Why call the I ego? Has no form. What we tend to call ego might be the sulphuric element (active agent) of personality.

Attacks on the male are attacks on the sulphuric elements of personality.

About the white state

  • 2 types of whiteness
    • Candida, primary whiteness, child-like innocence
    • Albedo, lunar state, it is an achievement after the state of negrado
      • capacity to reflect life, rather than to suffer life
      • shadows have disappeared
      • things feel calm, gentle, relaxed, smooth and easy
        • feeling that “everything is ok”
      • sweet detachment
      • no urge to action
      • psychic lifting from negrado’s oppression
      • being at home in the psychic

Jung refers to Albedo as the first goal of the process, some alchemist are satisfied with finishing the process here.

”In the state of whiteness one does not live, in order to come alive it must have blood, rubedo” - Carl Jung

It takes something outside to see into oneself - thus Jung’s insistence on others to achieve individuation (community accelerates personal growth). The other can be any situation where something different, any moment that intrudes into white consciousness’ love for itself.

Yellowing of the albedo

White refuses to be yellowed, yellow stains, rottens, fattens. Yellow is male, active, it feels like a regression to a previous state:

  • being involved in the world
  • feel ourselves betraying who we were
  • pain (of knowledge)

Alchemists say that white remains dead until it becomes red, and call the yellowing a resurrection.

  • increasing fire to reach yellowing (not direct flame)
  • birds play a part in the yellowing (images of birds)
  • with the glowing light of solar shows the imperfections of the lunar sphere (white consciousness) - new yellow ways of looking
    • one may expect growing critical analysis of oneself, start seeing the white from another perspective
    • Yellow clarifies sight
      • Yellow flowers (Caledonia) used to cure eyesight and night blindness


The form (the intellect), is the beginning, middle and end of the procedure. And the form has a saffron colour.

  • if your ideas don’t change, you can’t make any progress
  • thinking and being are the same (you cant be what you don’t think, you can’t think what you aren’t)
  • Psychology has been attacking the use of thought
    • Freud’s warning against reading psychology while in therapy
    • Thought too comes from the psyche

Mind in negrado is downward and backward thinking, trying to find out the history of behaviour. Knows itself as victimized, traumatized.

Mind in albedo

  • comfortably magical, imaginistic, self-reflective, impressionable, accepting
  • It’s an abstract, ideal state
  • Soul feels lighter than in the negrado
  • self-absorbed
    • ”work on yourself and that will take care of the world”

Yellowed intellect is more than being more aware, it must be hot and male even putrid. It is practical intellect. Mind burns with its bitter bile and rage (armed eagles, cutting swords, splitting arrows). More combustible and complicated with emotions. Aware and alive, in jealousy, fear, prejudice, cowardice. Staining with intellects whatever it meets. Doesn’t think psychologically.

It is the nature of the color white to not admit any other hue or it loses its whiteness. Doing so, it becomes self same, anything that it admits becomes a spot or a stain, or rottening. It must transcend all the colors, it either imagines itself including all of them (white light) or imagines itself as pure pigment. It can only think in opposites, either white or not white.

Reddening of the stone as altered in its inclinations and elevation to higher dignity of substance and virtue. Not transformation. Matter is crowned, the world is crowned. Not that you transcend the world. Raise the value of the world (feelings in the heart)

One of the reasons we may be here (with our complex consciousness) is in order to further the world.

Old mother nature is on dyalisis and isn’t able to keep us going. We have to keep her going. It is up to us. We can get inflated about it, but it’s a type of inflation I rather like (Anthropocene) (Chapter 10 minute ~19). It’s a matter of what we do with technology.

Supreme fiction stimulates the heart and moves to action, perhaps a different kind of action. We live on Supreme fiction, but we don’t realize it’s fiction.

Re-linking of science in service of the soul, that’s what’s needed. Science is normally in service of “progress”

Need for the yellowing

  • There can be an urge to skip the yellowing

    • exultation of sudden reddening
  • Moving directly from white to red, we believe magically that self-transformation trickles down into the world

    • psychologizes the world instead of mundifying the psyche
  • Need to go through the yellow

    • break the vessels
    • not “if it aint broke don’t fix it” but “if it aint broke, break it”

Psychology is in the white state and needs to be stained in yellow