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Nigredo exploration
Published:
"In the Jungian archetypal schema the nigredo is the Shadow; albedo refers to the anima/animus (contrasexual soul images); citrinitas is the Wise old man (or woman) archetype; and rubedo is the Self archetype, which has achieved wholeness"
Point of view
In analytical psychology, the term became a metaphor 'for the dark night of the soul,
 when an individual confronts the shadow within'
Nigredo, or blackness, in alchemy means putrefaction or decomposition. The alchemists believed that as a first step in the pathway to the philosopher's stone all alchemical ingredients had to be cleansed and cooked extensively to a uniform black matter.
 
For Carl Jung, 'the rediscovery of the principles of alchemy came to be an important part of my work as a pioneer of psychology'. As a student of alchemy, he (and his followers) 'compared the "black work" of the alchemists (the nigredo) with the often highly critical involvement experienced by the ego, until it accepts the new equilibrium brought about by the creation of the self'. Jungians interpreted nigredo in two main psychological senses.
the first nigredo, that of the unio naturalis, is an objective state, visible from the outside only...
...an unconscious state of non-differentiation between self and object, consciousness and the unconscious
Here the subject is '"too conscious"
...in reality unconscious of the unconscious.
In the second sense: the nigredo of the process of individuation on the other hand is a subjectively experienced process brought about by the subject's painful, growing awareness of his shadow aspects
It could be described as a moment of maximum despair, that is a prerequisite to personal development.
confrontation with the shadow produces at first a dead balance, ...nigredo, tenebrositas, chaos, melancholia
a standstill that hampers moral decisions and makes convictions ineffective or even impossible
Here is 'the darkest time, the time of despair, disillusionment, envious attacks.
the time when Eros and Superego are at daggers drawn...
and there seems no way forward.
...nigredo, the blackening
Only subsequently would come 'an enantiodromia
 the nigredo gives way to the albedo...
the ever deepening descent into the unconscious...
 suddenly becomes illumination from above.