Notes on Nigredo

“In the ash that lies at the bottom of the grave, there lies the king’s diadem…”
– Livre de Arthéphius, Bibliothéque des Philosophes Chimiques, Paris, 1741

  1. Nigredo – the earthly aspect, the shadow, the dark night of the soul, corruption, charring, putrefaction. To be reborn the spirit must die and decay, then rise again in a new form.
  2. The raven symbolises the Nigredo process; death, night, putrefaction. The dove is the spirit which reunites with the body once the long night has passed. Likewise the scarab, the dungroller, moves from the night of Nigredo into the light of the sun.
  3. Relating to Saturn who would eat his children, but was tricked by Jupiter into eating a stone instead. The stone Saturn vomits up becomes an alchemical catalyst.
  4. The Philosophical (Orphic) Egg is the the Prima Materia destroyed in the putrefaction of Nigredo.
  5. Caput Mortum: Dead Head – hematite iron oxide, a deep purple pigment produced by the Nigredo process and used for painting the robes of religious figures.

 

 

 

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