MEMOIR LOGO CONCEPT: The aleph and a Sufi mystic inspired my creation and design of the syzygy logo, which I initially based on the symbolism of the yin and yang.

But the concept expanded when I first saw the aleph in Judith Cornell’s    
Mandala Healing Kit, My inexplicable attraction to it led me to incorporate it into my logo before I knew what it meant. 

I later read that the “Aleph (the first letter of the sacred Hebrew alphabet) embodies the primordial, divine potential of the universe. ... Aleph contains all the universe’s potential and all of its emptiness   simultaneously. Aleph represents a dynamic process of movement from unity to diversity and back to unity,” Jennifer Judelsohn, Songs of Creation.

And the  mystic poet Rumi inspired me to use the fire and water concept after I read The  Question.  Here is an excerpt:  

“The presence is there in front of me. A fire on the left, a lovely stream on the right.

One group walks toward the fire, into the fire. Another toward the sweet flowing water.

No one knows which are blessed and which are not.

Whoever walks into the fire appears suddenly in the stream. 

A head goes under water, and that head pokes out of the fire.”

LOGO ART: Cropped fire and water images from Free Images

LOTUS LOGO: In spiritual and religious literature, “the lotus is a symbol for the macrocosm and the microcosm, the universe and man. The lotus represents the divinity of the cosmos as well as the divinity of man. 

The lotus is the center of the infinite, omnipresent consciousness which connects with the consciousness of the universe. Through the intuition, one of man’s divine gifts, the spiritual student can see the infinite, omnipresent consciousness as the lotus flower within himself.” 

LOTUS ART: Courtesy 
Homestead, my website service provider. (Temporary art while I design of my own lotus logo.)

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(Thru Amazon)

Much to my dismay, I am 
stuck in the clenches of the Nigredo phase—which I thought I had escaped in March 2013. Back then, I also thought that my development was occurring in three phases: nigredo, albedo, and rubedo. Somehow in my early research, perhaps in my haste to enter the albedo or white phase, I actually skipped and associated instead to the citrinitas phase, and somehow, weirdly enough, I combined the two phases. (By the way, it seems Jung combined the citrinitas and rubedo phases in his work, according to a paper written by Jungian analyst Gary Tompkins. Lots more to research for the next installment.) 

Anyway, back to the clawing. I was disappointed and angry at first, but then and again, like a shooting star, my unconscious lights up with fleeting glimpses of the albedo phase, and I have hope. And it is in the spirit of hope and in the spirit of this website and in the spirit of continuous spiritual growth, that I have updated this web page on alchemy to reflect what I have experienced since first recording my observations on the subject last year.  

Nigredo Symbolizes Psyche’s Shadow   
In the nigredo phase, most of our actions are unconscious and automatic. And it takes great effort to first glimpse the contents of your shadow—your repressed feelings, thoughts, memories, and experiences. It is this unconscious material—the very aspects of your personality that you dislike, therefore hid from yourself—the very same traits you often unwittingly project onto others that—once realized—mortify you. When you witness your shadow for the first time, it feels like getting caught with your pants down. Your ego is repulsed to discover that you are not at all whom you imagined yourself to be. Depression sets in. Thoughts of death preoccupy you, which aptly reflect the dying, or dismantling, of the “old” personality. To emerge from this “hell,” you must not take it personally. You must acknowledge that the darkness you so readily see in others is also a part of you. But do not identify with it or allow it to subsume you, but rather integrate your shadow with your ego. Bring it to consciousness. It is only then that you can begin to discover your true potential.

Dr. Richard Alan Miller, a bio-physicist who trained Navy SEALs to trust their guts, put it this way: 

“You miss this point, and stay stuck in the nigredo, when you look for what is wrong with you outside of yourself. Something is ‘wrong’ inside, and without this realization nothing will happen to change your depression” [2]. 

“You miss the point” was the exact same phrase that appeared in an I Ching  consultation I had when I was upset on Halloween 2013. The commentary said, “You have missed the point, but don’t feel badly about it—keep trying.” After much self-reflection, I realized the point I had missed was precisely the fact that I was looking outside rather than inside for what was upsetting me.

I had also heard that you must lose yourself self in order to find yourself, a concept I often romanticized. But I didn’t know what it really meant until just recently: total abnegation of ego and submission to others, traits necessary to develop in order to climb out of the Nigredo phase, a phase Jungian analyst Marie-Louise von Franz summed up as follows: “Life is not pleasant, as it is full of confusion and bewilderment, disorientation, sickness of spirit and confrontations with the shadow. Jealousy, envy, irritability, anxiety, self-righteousness, greed, melancholy and inflation are just some of the panoply of feelings that show up during this most difficult of the phases” [3].
To my dismay, still clawing out of nigredo
Of my stones, I selected the ones above to symbolize my four phases of self-discovery, which may vary from one person to another. For me, they represent (clockwise) nigredo, the dark night of the soul; albedo, the enlightenment of the soul (before my hairball clogged it); citrinatas, the new dawn (matter infused with spirit); and rubedo, or gold (a symbol of the soul’s highest achievement, that is, individuation).
Beware of Megalamania 
Hah! And I had the audacity last March to think that I had risen above feelings of indignation, selfishness, angst, glum moods, crabbiness, and pettiness. At the time I was experiencing an amazing increase in synchronistic events through poems, songs, dreams, oracle cards, sermons, prayers, television shows and commercials, and even seemingly random events encountered while taking a stroll to the store, all of which pumped up my sense of awareness and appreciation for my spirit guides. Like a helium balloon rising up to the clouds, I was full of excitement at what I perceived as my inner awakening.

Miller said that during this phase “a super-human presence begins to guide us. … It seems super-human because we have no way of representing frontal lobe activity as being within us. There is no place on the sensory or motor cortex to record such a thing. … If your personality is not well-grounded you may not be able to assimilate an inflow of light and strength. The alchemist must balance intellect and emotion by using imagination in a controlled way to digest this sudden illuminating insight.” 

As the helium seeped from my balloon one painful molecule at a time, I slumped back to earth. Over the next several months, I found myself facing some of the most challenging situations I have ever encountered in my life. 

As I reread my journal entries from March 2013, I think I’m beginning to realize that it was in the cards, in the synchronicities, what the Universe was really trying to tell me was that if I am given lemons, I need to figure out how to make lemonade. I realized that the positive experiences on the horizon will only occur if I can release all negativity, if I can totally submit, if I can relinquish my autonomy, if I can change the very thoughts that run amok in my mind and re-orient my thought process. As all these contingencies “dawned” on me, I began to diligently monitor my thoughts and was shocked by how negative they were—constantly.  

Until I can release this negativity, I will be imprisoned by my own illusions, my illusions that I have grown, when every day I am challenged with something that still makes me angry, or brings me to tears, or fills me with anxiety. I also must realize that I am exactly where the Universe needs me to be, at least for this moment in time, for it is only through these challenges that I can grow strong enough to break out of my cocoon, out of the Nigredo phase. I must lose myself to find myself. I finally get it. And I know now that it’s all in my head. 

As I continue my efforts to free myself  from this dark and solitude phase, I find comfort in a proverb, “Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.” ♂ ♀ 
Updated October 2013
“You honor the Self and your own wholeness when you look at the nigredo symbolically [rather than literally] as a meaningful part of your mysterious process of inner transformation. ... If you fail to recognize that you suffer from sickness of the soul, neither vitamins, drugs, nor exercise will cure what ails you.” 
“It was part of Jung’s genius, born out of his respect for ancient ways and wisdom traditions, to recognize that the medieval alchemists were about something much more profound than making gold out of lead. Rather than metallurgical transformation, alchemy is about the process of personal transformation. Lead is symbolic of the basic unconscious state that we’re in when we come into the world, and the gold is the achievement we reach when we have developed in ourselves what Jung called “individuation,” that is, when we have become fully and truly who we are meant to be.” [1]

Jungian Center for the Spiritual Sciences

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