Spiritual Alchemy-Ego Death
What is Spiritual Alchemy?
Spiritual alchemy is the transformation from lower consciousness to a higher state of consciousness. It is a transformation of the human soul. It is balancing the lower chakras with the upper. It is the unification of Lower and Upper Egypt.
It is the process whereby the individual undergoes what Carl Jung termed "individuation". It is the Hero's Journey.
It is creating the spiritual Philosopher's Stone.
Here is a short overview of the seven stages of spiritual alchemy:
Ego-death. The stirring up of unconscious material.
The surfacing of buried unconscious material.
Conscious analyzation of good and bad aspects of the consciousness.
The turning point. The creation of the Lesser Stone.
Spirit is introduced from the higher chakras. A second form of ego-death occurs.
Repeated weeding out of psychological impurities.
Formation of the "Greater Stone". Transformation of consciousness. Enlightenment.
The first stage of spiritual alchemy is calcination. It is the first of three larger stages of Blackening, Reddening, and Whitening. Blackening is also called Nigredo. Blackening basically means decomposition. In spiritual alchemy, the decomposition is of the psyche.
During calcination, the psyche is reduced to the "Prima Materia". This is a process to attain self-knowledge. It is necessary to destroy the old to make way for the new.
Most people have a trying time during calcination. It is not a pleasant process. "Melancholy" is a term that has been used for the calcination process. Feelings of guilt, fear, anxiety and shame may be felt at this time.
Ego-death happens during the calcination phase.
For this article, I will only be discussing the ego-death of calcination.
Ego-death is NOT the death of the ego, or sense of self or identity. It is the death of false beliefs. It is the death to old ways of thinking and being. It is a disruptive and sometimes scarey process.
It is a shake-up of old, false worldviews. The process dredges up unconscious material from the psyche which is mostly negative. It's purpose is to clean out the bad to make way for the good.
It brings negative material to the surface where it can be analyzed and dealt with. Selfishness, bigotry, cowardice, and other negative aspects of ourselves are brought to daylight. We may not even know some of our negative aspects. It can be shocking to look in the mirror. Someone may think of themselves as a "good person", only to have their entire world shattered.
During ego-death, the old is destroyed, to make way for the new. It is a necessary part of transformation. The phoenix must burn up in it's own fire before it can rise again renewed.
Ego-death can be brief, only a few months, or it can take years. It depends on how much negativity you need to address, and how you go about dealing with it. Of course some people fight this process, as it can be unpleasant.
I have associated calcination with the opening of the first chakra. Some may disagree, but I see a correlation. This is just my personal opinion. I have written about this in a previous article concerning the root, or Muladhara chakra.
The Great Work
But it's not all bad. It is part of the Great Work. It is a necessary part of building the Philosopher's Stone. You can't have the new until you are rid of the old.
There is light at the end of the tunnel. There is the Gold of becoming a better, more spiritual person. This is what the symbol of the Phoenix stands for. By the end of the process, you will have mastered yourself, and balanced your heart chakra. The Upper will unite with the Lower. Matter and spirit. As above, so below.
This is the path of the Fool. But even the Fool is not alone on his journey.
I will write further articles on the other stages of spiritual alchemy, and the seven main chakras. Throughout, I will show how they relate. Knowledge of the soul's journey is found in disparate places, and if you piece them together you will get a sense of the bigger picture. It is a continuous learning experience.