In alchemy, nigredo, or blackness, means putrefaction or decomposition. Many 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.
In the Jungian archetypal schema, nigredo is the Shadow;
In alchemy, albedo is one of the four major stages of the magnum opus; along with nigredo, citrinitas and rubedo. It is a Latinicized term meaning “whiteness”. Following the chaos or massa confusa of the nigredo stage, the alchemist undertakes a purification in albedo, which is literally referred to as ablutio – the washing away of impurities. In this process, the subject is divided into two opposing principles to be later coagulated to form a unity of opposites or coincidentia oppositorum during rubedo.
Titus Burckhardt interprets the albedo as the end of the lesser work, corresponding to a spiritualization of the body. The goal of this portion of the process is to regain the original purity and receptivity of the soul. Psychologist Carl Jung equated the albedo with unconscious contrasexual soul images; the anima in men and animus in women. It is a phase where insight into shadow projections are realized, and inflated ego and unneeded conceptualizations are removed from the psyche.
In the Jungian archetypal schema, albedo refers to the anima and animus (contrasexual soul images);
Citrinitas, sometimes referred to as xanthosis, is a term given by alchemists to “yellowness.” It is one of the four major stages of the alchemical magnum opus, and literally referred to “transmutation of silver into gold” or “yellowing of the lunar consciousness.” In alchemical philosophy, citrinitas stood for the dawning of the “solar light” inherent in one’s being, and that the reflective “lunar or soul light” was no longer necessary. The other three alchemical stages were nigredo (blackness), albedo(whiteness),
The Self manifests itself in “wholeness,” a point in which a person discovers their true nature.
and rubedo (redness).
Rubedo is a Latin word meaning “redness” that was adopted by alchemists to define the fourth and final major stage in their magnum opus. Both gold and the philosopher’s stone were associated with the color red, as rubedo signalled alchemical success, and the end of the great work. Rubedo is also known by the Greek word, Iosis.
The three alchemical stages preceding rubedo were nigredo (blackness) which represented putrefaction and spiritual death, albedo (whiteness) which represented purification, and citrinitas (yellowness); the solar dawn or awakening.
The symbols used in alchemical writing and art to represent this red stage can include blood, a phoenix, a rose, a crowned king, or a figure wearing red clothes. Countless sources mention a reddening process