Nigredo

Nigredo or blackening refers to the 1st of 3 stages in the alchemical process of transmuting a base substance into gold. The psychologist Carl Jung viewed these alchemical phases as an analogy for the emotional, psychological and spiritual dynamics of the process of individuation or coming to selfhood or self-realisation.

Alchemically it is the blackness within the Nigredo phase that provides the necessary setting for the solid components of matter to decay. Emotionally it sets the tone for deep introspection and the subsequent integration of the shadow or unconscious aspects of the self to occur

According to Jung, “The individuated human being is just ordinary, therefore almost invisible.... His feelings, thoughts, etc., are just anybody's feelings, thoughts, etc. -- quite ordinary, as a matter of fact, and not interesting at all.... He will have no need to be exaggerated, hypocritical, neurotic, or any other nuisance. He will be in modest harmony with nature.... No matter whether people think they are individuated or not, they are just what they are: in the one case a man unconscious of himself; or in the other case, conscious. The criterion is consciousness.”

Images in this series are grouped to explore the development of the Self through the metaphor of landscape as the process of decomposition and putrification.