NIGREDO: BLACK SPHINX

“And it does seem that the world has been in a bit of a ‘nigredo’ phase. But I feel the gold is starting to come out.” Aimee Morgana

"You Are Not Who You Claim" by Jason Tallon

"You Are Not Who You Claim" by Jason Tallon

Nigredo  (Greek: melanosis, meaning literally blackening)

“The nigredo is the initial stage of blackness and melancholy involved with the putrefactio and themortifactio, confronting us with the death and rebirth theme so fundamental to the quest.  The stage is followed by the albedo, the whitening or purifying, baptism and washing.  On an experimental level, this refers to the calcinatio, the burning and blackening, and also to dissolution…”

Mark Haeffner, The Dictionary of Alchemy

TallonNigredo

Jason Tallon's worktable with Uroboros (right)

“The uroboros or the dragon are classic symbols for the nigredo stage representing as they do the Prime Matter (prima materia) in its blackened state of mortification and putrefaction.”

Mark Haeffner, The Dictionary of Alchemy

James Tallon in his studio under the Lunar Eclipse, 5 August 2009

James Tallon in his studio under the Lunar Eclipse, 5 August 2009

TALLONTYPEWRITER

Without the black of the night…

we wouldn’t be able to see the stars.”

Jason Tallon

Below is the image he handed me after the screening of Saturn Return, about the Mysterium Conjunctionis, in which a Black Sun appeared precisely at the time of the Full Moon culminating a Lunar Eclipse.

Black Sphinx (2009) by Jason Tallon

Black Sphinx (2009) by Jason Tallon

Jason asks:  “Can you guess the answer to her riddle?


The head of the Crowe that token call wee,

And some men call it the Crowes bill;

Some call it the ashes of Hermes tree,

And thus they name it after their will;

Our toade of the earth which eateth his fill,

Some nameth it by which it is mortificate,

The spirit with venome intoxicate.

But it hath names I say to thee infinite.

For after eath thing that blackness is the sight,

Named it is till time it waxeth white,

Then hath it names of more delight,

After all things that been full white,

and the red likewise after the same,

Of all red things doth take the name.

George Ripley, Book of Twelve Gates

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