The three alchemical stages preceding rubedo were nigredo (blackness) which represented putrefication and spiritual death, albedo (whiteness) which represented purification, and thirdly 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 give mention to a reddening process. The seventeenth dictum of the 12th century Turba Philosophorum is one example:
O Turba of Philosophers and disciples, now hast thou spoken about making into white, but it yet remains to treat concerning the reddening! Know, all ye seekers after this Art, that unless ye whiten, ye cannot make red, because the two natures are nothing other than red and white. Whiten, therefore, the red, and redden the white! 
Rubedo is also known by the Greek word, Iosis.
In the framework of psychological development (especially with followers of Jungian psychology) these four alchemical steps are be taken as analogous to the process of attaining individuation: In an archetypal schema, rubedo would represent the Self archetype, and would be the culmination of the four stages, the merging of ego and Self.
The Self manifests itself in "wholeness," a point in which a person discovers their true nature.
- Shaeffer, Katherine H. Stages of Transmutation: The Visual Rhetoric of Alchemy in Sequential Art.University of Florida. 2009. p.21
- M.-L. Von Franz, Alchemy (1980) p. 83
- Thea Euryhaessa, Running into Myself (2010) p. 278
- Jung, C. G. Psychology and Alchemy 2nd. ed. (Transl. by R. F. C. Hull)
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