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.
- Nigel Hamilton. "The Alchemical Process of Transformation." 1985.
- Rp. van den Broek, Wouter J. Hanegraaff. Gnosis and Hermeticism from Antiquity to Modern Times. SUNY Press. 1998. p.158-159
- Titus Burckhardt. Alchemy: Science of the Cosmos- Science of the Soul. Penguin Books, 1967. p.183-189
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