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For the character in Xenosaga, see Gaignun Kukai, Jr.

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.[1] 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.[2]

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; 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![3]


In the framework of psychological development (especially with followers of Jungian psychology), these four alchemical steps are viewed as analogous to the process of attaining individuation. In an archetypal schema, rubedo represents the Self archetype, and is the culmination of the four stages, the merging of ego and Self.[4]

The Self manifests itself in "wholeness," a point in which a person discovers their true nature.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Shaeffer, Katherine H. Stages of Transmutation: The Visual Rhetoric of Alchemy in Sequential Art.University of Florida. 2009. p.21
  2. ^ M.-L. Von Franz, Alchemy (1980) p. 83
  3. '^ Turba Philosophorum. A.E.Waite translation.
  4. ^ Thea Euryhaessa, Running into Myself (2010) p. 278

Further reading[edit]

  • Jung, C. G. Psychology and Alchemy 2nd. ed. (Transl. by R. F. C. Hull)

External links[edit]