My Thoth card is the Seven of Cups reversed. “Debauched” reversed, and lethargy has been a big problem for me the past few weeks, so I am surprised that this one is reversed. The Seven of Cups (Venus, beauty, allure, relationships, in Scorpio, “I desire,” intense, controlling, obsessive, mysterious) represents the distraction and dissipation that happens when we have too many options. My Cups card is reversed, though, and I should be able to see things clearly today. Choices will be made, with clear vision and serenity.
My Legacy card is the King of Coins reversed, flavored by the Page of Cups reversed. The King of Coins (cusp of Aries, “I want,” action oriented, assertive, competitive, and Taurus, “I have,” sensual, stubborn, cautious, physically oriented) is the expert on physical manifestation; he is about working independently and still being effective. This is the benevolent dictator who is real good at conserving and disbursing resources, but because he is reversed, I may be a bit insensitive to the needs of myself or others. My King is being flavored by flavoring my reversed Page of Cups. The Page of Cups corresponds to Libra (“we are,” partnerships, balance, cooperation), Scorpio (“I desire,” intensity compulsion, mystery) and Sagittarius (“I seek,” philosophic, adventurous, blundering); in an upright position, this Page is intuitive and dreamy, easily touched, and very social in nature. Because he is reversed, I am being warned that I might be a bit too sensitive about things today and could very well end up taking out some perceived hurt on those who look to me for support and encouragement.
Hmmm . . . all my cards are reversed, so I threw a clarification card, this time from my Llewellyn Welsh Tarot, and got the Queen of Wands. The Queen of Wands (cusp of Pisces, “I believe,” feelings, duality, soul growth, spirituality, and Aries, “I want,” action oriented, assertive, competitive) is energetic and enthusiastic, gives 100% of herself, and always has a smile on her face. She decides what she wants, and then she goes out and gets it; she is confident, she is assertive, and she is in charge!
My 6-digit date number is 4, the number of depth and stability. And to me, today is a perfect example of a situation where depth and stability are not good things.
My horoscopes: “Successes over the past several weeks, along with an increase in money, might give rise to the desire to improve your living situation, Sagittarius. You might have doubts, however, as to how best to go about doing it. Should you move or should you simply remodel? Should you move close by or to a different area? It's best to simply list the pros and cons of each option and then consider them all carefully. You don't have to decide right now.”
And: “You seem to have the very bad habit of putting off until tomorrow what you can do today! Especially for those little daily things that seem to pile up, like writing letters, paying bills, going to get a check-up, housecleaning etc. However, today is a great day to deal with all these monotonous tasks, so seize the day!”
My Shadowscapes Insight is regarding the Queen of Pentacles. This Queen is the embodiment of the creative feminine energies; not at the level of The Empress, but still an image or reflection of The Empress. She is grounded, dedicated, reliable, and eager to nurture. She is secure and confident in her position in life, and she is encouraging me to be the same.
Back to the Nigredo. The first stage of the entire process that is named the Great Work, and of the Nigredo Phase, is Calcination. In keeping with the concept that psychological alchemy should be studied along with physical alchemy because both focuses are connected, I will talk about both the psychological process of Calcination as well as the physical process.
Generally speaking, Calcination essentially represents the process of burning. This burning can happen within the self, which can allow us to deal with energies repressed due to trauma, with our own ego, and with our feelings or emotions. Or this burning can happen to matter, which allows impurities to rise to the top or to be taken out of the initial substance. Calcination brings the energy or feelings or impurities to the surface, so we can indentify them and then remove those that are no longer necessary.
Within chemical alchemy the process of Calcination involves the heating of a substance in a crucible or over an open flame until it is reduced to ashes. Calcination is represented by sulfuric acid (a powerful corrosive that eats away flesh and reacts chemically with all metals except gold), which alchemists make from something they call Vitriol. The sulfuric acid found in Vitriol is the catalyst for transformation in most alchemical experiments.
Vitriol is distilled from an oily, green substance that forms naturally from the weathering of sulfur-bearing gravel. After this initial form of Vitriol (called “Green Vitriol”) is collected, it is heated and broken down into iron compounds and sulfuric acid. The acid is then separated out by distillation. The first round of distillation produced a brown smelly liquid, but the next round yielded a nearly odorless, yellow oil; this is the Vitriol. The interesting thing about Vitriol is that if an open container of it is left open, the Vitriol will absorb the water vapor from the air until the liquid overflows its container.
The Green Vitriol is a powerful disinfectant; alchemists also made therapeutic use of the iron compounds produced when it was heated. Ancient Egyptians used powdered rust (iron oxide) of these iron compounds to heal wounds.
Psychologically, Calcination is the process that initiates the destruction of ego and our attachments to material possessions. Calcination is usually a humbling process which involves a gradual or sudden appearance of trials and challenges. Fire itself is about spontaneous, compulsive and energetic change. The Fire of Calcination can be experienced as the metabolic discipline or aerobic activity that tunes the body, burning off excesses from overindulgence and producing a lean, mean, fighting machine.
Well, the Nigredo Phase is all about experiencing a Dark Night, and it sure looks as if the process of Calcination is well on its way to affecting change in my life!