Alchemy of the Psyche / by Sam Abelow

 Mixed media artwork I created for the "Silver Sea" EP, 2014.

Mixed media artwork I created for the "Silver Sea" EP, 2014.

could you explain the symbolism behind the alchemy pictures? Or are you just posting them because they're a source of inspiration.

I could explain the symbolism by each other alchemy pictures individually. The reason I am not, for each post, is because I simply don't have time. So yes, I believe they hold some inspiration, and I tried to reblog the one's that had some description, and obvious meaning to them. I find alchemy a very intriguing subject. Here I am mainly discussing European alchemy, and it's interpretation by Jungian psychology, which is where it's resurgence was initiated.

If you'd like to read about alchemy more in depth I can recommend the book "Anatomy of the Psyche: Alchemical Symbolism in Psychotherapy" by Edward Edinger. It's a brilliant layout of the true meaning of the alchemical processes and how it describes psychological transformation and integration.

A lot of the stuff I posted has to do the with the concept of "the black sun", which is a profound interest of mine. I would give some caution in this, because if you have easy triggers, or are in a fragile state, it may be an overwhelming concept. But there is a great book "The Black Sun: Alchemy of Darkness" by by Stanton Marlan, which I can recommend.

Basically, the alchemical texts describe a series of processes, or states of consciousness, that lead to an exceptionally refined, and integrated person. They seem to combine various Christian thought, philosophies of the Greeks and even stuff from the East, and Egypt. Much of their symbols and writings are known to be entirely esoteric, and hard to understand. Carl Jung was one of the first to find the meaning, other than some sort of blanket, surface understanding of their search to turn "lead to gold". His writings on the matter are not easy to read, and so I can't really suggest his books on the matter- but if you're really smart maybe go for it- "The Mysterious Conjunctio" by Carl Jung.

The basic stages of the psychological-alchemical process are often shifted, in the order and in the amount included. I usually suggest that it is Nigredo (blackening), Albedo (whitening) and Rubedo (reddening), with other variations in between. This can be thought of as blackening being an experience of dissolving/humbling the ego, through initial experiences of the "unconscious", or unknown, mystical realms. The whitening is like a purification, where the individual is able to begin to experience new things, and gain deeper insight, without the suffering inherit in the first stage. A lot of what is discussed in the stage is the "separatio" which is akin to making distinctions of opposites- thought forms, values, in the mind. The final stage is mysterious, but involve further refinement, and thus compositing all of the previous stages. Many of the distinctions made in the "separatio" are then unified. This is the Great Work, the search for the Philosophers Stone.

Again, this is not something that can be explained fully in this context. I've recommend some books and if you have an interested, and the images speak to you, I would strongly suggest pursuing the interest. I got a lot out of reading about alchemy from the Jungian perspective, and found it helped me sort, and understand many of the experiences I've had in life.

The Silver Sea EP brings you on a transformational journey of refinement; from the depths of the unconscious, submerged in darkness, towards the new day, where some inner peace can be achieved. 

The project was inspired by reading about alchemy, and experiencing a great deal of insight through working with the unconscious. the spiritual practices and psychological integration became a passion, and necessity in my life. my art directly expressed the things i was going through. somewhat vague, and mysterious, the EP brings you through various Tarot cards, or archetypes, representing a progression. The Moon, is the immersion into the “night”, the “darkness”; the Empress guides me through the unconscious. The Lovers is a representation of an inner union, where finally the light arrives- the new day- reprinted by “The Sun”.

This poem, which is the second installment in the Slides/Forms series includes a great deal of themes from Gnosticism, Alchemy and Eastern yoga traditions.