Albedo Alchemy

an artist’s rendering of albedo alchemy with two figures standing next to each other representing fire and ice

 

Albedo Alchemy: Purification Through Light

Albedo alchemy is the second stage major stage of magnum opus. Following the decomposition of the nigredo comes the washing away of impurities of the albedo. 

 

Alchemy deals in large part with building an inner chemistry lab in which we participate in the arriving experiences both familiar and new. Alchemy helps us to identify where we are and where we are going in the transformation of our psychological worlds. 

 

We’ve already covered the inner alchemy introduction (prema materia) and nigredo, or blackening of our psychological eye. This refers to a dissolving of hope wherein we surrender to the abyss – the darkening of our perspectives. Remember that we come to new life only through the death experience. If you are suffering, embrace that process with your support. Let the energy pull you down and stay engaged. 

 

What is Albedo?

Albedo refers to the whitening of the experience, where, through our darkness, we begin to see light. Can you recall these kinds of moments in your life? How many clichés do we have for this shift? “It’s always darkest before the dawn,” or, “we need darkness to see the light?” We have all had mysterious happenings come out of difficult circumstances. 

 

Finding the positive proves quite difficult until something new comes out of it. This is one way of understanding a gift in our suffering. Think of those that work in treatment. Chances are good they too have suffered and to a large degree find meaning and wisdom. They now point the way.

 

In the simplest terms, albedo refers to the light that comes from darkness. It refers to the light that may itself be darkness. It is not the light that we might expect, however. Suffering the nigredo does not automatically give us a new life. Rather than a solar light where warmth and growth come to us with clear and practical direction, we instead experience the white light of the moon.

 

The King and the Alchemical Work

Albedo mythology texts across the world use sun (solar) and moon (lunar) to describe the two poles of the psychological experience. On the one hand, sunlight refers to what we know. We associate it with kingship, the ruling conscious self that sits on the throne in your mind. The one that chooses and rules over actions. 

 

It is ultimately this king that goes through the alchemical work as consciousness must be broken down. Here the lunar (moon) must be experienced. Firstly we go from daylight to darkness (nigredo), then we begin to see that very same world we have known in the solar world with new hues and perspectives. Those same trees that once looked green and vibrant, now, in the pale moonlight, look muted, ominous, and full of the critters of the night.

 

Discovering New Perspectives

Lunar consciousness – the whiteness of the moon – is a metaphorical way of referring to the odd new perspectives that come with the alchemical process. We transform old selves through the blackness then begin to see with eyes that are quite different. 

 

From lunar we get the word lunacy. This is to say that new beginnings must come from an inner perspective that at first is quite backwards. Does it surprise you to learn that going “crazy” is in fact necessary in order to change? Of course to what degree and how we do this can vary tremendously.

 

An Albedo Analogy

We have seen that whitening refers to the lunar instead of the solar. However, this can also mean the feminine instead of the masculine or silver instead of the gold. Here, having broken down and lost our way, we revisit the world we have known but with new eyes. Everything then takes time to observe and experience from a new perspective. 

 

Silver is a difficult substance to mine. In order to dig up silver, it takes a tremendous amount of hard work for little yield. So to get perspective you have to do a lot of digging. Your eyes must be facing down and into the dark earth of your psyche and through this comes the harvested silver of the albedo

 

Once you have descended to the earth you have to then extract the silver. Silver needs polish and work on but then provides a strong mirror. There in the face of our silver-selves can we see clearly what we are. Albedo is a silver mining experience. Albedo is a silver revealing, emotion clarifying and vision providing experience.

 

Openness to Change

Through moonlit insight, we trip on what was otherwise overlooked in our “rightness” of daylight. The reflective lunar mind is the mind of the patient. It is a willingness to go loopy, to feel the lunacy of your stories and to share. There in the moonlight do you find your monsters and your allies. 

 

Recognize that this work of alchemy is a series of separations of parts and merging of parts. We leave the world we have known, look at the parts we have called ourselves, and return to them with new eyes. 

 

Some parts shrink, others dissolve, some become ideas instead of realities, others realities instead of ideas. Taking the time to cook, dissolve, and free flow through these stages is essential to the soul’s liberation.

 

Albedo and the Purification

Losing your mind becomes about the aesthetic value, the sensory experience, the here and now in the dark unknown. What firstly can be known? Your senses: the feeling, the feminine, the pale light of being in the body first and the mind second. As the whiteness clarifies what we want, we feel ever closer to what and where we are. 

 

We not simply our minds nor our bodies, but attending to these parts makes us something entirely more. The soul is the one in the experience and in albedo we must notice the purification taking place. It too can be suffering, although the images that come through tell us more about why.

 

The Lunacy of the Imagining Mind

We suffer for this clarity. We suffer for reflection. We suffer for the beautiful pure image that we want to achieve that comes out of the black. Have you entered the lunacy of the imagining mind? If so, you are no doubt beginning to dream, thinking in wondering and curious possibilities and, most importantly, willing to enter your self-exploration with an unknowing attitude.

 

Learning Albedo Alchemy in Costa Mesa, CA

Learn more about how Barn Life Recovery’s mental health services provide clarity and motivation for those undergoing a period of struggle in their lives. Check out our events page to find out how you can get involved today.

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Hear From Those We've Impacted

When I walked in I thought I'd teleported to east asia. When I finally got a chance to sit down , take in the scene, explore the culture and decor there ...I found signs and symbols that had me interested in a new way of thinking.Now, when I met the people I wasnt ever struck by how luxurious their suit was (some have cool tattoos) or anything aesthetic but more drawn towards the energy of the staff. Especially the owners and the reiki practitioner, they're the OG's of the place. You'll find Kevin has the same thing and was a huge pickup for the space. He's intro to the themes provide very cool concepts based on Greek myths and how most theologies are symbols for the psyche , and psychology really being the study of the "soul" as psyche in Greek is "soul".Tai chi is amazing, the have an instructor who's been connected to the space since it began.The Qi Gong instructor is awesome. You'll love her traditional, authoritative korean spunk and overall burning passion and unrelenting commitment to help people. She'll put in extra one-on-one time if you're really about it.And reiki with kristin is basically taking a trip without the need of external , psychotropic medications. Shes also very engaged with the community and if you're smart you'll stop in her office from time to time to talk about life or share art. She'll make you see the world in a different way.Last but not least the owner Matt is one of the most warm hearted humans I've ever met. Very well rounded and is probably the coolest one to pick the brain of. His office is usually open but most people dont have the balls to go in there and face him alone believe or not. Dont be soft. What I always loved about matt is when I'd walk in and say something, he never gave me advice. He usually would just agree with my analysis which would somehow guide me to answers, as if being a mirror of truth. The more I opened up to him, the more I felt a , "me too" presence. Hes a true ,genuine man, and will turn into a reliable friend quickly if you're just an honest, authentic and committed human being.And his wife alyssa has the same warm, lighthearted spunk. They both are the loving parents who sit back and watch for sure.Much Love to Barn
Alex W.
Alex W.
07:53 21 Jun 22
Difficult to put my experience of this place into words. A hidden gem of healing, a necessary step to take. If you are looking for change, the place is here—prepare to dive into your journey of self discovery, and enjoy the ride!
Vicki S.
Vicki S.
23:45 07 Mar 22
Barn life is a unique place. In my time, I feel like I came out with more tools and a happier outlook than I could have anticipated. Groups were incredibly interesting, and involved areas and perspectives on wellness and mental health that I haven’t encountered elsewhere, but have been crucial for me. The balance of eastern and western modalities felt like it gave me a lot of space and tools for introspection and growing to understand and like myself better. I feel as though I developed friendships and a support system that I’m incredibly thankful for. I’m grateful for everyone I attended barn with and everyone who led groups or worked there. It really is a special space!
Chris M
Chris M
03:05 03 Mar 22
I came to Barnlife in the middle of Covid and in the middle of a personal crisis.Simply being there, with the excellent staff and supportive clients around me day to day, lifted me up out of my mental despair and set me off to continue my life in a productive, successful and fulfilling way.So many of the staff members are outstanding, but I must say that Mathew Carver, the owner, is the heart and soul and light of this place. His groups and his genuinely caring personal attention truly saved my life.
Colette H.
Colette H.
22:57 02 Mar 22
This place stands alone as far as mental health support is concerned. I was here for about a month and a half and during that time I learned more about my mental wellness then I have ever learned. The staff was patient and insightful, especially Mathew who was an inspiration and mentor to me. The facility is so spacious and inspiring! It was refreshing to have my mental wellness be treated first and foremost. I miss the Barn everyday!
Steven D.
Steven D.
21:32 02 Mar 22
This was a life changing experience. I came into who I am while here and was able to become comfortable in my own skin. The facility and staff are amazing and it is an extremely supportive community. Nothing like any other treatment program I've been to.
Nicholas C.
Nicholas C.
04:14 02 Mar 22
This is my first review, I just had to sing the praises of Barn Life Recovery, they have been instrumental in helping a family member of mine, the staff and environment are so welcoming- I have seen such a difference in my loved one, they have given him the tools and confidence to dig deep and live his best life, to respond not react. Forever grateful~Thank you!!!
Jessica D
Jessica D
18:00 25 Feb 22
I came to Barn Life in 2019 for support with my depression and anxiety. It was the hardest time in my life and I felt so welcomed and supported by the people here. My experience at Barn Life changed my life. I found community and I learned how to care for my mind, body, and soul. I highly recommend this place for anyone who is struggling mentally.
Alix G.
Alix G.
22:08 10 Jan 22
This is an amazing facility. I actually came to these guys a handful of years ago and had a great experience. They are very welcoming and make that first step a little easier. They are much more open minded and understand what it's like to be sitting in the chairs next to you as well. On top of everything, I had a not-so-great experience with the DMV recently and they required some old paperwork from years ago. Matt and Barn Life were able to help me out and get everything squared away. They truly went above and beyond and I would most definitely recommend them to others.
Ty M.
Ty M.
02:23 25 Apr 21
Barn life is not just a recovery community, it is a family of friends that will stay with me for life. The staff here has taught me things about myself that I never believed before. They helped me find a confidence in myself I didn’t know existed. I returned here after a relapse and deep depression and they accepted me with open arms. I am eternally grateful for this place and anyone should feel safe sending their loved one here.
Suzanne S.
Suzanne S.
19:23 16 Nov 20
This place is the best treatment center I could've asked for! I came in at my lowest I've ever been, and the staff welcomed me with open arms. I truly love everything this place has to offer, every service and group has helped me grow into my own again. I can finally look forward to life again. I would recommend this place to any age struggling with addiction or mental health issues, it is a magical place I swear to god.
Piper D.
Piper D.
22:56 22 Sep 20
This program saved my life. I’ve been to a lotttttt of other programs but this one is so unique and special I literally still talk about it even though I graduated a while ago. I wish everyone could experience how amazing Barn Life is!
Brittany D.
Brittany D.
21:55 17 Sep 20
Barn Life has truly taught me to love life again. I was a lost, broken, and cagey girl when I came here. With the tremendous amounts of love and hard work from the staff and other clients, I have transformed into the woman I was always meant to be.When I first walked in I felt like I found the home I had been searching for. Everyone of their staff members sincerely cares for each person that walks through their gates. The staff is impeccable and will not allow anything to stand in the way of helping any and everyone they meet. I appreciate every aspect that Barn Life has to offer.Every moment I spent in this facility, I will cherish for the rest of my life. I would not be here today without their help.Thank you all so much for being here and offering such a safe space for me to heal and learn to love again.
Justice I.
Justice I.
18:40 25 May 20
This place is so amazing it has really helped me turn my life around I am forever grateful to barn life I highly recommend it to anyone who is struggling
Melanie M.
Melanie M.
22:50 24 Jan 20
Words can't express how grateful I am for Barn Life Recovery. My daughter was desperately reaching out for help for many years and as her mother, I didn't recognize the depth of her despair, and I was limited in my understanding of what "help" she needed.With her insight and perfect understanding of her illness, her limitless research to find the professional help she needed and her persistent attempts to help me to understand what she needed from me,Barn Life Recovery was a glimmer of hope in what I perceived as a helpless and increasing darkness.She had to face many fears to board a jet alone and travel to California from Alabama.I'm so happy for her, she has been there for 2 months and is receiving the help she needs, physical, mental and emotional.I hope the rest of the country can follow their concept of "help".
Sylvia M.
Sylvia M.
13:05 10 Nov 19
Wonderfully compassionate people, very down to earth the team at barn life treats everyone proper af!
austin B.
austin B.
01:02 13 Oct 19
Barn Life is hands down the best recovery / mental health facility in Orange County, probably in California. I went there for 6 months and they saved my life. Unconventional, progressive, caring, fun. NOT your typical prison-like rehab place, it's a zen garden/dojo with art, reiki, tai chi, qi gong, and yoga with the best therapy Ive ever received as well as the most informative, personal groups. Matt and Alyssa Carver are the best people I know and I truly cant say enough about them as people or rehabilitation owners. No, no one paid me to say all this, lol. This is thanks from my heart.
Andru W.
Andru W.
04:20 20 Sep 19
I am alumni from Zen Recovery Path / a great place , and live a happy healthy life ever since / great peaceful place to recover // Namaste
Michael M.
Michael M.
01:06 11 Jul 19
My daughter has been at Barn Life Recovery now for two months. It was my last resort to send her 9 hours away from me. She has been in drug and mental health rehabs in and out for two years. This was my last stitch effort to save my daughter and get her back to herself. Alyssa and I spoke multiple times before deciding. Their willingness to do everything for her and the different teams they have work with them is amazing. My daughter is happy again and clean and sober. She loves it there in their outpatient program. They restore your faith in humanity. They help restore someone who is broken in so many places to themselves. They have put the light back in my daughters eyes. They are committed to helping each person who truly wants the help. They assist in helping them get jobs and be responsible members of society. I recommend their program to anyone wanting to recover from drug, alcohol and mental health.Thank you to all the people at Barn Life who have made my daughter smile and bring the light back to her eyes. I am truly grateful.DawnaLee
DawnaLee W.
DawnaLee W.
17:34 18 May 19
Through trial and error of trying to stay sober this program is definitely the most caring and supporting of them all if anyone needs help and is willing to help themselves I suggest barnlife they will for a fact give you the push you need and the tools to keep you going
Mason T.
Mason T.
06:10 14 Mar 19

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