Rubedo Alchemy

A woman with a crown and wings holding a cloth colored red, the color of rubedo


Rubedo Alchemy: The Last of the 4 Stages of Alchemy

In our series of inner alchemy transformation, we have come to the rubedo, the last of the four stages of the magnum opus (nigredo, albedo, citrinitas, rubedo). We have spent time exploring stages and experiences of suffering and healing with an alchemical eye. Growth is difficult. To shift the patterns of our relationships, our moods, and our deepest destructive tendencies takes more than ideas. 


A lovely 12-step sentiment says that to get out of one’s own head and onto their feet, to follow the path that others have taken will produce the results you seek. Before we take the subject of the accomplishment of the alchemical opus, ask yourselves: are you willing to walk a path that others have walked?


Your Knights of the Round Table

When those around us have the things we want, through action we learn to get them ourselves. Rather than the parts of ourselves that like to have things figured out, what if we look instead to the curious and the willing parts drawn to the wisdom hard-earned by others? How are your knights of the round table shaping up? Do you have people you respect who sit on your council? If not, it’s a good time to start looking. How can you take better action? Move in their direction.

The Creative and Personal Relationship

It is true that following a well-worn path helps us begin to change. However, there is a second aspect to this work that requires special attention. Internal alchemy helps us to realize the combination of operations with instructions (following the path). However, the alchemical process also highlights the creative and personal relationship with the process. 


On the one hand, we can follow along. This will accordingly move us out of the old and toward better practices. On the other hand, it is important to understand that we require a mindful intimacy with ourselves in the present moment.

The Soul Cannot Be Put Away

Have you ever wondered why, when doing everything right, we experience these surges of extreme emotions? Why doesn’t the formula of our philosophy automatically equal success? Should we look up from the tunnel vision of better actions? Should the diligent good soldier forget their own inner life? One may prevent death and destruction, even experience moments of joy or hopefulness. But without the heart where is the soul? 


Many learn to split themselves between passion, expression, feeling, and operation. The danger is that the soul cannot be put away. If we repress our own instincts, ignore feelings, good and bad, we create a pressurized and cooking vessel beneath our efforts.


The Importance of Rubedo

If we try to live the lunar white world – of hopeful and dreamy consciousness – we are straining to resist the coming pressures of a real moment. While the albedo (whiteness) is important to bring us out of the blackness of our darkest suffering, it only lasts so long before the daylight comes back. Many will cling to the white-washed experiences – attempting to float in the ideals, live the perfect image, even act the part. In our final week on the alchemical stages of change we turn to the goal of the work: the rubedo, meaning “red.”

What is the Rubedo?

Dr. Jung understood this idea when he suggested that living the dream state is not enough. Jung writes, “In the state of ‘whiteness’ one does not live in the true sense of the word. It is a sort of abstract, ideal state. In order to make it come alive it must have ‘blood,’ it must have what the alchemists called the rubedo, the ‘redness’ of life. 


Only the experimentation eventsense of being can transform this ideal state into a fully human mode of existence. Blood alone can reanimate a glorious state of consciousness in which the last traces of blackness is dissolved, in which the devil no longer has an autonomous existence, but rejoins the profound unity of the psyche. Then the opus magnum is finished: the human soul is completely integrated.”

Here and Now

The rubedo refers to the sensory experience in the here and now, paired with the mind of an evolving and aspiring ego. The mind and body, instincts, and ideals have all undergone operations, cooked, separated, evaporated, remixed, and reproduced. In short, we are fully present and able to navigate the good, the bad, and the ugly with presence and acceptance. 

This is difficult to grasp without some well-developed skills. 


Learning Coping Skills in Costa Mesa, California

Here at Barn Life Recovery, we emphasize mindfulness – the skill of noticing, learning to become aware, both psychologically and physically. While challenging and provocative to all the things we repress and struggle to overcome, learning to work with the raw material means also learning to detach, endure, and alchemize.

To explore our events or learn more about the mental health services at Barn Life Recovery, never hesitate to reach out. 

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Barn Life is uniquely special. As someone who has had long stretches of sobriety with "traditional" communities and methods, Barn Life stepped in when I started struggling during the pandemic and said "traditional" methods failed to help.The staff here are exceptional. This is a truly subjective statement, but it is my honest opinion that the people from the owner (Hi Matt!) to EVERYONE else works there because they believe in the work and want to share the tools they found.Barn Life and their little sibling, Peer Mental Wellness were the launchpad from a shell of an existence to person with self-love/respect, and a life-mission of personal development.

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Best for someone looking for spiritual healing in addition to their mental health healing.

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Barn life is probably one of the most amazing facilities you could ever attend when it comes to mental illness. This was the first place that popped up when I was searching for help and I’m so thankful that it did. The environment is very therapeutic, the staff is awesome, and the group discussions and activities were so helpful in me understanding what I was experiencing. Do not hesitate to be a part of this place. It’s literally a game changer. I was only there for 6 weeks but I wished I stayed at least 6 months. Ever since returning home, I’ve been much happier and my perspective has changed dramatically. I’ve done things and participated in events at my college that I never thought I would be able to do. This place is truly amazing and I’m forever grateful that I found this place.

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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.
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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

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