Part of the process of the Great work requires movement from one stage to anothers. The many processes that can be applied to any stage are eventually exhausted. What does this mean for psycho-spiritual alchemy? It means that the difficulty or problem which you have defined to work on will be continually refined and redefined as you apply these processes. As this goes on, if done effectively, the needs and issues of your psychological and spiritual life evolve. The original issue may be completely resolved or determine to now now longer be an issue, an irrelevant relic of a transformed self.
At each stage the alchemist is subjected to an increasingly intense purification, which is followed by a union with the fire of that stage (alchemical marriage), a rebirth of a new sense of self. At each stage the fire is twice as intense as the preceding fire. And that new sense of self must be sacrificed once again in order to move onward and upward to the next stage. Those unfamiliar with alchemy often make a mistake about this. They believe that starting with your darkness, the blackening stage of nigredo, will be the most horrendous part of the journey, and that everything thereafter will be a walk in the park. Nothing could be furher from the truth.
When we move in to albedo, there is more clarity and many issues may have improved, but now even more is required. All the processes are once again brought to bear on refining the self and things become more demanded. Like a video game that gets faster, harder and more intense as you rise in levels, in alchemy, moving from one level to another means that the purification needs to be deeper, calling on more of our willingness to surrender to our transformation. It will will require increasing amounts of energy as symbolized by the four fold fire ball. The new fire of albedo is a white hot fire. Then on to the burning intensity of citrinitas, the stage of insight and blinding realisation. And then finally we come in to the red fire of rubedo, the hottest fire yet, which is the stage of bringing all this new insight, new material, into being – actual being. This is when you manifest your dreams, which is the supreme hard work, and tests you more than any of the previous stages.