The depths of darkness and depression that have marked your life in the recent past will now be transformed into the penetrating light of divine consciousness. In chemical terms, the next step in alchemy is Fermentation, a natural process consisting of two parts. First comes Putrefaction, in which the matter is allowed to breakdown and decompose. The alchemists often added manure to help get the process going. The sign that this preliminary process is nearing its end is a milky white fluid that accumulates on the blackened, rotting material. The dead material seems to come to life again with an influx of digesting bacteria as Fermentation begins. This new life force changes the fundamental nature of the material in what the alchemists saw as a process of spiritualization. Out of the utter blackness of Putrefaction comes the yellow ferment, which appears like a golden wax flowing out of the foul matter. Its arrival is announced by the formation of an iridescent, oily film the alchemists named the “Peacock’s Tail.”
Psychological Fermentation is the introduction of new life into the purified presence that you developed during Conjunction. This child of the Conjunction, however, is really just a gross melding of opposites of the personality that may still be contaminated with traces of ego, so it is necessary to “sacrifice” it to bring about its resurrection on a new level of being. During psychological death or Putrefaction, the child of the Conjunction, which is the strongest presence you can create within your earthbound personality, is exposed to the decadent humidity of your deepest and most clinging psychic components, the psychological manure in which most of us wallow.
This is the dark night of the soul, in which you realize how futile it can be to try to overcome the personal, social, genetic, and even astrological limitations to change. The enthusiasm of the Conjunction turns into a black mood, and there is an extinction of interest in life. At this point, you have to stubbornly persist to achieve enlightenment or relax into the dull slumber of mere physical existence. Like the white light of the Other Side seen by near-death experiencers, we finally leave the darkness and enter the bright light of resurrection as consciousness is restored on a higher level.
Fermentation then begins with the inspiration of spiritual power from Above that reanimates, energizes, and enlightens the blackened soul. It can be achieved through various activities that include intense prayer, desire for mystical union, breakdown of the personality, transpersonal therapy, psychedelic drugs, and deep meditation. In simplest terms, Fermentation is a living, loving inspiration from something totally beyond us, something existing wholly Above in the realm of the pure mind. “Separate the Earth from Fire, the Subtle from the Gross,” the Emerald Tablet instructs us at this stage.
Like the iridescent “Peacock’s Tail” of its chemical counterpart, successful psychological Fermentation is indicated by colorful visions that symbolize the activation of the True Imagination ¾ what the alchemists called their “Secret Fire.” Personal awareness and creative abilities skyrocket in this state of consciousness, and Fermentation is the quality we envy in great artists, prophets, and spiritual leaders. Once fermented, a person becomes suddenly alive and irrepressibly hopeful because their attention is diverted from this world to something much greater. This is a time to tune into the full intensity of your thoughts, feelings, and body sensations since they are offering you a true escape from the mundane world in which you feel yourself trapped. You are undergoing a period of true inspiration, during which you should try to keep as grounded as possible. Keep a journal of your thoughts and dreams, no matter how strange or irrelevant they may seem, because they may be communicating great insights.
Bodily changes begun during Conjunction reach an entirely new level during Fermentation. The Second Puberty of Conjunction causes the growth of a Second Body, a body of light experienced at first only in the True Imagination. The level of inspiration may become so intense that it is experienced as a palpable, warm light circulating in the body. This living inspiration can even be consciously directed as a healing energy to various parts of the body or to others. As Fermentation progresses, people report feelings of extraordinary grace and “flow” as the physical body rises toward perfection, toward an ideal or archetypal image that is slowly taking on reality within.
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