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Traditionally, this engraving 9 from J.D. Mylius’s Philosophia Reformata, Frankfurt, 1622, has been associated with the first stage of the alchemical process, nigredo, the blackening, when the individual works through their mental conditioning and complexes, a process of ego death that leads to a deeper understanding of one’s inner nature. However, from a lucid perspective, this emblem depicts what happens at the moment of surrender in lucid dreams when the dreamscape falls away. This is experienced as a death for the ego and the five senses, represented by the skeleton, and the emergence of black light—or inner light—represented by the black sun. As this emblem starkly demonstrates, European alchemical images tend to be abruptly literal: the skeleton stands on the black sun from which the black light of the inner sun shines.  When the dreamscape and dreambody disappear, very often the sensation is one of flying or being guided, experiences translated into the image of the raven and angelic beings.

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