Blackening is a state of death. It is a state of putrefaction. Burning things blacken. They throw off soot and smoke and horrid smells that will make your stomach panic and try to escape out your mouth. Your eyes will water, you will sweat.
In the Internal Art, this manifests as some of your more… impure habits being spurred. The ones closest to the surface (those most recently acquired and the ones you do most frequently) will go first. This will release some noxious vapors to be sure, but it will also start to hatch those latent Karmas which are harmful to you and to others. Rage, depression, overeating, undereating, self pity, blame shifting, and any number of other unhealthy qualities that are quite literally sucking the life out of you.
These habits and seeds of corruption are natural manifestations of your accumulated Karma over.. well.. forever. What you are doing in the black phase is cooking them till they burst open, bloom, wither and die. They are seeds and patterns of life force that are deeply seated, some of which you have had your whole life. You are getting these poison dragons to rear their heads so you can see them, and deal with them.
Beware of interacting too closely with them. They hold a hydra like quality in that if you cut off a head two more can spring back. Cut the weed and spread the seed. If you involve yourself in them, even to fight them, you can make them stronger, and they will simply hide again in a new home and crop up when you arent paying attention.
This is why you must always pay attention. When you are doing this work have a contemplation practice. A simple one, just let things arise and burn themselves out. Putrefaction is Nature’s slow burn, the fire that feeds itself. But if you don’t participate direction other than watching them burn themselves out, they will have little hold on you. You’ll get the old urges to be sure, but you will not act, and they will fade, and then return, and fade, and return, and fade.. till they are done.
It is the difference between:
a. “I AM SO ANGRY RIGHT NOW! HOW DARE YOU ASK ME FOR A SNACK!? RAAARRGGH!”
and b. “Rage has arisen. It is neither good nor bad. I shall neither act on it, or fight it, I shall simply let it go. ”
The reason I use the rage example is because when doing the Work, in the Black Phase you will become depressed. Without cultivating your Awareness through Meditation and Contemplation you will become inexplicably depressed. The energies in your body will ride you like a pony right into the ground. As such make sure you keep doing things like: Getting up in the morning. Going to work. Making love. Basic hygiene. continuing to try. And of course not shitting directly all over everything anyone nice does for you, or anything good that happens.
Depression sucks because after a while you literally forget how to be happy. You vaguely remember where happy is, but for the life of you, you can’t remember how to get back there. It is fucking awful. Just remember that depression LIES. Just assume that if you are in a depressive fuege that everything that the lens of depression is showing you is a lie. It’s called a mental illness for a reason, and just do your damnedest to get well again.
These things will poison your mind, your heart, your relationships, and your environment if you are not watching them like a very chill hawk.
Which brings me to my second bit of advice: Cleanse and Purify.
Have you ever dealt with roadkill? Was your hands. Have you ever handled raw meat? Wash your hands. Did you just wipe your backside? Wash your hands.
Are you doing Black Phase Work in the same spot every day? Cleanse and Purify before and after. You will literally be seething with these subtile energies. They will leak into your chair, your carpet, your house, your clothes, your car. Everywhere. It gets everywhere.
I have a friend who owns a horse farm. Do you know how often she cleans her gear and car? Every day. Do you want to know why? Because she doesn’t what to smell like a literal barn every day of her life.
Those pollutants will do you no good if they build up in your place of practice and turn it into a septic tank. Cleanse and purify.
I know my fellow spiritual dumpster divers out there will shout, “But your purity isn’t MY purity, Jow! I Revel in filth!”
Possibly. But there is a difference between you thinking my house smells awful after cooking Chicken with Forty Cloves, and water that will give you amoebic dysentery. One of those is a preference thing, and the other will make you shit blood till you die.
Don’t shit blood till you die.
Now my last bit of advice, because Alchemists do things in threes, is a social one. Be prepared to do two things a lot: “Act as if”, and apologize.
Those people who are brave and kind enough to see you through this are treasures. Treat them as such. Even when you are doing this foolish, foolish thing, you must behave like a grown assed adult who is responsible for your own actions.
So even if you don’t feel like being nice, or not yelling, do it anyway. Be professional at work. Be kind in your home. Actively work to be the best you that you can be, even if that is the last thing you want to do. Just because you chose this, does not mean others need to suffer. Yes, your judgement is impared. You chose to impare your judgement. Yes, your spirit is burning. You chose to refine your spirit.
When you slip up and are a bucket of crap to someone, because you can’t act as if you were a functional human being, you must (must? MUST!) apologize, and make amends for the stupid thing you did. Own up to it, take responsiblity, and make amends. Fix as best you can, what you broke. This will enable you to have people who want to talk to you when you regain your sanity.
These changes will likely hit you on every level. Physical, Mental, Spiritual, so please, if you choose to do this, take care, and make haste slowly.