The Magnum Opus

Magnum Opus

Actualize your individuation through the four alchemical stages of transmutation.

2018/01/15 10:00:00

The doors to the self are few but precious. If you have a deep scar, that is a door, if you have an old story, that is a door. If you love the sky and the water so much you almost cannot bear it, that is a door. If you yearn for a deeper life, a full life, a sane life, that is a door.

Clarissa Pinkola Estés

Registration is closed.


For more information please email

What is the Magnum Opus?

The Great Work (in Latin: Magnum Opus) refers, in the alchemical and Hermetic tradition, to the process of transmutation of the primal material (prima materia) into the philosopher’s stone. The philosopher stone is the most refined and valuable substance which through the alchemical process emerges from the crudest and most worthless. In traditional alchemy, this was the transmutation of lead into gold. Later, in the Gnostic tradition, this was interpreted not as the transmutation of metal, but of the soul or psyche of the alchemist himself. [1]

How does this translate into psychology?

Carl Gustav Jung (1875 – 1961), the founder of analytical psychology, usually referred to as “Jungian psychology”, saw in Gnostic alchemy a precedent to the process of individuation, as encountered in his own clinical practice. This was a breakthrough for Jung and offered a vast amount of data supporting his theory of the collective unconscious; more specifically, that psychic transformation follows an archetypal and universal process.  This transformative process happens through the integration of the conscious and unconscious aspects of the subject’s psychology.  Jung describes this process as having four stages: confession, elucidation, education and transformation.[2] This is an analogue for the four stages of alchemical transmutation:  Nigredo, Albedo, Citrinitas and Rubedo. [3]

Individuation as the goal of the Magnum Opus

Individuation, in Jungian psychology, is the process whereby an individual realizes a state of spiritual and psychological wholeness. Through this process, that, which was previously fragmented and broken, is restored and synthesized so that a whole and unique individual emerges; an individual who fully accepts, and is one with, him or herself; an individual who is fully authentic and embraces his or her destiny. It is a movement away from being a pawn in the hands of fate, to consciously collaborating in the realization of one’s unique destiny.

What the Centre for Applied Jungian Studies does

The Magnum Opus online programme in Applied Jungian Psychology is designed to take the student through these four stages of transmutation and transformation. The trajectory and goal of this process is clear, to produce the Philosopher’s Stone. In the terms of Jungian psychology this is individuation. To better describe this goal, we include two additional, essential elements in our stated objective of individuation: consciousness and meaning.

The four stages as four courses

The four stages of the Magnum Opus programme mirror the four stages of alchemical transmutation and of psychological transformation. They they are Nigredo, Albedo, Citrinitas and Rubedo. Each stage is twelve weeks in duration and focuses on the key Jungian psychodynamic concepts related to that stage. Although these stages are chronological in traditional alchemy, in line with Jung’s psychological model, the course design accommodates entry at any of the first three stages: Nigredo, Albedo or Citrinitas. Admission to Rubedo. However, admission to Rubedo, the final stage, requires the completion of all three earlier stages.

[1] The Esoteric Codex: Alchemy I, Mark Rogers, Publisher, 2013

[2] ‘Problems of modern Psychotherapy’ (Jung, 1931/1954, vol. 16) where Jung details the four psychotherapeutic steps or stages in psychoanalysis.

[3] Papadopoulos, R. K. (2006). The handbook of Jungian psychology: Theory, practice and applications. Psychology Press.

The stages in detail:


This stage focuses on the development of communication between the unconscious and conscious aspects of the psyche.  This stage builds relationship to the Self. As individuation is the bringing together of both conscious and unconscious perspectives, this stage is imperative in the actualization of this dialogue. This is the stage or illumination or elucidation.

This three-month course focuses on:

  • Ego
  • Dreams and Active Imagination
  • Symbols
  • Consciousness


This stage in the individuation process focuses on facilitating conscious relatedness to others and the world at large. This is the stage of education.

This three-month course focuses on:

  • The classic Anima and Animus model
  • The contemporary Anima and Animus model
  • Transference and Countertransference Part 1 and Part 2


This is the final stage of the Opus Magnus. This course is only open to students who have completed all previous stages, namely Nigredo, Albedo and Citrinitas.

This final stage in the individuation process will explore the following themes:

  • Individuation
  • Personal myth
  • The symbolic life
  • Authentic personification

This final stage focuses on what individuation means, how your archetypal dynamics aid you in discovering and living your personal myth. How to incorporate meaning and consciousness through living a symbolic life. And how the persona communicates your essence and purpose to the world.

What you gain

We all long to live an authentic life, expressing our purpose in the world effectively and living a life of meaning and joy. Jung spent years clarifying and identifying the steps in the individuation process. The Centre for Applied Jungian Studies has crafted a four-stage programme that will guide you through this process, and, at the same time, empower you with skills and tools with which to walk the individuation path for the rest of your life. As individuation is a journey, not a destination, on completing this programme you will find yourself able to transmute, change and live with increased meaning and from a perspective of consciousness. The value of this cannot be overstated and we trust is self-evident.

Course structure

Each stage of the course is self-contained and presented over twelve weeks. You can do each stage as and when you feel ready to take the next step.

Course content and structure:

  • learning material is emailed to you and includes a podcast and transcript
  • application exercises will guide you in the practical application of the concepts to your life and psychology
  • a private Facebook group allows for sharing, discussions questions and support
  • two full time facilitators are available to you for any queries or additional support
  • each stage includes a detailed pre and post questionnaire to help you gauge your own individuation process and progress
  • there is a break of a month between stages to allow you to assimilate your learning prior to moving on to the next stage. You can also take a break for a longer period if you wish.
  • at the end of the course you will receive additional resources of suggested reading, YouTube videos and articles


A few of the benefits

You will be guided by well researched and tested concepts from Jungian psychology.

This training material has been developed over the course of two decades of research and teaching of Applied Jungian Psychology.

You will learn a new lexicon that will empower you in the way you relate to yourself and the world.

You will acquire possibly the finest tools in existence with which to relate to your unconscious psyche.

You will experience increased consciousness and meaning.

You will find yourself on the path to individuation.

You will join a community of likeminded people who, like you, are pursuing their own individuation projects.


The dates for the three stages for 2018 are as follows:

Nigredo: 15 January to 20 April 2018

Albedo:   14 May to 3 August 2018

Citrinitas: 18 September to 31 November 2018

Rubedo will be presented during January 2019.

NB! The final stage Rubedo will only be available to students who have completed the first three stages, namely Nigredo, Albedo and Citrinitas. These three stages, by virtue of the course design and the nature of the Jungian theoretical framework, can be done in any order.

Citrinitas: The Yellowing

2The third stage is Citrinitas, the yellowing. This stage focuses on exploring relational dynamics and provides tools with which to explore relationships with the world, others and intimate partners.

The modules explored in this stage are:

  • Anima 
  • Animus
  • Transference
  • Countertransference

Citrinitas will be presented from the 18th of September until the 31st of November 2018.

Albedo: The Whitening

202954_origThe second stage is Albedo, the whitening. This stage is also referred to as the purification. This stage focuses on tools with which to relate to self and the inner world.


The modules explored in this stage are:

  • Ego
  • Dreams and Active Imagination
  • The four steps of transformation
  • Symbols
  • Consciousness

Albedo will be presented from the 14th of May until the 3rd of August 2018.

Rubedo: The Reddening

454ec5a1530cfd5355d82c6c4c00f547The final stage is Rubedo, the reddening. This stage focuses on providing the psychodynamic tools with which to engage with the ongoing individuation process.

NB! This stage is only available to those who have completed Nigredo, Albedo and Citrinitas.

The modules explored in this stage are:

  • Individuation
  • Personal Myth
  • The Symbolic Life
  • Authentic Personification

Rubedo will be presented January 2019.

Register for Magnum Opus

Registration is closed.


For more information please email Anja at

Student Testimonials

I’m grateful for this course being available online, so that I can access it wherever I am and whenever I am available. I am grateful that I sat with archetypes long enough to uncover the pervasive influence of the archetypal will to pleasure in my family, and in me. Wow. I never knew that was there. I am grateful that this work brought it into my awareness. I am grateful that since shining light on this I’ve been able to make different behavioural choices. My head feels clearer.  Where I stumble, there lies my treasure. –Wunny

Deep gratitude for everything. I needed to tend to my life in the transforming rushing rapids. I grew, grow, love, learn. Thank you all for this touching shared 2017 journey. ?? – Loveta

I am grateful to have had this experience as it has opened my eyes to many of the roadblocks I have constructed for myself during my life and how I may change them going forward. I thank each and every one of you for this experience and wish everyone the very best in their journey. I hope to meet everyone on a dream beach, sipping your choice of liquid refreshment, and discussing the whys and why nots of life. Until we meet again! May love light our way. – Dee

I’ve just joined the Albedo course, so will hopefully see many of you in the Albedo Facebook group in May. I’ve found the Nigredo course incredibly helpful and enjoyed the lectures and the applications. I hope everyone feels the same. I have and appreciated the amazing supportive atmosphere that was created. Thanks, all! – Paul

I am grateful for the growth I made during the painful Nigredo and to the mentors for their support. – Rita

The Centre’s creation and space holding for all the modules/applications here are profoundly alchemical. I have been altered by each and every exploration through this coursework. It has truly gone beyond catharsis and several of my complexes have shifted: the hyper-vigilance [Tracker-Detective], drinking patterns [The Midnight Caller], my obsessive internet activity [Narcissus’ Mirror], and not being able to sleep [The Night Owl] have quieted and slowed. I sleep deeply since Nigredo and feel much more at peace than 10 months ago. My agoraphobia has lifted quite a bit as I find myself outside more, exploring some of the amenities city life provides. It’s also been easier to make art again. – Sue Ann

Thank you, great facilitators. Amazing work! – Bellezza

Thank you Stephen Anthony Farah and Max Machanik for your time, energy, dedication and insight. This course is having a wonderful impact on my life. I’ve started to really love myself. I’m starting to relate to others differently. I’m more conscious of my complexes, even seeing one so clearly as a separate personality. I also realised I lived and identified as my shadow for many years. I’m learning to drive which is something I would not have done before this course – I can do this because I’m speaking to myself differently, and nurturing some anxious/fearful parts of myself and we’re working together. Thank you again and I wish you a wonderful time over the holidays and I can’t wait to begin Rubedo! – Wendy

Awesome course, thank you so much! – Leoni

What a journey this year, we have supported each other and cried with each other – we are beautiful personalities – so different, yet on the same path. Thank you for everything, I am so blessed to call you all my external family. I love you to bits!! – Navenka

I am coming to the end of the very intense period of study, psychoanalytic work and therapy that I embarked on 21 years ago. The course work during this year – particularly Nigredo and Albedo – has helped lay many ghosts to rest and I feel a different person in many ways from the one who started at the beginning of the year. I have let go of, come to terms with, embraced and/or transformed aspects of myself that have troubled me for most of my life and as a result am feeling more peace than I ever thought possible and it feels good. Thanks for reading and thanks so much to Max and Stephen and all participants for taking this confronting, risky and exciting journey with me and for allowing me to also be part of your sacred journey. – Gloria

This has been a ground-breaking year for me, and much of it is due to the Magnum Opus stages we have been going through. Thank you so much for your inspired knowledge and stories. It’s a joy to know you are all here. – Lori