Illustration 2 Rosarium Philosophorum
From the Four Stages of Alchemical Work
Mixing other substances in the flask, the blackness of the matter eventually disappeared to make room for a whiteness called albedo. This sudden inversion of colors was a sign that the work was going in the right direction. Albedo was usually portrayed in the form of a White Eagle, Dove or Swan. It was also associated with silver, and the moon. The whitening was compared to the coming of dawn after a long night, and embodied as a white Virgin. This was a moment of rejoicing, of hope; it was a proof that darkness would not last forever.