By Alterra Von Feuers 2007
We were at one of our regular meetings of ‘The Dusty Grimoire’ hosted by one of our distinguished and respected brothers. We often study in a group to fine-tune working energy and all the aspects surrounding the process. He then announced he had, but a few days hence voluntarily entered into "The Dark Night Of The Soul." I was surprised and stunned of such a motion that he would want to do this of his own free will. He but smiled and proceeded to explain his own valid reasons for a one-month period of deactivated energy and magickal workings. I went home in one of my contemplative states to ponder this further. Of course to head straight to the computer and search for more information that could be made sense of. I hadn’t realized that there was a viable name for what I had experienced some years ago. It is one of those areas I was terribly uncomfortable with discussing due my four-month, one-time decent into this uncalled-for-lesson of involuntary self-deactivation. For what it could be, nude me of if, and then the time was mine again.
The term ‘The Dark Night Of The Soul’ is said to be coined by a Carmelite Monk called 'St. John Of The Cross', a 16th century mystic and poet. It is said his deep spiritual teachings shaped much of the Christian understanding of this phase that afflicted most every saint and devotee, including even the Mother Theresa of our time. Believing it was God’s divine will to surrender all they truly loved, surrender all that which they thought was perfection reached by duty and ego, only to bear total emptiness, to achieve true-sight and absolute devotion from the outcome. Not only to repent but to receive deliverance. It was a special time to be reborn with eyes of new perspective.
Religions aside this experience can and often does afflict those of a deeper spiritual nature. Anyone both spiritual and mundane can find themselves suddenly transmuted into something other, rendered powerless and doubtful, the proceeding emptiness ever so difficult to bear. It may seem one cannot move on. You elapse into a void of spiritual desolation laced with depression, mild to severe in nature. Nothing of what you have accomplished seems relevant anymore. Yet for me there was finally clarity, a sense of rebuilding, and a surreal quality of the mundane world as I struggled to cope with the intensity of this self-made paradox.
In some essence it makes me think of the one word ‘endarkening’, which seems that most of us from all paths experience, once or more in our spiritual lives. The Endarkening decides when to become a very real and difficult part of your life. As if two halves of a whole dividing against your very self and your very will. That which inhibits that next step, the next motion and decision to move ahead, actually arriving to what I would describe as a wide blank void. A chasm of darkness that forces one to come to a stop upon its dark edge and try to comprehend why you feel such emptiness that stills the heart and the mind, preventing you from focusing further in any particular direction.
The Endarkening is a factor that makes you face all that you are, and what you might have thought you would become on a conscious level. Taking it beyond to an alter -conscious level that you may try to ignore, fight or side step as simple depression or stress. How could you, the strong and decisive you, have the wind knocked-out by something you cannot even put a finger on to understand it? It is reality even as it feels unreal, out of focus, or out of body. It may seem hellish with such side-affects of irrational fright, panic-attacks, and an inability to cope with certain situations and people you once thought so familiar.
A struggle may ensue making that leap into the next level of awareness you want to experience. Some say the Endarkening becomes acute between two levels of consciousness that are incongruent for lack of understanding, knowledge, ego or emotional infliction, where balance and being fail to negate the next advancement from the level you have already achieved. Seeming to hang in the twilight of what you accomplished to going no further in your ascension of higher self. There is a shift between the two planes between what you are and what you are trying to become. Coming this far however, often gives another shaky insight to the impossibility of returning to a 'normal' life and hopefully the strength to endure it. For a mundane existence is no longer possible in the eyes of the truly awakened. It can last a few days, months, even beyond a year, as it is a different test for each person, and how they find their way through it, predetermines how much time it necessitates. This sounds to me a great deal like the awakening process just on a much deeper scale.
Fight or flight? These are the two predominant instinctual reactions to a threatening situation. Some would try and side step this frightening aspect of their life. Refusing to accept it, forcing their way past it into whatever they can find or require perhaps at a great lose to their introspection and true self, including denial, change of focus in pursuits, drug and alcohol use, even turning into a semi-conscious workaholic. Maybe even allowing someone else to control their life, turning criminal, or even ending up on a psychiatrist's couch with what is thought of as a nervous breakdown.
To stay on the far side of the abyss is to fail, because you never brave what is beyond this maw of darkness. Refusing to accept the cause or outcome for such solitary self-confinement where-from no one can help you out from but yourself. Failing a challenge that very well could leave you in permanent stagnation. At first, I fought it. I tried to ignore it. I drove myself nearly over-the-brink until two simple words came to me: “Accept it.”
What of that third possibility? Accepting what is happening instead of questioning it. Fighting it seems pointless, for in actuality are you not fighting anything but a part of yourself you have yet to understand. Yet, as barren and depressing this time may seem, embrace it, let the emptiness cleanse you. Let it wash away every aspect of what you believe you have become, cast-out the ego, the stubborn will and become the will of this stillness. For as frightening as this empty void may seem, there is a transformation taking place here; the way is being cleared for possible higher self-evolution to take place. The outcome of possibilities is endless - enlightenment of what this trial of darkness has taught you, stepping out with renewed acumen, reharnessing the powers within, sharper, stronger, more ready than ever for that next level of ascension as your perception grows clearer.
It seemed at first to fit a lot of depression qualities. If this is in part a depressed state of being, is it also not a part of our individual collective, each and everyone of us for a reason? It must be embraced and realized as every part of ourselves must be. I believe it goes far beyond simple depression however. I believe it is a humbling mind-clearing time of preparation into the next level of higher-self ascension.
And so, I found respectful acceptance for what our brother has undertaken in his self-applied trials of The Dark Night Of The Soul. For he understands better than most the outcome of letting go his powers and of his will for what he can achieve upon bringing them back.