Back to the Begining?
Posted 22 April 2004 - 09:11 PM
Alas, it is easy to hit a spiritual plateau unless an effort is made. Sometimes attending a temple session will bring me out of a slump, but not always.
When I was 8, I was so excited for baptism. My next biggie was preparing for the priesthood at 12. Then came preparation for my mission, starting with a frantic search for the truth at 18. Now, approaching 28, I again find myself returning to the basics.
I didn't lose my mind - I have it backed up on a disk ... somewhere
Posted 24 April 2004 - 08:25 PM
RCW-BoS Dark Night of the Soul
The Dark Night of the Soul
"The Dark Night of the Soul" is the name given to that experience of spiritual
desolation that all students of the Occult pass through at one time or another.
It is sometimes characterized by feelings that your occult studies or practices
are not taken you anywhere, that the initial success that one is sometimes
granted after a few months of occult working, has suddenly dried up. There
comes a desire to give up on everything, to abandon exercises and meditation,
as nothing seems to be working. St.John of the Cross. a christian mystic, said
of this experience, that it; "...puts the sensory spiritual appetites to sleep,
deadens them, and deprives them of the ability to find pleasure in anything. It
binds the imagination, and impedes it from doing any good discursive work. It
makes the memory cease, the intellect become dark and unable to understand
anything, and hence it causes the will to become arid and constrained, and all
the faculties empty and useless. And over this hangs a dense and burdensome
cloud, which afflicts the soul, and keeps it withdrawn from the good."
Though the beginner may view the onset of such an experience with alarm (I know
I did), the "Dark Night" is not something bad or destructive. In one sense it
may be seen as a trial, a test by which the Gods examine our resolve to
continue with occult work, and if you are not completely whole-hearted about
your magical studies, it is during this period (at its beginning) that you will
give up. The Dark Night of the Soul should be welcomed, once recognized for
what it is (I have always received an innate "warning" just before the onset of
such a period), as a person might welcome an operation that will secure health
and well-being. St.John of the Cross embraced the soul`s Dark Night as a Divine
Appointment, calling it a period of "sheer grace" and adding;
"O guiding Night,
O Night more lovely than Dawn,
O Night that has united the lover with his beloved
Transforming the Lover in her Beloved."
When entering the Dark Night one is overcome by a sense of spiritual dryness
and depression. The notion, in some quarters, that all such experiences should
be avoided, for a peaceful existence, shows up the superficiality of so much of
contemporary living. The Dark Night is a way of bringing the Soul to stillness,
so that deep psychic transformation may take place. All distractions must be
set aside, and it is no good attempting to fight or channel the bursts of raw
energy that from time to time may course through your being. This inner
compulsion to set everything aside results in the outer depression, when
nothing seems to excite.
The only thing to do is obey your inner voice and become still, waiting for the
inner transformation, (which the "Dark Night" heralds), to take place. You may
not be aware for a very long time of the results of that inner change, but when
the desire to work comes again and the depression lifts, the Dark Night has
(for a moment) passed. No one can help during this time, and in many cases
there is hardly anyone to turn for advice. One must disregard the well-meaning
advice of family and friends to "snap out of it" this is no ordinary
depression, but a deep spiritual experience which only those who have passed
through themselves (in other words to a magical retreat) but for many, as the
routines of everyday life prohibits this, all you can do is cultivate an inner
solitude, a stillness and silence of heart, and wait, (like a chrysalis waits
for the inner changes that will result in a butterfly) for the Transformation
to work itself out. There are many such "Dark Nights" that the occult seeker
must pass through during the mysterious process of mitigation. They are all
trials but experience teaches one to cope more efficiently.
With fractalic greetings and laughter * Fra.: Apfelmann *
Posted 25 April 2004 - 01:00 AM
Sorry for rambling on so, lol. This really should be in the Drop Zone for me, lol. But I like the dark night concept...makes sense really...after all, one can only have a fertile field after it has lain fallow for some time. And as even Byron noted, "For the sword outwears the sheath/And the soul outwears the breast/And the heart must pause to breathe/And love itself have rest" I suppose then that this is MY time to rest from the rigors of religious rhetoric...lol. Don't like it much to be honest, yet, at the same time, nothing can be done. Like the Hermit in a spread, tis a time to be alone in one's thoughts and remember just what it was all about. And good luck to all on passing those pop quizzes!
Posted 25 April 2004 - 06:43 AM
So now it's not just going back to the begining, its also pausing, relfecting, looking deep within myself and my life. Kind of a spring cleaning of the soul.
Strange that it never occured to me that it might be in part due to my age. I had always assumed that this kind of crisis occured in one's 40's, not in one's late twenties/early thirties. But when you take a look at the 7 year theory, yes it does make sense, especially when you consider that one finds oneself seeking things as you enter your teens and enter young adulthood. So it makes perfect sense to seek again at around the age of 30 and again as you leave your 40's. Very very interesting and though provoking.
I went through my pile o books last night, and what a journey I've already been through. I started re-reading Sybil Leek's "The Complete Art of Witchcraft", published in the early 70's....the book is as old as I am! And I think I'll go to the next Pagan Pub Moot here in Toronto, I've not gone in ages. I should reconnect with the community as well as with book learning, ritual and meditation.
Krafted with luv
Posted 25 April 2004 - 08:08 AM
I'm glad the article hit home. I had heard the concept of Dark Night of the Soul many times and it had just slipped my mind until I accidentally came across it while doing research for a Pantheon study guide I'm building. Putting a name to something as distrubing as this helps greatly. Glad you all liked it!
Posted 25 April 2004 - 08:11 AM
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