Dark Night of the Soul and Spiritual Transformation
Dark Night of the Soul and Spiritual Transformation
There is no coming to consciousness without pain. People will do anything, no matter how absurd, to avoid facing their own soul. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious. ~ Carl Gustav Jung
One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche
Dark Night of the Soul
Dark Night of the Soul has been referenced in poetry, music, art, and spirituality. It is a period of difficulty and challenge in a person’s life that may lead to spiritual transformation. It may come after a great tragedy of loss, or through some event that shakes the foundations of what one believed to be true or real. It may be marked by apathy, grief, anger, or rage, and a sense of life having no sense of meaning or purpose. It is a sort of “spiritual depression”, that may greatly shift in how one may look at life and how one wants to show up in the world. It may also be referred to as an existential crisis.
St. John the Cross, a 16th Century mystic and poet penned a poem entitled Dark Night of the Soul which included his reflections on the subject. The poem was used to reference the pain of this deep suffering to become more ‘godlike’ in relation to the values of the Catholicism of the time.
St. Thérèse of Lisieux, a 19th-century French Carmelite, wrote of her own experience. She experienced this period after contemplating the nature of life after death, stating, “If you only knew what darkness I am plunged into.”
Several myths that predated the original St. John’s poem also describe a similar type of “psychic descent,” such as the descent of Inanna and Persephone’s plunge into the Underworld.
Carl Jung spoke of alchemy, a tradition that has crossover in science, spirituality, philosophy, and esoteric traditions across the world. Alchemy is the process of turning base metals (lead) into gold in a process of purification and transformation. Jung used these as a metaphor for describing the psychological journey a person may experience during a Dark Night of the Soul, which he called the “night sea journey.”
Dark Night of the Soul Experience
There is no singular way to experience a Dark Night of the Soul and it can appear in phases throughout a person’s life. Events such as illness, relationship changes, a death, job loss, sudden change in life circumstances, poverty, personal or global events may propel one into their own Dark Night.
Times of intense personal change can trigger old traumas wounds. Unhealthy behaviors that numb feelings that accompany the experience through addiction, extreme acts, destructive activities, and being overly busy or consumed in work or personal relationships to avoid a particular emotion. It may trigger events that lead to a dramatic change in one’s life circumstances.
Signs and Symptoms
The experience of Dark Night of the Soul may vary from person to person and is unique and individual. Some signs and symptoms of this time of transformation are;
Life loses meaning and a sense of purpose
Extreme events dramatically change your life
Depression and Anxiety ramp-up
Questioning reality and the life you are leading
Feeling stuck or lost
Seeing the truth in your life
Walking away from how you have lived and dramatically changing your lifestyle
Less tolerance for false narratives and disingenuous people
Spiritual soul searching
Powerful memories of lived experiences in this life or past lives
Abilities are heightened or awakening to psychic awareness
Modern Dark Night of the Soul
There are many modern references to the Dark Night of the Soul as was originally expressed in early religious poetry. Each has a modern take on this phenomenon and offers fresh perspectives on an age-old experience.
Eckhart Tolle refers to how it may be brought about by an external event, such as a natural disaster, world events, personal events, such as hitting a certain birthday or hitting “rock bottom” with addiction or behavior.
Pema Chodron advises that during a Dark Night of the Soul, one can practice becoming intimate with one’s fear, meditation, and Tonglen, the Tibetian word for ‘sending and taking’, which is a meditative breathing practice.
Psychologist Thom F. Cavalli, Ph.D., writes in Alchemical Psychology: Old Recipes for Living in a New World,
“…Your garden, laboratory, church, or temple is not the place to find the prima materia used in personal alchemy. Rather, a good place to begin the search is in our mess, our crisis, our broken dreams, our worst nightmare, disasters — all those horrible experiences that are associated with the shadow aspects of life. That is where we are most vulnerable and most apt to summon up the courage to make dramatic changes.”
A Psychic Perspective
One path to coming into psychic awareness may be out of a period of tension and crisis, as may be experienced during and after Dark Night of the Soul. It is during the most challenging and difficult times that we are witnessing the destroy phase before we may create something new. This process may involve facing one’s weakness, fear, embarrassing behavior, and secret habits. In other words, facing the shadow.
With this experience may come a heightened sense of awareness and an increase in psychic abilities. This may feel like a form of death, but may also be viewed as a shedding process, or pruning and purging to bring forth something new. This new state may be a step up in our personal spiritual development.
During intense periods of personal transformation, it is helpful to have consistent and grounding practices such as yoga and physical activity to breathwork, and meditation. Using psychic tools and meditation is another way to release resistance and pain, get neutral to the events as they are unfolding, and approach change from a space of wonder and curiosity. It is during these times that appear to be shrouded in darkness and spiraling out of control, that the luminosity and strength of your spirit, resilience, and healing energy may truly shine through.
If you want to explore psychic tools, meditation, and psychic development, sign up for our Clairvoyant Meditation Free Open House to learn about course offerings. Book a student or professional psychic reading through The Psychic School
Authored by Natalie Colosimo
Natalie Colosimo is a passionate psychic reader who has studied intensively with The Psychic School for several years. Natalie exhibits an innate ability to communicate what she sees using a unique and relatable style.
Natalie refined and developed her abilities through intensive learning readings and healings through The Clairvoyant Training Program and is a graduate of The Clairvoyant Teachers Program. She currently works as a Psychic School staff member.
Natalie will be exploring a variety of blog topics related to all things psychic and hopes to rouse a sense of wonder and curiosity in the unseen world of spirit. Natalie believes that everyone can discover psychic abilities. Everyone can uncover their innate psychic awareness and be empowered to find answers and healing in their lives. She passionately guides and supports others to develop their clairvoyance and seniority.