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Internet Book of Shadows, (Various Authors), [1999], at

                                The Dark Night of the Soul 

                                      Fra.: Apfelmann


               "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 charcterised  by feelings that

          your occult  studies or practises 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 pleas-

          ure in  anything.  It binds the imagination, and impeeds 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 arrid 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          afflicts the soul, and keeps it withdrawn from the good."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 destr-

          uctive. 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 welcomened,  once recognised 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 wellbeing. St.John of  the Cross embraced  the soul`s Dark


          Night as a  Devine 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 depres-

          sion, 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 depres-

          sion, 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 * 


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