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                                 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           afflicts the soul, and keeps it withdrawn from the good."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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