In order to connect with our light, we have to be able to recognize the forces that are stopping us from doing so. If we are busy affirming the light while turning a blind eye towards the darkness and its operations, we are unwittingly feeding and giving free rein to the powers of darkness in our avoidance. We are tasked at this critical point in our history to come to terms with the darkness, a process which can only start by becoming acquainted with and familiarizing ourselves with the way that the darkness functions within our own being.

Throughout history, whenever genuine spiritual realization flourished in our species were also the exact times when the activated invisible forces of darkness were consciously recognized, which is to say that these are not two separate processes—waking up and seeing the darkness—but are one and the same process, two sides of the same coin that always go together. Be it in the old or new dispensations (The Old or New Testaments), both Moses and Jesus recognized—and were demanded to deal with—the powers of evil. The theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes, “Surely we do not wish to accuse Jesus of ignoring the reality and power of evil! Why, the whole of his life was one long conflict with the devil. He calls evil evil.” In dealing with evil, we have to be able to recognize it and call it by its right name. Conversely, when these darker powers aren’t recognized are the times in history when destruction plays itself out most flagrantly in this world of ours.

According to the Kabbalah, divine sparks, psychic/spiritual treasures—threaded throughout the very fabric of the universe—were encoded both within us and hidden throughout the physical universe as well, waiting to be discovered and liberated. According to the Kabbalah, the extraction of the light requires an acknowledgement of, and sojourn into the realm of darkness, which psychologically speaking, can be thought of as making a shamanic descent into the underworld of the unconscious, what in Kabbalah is referred to as a “descent on behalf of the ascent.” Going inward is going upward in consciousness, dimensionally speaking.

Seen symbolically, the process of descent—as universally exemplified in the myth of the hero—reveals that only in the region of danger can we find the alchemical “Treasure Hard to Attain.” To quote Jung, “The descent into the depths will bring healing. It is the way to the total being, to the treasure which suffering mankind is forever seeking, which is hidden in the place guarded by terrible danger. This is the place of primordial unconsciousness and at the same time the place of healing and redemption, because it contains the jewel of wholeness.”

It is only when we are compelled by sickness, extremity or (an inner or outer) crisis to come to terms with our own nature that the opportunity arises to experience the somber power of the shadow as a messenger from the creative potential which lives within our own psyche. Just as evening gives birth to morning, the light chooses the shadow so as to reveal itself. The figure of the shadow bears the good news of the treasure hidden in the depths, what scholar and a colleague of Jung, Erich Neumann refers to as “the herb of healing which grows in the darkness.”

I love the image of something natural and organic—an “herb of healing”—growing in and emerging out of the darkness. This is analogous to how it is within the darkness of the earth that a seed germinates, for as the Kabbalah points out, it is the darkness itself that gives birth to the light. What this means is that in this time of overwhelming darkness that we are passing through we can keep our eyes open for the herb of healing that arises in our midst. This is not necessarily a physical herb, but could be conceived of as being an immaterial, regenerative force, something akin to a spirit which emerges within our psyche and potentially spreads out into the world through our actions – a redemptive and transformative essence that could only have revealed itself through the darkness that we have chosen to become aware of within ourselves.

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  1. Been there.
    “The Dark Night of Soul” as I learned it, once met, experienced, and emerged from, can bring one to true fulfillment and perhaps, even ultimate, happiness by finding, or allowing it to find you, your life’s mission and true fulfillment. I could write ten thousand words on this from my life experience but, the article above’s, ‘bottom line’ sums it up well. There is a point of light, in that darkness yes. You just have to find it, or, often, let it find you. Though there are undoubtedly a plethora of books describing that ‘gem’ described here, as well, as, a ‘river current’, in which fighting the currents trying to lead us the correct way, only lead to drowning, in that dark night of soul. One must find the currents, one is meant to follow…

    Easier said, than done, I know, and each soul, must come to it, on their own, no one can guide you specifically, how to “get there”, though the sages prophets mystics and teachers have tried to give us general guidelines, for thousands of years….

    Just take my advice for what it’s worth, if you have not experienced it, when that ‘dark night of soul’ comes and it will, don’t refuse it, nor side step it, and not, take a real good long look deep inside because, not doing so, only brings a wash-rinse-repeat storm in life, and it is often worse, that next time around (I say, “next time” because if you are even a fraction as stubborn as I, you probably have a rough time coming of not one, or two, but perhaps, multiple ‘Dark Night’s of Soul’ to look forward to. Ie: Not Recommended, take my word for it,, >>please, take my word for… You’ve likely, no idea, how bad, that ‘shadow’, can get, if you do not face it, face, your ‘self’, and make some new choices in life, to get that shadow to dissipate – hopefully completely as possible, whilst still in this form/place/time. If not, then, well, honestly, you are probably in for a dive into some deep _____ and you have my sympathies -I have been there, and may your journey, be less difficult, than mine. Some regular readers of my comments know bits and pieces but, far from the whole. I have lived in that ‘Dark Night of Soul’ before, I wish and hope that, may you, not, be as stubborn as I, may you instead, find and follow, the current, that path, that ‘light’ that is meant for, you’re fulfillment, of you’re, life’s mission.). Victory to the light, truth and love.

  2. I agree with this “alchemical” assessment. There is only the ONE Source, but for manifesting a Cosmos, the ONE had to become the TWO. Now we have opposition, we have counterpoint, we have dark to outline light.
    The Truth sought for and…found…is not that you are “Light” but that you are Source, and Source is BOTH “Dark” and “Light.” This is how the Wheel of Polarity rotates the Elements. We are always in search or Quest of something just out of reach.
    When you grok that this is Buddha’s axiom: it is your Desire that leads you on into endless rooms of imagined realities, and that this Desire is an internal force (seed sprout- survival) that leads us by the nose.
    the “God Goo” manifests both as your Ideal, and as your Enemy! It is Opposition which defines us. NO growth without Opposition.
    Now what? Play the Game as your role is defined. But to wake more, accept that your Enemy is the One acting out as teacher, guru, obstructor, giving you a prize to achieve.
    And THIS is the PROCESS. YOU…are… the ….Process. You are your own Opposition. Anything less is your lower mind ego acting in separation from the Whole.
    For what? perpetuation of your ego-self and it’s puerile desires for sex and bling? for recognition among legions of idiots all grubbing at the cattle troughs of me-me-me?
    Go ahead. Take a change. Embrace being NO-Thing. Be the Process, what animates you animates your Enemy.
    Being serioius was once so all important.
    Now? Be in on the Joke, not the butt of the Joke.
    God “made” and God allows ALL, so we can have a good football game.


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