A 'dark night of the soul' was first coined in the 16th century by the Catholic mystic St. John of the Cross. He was imprisoned and beaten for working to reform the Carmelite Order of the Catholic Church in Spain. God used the circumstances of his life to send his soul to a supernatural hell where he wrote A Dark Night of the Soul, describing an experience of very intense suffering that took place in stages, and that he pictured as climbing the rungs of a ladder in a soul’s journey of purification and preparation for a spiritual marriage to God.
St. John's experience was unusual and his language is mystical but if you are in emotional pain that feels like a heavy cloud over you, making you feel separated from others and alone, and confused and lost about life that no longer works the way you thought it did, you will relate to his words.
On this website there are more modern writers describing the experiences of their dark nights of the soul. As you read them and relate to them you will know that you are not crazy, you're going through a dark night of the soul, and there is an inner gift that comes out of it, which will carry you through the tougher times, and that you take with you when it's over.
Today the term is used by people of all faiths to describe periods of deep spiritual pain, what someone might go through when they experience a great loss, betrayal or a tragedy or trauma in their life, that is followed by a supernatural transformation involving deep, profound insights into human spiritual evolution, involving facing our shadow side and our fears, being emotionally and psychologically healed, being humbled and experiencing the death of ego — all growing pains of the organic process of human spiritual transformation leading to becoming the person you were meant to be, the best version of yourself, and having a desire to serve humanity in some meaningful way, and make a difference in the world. During this privileged journey you learn that the outward blessings of a good life are not what make a person valuable or give meaning to their life. It's the unseen treasure being laid up in you, as a result of the transformation process, that is of far greater value.
A dark night of the soul is an extraordinary journey of profound lessons that involves asking the deeper questions about reality and life. The darkness of what's ahead causes fear and confusion, and the greatest comfort comes from a mystical inner seeing of the answers. These unveilings of clearer truths about life, what is happening to you, and what you need to do next, are able to come to you when you are still and silent, when you are journaling, or the words can come in when you are quietly walking in nature.
You will find that the answers are not found in any one book or belief system. Instead you will pass through a labyrinth of places, feeling like you are collecting pieces to a map that will show you the way out the other side. And what you soon discover in a dark night is that you need the wisdom of others who have been where you are.
This website has been created to help those who are in a dark night of the soul move through the Divinely orchestrated process by bringing the teachings about this spiritual experience into one place making it easier to find the help they are looking for. It can also be used as a resource for those who are interested in the subject.
There was a time when men tried to reach God by building the physical Tower of Babel. They spoke one language and had the one goal. But as the story goes, our one language was changed into the many languages and this separated us into different regions of the earth. Then different goals and belief systems separated us and the world of men became very diverse. We've been carrying our crosses, passing thought very troubling times, pictured by the hero's journey battling the negative experiences and finding a gift we bring back to the world. The battles caused us to be evolved into people who can truly love and deeply connect. Dark nights of the soul are a time of being woken up to something more about this life that we couldn't see and the happiness we all long for. The hero's journey are the themes of our stories, in books, plays and movies. It's what makes us connect to them and why we love them.
The mystical language describing the deep experiences of a dark night of the soul has become the new one language that people from all different locations and religions share. Many have been woken up by deep suffering and are experiencing the synchonicities with others who are awaking up around them. Becoming part of this collective consciousness, being able to connect to, and understand all the teachers and all the writings about it, many of which are the beautiful words of brilliant wordsmiths made available to help others go through the transformation process and find clearer truth and peace, is truly magical.
The authors on this website have given their permission to have their articles reprinted here as part of this website project. If you have an article that you would like to add to this library, or if you would like to submit a short piece for the blog section, please refer to the contact page for the email address to sent it to.
In that deep underground mining operation which is the dark night of the soul, the saint's spirituality is utterly lost from sight, feeling, and consciousness. He is left for a while bereft of all that he has gained, while what remains of his ego is relentlessly crushed. Yet this is followed by a true and lasting enlightenment!
The drama of our everyday life isn't the real story about what is going on. It's a hidden life we live that shows us what is really going on and where mankind is going. But experiencing this inward life, while living what becomes a very challenging outward life during a dark night of the soul, does more than change how you think about life and reality. We live the great myths and stories and, as they did, we become a different person — more wise and intelligent, seeing and feeling things deeper, becoming humble, open, more loving, and stronger, more capable and creative, finding our powerful selves and gaining the brains, heart and courage of the heroin and heroes of the Wizard of Oz. The change can be significant, but subtle, and not uproot your entire life, or a dark night of the soul can become a dynamic school along a mystical path where your outward life is transformed dramatically. However it touches you, the gifts of this extraordinary phenomena are beyond remarkable and a priceless treasure of Grace.
Photo "Stairway to Heaven" by Peter Thoeny, Creative Commons