The Dark Night of the Soul

Chrysalis Tarot Art by Holly Sierra

The Greek word for messenger is √°ngelos (angel) and the angel pictured on our Nine of Scrolls bears an important message for us. These troubled times are punctuated by free-floating anxiety that often morphs into devastating despair. Since our anxiety is likely to get worse – much worse – it may be somewhat cathartic to step back, meditate and focus on what is really happening – the proverbial “Big Picture.” Perhaps by doing so we will become less afraid of the unknown. In these times, fear is our greatest enemy.

I underscored cathartic above to highlight my intention to return to the concept. Catharsis can be nuanced in many ways. In both psychology and spiritual formation the term implies releasing repressed fears, along with other unhealthy emotions, notably guilt, into the luminescence of conscious awareness where they can be examined.

In spirituality this process is called The Dark Night of the Soul. It is a controlled crisis; the painful death of an individual’s ego symbolized by the tombstone pictured (above left) and then followed by a whole new understanding – a rebirth. The Dark Night teaches us how Divine Guidance – not we ourselves – molds and shapes our lives – giving birth to a completely new perception of reality.

I described this process of self-emptying (kenosis) in the Chrysalis Tarot Companion Book: “The objective is to overcome the belligerence of ego by baring the heart to inspiration from the Otherworld. The unseen realm wills nothing for us; it simply desires to be heard so it can guide us.” A hardened ego prevents us from hearing our own inner voice.

We must understand that everything – our thoughts, words, actions, memories, etc. – are pure energy and influence reality. As Einstein put it, “Everything is energy and that is all there is to it. Match the frequency of the reality you want and you cannot help but get that reality. It can be no other way. This is not philosophy. This is physics.” This is why it is so important to keep negative emotions in check.

The mythic Hero’s Journey as explicated in Chrysalis Tarot is a spiritual journey to transformation called metanoia, a Greek word that implies dramatically changing one’s worldview or Zeitgeist – the ‘Spirit of the Age.’ The ego is ill-equipped to deal with the disorder of chaos and today’s dizzying change, much less the deceptions and manipulations that characterize and threaten our present age. The ego wittingly opens the mind to all sorts of nonsense and foolishness. The armor required to come to terms with today’s crazy world is to choose a spiritual discipline such as meditation, prayer, yoga, or tarot that will help you to evoke order from chaos and hear Divine guidance spoken to you from beyond this world.

A further note regarding energy. As Einstein noted, everything is energy, particularly electromagnetic energy/radiation. The Earth’s magnetic field, for example, is weakening at what was previously thought to be 5% per century. In reality, it’s 5% per decade.

The magnetic North Pole is moving at an alarming rate of 25-miles per year. It’s wandering off toward Siberia. There are signs of a polar or geomagnetic reversal, a phenomena that has happened 183 times over the past 80-odd million years of Earth’s history.

There’s a reason I delve into electromagnetic energy in this blog about the Dark Night of the Soul. I’ve been developing a thesis I call The Gaian Hypothesis. We find ourselves, I believe, at a inflection or tipping point in human history, a concerning imbalance between positive and negative mindsets and unhealthy (electromagnetic) energy such as fear, hate and anger.

Viewed as the monomythic struggle between Good and Evil, evil is very close to overtaking good on a global scale. This has far reaching implications for our species and planet. The Dark Night is the Atonement* encountered at the 11th Stage of the Hero’s Journey (see chart below). In order to return to our Normal or Ordinary World (12th Stage), we must become transformed into a better version of ourselves; into a greater self-awareness called higher consciousness.

Collectively humanity must endure a Dark Night of the Soul. Our guardian angel is Gaia.

More about The Gaian Hypothesis in our next blog.

  • Atonement means to cause to submit to or accept something unpleasant; to reconcile our consciousness with a Higher Consciousness. (Don’t dwell on the religious connotation of forgiveness of sin. Regard atonement as positive affirmation not negative indulgence.)

© Toney Brooks, 2022