Following my epic article on the Dark Night of the Soul, I wanted to go into a little more detail on the symptoms of the Dark Night and strategies for surviving it. I was going to include this information at the end of the previous article but it was already too long.
A Dark Night of the Soul always arrives uninvited, yet it could be the best thing to ever happen. It’s a sacred initiation into the underbelly of the soul that will make you feel cursed and blessed at the same time. Dark Nights of the Soul are all the rage these days. Our civilisation is self-destructing and we seem powerless to stop it. Some say we have brought ourselves to this dangerous precipice through our collective blindness, arrogance and selfishness, and that may be true. But we may also be on the brink of a breakthrough.
Twilight falls, the moon rises, and hidden in the darkness, a dog howls. You have crossed the threshold to the underworld, the realm of Hecate. It takes a while for your eyes to adjust to the gloom and you find yourself in a fearful place. The dead, the lost and forgotten, the compulsive, secret fantasies, and transgressive irrational desires. How could you have ended up here?
Hecate reveals your shadow. She shows you who you really are, when you’re not pretending to be civilised and rational and normal. She is at home here in the darkness, and wants you to feel the same way. Hecate watches over the darkest nights of your soul and teaches you to see through your fears. With her help, you can deepen, grow in wisdom and become less rational and naïve. You can become whole.
Mindfulness is everywhere these days. With the number of books and apps and courses available you would think we had become a nation of bodhisattvas overnight. The positive effects of mindfulness are widely known and aggressively advertised, but the practice doesn’t work the same way for everyone, and it can actually make you feel worse. However, you wouldn’t know this looking at the literature and studies that have been done. If you start to meditate thinking that only good things will happen, you might be in for a shock.
“Mindfulness is the skill of thinking you are doing something when you are doing nothing. One of the good things about mindfulness is that you get to do a lot of sitting down. Sitting down is good for the mind because so much positive energy is stored in the lap.” – The Ladybird Book of Mindfulness
I recently attended a Writing for Wellbeing workshop which was designed to promote “mindfulness and calm.” We did various writing exercises and a little guided visualisation, and were told: “Whatever you write is right for you – when done mindfully.” Well, maybe I was having a bad day, but I didn’t feel calm or mindful.
Earlier this week we looked at the process of feeding your demons, which is a way to make friends with your shadow. In this post we’ll dig deeper into the various types of demon you might find skulking in the darkness of your worst fears. But first, what is a demon?
Recently I realised that I’d spent my whole life fighting against the darkness. But my demons won’t die, no matter how many times I bash them over the head. It’s exhausting. So I was open to trying anything that might help when I came across the practice of Feeding Your Demons in the book of that name by Tsultrim Allione.