Are you experiencing a Dark Night of the Soul?

What is a Dark night of the Soul?

Originally penned by 16th century poet, Saint John of the Cross, describes a spiritual crisis in the union towards God. Now, many of us today aren’t informed or aware of this Dark Night of the Soul so when it happens it feels more like the shit has hit the fan. We have no concept of what is going on so we struggle through it, until we happen across a blog or a YouTube video that just happens to mention that what we are experiencing is similar. The symptoms of the Dark Night of the Soul are similar to depression but can we distinguish between the two? I feel that with the dark night of the soul it is indicative of a spiritual transformation taking place. With depression there is a struggle to get out of the abyss. With the dark night of the soul, there is a faith or a belief, no matter how small that something bigger and grander than us, will pull us out. Whatever it is, it can feel for many like we are the only person in the world going through this at the time. We’re not. I had no idea when I went through mine what it was or what resources were out there. Please know you don’t have to go through this alone. I have set up a Facebook group for anyone going through ‘stuff’ called Consciousness Arising which you are welcome to join. It is a safe community where you can ask questions and feel safe to do so. https://www.facebook.com/groups/ConsciousnessArising

What are the symptoms of a Dark Night of the Soul?

Please note this list doesn’t cover everything, most of these are how I felt going through my own experience

  • Wondering what your purpose is in life
  • Some people say they see/hear the Devil
  • Your soul feels torn between what it ‘has been taught’ to do and what it feels it wants to do
  • Your life may not feel like yours anymore, instead it is controlled by work, a partner, family
  • You question your own existence
  • You question life itself, how did we get here?  Why are we here?
  • You cry, a lot

Photo by Noah Silliman on Unsplash

My experience

I experienced my own Dark Night of the Soul back in 2017. I had lost my best friend to cancer on my 36th birthday the previous October, then my husband and I decided to separate a few months later. Everything I had known for the previous 10 years was gone. Disintegrated. I didn’t know who I was anymore. I had been a wife and a mum for so long I wasn’t sure who Lindsay was anymore. I remember about 8 months later taking a video of myself dancing crazily around the living room singing to the Killers and sending it to my sister. That’s the Lindsay I remember she said. How did I lose myself so much? I spent 6 months finding myself again. Clawing within, grieving for my friend, for my marriage. Who had I become? I couldn’t remember the last time I had laughed freely, like proper belly laughed or cried. Why was I here? What was my purpose? I did a guided meditation to meet my spirit guide. He came through to me and told me my purpose was to teach, to educate and to inform. To teach what, I asked. He laughed and disappeared. Even though he didn’t tell me what I had to teach, I made it my mission to share knowledge and to connect with others. I came through it and thought I’m pleased I don’t have to do that again. Unfortunately I did have another one. I didn’t even know you could have two so please be aware that you can. Thankfully this one was shorter and involved more healing and shedding trauma, not only mine but past and ancestral and yes it hurt, yes it was painful and I cried, a lot. Would I do it again? Yes, because I know the healing I am doing is helping my children, and their children and our future.

How can you get through a Dark Night of the Soul?

I had my tips and I also asked in my FB group for theirs, so here is a list of things that may help

  • Meditating
  • Journalling
  • Drinking herbal teas
  • Saying the Lords Prayer
  • Speaking to Angels
  • Spending time outdoors in nature
  • Sleep ( AKA a spiritual practise)
  • Massage
  • Allowing yourself and everything around you to fall apart
  • Screaming and roaring outside
  • Beating a drum

If you have had your own experience of the Dark Night of the Soul then do feel free to share and if you have any tips on how you overcame it also let us know. Thanks for reading

 

A sweat lodge in the U.S

My experience in a sweat lodge

How I ended up in a sweat lodge

I truly believe that the Universe conspires to put you in the right place at the right time for what you need. A Facebook post by a friend went out last Sunday saying that some Mexican shamanic healers had arrived at the Sanctuary they run. Did anyone want some shamanic healing for a donation? I posted it into my Facebook group, Consciousness Arising and several people said they were interested. On the Monday I had arranged a physical meet up for said group. It was going to be in a central location in town. One of the guys in my group, Paul, suggested we meet at the Sanctuary instead. Great idea!

On a fairly warm Monday evening we arrived at the Rising Dawn Sanctuary. A fire had been lit in the grounds and we sat with a cup of herbal tea chatting. Several members of the group went for the shamanic healing whilst we chatted about synchronicities and the Universe. Nam Prakash, who runs the Sanctuary, asked me if we would like to stay for the sweat lodge ceremony which was happening later that evening. Several members had to head off. Five of us said yes we would love to. After about an hour finally one of us asked what is a sweat lodge and what do we have to do.

Entering the sweat lodge

Tai, the Mexican shaman, had built the sweat lodge with natural twigs and thrown blankets over the top. It looked like a short domed hut. We were standing in the kitchen drinking tea when we found out that in a sweat lodge it was too warm to keep your clothes on. Luckily there were some towels to protect our modesty as some of us weren’t quite prepared to be half naked in a tent full of strangers. A fire had been lit not far from the sweat lodge. Tai and his daughter, Sunflower led us through a beautiful ceremony thanking the four elements, Earth, Wind, Air and Fire. The women were invited into the lodge first.

It was dark outside so we undressed, placed the towels over certain places and headed in. As you enter you say an ancient Toltec phrase to give a blessing. There is a hole dug in the centre where the hot rocks would be later placed. We crawled around the hole, slightly ungracefully. There was lots of ow’s and ouches as we stood on twigs and rocks. Thankfully I had brought my cardigan in which provided some cushioning for my bum on the hard ground.

Note: This is not THE actual sweat lodge we went in

The men were invited in following the women. We sat in the darkness whilst the rocks were gradually brought in and filled in the hole. A herbal blend had been stewed which would later be poured on the said stones to create the steam. As I sat half naked in this dark tent, I was giggling to myself. The members of my group will never want to come out with me again! Eventually the last rock was placed in the centre. The makeshift door was closed. Pitch black. Tai started chanting and warbling, using his throat to make these beautiful sounds which resonated within and around you.

Feeling the steam!

As the herbs and water were placed onto the hot rocks the steam hit your face. It was quite intense at first and caught the back of my throat, which made me cough. As it subsided and the next lot of steam hit my face I became more used to it. We were encouraged to deep breathe and you could feel your sinuses clearing. In my mind I could see my Native American guide standing with me on a cliff edge pointing at the land and telling me to claim the unclaimed land. I could feel my body and my face dripping in sweat which made me feel cleaner and more purified. The basic idea behind sweat lodges are that they are to help purify the mind and body.

I lost track of how long we were in there but by the time we came out and got dressed it was after 11pm. We gave thanks by the fire and everyone said how they had felt. There was a Full Moon bright in the sky and I truly felt as if I had been part of something special. I told the guys in my group how proud I was of them for saying yes to something that they had no idea what it was and for joining me in my crazy adventures!

The Universe knows where you need to be and when so listen to your intuition, let it guide you, for you never know where you may end up. To see me chatting with guests about their spiritual journey head over to YouTube. If you like it please like and subscribe https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxtIoMYTXPLh2Y3zLYqGVxw?view_as=subscriber

Have you ever taken part in a sweat lodge ceremony? I’d love to hear your thoughts