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                                The Dark Night of the Soul 
                                      Fra.: Apfelmann

          "The Dark Night of the Soul" is the name given to that experience of
          spiritual desolation that all students of the Occult pass through at
          one time or another. It is sometimes characterized by feelings that
          your occult studies or practices are not taken you anywhere, that
          the initial success that one is sometimes granted after a few months
          of occult working, has suddenly dried up. There comes a desire to
          give up on everything, to abandon exercises and meditation, as
          nothing seems to be working. St.John of the Cross. a christian
          mystic, said of this experience, that it;
           "...puts the sensory spiritual appetites to sleep, deadens them,
           and deprives them of the ability to find pleasure in anything.
           It binds the imagination, and impedes it from doing any good
           discursive work. It makes the memory cease, the intellect become
           dark and unable to understand anything, and hence it causes the
           will to become arid and constrained, and all the faculties empty
           and useless. And over this hangs a dense and burdensome cloud,
           which afflicts the soul, and keeps it withdrawn from the good."

          Though the beginner may view the onset of such an experience with
          alarm (I know I did), the "Dark Night" is not something bad or
          destructive. In one sense it may be seen as a trial, a test by which
          the Gods examine our resolve to continue with occult work, and if
          you are not completely whole-hearted about your magical studies, it
          is during this period (at its beginning) that you will give up. The
          Dark Night of the Soul should be welcomed, once recognized for
          what it is (I have always received an innate "warning" just before
          the onset of such a period), as a person might welcome an operation
          that will secure health and well-being. St.John of the Cross embraced
          the soul`s Dark Night as a Divine Appointment, calling it a period
          of "sheer grace" and adding;
           "O guiding Night,
           O Night more lovely than Dawn,
           O Night that has united the lover with his beloved
           Transforming the Lover in her Beloved."

          When entering the Dark Night one is overcome by a sense of spiritual
          dryness and depression. The notion, in some quarters, that all such
          experiences should be avoided, for a peaceful existence, shows up
          the superficiality of so much of contemporary living. The Dark Night
          is a way of bringing the Soul to stillness, so that deep psychic
          transformation may take place. All distractions must be set aside,
          and it is no good attempting to fight or channel the bursts of raw
          energy that from time to time may course through your being. This
          inner compulsion to set everything aside results in the outer
          depression, when nothing seems to excite.

                         Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 


          The only thing to do is obey your inner voice and become still,
          waiting for the inner transformation, (which the "Dark Night"
          heralds), to take place. You may not be aware for a very long time
          of the results of that inner change, but when the desire to work
          comes again and the depression lifts, the Dark Night has (for a
          moment) passed. No one can help during this time, and in many cases
          there is hardly anyone to turn for advice. One must disregard the
          well-meaning advice of family and friends to "snap out of it" this
          is no ordinary depression, but a deep spiritual experience which
          only those who have passed through themselves (in other words to a
          magical retreat) but for many, as the routines of everyday life
          prohibits this, all you can do is cultivate an inner solitude, a
          stillness and silence of heart, and wait, (like a chrysalis waits
          for the inner changes that will result in a butterfly) for the
          Transformation to work itself out. There are many such "Dark Nights"
          that the occult seeker must pass through during the mysterious
          process of mitigation. They are all trials but experience teaches
          one to cope more efficiently.

          With fractalic greetings and laughter  * Fra.: Apfelmann *

                         Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 


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