The Dark Night of the Soul

You may be asking yourself, ‘why is Lana writing about Halloween again?’ After all, my last post went into the subject, and it does sound like a return to this previously covered ground.

Ah, but some of you may be aware that I’m referring to something quite different.

‘The dark night of the soul’ is a term often used to describe the experience of going through a spiritual or existential crisis. Many of us have gone through something like this, where either an internal or external crisis has brought us to a point of deep questioning and searching for some sort of answers.

For religious/spiritual people, it often brings them closer to god, or source power. For others, it can be a questioning of the nature of existence itself. Either way, it is a deep, internal quest for the truth.

The dark night of the soul feels extremely serious for those who are brought to such a crisis point. It is usually a very personal, emotional, and often humbling experience, baring one’s soul to search for the truth of a matter of importance to oneself. I have certainly experienced this, and, considering some of the things my character, Ange, has gone through in her life (and goes through during the story), she definitely experiences it!

Of course, this is not a surprising thing to find in a story where the protagonist has such a huge learning curve. At the start of the first book, we learn that Ange has had a difficult life in many ways, and has built internal ‘walls’ around her heart to protect herself from being hurt. But then she learns that she must tear them all down to enable her to fulfil her quest – and if she doesn’t, there will be some extremely serious consequences.

Because of the horrendous inciting incident near the beginning of the book, she has already started to question God, the Universe, and Everything. And she continues to do so throughout the trilogy. On top of that, there are several more personally devastating incidents that result in her experiencing an inner crisis in each book. And each time, it’s just that much worse. But all this inner turmoil and questioning is very necessary for her growth.

No doubt, all of this sounds rather depressing. After all, it is hard to imagine getting through such an experience unscathed. But that’s kind of the point – it is a catalyst for change, (hopefully) a resolution of some sort, closure on a matter, an illumination of the way forward or a coming to peace with something. It would be surprising if the process didn’t cause some deep scars. But it can also be a process of healing.

For Ange, it proves to be both. Each time she encounters a dark night of the soul, she has to strive that little bit harder to get through it and heal from previous hurts. This a process of transformation, or even purification of the soul, akin in mythological terms to the cycle of the phoenix, which can only be born anew after burning itself to ashes in a fire.

The challenges that Ange faces throughout the trilogy are not your average life trials. Ange has always felt she was different – an outsider – so it isn’t such a huge leap for her to believe that she is more than human. But forgetting that she is – or has been – human becomes quite a challenge for her, and causes a lot of problems.

For one, she is excited to think she can access the grand magical powers of the Goddess Isis. But to use those powers as a goddess would and should use them takes a fair bit of getting used to. After all, any mere mortal who suddenly has such abilities would use them as a human would – not necessarily for evil, but certainly with ignorance of the possible consequences of such use.

Unfortunately for Ange, her misguided attempts to put the world to rights with magic usually end in disaster. And then she finds herself with an even worse mess to clean up than what she started with.

Not to mention the influence of bringing multiple other gods and goddesses into her quest, with all their different magical identities and agendas. A true recipe for chaos that Ange doesn’t foresee, despite being warned. Kind of like thinking ‘might is right’ – a very human belief, and one that introduces many new problems for Ange.

Apart from this process, there are other events that anyone would find challenging to deal with. Death of those close to her are one, and seeing the destruction and turmoil of wars across the heavens and the earth – sometimes direct results of Ange’s own actions.

Ange enters into her quest with righteous zeal, a blazing hot desire for truth, justice and putting to right what she perceives as the wrongs of the world. And when her endeavours don’t work, or cause worse problems, she naturally starts questioning why. She is given some answers by those around her, but nothing as compelling as opening her heart and honestly examining her own inner wisdom, and asking the divine source power to guide her.

A truly humbling experience for Ange.

Thankfully, she is willing and able to learn and adapt, and has enough tenacity and strength of spirit to keep trying. Not an easy thing to face when everything is going to hell around you, despite your best intentions and efforts.

Not to say that she exactly bounces back with ease after every setback. Ange often rushes into things without enough thought, and the ensuing catastrophes force her to slow down and reassess what she’s doing (and sometimes why). This valuable introspection is essential for her to learn and progress towards the true state of being Isis.

Another way of putting it that we mere mortals might relate to better is the saying, ‘With great power comes great responsibility’. Ange’s learning curve is steep, but the results are well worth it.

Keep a smile on your dial until next time, and peace and love in your heart

From Lana Lea and her time-travelling muse

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