Dark Light of the Soul

We often experience things that come up in the internal-external dialogue to be divided into opposites such as good and bad, God and the devil, us and them, confusion about moral stance and so forth.

The person may have thought that he or she knew exactly his or her standing in terms of ideologies, morals, the world, and religion. It becomes apparent, during this process, that what we thought we knew has been primarily according to our ego’s stannce. The opposites in dialogue may suddenly pull us into¬† new territory where we experience tremendous indecision.

The now indecisive and floundering ego may become identified with both sides of the opposites, which creates quiet a confusion. Splitting, which entails some psychological part of dissociating from consciousness, may arise as a defense mechanism.

Beneath the splitting, dissociation and repression that can accompany creative depression is frequently a “core of madness” that must be uncovered. We feel “mad” owing to the degree of chaos and the loss of equilibrium that our ego is experiencing as its “known” perspectives are challenged.

In this dual identification, it is as if the ego decombusts. Everything is being canceled by its opposite in the dialogue, creating an indecisiveness that is one of the primary symptoms of the depressed condition. In this state of ambivalence, in wh ich everything is canceled out, one may feel like one has fallen into an abyss.

In this void or abyss, we feel as if we were dying, accompanied by bursts of intense anxiety around conflicting thoughts and values. We may feel we haev regressed back into the interpersonal field of parents and family. In the “black hole” of the abyssal experience, conflict can often take on a rather paranoid form. The clash of forces can feel as if one is in an ideological, spiritual, or cultural collision, not just with our former personal ideals and values, but with the entire collective consciousness.

Because dissociation may be occurring on a collective, cultural level, certain individuals may be depressed, not only because of developmental traumatic and intrapsychic factors, but also because of the sensitive and uncanny nature of some individuals to have a large psyche and soul that is more attuned than some of the rest of us to the collective unconcsious.

Certain persons have access to a depth of unconscious material and, with discernment, may find that their psychic imagery is running parallel to the dissociation or splitting of their culture. Crucially, there is an important cultural factor here. The healing nature of this phenomenon is an ego re-organised in relationship to the Self.

Any individual who evolves into a healthy ego Self relationship inevitably has the potential to contribute a great deal to culture and society. If our society pathologises such episodes only during which a reordering process is occurring within the individual, we miss the impact of the unconscious material not only upon the individual and his or her growth, but also the potential for this individual’s healing to have a positive ripple effect upon the immediate culture and community.

Karen Wood Madden, Dark Light of the Soul

Fellowship with the Angels

The poor distressed soul was so terrified and amazed, that it could not speak one word more.

When it found that it stood in the form and condition of the serpent, which separated it from God; and that the devil was so nigh it in that condition, who injected evil thoughts into the will of the soul, and had so much power over it thereby, that it was near damnation, and sticking fast in the abyss or bottomless pit of hell, in the anger of God; it would have even despaired of divine mercy; but that the power, virtue, and strength of the first stirring of the grace of God, which had before bruised the soul, upheld and preserved it from total despair.

But still it wrestled in itself between hope and doubt; whatsoever hope built up, that doubt threw down again. And thus was it agitated with such continual disquiet, that at last the world and all the glory thereof became loathsome to it, neither would it enjoy worldly pleasures any more; and yet for all this, could it not come to rest.

On a time the enlightened soul came again to this soul, and finding it still in so great trouble, anguish, and grief of mind, said to it:

What dost thou? Wilt thou destroy thyself in thy anguish and sorrow? Why dost torment thyself in thy own power and will, who art but a worm, seeing thy torment increaseth thereby more and more? Yea, if thou shouldst sink thyself down to the bottom of the sea, or couldst fly to the uttermost coasts of the morning, or raise thyself above the stars, yet thou wouldst not be released. For the more thou grievest, tormentest, and troublest thyself, the more painful thy nature will be; and yet thou wilt not be able to come to rest.

For thy power is quite lost; and as a dry stick burnt to a coal cannot grow green and spring afresh by its own power, nor get sap to flourish again with other trees and plants; so neither canst thou reach the place of God by thy own power and strength, and transform thyself into that angelical image which thou hadst at first. For in respect to God thou art withered and dry, like a dead plant that hath lost its sap and strength, and so art become a dry tormenting hunger. Thy properties are like heat and cold, which continually strive one against the other, and can never unite.

The distressed Soul said: What then shall I do to bud forth again, and recover the first life, wherein I was at rest before I became an image?

The enlightened Soul said: Thou shalt do nothing at all but forsake thy own will, viz. that which thou callest I, or thyself. By which means all thy evil properties will grow weak, faint, and ready to die; and then thou wilt sink down again into that one thing, from which thou art originally sprung. For now thou liest captive in the creatures; but if thy will forsaketh them, the creatures, with their evil inclinations, will die in thee, which at present stay and hinder thee, that thou canst not come to God. But if thou takest this course, thy God will meet thee with his infinite love, which he path manifested in Christ Jesus in the humanity, or human nature.

And that will impart sap, life, and vigour to thee; whereby thou mayest bud, spring, flourish again, and rejoice in the living God, as a branch growing on his true vine. And so thou wilt at length recover the image of God, and be delivered from the image or condition of the serpent: Then shalt thou come to be my brother, and have fellowship with the angels.

The Signature of all Things, Jacob Boehme