Book Reviews · Dark Night of the Soul

Thomas Moore: Dark Nights of the Soul Review

Dark Nights of the SoulIn this book, former monk and psychologist, Thomas Moore, provides guidance and inspiration for anyone living through the darker side of life. He sees the dark night as a challenge and an opportunity for healing. These times are not rare or extraordinary, reserved just for saints or spiritual adepts. Everyone can use life’s darkest moments to deepen and restore wholeness to their souls. It is often the case that we grow more during our struggles than at any other time, and perhaps there is some wisdom to be found in the darkness.

A dark night isn’t a puzzle to be solved or a crisis to be fixed. It is a period of enrichment and soul growth, and this book will provide much comfort, as well as thought-provoking ideas for your night sea journey.

“If you are like most people, you have gone through several dark nights of the soul. You may be in the middle of one now. You may be in a difficult marriage, have a child in trouble, or find yourself caught in a tenacious and terrible mood. You may be grieving the loss of a spouse or parent. You may have been betrayed by a lover or business partner or going through a divorce. For some people, these situations are problems to be solved, but for others they are the source of deep despair. A true dark night of the soul is not a surface challenge but a development that takes you away from the joy of your ordinary life. An external event or an internal mood strikes you at the core of your existence. This is not just a feeling but a rupture in your very being, and it may take a long while to get through to the other end of it.” – Thomas Moore, Dark Nights of the Soul

Rites of Passage

Using mythology and depth psychology, Thomas Moore explores how you move from one part of your life to the next, and how your rites of passage can become infused with wisdom and self-knowledge. The passage of the dark night is all about death and rebirth. The old self and its baggage are left behind as you confront the emotional catharsis tearing through your life. This process of letting go will change all your relationships and you must find new ways to relate to yourself, your story, others and the world.

Hecate becomes your guiding Dark Angel. She leads you into your lunar consciousness and teaches you how to darken. She is the part of your psyche that is always in the dark and can provide tools to navigate through the night. Hecate and Persephone understand the darker side of love and relationships, and exploring their stories can help foster the sacred marriage that is required if you want to survive the dark night and achieve a reconciliation of opposites.

Surrendering to the life you have

By surrendering to the process of the dark night you will become a wounded healer. To do this means to let go of what is no longer needed and open to your life as it actually is. You must learn how to be a true individual in a society of conformists, and allow the creativity and joy of your inner child to feed your soul with a new appreciation of art and beauty.

“Imagine a black sun at your core, a dark luminosity that is less innocent and more interesting than naïve sunshine. That is one of the gifts a dark night has to offer you.” – Thomas Moore

In the end, the dark night is about finding out who you really are in the depths of your soul. It facilitates a relationship with your daemon, or guiding spirit, which helps you to cultivate the strength to be true to your deeper Self. Everyone has their own scintilla – the divine spark, or inner genius that ‘knows’. As Thomas Moore shows, the best way to deal with the dark night is to use the emotional and intellectual darkness to help you see your own luminosity.

You have to make your own world, instead of succumbing to the one that presses on you. You have to turn the tables on what appears to be fate or the full weight of society. Against the greatest odds, you have to keep your wits about you and refuse to surrender to anyone or anything less than divine.

Read more about the Dark Night in Love’s Ordeal: The Dark Night of the Soul
Visit the Psychology Bookshelf