Book Reviews · Dark Night of the Soul

Review: The Dark Night of the Soul by Gerald May

This week I’m reading The Dark Night of the Soul by Gerald May, subtitled: A Psychiatrist Explores the Connection between Darkness and Spiritual Growth. The book explores the dark night through the writings of two of the best known Christian mystics: John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila, and addresses some of the misconceptions… Continue reading Review: The Dark Night of the Soul by Gerald May

Dark Night of the Soul · Mysticism

The Mystic Way 12: Ego Death in the Dark Night

Last time we looked at some of the forms of the Dark Night of the Soul. Here we continue the extracts from Evelyn Underhill’s Mysticism to explore the final and most challenging step of the dark night, that of the death of the self: “The various torments and desolations of the Dark Night constitute this… Continue reading The Mystic Way 12: Ego Death in the Dark Night

Dark Night of the Soul · Mysticism

The Mystic Way 11: Forms of the Dark Night

Last time we introduced the fourth phase of the Mystic Way, that of the Dark Night of the Soul. Here we continue the extracts from Evelyn Underhill’s Mysticism to explore some of the forms which the dark night can take during this process of the purification of the self: “(A) To those temperaments in which… Continue reading The Mystic Way 11: Forms of the Dark Night

Dark Night of the Soul · Mysticism

The Mystic Way 10: The Dark Night of the Soul

Last time we looked at the experience of Voices and Visions. Here we continue the extracts from Evelyn Underhill’s Mysticism to explore the fourth phase of the Mystic Way, as outlined in part 1. This phase marks the final and complete purification of the Self, often called the Dark Night of the Soul: “The most… Continue reading The Mystic Way 10: The Dark Night of the Soul

Dark Night of the Soul · Mythology

The Handless Maiden part 7: Inner Marriage

Our story continues: the queen is healing in the forest with her child, but what of the king… Soon after the queen left the castle, the king returned from the war, but the queen and his child weren’t there waiting for him. He asked his mother where they were. She was furious with him, and… Continue reading The Handless Maiden part 7: Inner Marriage

Dark Night of the Soul · Mythology

The Handless Maiden part 6: Wandering and Waiting

Our story continues: the queen with silver hands has given birth, but all is not well… The queen and her son were no longer safe in the castle, and so, with the baby bound to her breast, the queen bid farewell to the king’s mother. Weeping, she left the castle and returned to the forest.… Continue reading The Handless Maiden part 6: Wandering and Waiting

Dark Night of the Soul · Mythology

The Handless Maiden part 5: The Devil Returns

Our story continues: the maiden has become a queen with silver hands… The queen stayed in the castle and the king lavished her with love and care. But in time, he had to leave to wage war in a distant land. Before he left, the king asked his mother to take care of the queen,… Continue reading The Handless Maiden part 5: The Devil Returns

Dark Night of the Soul · Mythology

The Handless Maiden part 4: Love in the Underworld

Our story continues: the maiden has found her way to the king’s orchard… The next day, the king was walking in his garden, counting his pears, for he knew exactly how many were on each tree, when he realised that one was missing. He called the gardener and questioned him. The gardener explained to the… Continue reading The Handless Maiden part 4: Love in the Underworld

Dark Night of the Soul · Mythology

The Handless Maiden part 3: Entering the Forest

Our story continues: the deal has been made and the maiden has lost her hands… The devil retreated to the forest and the maiden’s parents did their best to care for their daughter. Her father begged her to stay, promising to provide everything she could ever want or need, but she refused. She had her… Continue reading The Handless Maiden part 3: Entering the Forest

Dark Night of the Soul · Mythology

The Handless Maiden part 2: Dismemberment

Our story continues: the deal has been made and three years have passed… At last, the dreadful day arrived when the devil would come to claim his payment: the maiden. That morning, the girl washed and drew a circle around herself with chalk. The devil appeared, but couldn’t come near her. Furious, he demanded she… Continue reading The Handless Maiden part 2: Dismemberment

Dark Night of the Soul · Mythology

The Handless Maiden part 1: Deal with the Devil

Once there was a miller who had fallen into poverty. His mill was broken so he had to go to the forest to chop wood. One day, when he was hacking at a tree stump, an old man appeared and said, “I’ll make you rich if you give me what stands behind your mill.” The… Continue reading The Handless Maiden part 1: Deal with the Devil

Dark Night of the Soul · Mythology

The Handless Maiden (complete story)

There are many versions of The Handless Maiden from around the world. It’s a fairy tale that was collected by the Brothers Grimm in 1812, but its roots are much older. This telling is my adaptation of the tale with gratitude to Clarissa Pinkola Estes. Read the introduction to this series here or follow the… Continue reading The Handless Maiden (complete story)