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Depression, Dark Night of the Soul and Magick

By Frater Barrabbas Tiresius

The last couple of days I have had some interesting conversations with some of the more insightful magicians who are my friends on Facebook. They are discussing the phenomenon of the Dark Night of the Soul, and that feelings of desolation, despair and a deep depression which can occur to anyone who is following the initiatory path of magick is also analogous to the classical definition of the mystical Dark Night of the Soul. There seems to be the consensus that all magicians at some point retire from the world (and in a sense, renounce it) and undergo the mystical rigors of the Dark Night of the Soul while seeking union with the One.

Strangely, I seem to be one of the few who finds issues with this kind of explanation and I have respectfully disagreed with those who have espoused this perspective. I think that it has more to do with a mystical approach to the Godhead than a magical approach, and there are also the issues of chronic or situational depression, isolation and despair that have really nothing to do with spiritual ascension. In clinical depression, removing oneself from the world is a common symptom and strong feelings are often replaced with a feeling of numbness, stasis or apathy.

The real question then is whether or not the iconic Dark Night of the Soul is real for mystics and magicians alike. Some have also questioned whether there is a difference between the two paths since they seem to lead to the same ultimate place. (I intend to answer these questions, hopefully once and for all, later in this article.)

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