Glossary entry for
Dark Night of the Soul

The phrase "dark night of the soul" traces its origins to a work by the Spanish poet and Roman Catholic mystic Saint John of the Cross (1542-1591). It tells of his mystic development and the stages he went through on his quest. The "dark night of the soul" is that stage on the mystic path when "spiritual persons suffer great trials, by reason not so much of the aridities which they suffer, as of the fear which they have of being lost on the road, thinking that all spiritual blessing is over for them and that God has abandoned them since they find no help or pleasure in good things".

Contributed by Alan Pert, Sydney, Australia

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