Dark Night Of The Soul Stages

Dark Night Of The Soul Stages

Dark Night Of The Soul Stages—that overwhelming feeling of exhaustion, despair, and loneliness that comes with life’s toughest moments. What Happens After The Dark Night Of The Soul? It is the phrase before spiritual awakening.

Dark Night Of The Soul Stages

These difficult times are an opportunity for your growth. In this post, we’ll be exploring the five stages of the dark night of the soul—what it is, how you can recognize it in yourself, and how to make it through with grace and strength.

Dark Night of the Soul – Preparation For Your Spiritual Awakening

the inner work book

The Dark Night of the Soul is a term that has been traditionally used to describe an individual’s spiritual journey to personal transformation. In this process, the person reaches a profound level of internal reflection that allows them to reach new levels of insight into their lives and personal experiences. (See When Does Spiritual Awakening Happen?)

This can be a deeply emotionally challenging, yet rewarding timespan that can lead to true spiritual enlightenment.

The process is often divided into three distinct stages: purification, illumination, and union. Though each stage can be individualized depending on the person’s needs and experience level, there are some general recurring themes across many individuals who experience this type of soulful growth.

Below is a brief overview of each stage to give you an idea about what happens when someone undergoes this important process.

The Dark Before The Dawn


The Dark Night of the Soul, also known as an “illumination of the soul” or a “metaphysical separation” is a spiritual journey famously described by St. John of the Cross in the 16th century in Spain, in which a person travels through stages of psychological and spiritual purification to become closer to God.

This journey is difficult and can be painful, but those who endure it arrive at a place of peace, serenity, and enlightenment.

The Dark Night of the Soul traditionally includes three stages: purgation (the cleansing stage), illumination (the climactic stage), and union (the ecstatic state).

During the purgation stage, individuals feel like they are being stripped away from all earthly pleasures and desires and are left to experience feelings such as fear, anxiety, guilt, loneliness, depression, and despair.

During this stage, you may go through stressful situations that push your spiritual beliefs.

In the illumination stage, individuals begin to become more in tune with their relationship with the Creator as well as their own inner self.

This stage can induce deep insights about life itself that can be both exhilarating and tremendously liberating for those who experience it.

During this intense trance-like state understanding between spirit and body will occur which will bring about a faith-based realization that surpasses any understanding of everyday life.

Dark Night of the Soul Phrases


It is a process of spiritual transformation that often includes intense feelings of loneliness and emptiness. This process, also known as the ‘dark night’ phenomenon, is one that can often trigger strong emotional reactions in people and result in depression or even suicidal ideation.

Remember, this stage of spiritual growth is ultimately a necessary part of transformation and, though difficult, the end result will likely be transformative and positive in nature.

Those experiencing a dark night are likely to experience many difficult symptoms including:

  • Feelings of hopelessness, despair, or anxiety
  • Feeling overwhelmed or unfocused
  • Negative thoughts or feelings about yourself or life circumstances
  • Loss of motivation, enthusiasm, or energy
  • No sense of boundaries within yourself (characterized by overly comparing yourself to others)
  • Sense of isolation and pervasive loneliness
  • Lack of joy or being overwhelmed by emotions
  • Shameful thoughts due to your beliefs -Struggle with abandonment issues
  • Challenges in forming relationships (on either societal level, work level, and/or intimate relationship level)

It is critical to seek professional guidance from a qualified mental health provider when experiencing these symptoms; your physical health can be affected when undergoing an intense time such as this so it is important to have support throughout the process.

Reasons Why It Happens

dark night of the soul

The Dark Night of the Soul is a period of intense spiritual struggle and loneliness.

In a traditional sense, it is an awakening process that leads to a profound personal transformation and union with the divine.

The term can also refer to any period of suffering or difficulty in life that leads to deeper understanding and heightened awareness.

The causes of Dark Night vary greatly; individuals often go through this process due to various life circumstances such as a relationship end, job loss, illness, or other traumatic situations.

There are also internal causes such as physical exhaustion and cognitive fatigue caused by psychological struggles with depression, anxiety, or fear of abandonment. (See Spiritual Awakening Anxiety)

Stagnation can also cause feelings of depression and meaninglessness when one feels stuck in life without direction or purpose.

The Dark Night is an unpredictable journey that no one can prepare for—it is unique to each individual soul as it forces self-reflection that unlocks deep truths about oneself that may be previously hidden from plain sight.

Forcing oneself into this process can lead to extreme mental anguish and despair; however, if experienced authentically and fully, will be ultimately rewarding with newfound knowledge of oneself leading towards spiritual growth and awakening (See 7 Stages Of Spiritual Awakening).

Stages of Dark Night of the Soul

lonely path

It is a journey through turmoil, suffering, and despair that leads ultimately to light, enlightenment, and liberation.

While the process is commonly experienced among religious practitioners, it also applies to anyone seeking transformation within their own life.

During this experience, people often go through five identifiable stages:

Stage 1: Recognition – This is when you start to become aware that something isn’t quite right in your life and feel compelled to do something about it. You realize you are no longer content with your current lifestyle and need something more meaningful or satisfying.

Stage 2: Descent – This marks the beginning of your spiritual journey as you let go of familiar beliefs and expectations that no longer serve you. It may involve facing fears and mourning losses as you become vulnerable to new possibilities that await on the other side.

Stage 3: Purgation – During this stage, experiences such as illness or depression can happen due to emotions coming up such as anger or guilt which need to be released in order for healing and growth potentials to be realized.

Stage 4: Illumination / Rebirth – This marks a turning point when your spiritual eyes open wide enough so that personal liberation begins happening gradually over time resulting in fresh perspectives being revealed on all aspects of your life experience providing invaluable experiences for personal transformation.

Stage 5: Transformation/Union – As growth accelerates beyond one’s wildest imagination all fears subside into an incredible understanding sensing a feeling of being-ness where surrendering happens which allows one’s soul essence remarkable clarity providing amazing experiences with deeper aspects of life’s mysteries.

One’s soul mission starts becoming more apparent surrounded by inexplicable joy-filled enthusiasm excitement inspiring complete dedication heart-threads interweave with unity consciousness creating profoundly empowered extraordinary journeys ..sobereaved!

Your Unconcious Coping Mechanism At This Stage

Dark Night Of The Soul Stages

The Dark Night of the Soul can take many forms, from depression to feeling completely blocked from expressing creativity. Recognizing and understanding the stages that one may experience during this difficult period is important for effective coping strategies.

Here are five common coping stages with it:

1. Despair – A feeling of helplessness, sadness, apathy and despair. You feel disconnected from your true self and cut off from other people’s support.

2. Anger – This stage often involves feelings of criticism, judgments, and a deep sense of injustice over events in your life you have no control over.

3. Confusion – Feeling lost in a world that doesn’t make sense anymore as reality shifts untenable beliefs you once held close to your heart become dismantled in an instant.

4. Acceptance – Acceptance of new truths and realities begins to emerge after thorough contemplation on what took place during the previous three stages bringing about clarity about what the experience brought about.

5. Transformation – You can begin introducing new activities into your life that bring joy and foster spiritual growth like mindfulness practices, yoga, or meditation. Replacing old behaviors to provide a much-needed distraction from old emotions resurfacing or returning later on.

Down the line as they often do in cycles throughout our lives until we learn how to better manage them when they return once more

Seeking Professional Help If Needed

Navigating through a dark night of the soul is often one where many individuals find it helpful to seek out professional help. Accessing the right form of support and resources can be invaluable when attempting to work through feelings of despair and hopelessness.

However, it’s important that the type of treatment is customized to your individual needs – while some may be more suited to traditional forms of therapy such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) or psychodynamic counseling, others may find alternative sources such as energy healing techniques or psychosynthesis more suitable.

Equally, peer support networks like 12-step programs or spiritual mentor-like figures can also be beneficial.

Though such approaches require financial investment, there are many self-help books available for those on limited budgets that provide valuable insight into helping you process and make meaning from your experience.

Whatever approach you select, it’s key to ensure that you feel safe within your choice and open-minded in exploring unfamiliar practices and resources that offer non-judgmental support during this period.

Final Thoughts

The dark night of the soul is a true blessing. If you’re going through one, chances are, you’re the chosen one.

The Universe only gives you whatever you can take, you’re strong, clever, and have a deep connection with the divine.

The person who has gone through this process is now viewed in a different light, and carries with them certain experiences and qualities that many could not go through – let alone understand.

They are equipped with valuable lessons learned and newfound insight that can be applied to their lives going forward.

At this stage, one can find themselves feeling more connected to themselves and others, having gained insight into their values, purpose, and passions that they can carry with them as they continue on their journey of personal growth.

The final stage is a reminder that no matter how long or difficult your journey may seem, life always ends in full dusk – when the sun begins to dip behind the horizon. Just as the light reappears after deep darkness, so too will life’s gifts return once again if you stay on course and navigate your way through the seemingly never-ending winter nights.

Successful completion of such an experience combines inner strength with resilience which allows us to emerge from our experience wiser, more expansive individuals than before we entered it – having gained an invaluable understanding of living life authentically.

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