Drinking the Dragon: Collaborating with the Dark Night of SoulAug 31, 2011 07:32AM ● By Linda Sechrist
In Drinking the Dragon: Stories for the Dark Night of Soul, author Patricia Ariadne, Ph.D., writes about individuals that are coming to terms with some of life’s darkest, most troubling experiences.
Whether brought on by a crisis, such as the end of a relationship, the loss of a loved one, illness, physical aging or an accumulation of disappointments and disillusionments, Ariadne refers to such difficult times of transition as the Dark Night of Soul (DNS).
In addition to her career as a psychotherapist, Ariadne is an explorer of her own and others’ transitions and alchemical process of transformation. This has afforded her a deep understanding of DNS as a method of spiritual unfoldment, a phase of the innate human blueprint of initiation, and an inherited destiny belonging to the human race as a whole.
To individuals that heed the inner call to, “enter into the arduous, risky work to transform their lower nature and to be of service to their fellow humans,” Ariadne offers a new perspective: The Dark Night is a process of initiation that links us to Divine Spirit. This connection gradually brings an expansion of consciousness, an increased capacity to love and a desire to be of service in an expanded way.
“Every deep disappointment or disillusionment is a step forward along the way of individuation—the process through which a person becomes his or her own true self—if it is accepted with insight, and not with resignation or bitterness,” advises Ariadne. She adds that spiritual growth through crisis and DNS is only one way to connect with the Divine. There are many other paths, types of teachers, methods and experiences.
Ariadne affirms that successful resolution of DNS can help individuals heal childhood wounds, eliminate feelings of guilt and gain strength through adversity. To clarify what lies beyond the Dark Night, she writes about resolution, inspiration, survival, hope, healing and resilience in the lives of individuals that have thrived through life’s darkest hours.
People who abort this process or run from it, by using prescription or recreational drugs, frantically stepping up life activities or attempting to find relief by making desperate life changes, remain stuck and miserable. “Those who collaborate and navigate the DNS gain perspectives that life is rhythmic, obstacles are gifts, and that giving back to others is a key to peace and happiness,” says Ariadne. The DNS offers greater self-understanding, a reconnection with Spirit, a desire to be of service and an ability to live more authentically.
DNS, a self-examination process, acts as a major cleansing technique and rids the psyche of useless self-concept tapes and belief systems that are no longer acting on an individual’s behalf. It also teaches what can really be trusted when nothing else remains—not the house, the car, the clothes, the toys or the job. “What we can trust after we’ve been to the bottom of our own well, is that we know we’re connected to something much larger than ourselves, and that we have a place in the fabric of life that nothing can shake us out of,” notes Ariadne.
“The arduous adventure is necessary, because until you go through it, you’re always going to be pulled by external circumstances; you’ll be the effect, and not the cause. After the adventure, no matter what happens, you know that you are your own authority and can rely on your spiritual connection,” she explains.
Learning to rely on this spiritual connection is something Ariadne believes will be necessary as society moves closer to 2012. “Some individuals believe we are facing an Armageddon, while others believe we are going to experience a change in consciousness,” she clarifies. “Whatever 2012 is about, we have to grow spiritually in order to take the next step in human evolution, and collaborating with the Dark Night of Soul is one way for people to do this.”