On the Importance of the Dark

So – why Dark? I have heard some people question this emphasis. Sometimes out of curiosity, other times out of disagreement.

My spiritual work is most often about what has been defined as Dark or about “endarkenment”*. I am a death midwife and shapeshifting WolfWitch, and my matron Goddess is the Morrigan – an Irish Goddess of War (among other things), Who is often seen in the form of a raven. The shamanic work I am called to do is that of the Psychopomp – a guide for souls who have made the transition from Life to Death, which ties in to the death midwife work and other work such as clearing homes and sometimes people of suffering beings.

The Goddess has seen fit to equip me with the skills/constitution to deal with this type of work. After having nightmares about skeletons as a child, I turned and faced those bones in my adolescence after discovering Paganism. My last dream with a skeleton in it was of Death, as a female skeleton in a purple robe. And she showed me how to use her scythe, by standing behind me and guiding my hands as I cut the grass we were standing on.

But isn’t Dark “bad”?

Well, there can be a “bad” side to Darkness. As there can be with the Light. Just think about the simple definition of each of these. Think of a dark room, with no light in it. That space could either be calming or frightening, depending on the framework brought to it by the person experiencing it. Now, before you get too smug, think about a room that is filled with light. Ahhhh, now that seems better. But wait! Just stay in that room, for 8 hours, for 12, for 48. Erg! Not so great now, is it?

As many others have stated before – our culture is at a great transition point right now. It’s not going so good. “Darkness” everywhere – death, war, disease, economic inequities. Who would want more darkness?

My work with endarkenment is most often about using the regenerative, healing, calming, and transformative energy found in the Dark. It’s about going in and through the Dark to regain the treasure within (as posited by Carl Jung and his theory of the Shadow). It’s about Deepening as well. I always get the image of burrowing down into the soil like a hibernating mammal. To sleep within that healing Darkness.

But my work can also be about going within the “Unhealed Darkness”, where one can seek lost souls as part of the psychopomp’s duties. Within there are also suffering beings that have no compulsion against harming others. Personal sovereignty and power are of the utmost importance. And therein it is often best to bring some of one’s Light as well.

And sometimes that lost, screaming soul is your own. And it can be about looking into the Abyss and withstanding the responding gaze of that Void. About allowing claw and fang to shred what is left of your comfortable preconceptions and lay you bare, bone and muscle.

I don’t eschew the Light; it is a matter of emphasis. While I gladly take part in rites/ceremonies of the Light, my spiritual “homework” so to speak is to help bring the Sacred Dark to the forefront and to help find the treasures that are contained within it, no matter how difficult or uncomfortable.

And so – you can find me under the waning Moon, at the crossroads, dancing with wolves and bones, hair flying free and claws sharpened. Join me!


*For further exploration of the term “endarkenment” see the following links:

“Endarkenment: The Esoteric in Dark Ambient Music and Culture” https://blackstonemonastery.wordpress.com/endarkenment-the-esoteric-in-dark-ambient-music-and-culture/

“What on earth is endarkenment?” http://www.wicca-spirituality.com/spiritual-endarkenment.html


3 responses to “On the Importance of the Dark

  1. As someone whose spiritual path is centered around the concept of endarkenment, it’s always a pleasure to read writings that describe it as a form of respect for the power of grounding, inner silence, descent into the depths, and the regenerative powers of the sacred dark. It’s a necessary counter-measure to the way the dominant culture so readily equates anything “dark” in a knee-jerk way with evil or negativity. And I particularly like the burrowing into the soil imagery you used here!

    If you haven’t already seen them, here are two more articles I love on endarkenment that I think you will find useful in your work:



    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you for sharing these links! I look forward to delving into them!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ahh, so well written! I agree, the metaphor of burrowng into the dark just feels so right! As well, I find it a great relief to read something about the beauty of darkness that doesn’t involve sensationalism over it’s destructive aspects. I find that often, the earth is such a good metaphor as the earth is so nutritious and holistic, and essential to life. The plants grow best within a balance of the dark earth and the sun and shade and I feel that’s a metaphor for all of us in our lives. Beautifully written!


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