Last night I had a dream where I am at an IASD Conference. I am upset because I have temporary residence within the organization. Little do I know that during the interim sessions all the members who hold residency status must vacate their quarters and return home for a period of time. Then return a new. All my possessions are being displaced. I should have known this but I guess I just did not pay attention to the details. They have already come through and dismantled most of my living quarters. I demand to see the President but my request is ignored.
Now I lay and wait for the dark night when we all must return home. My friend Ed and I are sitting around waiting. He rode his bicycle to the conference and is planning the trip home in the same way. The distance he must cover is at least 12 hours by car. It is also the dead of winter with little if any daylight. The sun never rises during this period. He plans to head south on his bike by way of Boston. We are laying in bed watching television just waiting for the right moment. We are cuddled up with each other to help keep each other warm. All of the others have long since left. He then gets up and begins applying tar all over his body as a form of insulation for the long ride home. He is covered from head to toe in black tar. He reminds me of a black crow. I know my time has come, it is time to ready myself to make the same journey back home.
Dark Night of the Soul (Spanish: La noche oscura del alma) is a treatise written by Spanish poet and Roman Catholic mystic Saint John of the Cross. It has become an expression used to describe a phase in a person’s spiritual life, a metaphor for a certain loneliness and desolation. It is referenced by spiritual traditions throughout the world.
The phrase “dark night of the soul” emerged from the writings of Saint John of the Cross, a Carmelite priest in the 16th century. Dark Night of the Soul, the name of a poem and its theological commentary, are among the Carmelite priest’s most well-known writings. The texts tell of the saint’s mystical development and the stages he is subjected to on his journey towards union with God.
The Dark Night of the Soul is divided into two books that reflect the two phases of the dark night. The first is a purification of the senses. The second and more intense of the two stages is that of the spirit, which is the less common of the two. Dark Night of the Soul further describes the ten steps on the ladder of mystical love, previously described by Saint Thomas Aquinas and in part by Aristotle, referred to by medieval Catholic theologians as the Philosopher, for he established justification for the existence of one true God and thus refuted his master, Plato. The text was written while John of the Cross was imprisoned by his Carmelite brothers, who opposed his reformations to the Order.
Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, a 19th-century French Carmelite, underwent similar experience. Centering on doubts about the afterlife, she reportedly told her fellow nuns, “If you only knew what darkness I am plunged into.”
While this crisis is assured to be temporary in nature, it may be extended. The “dark night” of Saint Paul of the Cross in the 18th century lasted 45 years, from which he ultimately recovered. Mother Teresa of Calcutta, according to letters released in 2007, “may be the most extensive such case on record”, lasting from 1948 almost up until her death in 1997, with only brief interludes of relief between. Franciscan Friar Father Benedict Groeschel, a friend of Mother Teresa for a large part of her life, claims that “the darkness left” towards the end of her life.
The “dark night” might clinically or secularly be described as the letting go of one’s ego as it holds back the psyche, thus making room for some form of transformation, perhaps in one’s way of defining oneself or one’s relationship to God. This interim period can be frightening, hence the perceived “darkness.”
Tar is a viscous black liquid derived from the destructive distillation of organic matter. Most tar is produced from coal as a byproduct of coke production, but it can also be produced from petroleum, peat or wood.Tar is used in treatment of the skin disease psoriasis, where coal tar is the most effective. Tar is also a general disinfectant. Petroleum tar was also used in ancient Egyptian mummification circa 1000 BC.
Crows, and especially ravens, often feature in European legends or mythology as portents or harbingers of doom or death, because of their dark plumage, unnerving calls, and tendency to eat carrion. They are commonly thought to circle above scenes of death such as battles.
In the Epic of Gilgamesh, the Chaldean myth, the character Utnapishtim releases a dove and a raven to find land, however, the dove merely circles and returns. Only then does Utnapishtim send forth the raven, who does not return. Utnapishtim extrapolates from this that the raven has found land, which is why it hasn’t returned. This would seem to indicate some acknowledgement of crow intelligence, which may have been apparent even in ancient times, and to some might imply that the higher intelligence of crows, when compared to other birds, is striking enough that it was known even then.
Amongst Wiccans, crows are often thought to be highly psychic and are associated with the element of ether or spirit, rather than the element of air as with most other birds. This may in part be due to the long-standing occult tradition of associating the color black with “the abyss” of infinite knowledge (see akasha), or perhaps also to the more modern occult belief that wearing the “color” black aids in psychic ability, as it absorbs more electromagnetic energy, since surfaces appear black by absorbing all frequencies in the visible spectrum, reflecting no color.