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Glossary of Wiccan, Neo-Pagan and Occult Terminology

DARK NIGHT OF THE SOUL

Dark Night of the Soul, which is a continuation of The Ascent of Mount Carmel, is the most famous spiritual work of St.   John of the Cross.   In the work the poet describes the soul's mystical journey toward God in which the soul passes through three stages of mystical union.   Detachment and suffering are required for the purification and illumination of the soul.   More specifically the term "dark night of the soul" refers to a state of intense personal spiritual struggle, including the experience of utter hopelessness and isolation prior to attaining mystical transcendence.

see also: MYSTICISM


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PLEASE NOTE:
One of the major problems with 'defining' Paganism and/or its beliefs and practices is that it is an 'organic' movement, in that it is undergoing constant change and re-evaluation from within, and as such any 'one-size-fits-all' approach to understanding Paganism will be found wanting.

Due to the very 'organic' nature of Paganism, and the many differing Paths and Traditions within it, in many cases no one definition may be universally accepted by all Pagans.   Therefore, where such cases of possible conflicting and/or contradictory meanings of certain terms occur I have endevoured to give not only the generally accepted meaning, but also any major 'variations' in belief and/or practice.

Christians who believe this difference in meaning of certain key terms, beliefs and practices to be unique to Paganism need to remember that such conflicts also arise within the Body of Christ - the Church.   Take for instance the differing practices amongst Christians concerning Baptism and the different attitudes towards women in the clergy.

- Jean-Luc



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