Dark Night of the Soul for Mystics
“The dark night of the soul is when you have lost the flavor of life but
have not yet gained the fullness of divinity.
So it is that we must weather that dark time, the period of transformation
when what is familiar has been taken away and the new richness is not yet ours.”
~ Ram Dass
As the New Year unfolds and we find ourselves as a human community in varying degrees of darkness, let us turn to our mystical sages and teachers for spiritual sustenance and wisdom to weather the dark nights of climate and soul that pervade us. Join us for our next sacred encounter with the mystics, where will explore the concept and reality of the dark night of the soul. Through the perspective and writings of various mystics, both classic and less renown, we will consider the universal and particular dimensions of the dark night and connect it, where applicable, to our parallel journeys during this pandemic. During our time together in both large and small groups of sharing, we will consider personal and global crises of faith in which questions regarding God’s presence or seeming absence stand as a cornerstone of psycho-social development and spiritual transformation. Opportunities for prayer, contemplation, and journaling shall empower us to reflect more deeply upon our own bodily/sensory information, shadow selves, and periods of spiritual desolation. These efforts will be aimed at cultivating elevated awareness of our inherent connection to the Divine through all junctures of our present-life journey.
Prior familiarity with the dark night concept or experience is not required. Please bring a journal for use throughout the program.
Mysticism in Art
“The goal of life is rapture. Art is the way we experience it. Art is the transforming experience.”
~ Joseph Campbell
In our next sacred encounter with the mystics, we will sojourn with the gift of art and its intrinsically mystical attributes. Delving into various aspects of the artistic process, participants will be invited to examine the transformative impact that experiencing art can have upon its creators and viewers. Further connection with the mysticism of art will be facilitated through prayer, meditation, and ritual. And, we will also spend some significant time connecting with the journey, creative genius and spiritual perspective of Vincent Van Gogh, whose masterpieces have both captivated and enlightened the world over.
As a unique feature to this sacred encounter, participants are invited to bring along artwork (or a visual representation thereof) from any genre that is
personally meaningful to them for sharing during our dialogue. This will deepen our respective appreciation for the beauty that art contributes to our spiritual lives and life cycles. As a closing exercise, an opportunity for visio divina will be engaged in to unlock the breadth of mysticism that is accessible through visually beholding and cherishing works of art.
Native American Spirituality & Mysticism
“To encounter the sacred is to be alive at the deepest center of human existence.
Sacred places are the truest definitions of the earth; they stand for the earth immediately and forever;
they are its flags and shields. If you would know the earth for what it really is,
learn it through its sacred places. At Devil’s Tower or
Canyon de Chelly or the Cahokia Mounds, you touch the pulse of the living planet;
you feel its breath upon you. You become
one with a spirit that pervades geologic time and space.”
~ N. Scott Momaday
Reverence for the Great Spirit, Nondualism of the Spiritual and Real World, and the Necessity of Rituals and Ceremonies. These principles form the heart of Native American spirituality spanning across the vast multitude of its diverse nations on the North American continent. While there are creedal nuances among each of these nations, most acknowledge these as core beliefs and express them entirely by living in harmony with Mother Earth, honoring all beings, and respecting the interdependence of all life. Join us for our next sacred encounter with the mystics as we experience the bountiful gift of Native American spirituality and the meaningful ways in which indigenous peoples have celebrated the Divine within the cosmos, the land, and each other for thousands of years. During our sojourn together, participants will connect with the broad strokes of this spirituality by learning and dialoguing about some of the perspectives and practices of diverse Native American nations. Included in our journey together will also be a brief discussion of (provided) excerpts from Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants by Potawatomi professor, Robin Wall Kimmerer, as a means of connecting mysticism with reverence for the earth as a creation of the Divine. A closing ritual will bring convergence to the teachings and themes considered and offer integration into the practice of contemporary spirituality in our age of pandemic living.