Seeing in the Dark is a Metaphor

Often the dark is seen as mysterious and dangerous

When the word dark comes up, people have a tendency to back off. Keep it light, be positive, ad nauseum. Instead what if the dark is a friend. A soft velvety void of mysterious possibilities? Seeing in the Dark is a metaphor for learning to negotiate the unconscious and the unseen worlds.


It can also be about trials and challenges without a signpost. You grope your way along without a light, or it can mean a time of using and refining the kind of resources that are under the radar. Things like intuition, a 6th sense, an inner knowing. You need these tools to navigate unknown territories.

My dark journey has been one of severe depression

A suicidal type that lasted for far too long. Gifted by my parents who hadn’t learned to cope or deal with their particular issues. There was also a religion, that despite having mysticism at its core, was nevertheless a prison of control. It was a culture that repressed creativity and feminine wisdom.

That kind of inheritance can make you turn away 

It’s simply too frightening to contemplate, or like me, (thank goodness), it increased the desire to struggle on. To struggle without knowing exactly what I was doing, or where I was going. Imagine walking through a quagmire of beliefs and unconscious stories. These became deeply imprinted and by becoming normal thinking, they held me back. I felt scuppered.

Coming up into the light

This took me many years. It was partly because of the choices made. I did not fully understand or appreciate what the dark meant, or how to navigate it. Coming up was and is like nectar (like Persephone re-emerging), after the longest journey without food and water. No joke. It’s like springtime and fresh air. The sea rushing in and cleansing you with its to and fro movement. 

Being stuck in there

Is not fun. It can feel like you will never get out. I have done everything a person can think of, (except take anti-depressants, it ‘s just not for me. I like cold turkey). Thus my rich and rewarding inner journey into all things in the unconscious. Perhaps some of the greatest things I can offer is patience, understanding, and humour. For those who are trapped there, I get it. It’s like seeing blackness around you. In effect, awareness is lessened.

I know the territory, and the pitfalls. Most importantly, I know the way out

It takes time because you have to learn the skills to navigate the landscape. To find the tools that are most pertinent to you. You see, if you find yourself in the dark, this is your life lesson to find the way out. That is your path of growth. Not everyone can do it. I have huge compassion for those who can’t. I get that too.

Seeing in the dark is a metaphor

Clarissa Pinkola Estes – isn’t that a fantastic storyteller name?  She was and is a great teacher for me. She is a Cantadora (keeper of the old stories) and a Jungian Psychoanalyst who taught me what my parents could not. They too were groping in the dark, trying to find their way in this chaotic, messy, wonderful journey called life.

Here is what she taught me about seeing in the dark
  1. She speaks about the Medial nature of the psyche. This is about being able to stand at the point of the outer world, the over culture, and the unconscious.  Learning to navigate both.
  2. Every person born on earth has this within them. It’s normal. It’s just not recognised in the outer culture.
  3. An Owl can be a symbol of this. It can see in the dark. It symbolises the wise nature that flys and knows the dark. The Owl is the seer in the dark. It is its landscape. and is not afraid of it at all. 
  4. I discovered Soul loss. This is where the creative spirit is smothered. Killed off.
  5. The Medial nature is like dark soil. It is rich and moist. All manner of good things can grow in it. Creativity is regained, souls blossom into their fullness.
  6. By learning to negotiate a culture that prevents your soul from springing forth and blossoming, you begin to learn what suits you, not it. 
  7. Valuing seeing in the dark is to be able to move through the territory of the unknown. To understand that unformed ideas are there. Learning to listen to the whispers there. Being ok with the unknown. Knowing that something good will come of it, as some point.
  8. It’s about gathering everyone around the fire. To share in our wondrous differences, our cultural quirks, our wisdom, so that we no longer feel alone, or the outsider.
  9. We, outsiders, have had to reject the overculture, knowing the damage it causes. Leaving to search for something else, wiser and deeper. Knowing we had to walk away to remember who we truly are.

This is food for the soul

You can find out more about Clarissa on her Facebook page. Her various recordings (I don’t have affiliate links for this) are available here. This is on the Sounds True website. If any of this resonates with you, go get them.

In the spirit of the dark, I would love to finish with a metaphor from Clarissa Pinkola Estes

La Anciana – The 2 Million Year old Woman

This is an idea, a metaphor that there is something inside of us, that knows how to get the ego to serve the soul. La Anciana will teach us what we need to know.

It is said that we come into the world with a riddle

That someone inside us has the answer to this riddle. Usually, this someone is characteristically eccentric. This is the first sign of giftedness. It is the first sign to look for to follow your wisdom.

Look for the Eccentricities in you and your life

If you look for the eccentricities in you and your life, you will find the path to the 2 Million Year old Woman, and to your wisdom.

Trust the 2 Million year old Woman will be there, in your inner world. She will tell you, when you find her, that your gifts come directly from eccentricity. She is the one who knows.

Isn’t that a fabulous thought?

I love that we are all connected to this level of wisdom. That which is unseen and knowable in the outer world. It is palpable and wise, having an intelligence of its own. Beyond our ego’s normal response, is where it lives. 

This rich soil of wisdom is waiting for us to bury our hands in it. To pick it up and smell it. To plant the seeds for our Soul. Listen out for it and let me know what blossoms for you.


Yes, Clarissa is a wonderful teacher. Thank you for your lovely response. Much appreciated!

Regina Byrne

Beautiful, honest and deep piece, I too love the name Clarissa Pinkola Estes and her teachings – so rich and her voice transports. Thanks for sharing your wisdom and reminding us of the wisdom within.

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