This one started out interesting, addressing our relationship to pain and darkness, waxing poetic about light and dark perception and personal experience, using an example from the author's life when she went to a Chinese healer for pain and experienced more pain followed by relief.
It then goes into the author's Oracle cards and various cultural religious references involved with her systems on those.
Much of it was very introspective, addressing perception of darkness through history and in relation to her own dark skin. On the one hand I felt I was reading the author's personal history, but at the same time I found her contemplations about perceptions of darkness interesting and thought provoking.
Having found spirituality in darkness in various situations, the book spoke to me, despite the very personal tone.
Thank you to the author, Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, the publisher, Sounds True, and NetGalley for an ARC of Opening to Darkness: Eight Gateways for Being with the Absence of Light in Unsettling Times.
I did not know when I started this book that I would be entering my own dark season. It is a gift to have a wise, compassionate guide through the valley. I really enjoyed the authorial voice. I appreciated the honest reflection on difficult subjects. This was a heavy book. I’m not sure exactly what I mean by that and also I can’t think of a better word. I don’t know that I would ever suggest this book to someone unless I knew them very, very well. And yet, I hope everyone who needs it, finds it. These words need to be sown in the right soil in order to flourish and also, all of us will need them eventually. I am grateful to the author for sharing hard-earned wisdom with clarity, authenticity, and grace.
This book reminds me of another favorite, Wild Mercy by Mirabai Starr, also published by Sounds True. The authors’ own experiences are interwoven with stories from a variety of spiritual traditions and cultures. There is guided meditation, questions to ponder, next steps. Wild Mercy is perhaps more accessible because mercy is something most of us want more of in our lives whereas darkness has to overcome the reader’s innate uncomfortable squirming.
I liked the introduction, loved the conclusion, and need to spend more time in the mandala chapters. Honestly, I feel like I barely scratched the surface of the material. I welcome a book which promises more with each reading.
Opening to Darkness is a book with big ideas and concrete steps to implementing them.
I was attracted to this book because I've been working on my aversion to darkness and winter.. It is an exploration of spiritual darkness through various religious and cultural avenues.
While darkness and light has been rooted in our physical, emotional, social and spiritual lives, this book concentrates on its spiritual impact. The book is arranged in the form of a Mandela with eight gateways. Each gateway has a blessing, guided silence, and meditation. Gateways deal with issues such as the nature of darkness, the childhood fear of darkness, and being a messenger of darkness. Notes