There is not one single Avatar, Messiah, Master, or Prophet who has not alluded to a period of great confusion which, at one time or another during his or her quest, every Seeker must confront and, if possible, overcome.
I expressly say “if possible,” for it may happen that the Obscure Night will prevent us from perceiving the Light forever – or at least during one incarnation.
What is the Obscure Night?
On the individual plane, it is a cycle which corresponds to a doubting of the worth of the ideals we have pursued so far.
Depending on the circumstances, this doubt may stem from a series of trials we are going through, or from an inner crisis that has no connection with the outside world.
An illness, accident, loss of a loved one, family problems, professional worries are all causes which can disturb the mystical life of an individual and plunge him or her into the darkness of doubt.
Independent of these trials, it may also happen that a Mystic may feel overwhelmed by inner negative feelings, thoughts or impulses which drastically induce him or her to discard the values they once believed in.
Whether it originates from earthly trials or from an inner anguish, the Obscure Night often manifests in the same way:
The flame of our mystical faith flickers and is extinguished for as long as we persist in not rekindling it.
We suffer on every plane but, even though we know that we are personally responsible for this suffering, we refuse to extricate ourselves from the quicksands which, hour after hour, day after day, and week after week, suffocate us a little more.
Hands are held out to us, but we do not want to see them, much less grasp them.
We no longer believe in anything; neither in God, in Satan, in humanity, in a friend, nor in ourselves.
We allow ourselves to become prisoners of fatalism.
Many among us have already experienced these especially dark periods of life, but as Mystics, we know that these moments involve us making choices which concern our spiritual evolution.
These dark periods put our ideals to the test. We may come out of them more evolved or, on the contrary, less evolved.
Life’s Trials vs. Karma
In these moments, there is a tendency to ask “Why me?” or “What have I done to deserve this?”
However we should never make a systematic connection between a trial and a negative karma.
In other words, it is essential to understand that a trial, no matter what it is, may not necessarily be karmic.
Many are purely evolutionary and are merely intended to test our inner strength while impelling our physical and mental abilities to overcome them.
An analogy may help you to understand this.
Imagine a student who hates mathematics and is asked questions by his teacher.
To the student, this examination is a trial she must undergo, yet this trial is not linked to bad behaviour on her part.
This examination is merely a normal event in her scholastic life.
Its purpose is to challenge the thinking and to contribute to the acquisition of a certain kind of knowledge. In this sense, though the student experiences it as a trial, it is not karmic in any way.
Now imagine this same student being punished for a good reason and given a math exercise by her teacher as a punishment.
In this case, it will indeed be a karmic trial, for it will be the result of the wrong application of the student’s free will.
The same principle applies to the trials that every human being inevitably has to confront.
Some, in effect, are karmic, but many others are not.
Such conditions exist because they are indispensable to evolution, and it is impossible, as an incarnate being, to evolve without having problems to solve and difficulties to overcome.
Therefore, when you are confronted with trials, rather than trying to determine whether they are karmic or not, face them responsibly, that is, mystically, with the assurance that you can overcome them and that they will help to hasten your evolution.
As long as a Rosicrucian has not reached that point of evolution wherein he or she has intimately experienced the Divine, he or she remains vulnerable in their quest; and their degree of vulnerability determines their mystical faith.
This implies that very few among us can affirm that we will never experience dark periods in our Rosicrucian life or that we will experience no more in the future.
Even the Master Jesus, at the final moment of his mission, cried out: “Father, why hast Thou forsaken me?”
For a split second, even this high-ranking initiate doubted.
However, in moments of despair, during trials and in adversity we must never lose our mystical faith but, on the contrary, think, speak, and act with more trust in God.
Our only concern should be to ask for Cosmic assistance so as to have the inner strength to overcome our weakness.
This implies that prayer and meditation constitute our two greatest allies in the restoration of the Light when circumstances have plunged our inner self into complete darkness.
There is an old adage that states: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
This is true when it comes to the body, but it is also true when it concerns the soul.
Rather than waiting for circumstances to change our spiritual life and shake our mystical faith, we should cultivate our inner garden and sow the seeds of an unconditional attachment to the Supreme Cause.
Many mystics get lost in Obscure Nights which they have created for themselves because they had just simply forgotten to cultivate the rose which they had promised themselves to love forever.
Indeed, if we do not awaken voluntarily to the consciousness of the soul, the consciousness of the objective self gathers strength and ends up by controlling our lives.
Tending Our Garden
The maintenance of a garden requires constant attention. It is not enough to sow good seeds so as to reap a good harvest.
We must also look after the seeds and always protect them from becoming overgrown by weeds.
This means that nothing beautiful, good, or useful can be gained without effort.
For example, once a Rosicrucian falls behind in their studies they may eventually end up with unopened monographs.
They may then begin to postpone their periods of prayer and meditation, and it then becomes increasingly difficult for them to retire to their sanctum to do the work which is expected of them.
As a consequence, the void which they create within their inner consciousness is gradually filled by a life directed more and more outwardly and to the material world.
Finally, the time comes when they are a Rosicrucian in name only, and they have sown the seeds that sprout into the Obscure Night which will be decisive for his or her mystical future.
The New Age of Spirituality
It may be that humanity has never been so well prepared as now for the advent of spirituality.
People are seeking within more and more and, in the utter chaos which shakes the world, they are ready to question the values which, in our modern society, have created an abyss between body and soul.
More than ever we are realising that materialism, while contributing much to our physical wellbeing, can alienate us from the inner life which we have never really renounced.
The Obscure Night which humanity is now going through is proof in itself that the Guardian Angel still lives in the heart of humanity and that she has never fought with such strength against the dragon.
In this sense, what we are now experiencing on a worldly scale is merely the apparent effect of a spiritual war which each of us is fighting.
This means that if the majority of humanity is victorious and finds the Light, the world has every chance to witness the rising of the Golden Dawn to which every Initiate has referred.
Since this is what we all wish, our duty is to help our fellow humans fill the inner void which makes each of us susceptible to stray away from the Path.
We must slant conversations toward mysticism at every opportunity and prove that everything – absolutely everything – can and must be treated from a spiritual viewpoint.
In short, we must be the Light which illuminates the souls of others while warming their hearts.
The duty of all Mystics – not only of Rosicrucians – is to induce a gradual change within the minds of humanity so as to restore balance between material concerns and spiritual needs.
Every Obscure Night, be it individual or collective, is an Initiation.
At the end of every Initiation there is a small light, and when all the small lights fuse into one, the individual or collective consciousness experiences Cosmic Illumination.
Access to the Greater Light is then definite, and darkness is banished forever.
May the God our Hearts forever illumine our beings and may the Rose Cross shine forever in our hearts and souls.
So Mote It Be!
Adaptation of “The Obscure Night – Message from the Imperator” by Christian Bernard F.R.C., RC Digest 1990.