The Dark Side of Spiritual Awakening

Spiritual Awakening

Spiritual Awakening seems to be the new “in” thing.

People are working with their chakras, doing kundalini yoga, meditating on the regular and giving themselves spiritual experiences that will blow open their third eye so that they can “see” everything better. And I think it’s amazing to be alive at a time where the collective paradigm is shifting. People are tired of being asleep and they crave to be more awake and aware of the world around them. They also crave spiritual connection and experience. Especially in the western world where our government and the collective culture has basically shunned spirituality in any form other than Christianity for the last several hundred years.

Many of us are tired of living in that paradigm of outdated and constrictive thinking and we are no longer willing to believe the lie that this is all there is.

We intuitively know there is more and that we are more than just these bodies moving around on a planet going to our jobs and watching our TV shows. So many of us have been seekers of spiritual experience and as such, we go through a spiritual awakening. Now some will say that only spirit can decide whether or not you go through an awakening. Which I think is true to an extent. I also believe that if you are a naturally, open-minded person and you are the type to allow what happens and not control the outcomes, you will inadvertently give yourself an awakening.

At first, awakening is amazing.

You may start having spiritual experiences, connection with your guides and angels or deities, recognizing synchronicities, becoming more psychically aware and learning things about yourself and the world that you never thought possible. But then, just when you think you’re about ready to achieve “Buddha-like status” with your enlightenment, your third eye opens a little too much and your whole world comes crashing down. And everyone is different so this might not be true for everyone who goes through an awakening. Although this thing that happens when you become “too open” and “too aware” is a very real thing and it can be called a spiritual emergency or even dark night of the soul.

This is the part of awakening that they don’t tell you about in meditation class or yoga retreats.

But I thought spiritual awakening was all love and light and connection with my higher self? You might say. And yes, sometimes, especially in the beginning, it can be. But while spiritual awakening can be a beautifully freeing experience, it can also be the complete and total destruction of everything you thought you knew about yourself and the world around you. Suddenly, the things you used to do no longer interest you. And the people you used to hang out with no longer seem “cool” or “connected” to you anymore. So you find yourself isolated, confused and questioning the meaning of life on a regular basis. You become so disillusioned with life here on earth because you know that no matter what you do, one day you’ll go through your last transformation on this planet, your death, and return home anyway. So what’s the point? You might ask yourself.

This is the point where some people might go a little mad and start to loose touch with reality.

You might even start questioning reality itself not sure what’s real and what’s not real. Pretty soon you’re spiraling down a dark hole of too-many realizations and wondering why you ever started messing with this stuff in the first place. This, my friend, is the dark side of spiritual awakening. The part that no one tells you about until it’s too late. And so you might start saying to yourself; “Well if I just stop meditating and doing yoga, maybe it’ll stop”. Although that’s not how it works. There really is no stopping the spiritual awakening train once you’ve gotten on. You just have to ride it out and understand that it will get better.


When these things start falling apart, and you start questioning your existence on this planet, it can be very scary.

Understand that this too is part of becoming aware and awake. Not all awakening is pretty. Especially if you’ve got some darkness stuffed down deep inside you. When I say darkness, I’m referring to parts of your shadow side. The parts of yourself that you don’t like so you lock them away in a box, throw away the key and hide it inside yourself thinking that you’ll never have to see these parts of you again. The “if I ignore it, it’ll go away” mindset. Well guess what, awakening loves to bring those things back out to play again. And they usually start to creep up when you least expect it and when you’re the least prepared to deal with it.

This is awakenings way of telling you “hey, remember this? Yea it’s time to deal with it honey”

So you sit in your pain and feel the parts of yourself you thought you had locked away for good. You cry and you moan through the growing pains. You isolate and hide under the covers until the monsters go away. Until you realize that the monsters are actually parts of you, and they’re not going away until you show them that they are lovable too. Until you learn to love all of yourself, monsters included, they will keep scratching at the surface trying to drag you back down into the depths of the darkness within your soul.

But let me tell you friend, if you learn to sit with your pain, if you learn to feel those very unwanted feelings and you learn to recognize and accept your “other half”, you will emerge a more “whole” person.

You will see things more clearly. The light will start to shine on your dark parts and you will start to care for them as you would care for your most cherished things in life. You will start to love your monsters and you will nourish them and hold them in your arms and say “I love you and I will never forget you again”. Going through this part of spiritual awakening is very much like the caterpillar in the cocoon preparing to become a butterfly. Sometimes you just have to sit in the dark, not knowing what’s coming or even what’s going for that matter. You have to become ok with the unknown. Your job now is not to know, it’s to just be. To simply exist and allow life, spirit, the universe or whatever you prefer to call it, guide your way.

My best advice for someone experiencing a spiritual emergency or dark night of the soul is to ground yourself.

Go outside and take a walk, remind yourself that you are still human and living on this planet. Journal about your experience. Sometimes it just helps to get it out. Please feel your emotions. Cry if you need to, dont hold it in. If you feel up to it, join a spiritual community either online or in person for support. But if you don’t feel like being around people during this time, please know that that’s ok too. Your awakening experience will be unique to you. I myself have been going through an “I don’t want to be around people” period. This may be because our focus is supposed to be solely on us. We can’t discover who we really are and we can’t engage with our shadow while we are around other people. Please learn to be ok with wherever you are on your path. Do not listen to anyone who judges you or tells you that “you should be doing this”. That is simply their ego trying to control you or projecting their needs onto you.

Embrace your path and your experience because you do have a special purpose here on this earth, just like everyone else.

Please also feel free to email me or reach out if you simply need someone who understands. Because trust me, I do! I hope I helped some of you with this post. I hope I was able to shine a light on some of these darker aspects of awakening so that we can all talk about them more. Our western society is not set up for these types of things like the eastern cultures are. But if we are going to be getting involved with things that will open our souls, we need to have people and places that can help us through the dark parts of these experiences so that we can retain our sanity throughout.

Please feel free to leave any comments below about your spiritual awakening experiences.


Ascension Watercolor Painting

This image came to me as a vision during a dream. As much of my art does. Sometimes I remember them clearly, as in the case with this one. Other times they slip into the realm of unremembered dreams and visions. The ones that come through clear and with purpose are usually the ones most important for me to create. These are the ones with a strong message from spirit.

The woman in this image is in a deep meditative state. So deep in fact that she starts to float up and into the cosmos. She is ascending and rising to a higher level. She is now vibrating at a higher frequency because she is becoming awakened. She is becoming more in tune with her true self. Her hair swirls around in the universe and mixes with the galaxies and stars. Her chakras are aligned and balanced.

She rises up to become one with the infinite source of knowing. The all-seeing eye above her head represents this. Here in this space, she is one with the universe. This is where she realizes that she is a spirit in human form. She is a spiritual being having a human experience. Now that she is awakened, she cannot go back to sleep. This is (for me at least) one of the hard parts about spiritual awakening. You can no longer close your eyes to the things you see. You have to face things head on and be totally honest with yourself about your reality.

This enlightened woman reminds us that even though it won’t always be easy or feel good, true spiritual growth comes from knowing ourselves completely. This watercolor and ink painting is available in my shop along with prints and altar cards.