As it seems the Ghost of Sinus Funk Present has decided to manifest its own brand of holiday spirit inside my head, and I am now on everything but roller skates to deal with its less than tender ministrations, let’s talk about some more weird shit for a minute…
The Abyss is a concept in esoteric/ occult practices.
(And let me remind you that “occult” only means hidden, not supernatural or evil. What? You knew that? Of course you did. I never would have doubted you, if it wasn’t for the awe-inspiring amount of cold medicine I’m currently on. I know you’ll have the style and grace to forgive me, just this once.)
Anyways, the Abyss is also known as – wait for it – “The Dark Night of the Soul”.
What can I tell you, secret societies and ancient cults love their drama.
Okay, so what does all this mean?
Well, the Abyss is a part of any esoteric practice. In many cults, orders, religions, one is taught about the Abyss to prepare one to meet it, and, if one is worthy, to pass beyond it.
Why am I telling you about this?
Because I’m wired like a microwave and as weird as a white guy with dreadlocks.
(Bless you, if you can pull them off. I’m not hatin’ on you, just stating a fact.)
But really, I’m bringing this occult thing out into the open because the Abyss is not just something initiates to secret societies have to be concerned about.
Don’t worry. This will make sense, as soon as I explain it.
The Abyss is the time, in any practice, when you begin to feel like you’re not making any progress.
Ok, I’ll unpack that a bit.
Whenever we begin to learn something, we tend to make progress fairly quickly. We see results early and often. This encourages us to continue in our pursuit of, well, whatever.
But, there comes a time when those results turn from torrent to trickle.
It is here where most people usually give up.
And this is precisely where, in occult teachings, one is instructed to not give up.
Think of the Abyss as the universe, or god, or whatever’s way of seeing if you’re genuinely committed to the endeavor.
(I’m not certain there is a whatever, but it works for the purposes of visualization, so, just go with me on this.)
The Abyss is the proving ground. It is where you show whether or not you are worthy to continue along the path.
It is meant to be hard.
Meant to weed out those without the passion and perseverance to succeed.
The point of the Abyss is to struggle through it.
Struggle long enough, diligently enough, and you will begin to see results again.
(The Dawn after the Dark Night of the Soul.)
(something perverse in me loves the pretension of that phrasing, but I digress…)
The Abyss is part of the cycle.
Make progress. Progress stalls or stops. Keep going, keep trying, keep practicing. Eventually progress resumes.
And it seems to be a commonplace enough archetype in the human experience that the various mystery cults and societies made sure to teach their chosen members about it.
The whole reason this allegory/ metaphor exists is to teach people how to negotiate this aspect of life.
Most of us lay people aren’t taught that. If anything, we’re taught that the halt in our progress is a sign we should give up.
“It’s just not for you.”
“Maybe you’re not ready.”
“Are you sure you really want to do this?”
I’ll bet, if you’re over the age of fourteen, you’ve heard one of these or something similar before. And if you’re not over the age of fourteen, where are your parents and why do they let you read this kind of thing?!
But here’s the thing: it’s not a sign that we should give up, it’s a sign that we should keep going.
If you want it and believe in it, you will.
But there is so much fear of failure nowadays – it’s pervasive in our culture – that the possibility of failing often makes a body give up when the going, well, stops going.
And apparently, that’s been a common problem throughout human history, or else, why would this secret teaching go way back to the mystery cults?
(So, it’s not just us. If that’s any relief.)
The Abyss is something all of us engaged in a progressive endeavor experience.
I’ve experienced it in my writing, and come through it.
I’m having a moment of it now, with my meditation practice.
But, knowing what I know about the cycle, I will persevere without fear.
And now that you know, I hope you will too.
Whatever it is you are trying to accomplish or learn or master, remember this:
The Darkness is a test of your worthiness to continue.
And all you have to do to be worthy is continue.
I hope that helps.
Now I’m away to stare off into space and try not to drool too much for a while.
May your holidays be awesome, whatever they are, and my the new year find you ready to press on, where ever you’re headed.
Until next time…