Often, in occult community there’s talk of Darkness and whether it’s “good” or “bad”; some claim to be following “the Dark Path”, or “Dark Paganism”, some, on the opposite, claim to be “warriors of Light, fighting the Darkness”. And yet, all these talks can be very confusing, since the concept of Darkness can manifest in many, very different forms.
- The Primordial Darkness, Erebos and Nyx the Abyss attested in many mythologies, that existed before there everything else, and from which everything else was created/manifested. LHP practitioners often claim to work with this substance, and yet, it isn’t good or evil, “left hand” or “right hand” – it is all of it, and yet nothing of it. In a narrower sense: the alchemical prima materia, the original state of things (either metals or human psyche), to what they must be first reduced in order for the transformation to begin.
- The Darkness of human mind, whereby the monsters, created by sleep of reason, dwell. The ultimate source of inspiration for horror writers, metal bands and angry, angsty teenagers. The Lovecraftian Darkness of nightmares, of the most horrible fears, the most perverted desires. Done right, the interaction with it leads to successful Shadow Work in Jungian sense, to an expression of an artistic talent, to a powerful magical working. Done wrong, it lets the monsters get control of the human mind; those then are the ones that land in asylums and prisons.
- The Great Unknown. The things people fear, mostly because they bring a great deal of unknown with them; death, magic, literal darkness, the absence of sight. There’s a reason why the fear of darkness has been evolutionary ingrained within human psyche: try losing the most important sense you are used to rely on as a species in a hostile environment, which the Earth were for the most part of human existence. The fear, that comes from the uncertainty of the future in general.
Nav’, in Slavic mythology the spirits of the dead (the malevolent and dangerous ones), and in modern Neopaganism (as taken from Book of Veles, which is commonly regarded as a 19th century forgery), also the name of the Otherworld in general. The word itself is similar to “novyi”, meaning “new”; and indeed, there’s an old Slavic saying claiming that with the flow of time the world is submerging into the waters of darkness and death, and there will come the time when it will sink in them completely. This grim outlook towards the future was present in many other cultures as well.
This unknown, still, has been one of the greatest motivators for the mankind, to dwell into the darkness and to find out what is there; to bring the light into it. This is how scientific discoveries came to being, new lands were discovered; this is how the civilization was made.
- The darkness of ignorance. As opposed to previous point, no motivation to know more exists here. A symbol of living in a small world of preconceived notions, dogmas and primitive desires, with no attempts to find out what may exists outside; with hostility towards those who think otherwise.
- Chtonic darkness of Earth as the Mother. The dark soil that makes the crops grow; the darkness of the graves, which mirrors the darkness of woman’s womb; the place, where things die and where they prepare to being born again.
- Dark night of the Soul. A place of loneliness and abandonment, of despair and hopelessness, of shame and self-loathing. A large black hole, where all your efforts and your energy seem to go.
Some say, its a necessary stage in spiritual development, which brings us closer to the Divine. Some claim, that this melancholy itself is a blessing of sort, like a bitter and yet needed medicine. Maybe they are right; and yet, its very difficult to see things like that while being in that place.
- Darkness of secrets, of esoteric mysteries, of things too intimate to be presented to the plain sight of all. Beauty, unnoticed to many, but visible only to those who take enough effort to see and appreciate it. Darkness, in which all kinds of disturbing imagery may manifest, but the main purpose of which is to protect the mysteries from the profane ones.
- The Darkness of God. Either a wrathful face of the deity, or, in a paradoxical sense, the divine essence in the most concentrated form; a light so bright, “light so strenuous that it is not perceived as light”, as Aliester Crowley wrote. “Dark as the night” is Apollon in Homer’s epic; “super-luminous darkness”, or “darkness brighter than light” is what the God is referred to in some of the Christian esoteric thought.