It cannot be seen, cannot be felt,
Cannot be heard, cannot be smelt.
It lies behind stars and under hills,
And empty holes it fills.
It comes first and follows after,
Ends life, kills laughter.
— riddle from The Hobbit
Darkness is an arousal of all body, mind, soul and heart.
I have been trying these past few months to put forth examples and uses of the Higher Dark as I see it. But the hardest thing, I have found, is pinpointing what “pure” Darkness is. To me it is a feeling, an emotion that sparks a sensation. It’s not a simple thing, and I find it hard to describe because so much of our language is open to interpretation. Words that feel right to me can have completely different meanings to someone else. And moreover, I find it hard to describe Darkness even in my own words. It’s elusive, as if the Darkness itself has its own personality, a face that winks and grins at me as it slips away from any attempt to describe it. I feel the Darkness there when I watch certain movies; hear certain music; see a beautifully surreal painting; go walking at night in woods or city streets; dress myself as a vampire for a fantasy convention. I can reach out and touch it, let it flow through me, but I don’t know how to give it to someone else in words. The best I can hope for is to communicate this feeling and others who already feel it too can connect with my words and spark a discussion.
The feeling is sensual, but not in a strictly sexual way. It’s across the entire body, right out to the fingertips, and it’s more than physical. Your muscles relax, tension releasing, while at the same time all the nerves of the skin become awake and aware, anticipating. You feel aware of the underlying life energy, like a shadow world underneath the physical. You feel you are breathing in time with that world, a slow, steady breathing like sleep.
And yet you feel active, like your mind is full of electricity. You feel you could stand up and dance and writhe and whirl to pipes and drums that call to you from beyond the realm of sound. You could reach out and change the world by grasping some invisible esoteric control lever and jerking it into a new position and then ripping it from the machine. You feel you could mesmerize someone with just a look, while at the same time it is you who are mesmerized. You are breathing in and out life itself, and the farthest reaches of the universe are your limbs and fingers and toes. You want to sink your teeth into living.
And yet at the same time you are calm, cool, stilled and balanced. It’s a quiet pleasure, not a shout for joy or a rolling laughter, although you might be inclined to cackle (or moan with passion). But there is joy there: a joy like black butterflies swarming through your chest, fluttering and rustling in the wind of your breath, ready to be released wherever you direct your power.
We are all of us adulterated, having lost most of our innocence beyond recovery, although there is new innocence and clarity to be reclaimed. It’s hard to look out upon our world, to live in it, without judging and feeling a sense of loss of higher ideals. But Darkness is for dealing with that, and it’s also for improving our experience. It’s allowing those negative emotions, anger, sadness and fear, that result from experiencing the things in the world that we don’t like, acknowledging them, and then releasing them without expressing or acting upon them. Pure Darkness is the clean, open feeling of potential that they leave behind, an empty vessel ready to be filled with new powerful energy. It is the wisdom of seeing beyond the world-that-is to the world-that-is-possible, even to the “impossible” that you discover can be real after all.