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Seven Symptoms of Spiritual Death

The contrast of life has always fascinated me.

Death and rebirth are two sides of one cycle of life that can be experienced in multiple realms. In a physical sense, we all eventually die a literal death, but I see its process mirrored in nature as the season of winter blankets the ground and everything goes dormant and into hibernation, including us! 

Death in the spiritual sense can be hard for me to identify right away. Instead, I usually think I'm losing it until I recognize what's actually happening. Recently I had such an experience where I suddenly felt like the world as I knew was being turned upside down, and while I had already felt a sense of inner shifting, this event really accelerated the process, threatening my whole world order. 

With so much inner work over the years, I've noticed my ability to be much more at ease with this apparent chaos. If I can remember to allow myself to be in the discomfort of whats happening vs. resist it - it's always a way smoother process. The trick is knowing that what is happening is necessary and natural.

Transformation of any kind always requires a death of some sort. The death of an idea, dream, belief, friendship, marriage, etc. It’s the idea that we can shed these while allowing ourselves to be reborn into a more expansive version of our Self, such as when a plant outgrows its pot. While I can't always make sense of what's happening in the moment, I have developed a trust that there is always a higher wisdom at play. 

I've noticed that when I fight against the natural cycle of transformation (death and rebirth), it can prolong my suffering. While it’s natural to grieve the loss of something that I've loved or taken comfort in, I'm beginning to recognize that it's most often in service of my next evolution. 

I recall a particular time of spiritual death I went through 10 years ago, which I believe was what is more often referred to as a "Dark Night of the Soul." While there can be several variations of what this experience is like,  here's a quick reference for seven symptoms in case you are curious. 

  1. You might feel a deep sense of sadness which often verges on despair (this sadness is often triggered by the state of your life, humanity, and/or the world as a whole).
  2. You may feel an acute sense of unworthiness.
  3. You have the constant feeling of being lost or relegated to a life of suffering and emptiness.
  4. You possess a painful feeling of powerlessness or have a hopelessness about life. 
  5. You have no will and your self-control is weakened, making it difficult for you to act, or even explain what's happening to those around you. 
  6. You lack interest in anything and find no joy in things that once excited you.
  7. You crave the loss of something intangible; a longing for a distant place or to “return home” again and have no fear of death - you might think living is harder. 

My own Dark Night felt like a period of utter desolation, disconnection, and emptiness. I felt totally alone and separate from everything and everyone. I felt terribly lost, hopeless, and consumed with despair and sadness. My own Dark Night took the form of an 8-month depression and I felt an urgent fracturing within myself. It felt frightening and alarming at times and yet, I've come to learn its a very normal part of the spiritual awakening process. I believe the more we normalize it, the easier it will be as we experience our own transformations, which is one of the reasons I wanted to share this post. 

It’s hard to recognize the signs if we have not felt this level of unmooring in the past, and it might be difficult to trust that what is happening is actually positive vs. negative. This is where I find that faith, Self-love practices, and the tools for Revelation are most helpful. 

  • Faith is trusting that even when we can’t see what’s happening, we have a knowing that life has our best interest at heart and that we are safe and held in a natural cycle that will deliver us into the arms of our next iteration of Self. 

  • Self-love is when we can sit in our fractured state and nurture our Self while we experience the extreme changes that are happening. It is when we surround ourselves with people who help us, support us, and offer us gentle words and gestures of love and care while we are finding our way in the darkness. Self-love is knowing what we need and not rushing the process or numbing or minimizing our experience.

  • The Tools of Revelation are those that help us discern and orient ourselves in the darkness and they give us access to insights that bring us closer to levity and light. In my world, one of these important tools is a circle of women with whom I can share my deepest feelings with. Additional tools can be those of Self-love, trust, meditation, movement, intuition, our senses, and more. It’s using the gifts we each possess within and knowing that we are capable of making our way back into balance.  

Like invisible wheels, the seasons of life move through an eternal cycle of death and rebirth. No matter what, each journey is unique, so my own description of death and rebirth is written from my experience alone, and come to think of it, it’s the very reason The Revelation Project came to be.

My own Dark Night of The Soul was my first big awakening to what my soul came here to learn and accomplish and since this time, I've had many more inner transformations that have created times of temporary discomfort and feelings of loss and separation.  

Our logo (a butterfly) is a great representation of the outcome of death and rebirth: transformation helps us meet ourselves as the best version of who we are becoming. 

If you have your own death and rebirth experience to share, I’d love to hear more! Please email me at [email protected]

If you are interested in joining us as we explore this duality in more depth, we will be diving into Death and Rebirth in our monthly membership, Remembering Sisterhood.

Each month we explore our world through discussions, metaphors, examples, journal prompts, coaching, book club, and so much more.

We'd love to welcome you! 

Here's to revealing more, 

Monica Rodgers 

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