making love to god: part six

This is the sixth in a series from Making Love To God, my memoir of Divine Union and contemporary spiritual relationship. The series began on July 29, 2008, with the Introduction and Chapter One, and will continue through completion. You may resonate with the material more powerfully if you follow it in order; all posts are categorized in the Making Love To God category in the sidebar to your right. May we all find the courage to strip away anything that separates ourselves from our own Divinity.

If you’ve been following the series, you may have noted that the format interweaves the mystical spiritual journey (The Awakening, The Invitation, The Dark Night, The Unfolding, Peace Everlasting) with the more earthly journey of spiritual relationship (identified by numbered chapters).

Author’s Note: I have relied on the words God, Goddess, Creation, Divine, Jesus, and Beloved to represent energy that is inherently indefinable. Interpretation lies with the reader.

The painting, “Dark Night of the Soul” is by Sami Parbhoo, whose other work may be seen in this gallery.

"Dark Knight of the Soul," by Sami Parbhoo
"Dark Night of the Soul," by Sami Parbhoo

The Dark Night
from Making Love To God
by Rachel Snyder

What Hell is this you lead me through, and to what abysmal end?

Is there no gentler pathway, no road that is not inhabited by these great and gloomy stretches of blackened night, no way through without my body stretched on the rack and the deep scraping of the interior of my bones? I endure all I can, and yet you give me but more. I disintegrate, fragment my false self into untold numbers, and yet you deem that insufficient.

How I at once hopelessly desire and yet utterly abhor you, my beloved. You who opened me gently like a reluctant rose and peeled apart my petals to expose a center too tender for the light of day. You who carried me over thresholds I had approached time and again, only to turn back in fear of the Heavenly delights that awaited on the other side. You who received my rage and applauded my darkest shadows, inviting them in, insisting they come out and stain the sweet landscape in which we walked. You, who brought me to my knees in adoration, and left me humbled and prostrate before the immensity of God.

"Dark Knight of the Soul" by Sheri Gordon
"Dark Knight of the Soul" by Sheri Gordon

Death rides reinless in my dreams, in the endless pounding of my mind. Let! Me! Be! Take my hand in yours, my Lord, I beseech you, and escort me out of this horrid nightmare of dissolution. I yearn to return to the divinity in this now-wretched body. This body, this earthly form, yes! that has given life and offered sustenance and carried me to your most lush and fertile gardens.

Yes! I praise your infinite wisdom that has plunged me to this depth. Yes! I shower you with gratitude for the tempering that comes through this fiery furnace, and I implore you, Is this not enough?

I despise you for the the hold you have on me. It is but too strong, too powerful, and it rivals that which I have reserved only for my God! It pushes me far and beyond anything I ever chose to offer a Son of Man. It relentlessly drags me into a domain that can only be entered with the Master Key. I did not anoint you the master and I demand to know, Who did?

Who gave you the power to order my crucifixion? What covenant did you enter that invested you with the strength to lash me to the beam and leave me parched and alone under the cloudless sky? This I am prepared to surrender to my most Divine Creator but to you, child of Man, not.

To you I offer a piece of my soul, and how is it that you devour it whole? How is it that I sanctioned this feast on which I set the table, I provided the sustenance and then, rent of the very essence of my being, I remained to clean up the debris left by a porcine and satiated crowd?

Ah, but I had fed you a meal worthy of the Gods and Goddesses, you had delighted in the tender flesh and spirit of my Sanctum Sanctorum, and the radiance of self-selected martyrdom brought me a twisted peace.

But this was not to be for you!

For my beloved, yes, I willingly offer the sacrifice of my wounded soul. I adorn myself in the wedding robe of death and walk with fluttering heart to meet my bridegroom. It is He who I wish to marry, not you! It is He who I pine to lay beside each night, in a Heavenly castle of untold splendor. You are hardly a worthy successor, a pale stand-in after I have ached so for the translucent touch of the Divine.

I did not ask for you and your unholy, unhealed, barren places. It is not your hollow words and joustings of the mind and wretched accusations I have sought in my hours of darkness! It is His touch I have dreamt of, His gentle caress, His glorious hand in mind and His blessed sense of wonder at the world we can together create.

Instead, I am sentenced to settle for you. What sentries were dispatched to render me defenseless against this act of invasion?

O Beloved God, but raise your hand and deliver me now! You and only You have the answer, only You possess the keys! You and only You have the power to raise my existence to the heights that are my birthright — and then to yet slam me repeatedly against the cold, dim and dark walls of my interior inferno!

I beg not. No longer need I wail and beat my scraped and bloodied fists against these impenetrable gates. I surrender to the dying, I give gratefully to the annihilation, to the negation of that which I led myself to believe was the very core of my existence! It is Yours: It is the dowry that I offer, the covenant that I pledge.

I have sipped the fruit of sweet surrender, and drift without delay to an unending peace. Here Love is all. All comforting, blessedly surrounding me and cradling my every corner. Your sweet breath wafts across my body, carrying away the remains of decay and putrefaction.

Your very gaze, your presence alone, lift from me the veil of illusion’s death, the doubt, misery and confusion that have stolen my sweet peace, that like the lower thieves of the night have robbed me of my tranquility.

The shroud is removed and from my heavy head comes an exodus of shadow demons of all kind. Here are dragons breathing fire, gone! and many-winged gnats of destruction departed, and hordes of slimy toads of the swampland, on their retreat. Here leap out dark conjures and seven-faced hellions, teeth adrip with the blood of the lamb and ewe, the eternal, everflowing blood of the ages.

Pouring from me, the blood. The blood of my childless Mother, the blood of the Mother of God Herself! Endless streams trickling, now gushing like great waves of life, spilling onto legs and feet and leaving clear-stained footprints in the reddened clay.

Australian aboriginal art (acrylic on linen) by Nelli Marks Nakamarra b. 1976
Australian aboriginal art (acrylic on linen) by Nelli Marks Nakamarra b. 1976

Whose footprints are these beside my own? They comes in pairs, alone, by threes, ancient patterns pressed into the earth canvas. Here they snake in the dance of the Moon, pale and slender now full and ripe as the persimmon. They multiply, give form to offspring, the prints of generations.

See, O precious one, how my blood streams across the endless desert of time.

(to be continued…)

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