Cheryl Tarr
(United States)

The Spiritual Journey -
Dark Night of the Soul

The dark night of the soul is a stage in spiritual development where a significant transition takes place.  In this phase, one’s sense of identity is stripped away.  This loss of identity is experienced as a loss of loved ones, status, a job, or other forms of material wealth.

This project is comprised of images that illustrate my recent experience walking through such a dark night - and coming out the other side to embrace a new way of creatively expressing myself through photography.  The fire and being ‘in the belly of the dragon’ are metaphors for the burning away of a false sense of self.  This phase of the journey, by its nature, is a solitary one.  I face this night alone and find the courage to move forward, even when I cannot see where I am going.

And one day surrender comes -  I develop a deeper sense of who I am, and the storm begins to clear. And I no longer feel alone.  I realize that I am accompanied by fellow travelers who have themselves traversed the darkness and come out the other side.  I begin to feel I am in the flow of life again.

Entering the MysteryEntering the Mystery

Entering the Mystery

Darkness begins to fall - I sense that the night is creeping up to engulf me.

Swept into the VortexSwept into the Vortex

Swept into the Vortex

I am inexorably pulled down into a deep, dark well against my will.  Resistance is futile.

Dragon's BreathDragon's Breath

Dragon's Breath

This place smells like fear.  I think of fire and brimstone - am I in hell?


Crossing the Valley of FireCrossing the Valley of Fire

Crossing the Valley of Fire

I now know there is just one way out of here - I must enter the fire before me.  I do not know how I can possibly survive this. Every step is fraught with uncertainty.  But I have no choice except to move forward - one step at a time.


Breaking StormBreaking Storm

Breaking Storm

I now surrender to the process and let go of the old sense of self. I am not yet sure who I am becoming but there is now light ahead that beckons me.


Quenching WatersQuenching Waters

Quenching Waters

The fire is behind me now.  I have made it through.  A sense of liberation arises in me as I drink in the cool, clear waters of life.  Healing has begun.

Gathering of SoulsGathering of Souls

Gathering of Souls

As I leave the darkness behind and emerge into the light, I sense that I am not alone.  I awaken to the realization that we are all on this journey together.  I find myself in the midst of a gathering of souls preparing, like me, for flight.

The Divine Flow of LifeThe Divine Flow of Life

The Divine Flow of Life

I once again join in the divine and joyous flow of life with a renewed sense of who I really am.  And the next phase of my journey begins.

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