The Coronavirus Pandemic is our Collective Dark Night of the Soul


Photo by Claire Mueller on Unsplash


We are moving through unprecedented times of uncertainty. We don’t know what will happen tomorrow, next week, and even less so next month. Anything could happen as we witness nations being overwhelmed by the rapid spread of the Coronavirus epidemic. The epidemic has crippled entire economies, healthcare systems, and morals in the worst affected places. It is spreading faster than any recent virus and we have no immunity nor vaccines to prevent it deadly dissemination.

I always find it helpful and clarifying to frame phenomena into archetypal perspectives.
So what is the tremendous archetypal schema that is behind the current pandemic?

We are going through a collective dark night of the soul. The ego of modern civilization as we know it is tumbling down from its pedestal when productivity and profit superseded the health of our planet and its sentient beings.

Our collective ego has lived in the erroneous illusion that we are in control of the planet, that we are in control of the forces of nature that reigned long before our current homo sapiens species appeared on Earth.
The modern ego that has forced the Earth into total submission for greedy profits, avaricious self-pleasure, convenience of speedy travel, and more technological advancement. The egocentric rise of our species is being thrown off its course of self-destruction and we must listen. We must return into the belly of the Divine Feminine and change what we value.

I have moved through many dark nights of the soul so when I realized that we were going through that archetypal crisis, I realized that I had been through it countless time already. That realization appeased me, in a strange way.
What is the ominous purpose of a dark night of the soul?
It shows us that we are not in control. It shatters the false identities we have created to feel safe and exert control over our own life. It deconstructs our life so that we may be rebuilt anew, internally and externally. Every dark night of the soul I have gone through forced me to surrender, to release the building blocks of my life that had set me on the wrong path for my life. It reshaped me into the truest version of my soul I can be.
Once I had totally surrendered the way I thought my life was supposed to look like, the dark night cleared.
The dark night reorganizes our value system and our psychic world. It forces us to look at the values we espouse that are maladaptive and toxic for our journey.

We are currently being rewired into oneness. Oneness with each other and oneness with our planet. More than ever before in our recent history, our individual action directly affects the life or death of another human being.
I will liken our current dark night of the soul to the hero’s journey as it provides us a roadmap that will help us move through the motions of the current crisis. The hero’s journey is a template that depicts most of our human journeys, providing a ground of reference and certainty when we have been thrown into a swirl of uncertainty.

The hero’s journey is composed of 3 main stages:


1. The departure or the call into surrender.


Walter Crane (1845–1915), The Fate of Persephone (1878)

In this introductory stage, we are being called into adventure, to depart from our normalcy into the allegorical desert of uncertainty. We are asked, and in some countries, forced to go within our homes, metaphorically and literally speaking. In that confinement, we are asked to go within and look at our collective maladaptive values.
What we do value so much that we are willing to risk the health of the planet and of each other? We are asked to surrender into the spread of the virus and stay home to take of each other. There are many who are currently unknowingly moving through another stage in the monomyth: the refusal of the call. When I saw the hundreds of folks on the beach, living as if nothing was happening, and the deniers, I thought, they are refusing the call to go within.
The virus here is our mentor. As we have been a viral and destructive force to nature, the virus is a mirror of our malevolent actions towards the planet.


2. The initiation or the descent into the unknown.


Evelyn de Morgan, Night and Sleep (1878).


And so, we have been called to be initiated into the heart of the planet and the collective heart. To feel the mesh of oneness that connects us all. Will we surrender into the gift of lethargic time we are being given or will we continue to refuse the call to do our part?
In this stage, the hero/heroine crosses over into the unknown world and moves through road trials. This is the stage we are called to spend time with our loved ones at home, harvesting our creativity, do some inner work, learn what we’ve always wanted to learn, re-learn to be with our own self and with others as well.
We are called to re-learn togetherness, the key principle that we need to master to conquer this time in our lives. We will be tested, and the ego will try to grasp every bit of control it has over its external world, and it will expose its shadows.
We are called to descend into our underworld and meet the Mother Goddess Herself. During that time in the cave of her mysteries, she gives us tools and wisdom that will help us in the future.

As Joseph Campbell narrates,

“The ultimate adventure, when all the barriers and ogres have been overcome, is commonly represented as a mystical marriage of the triumphant hero-soul with the Queen Goddess of the World. This is the crisis at the nadir, the zenith, or at the uttermost edge of the earth, at the central point of the cosmos, in the tabernacle of the temple, or within the darkness of the deepest chamber of the heart.”

The hero/heroine must commit to the journey into the unknown to return with the precious elixir, as a brand-new individual. An external event forces the hero/heroine into the journey, and he/she will have to sacrifice some things to be on that life-changing journey. We re-examine the value we place on profit, on greed, on popularity, on superficial values, and we come back to appreciating one another and the gifts of our planet we have been taking for granted.
During this stage, we are called to look at our values and reorganize what should matter to us the most. The bully in charge, our ego is being overthrown from the collective throne to let the high heart be seated and lead.


3. The rebirth

Sandro Botticelli (Alessandro di Mariano di Vanni Filipepi), The Birth of Venus (c 1486)

In this stage, we return home into the ordinary world. We celebrate our rebirth into transformed human beings. We have returned from the unknown desert, from the road of trials with an elixir, a knowledge that can benefit all. The hero/heroine is no longer the same and he/she has gone through a maturation and purification process. He/she has left behind what no longer supported his/her growth and the good of the collective. The individual has used everything on the road of trials to be resurrected and purified into a higher version of himself/herself. The hero/heroine returns being selfless, more compassionate, more virtuous, more patient, wiser, being a light for the world who is welcoming him/her back. The individual has ascended into his/her higher self and brings that wisdom to the world, embodies it, and offers it to others. There is a marriage and harmony between the unknown world and the known world, between the dark land and the light, between the spiritual and the mundane. We have atoned with our soul and the soul of the world, and we have made our way from self-centeredness to togetherness.

When our journey into the unknown territory is complete, what understanding will be bring back with us, and more importantly, how will we implement the gifts we choose to harvest during this period?


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