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Dark Nights of the Soul: A Guide to Finding Your Way Through Life's Ordeals
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Dark Nights of the Soul: A Guide to Finding Your Way Through Life's Ordeals

4.17  ·  Rating Details ·  1,088 Ratings  ·  96 Reviews
When it comes to spiritual growth, we humans are solar-seeking beings; eager for the bright lights of clarity and the bliss of illumination. Paradoxically, we all need to walk through the shadow of the dark night in order to discover a life worth living, according to psychotherapist and spiritual commentator Thomas Moore. Unlike depression, which is more of an emotional st ...more
Kindle Edition
Published (first published May 3rd 2004)
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Jan 25, 2008 Stephanie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone facing major life challenges, spiritual but not religious types
This book got me through one of the toughest periods of my life. I checked it out from the library and after I finished the first chapter, I went to the bookstore for my own copy so I could mark it up as much as I wanted. It is now thoroughly underlined and bookmarked, with notes in the margins, and I've read it twice. It's earned a long-term spot on my nightstand.

Moore doesn't give pat, easy spiritual answers. So much of the modern, spiritually-oriented self-help literature is kind of shallow,
Aug 04, 2014 Jean rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very helpful book to read during really hard times in your life. My husband died in January 2014, we were happily married for 34 yrs. and together for 5 yrs. before that. It was very sudden and I didn't know he was sick, though he was facing changes in his life that he didn't bring on himself and he dreaded.

I have found that grief doesn't travel in a straight line, and those who think they know what you are going through don't have a clue. I'm 59, and have friends who still have parents livin
Oct 20, 2015 Cheryl rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Abandoning this. Very unfocused. It starts off talking about spirituality and psychology, but soon whole chapters are devoted to more Alternative/New Age topics (i.e. using Tarot cards and talking about the Greek goddess Hekate for entire chapters). Some interesting ideas, but just not my type of book.
Mar 30, 2014 Kimm rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"If your only idea is that you're depressed, you will be at the mercy of the depression industry, which will treat you as one among millions, for whom there is only one canonical and approved story. Maybe you're overwhelmed but not depressed. Maybe life has sent you a great challenge, and you need a vast spiritual vision to deal with it." - from the final pages of this book.

After a decade of "rough" years involving deaths of several loved ones, personal illness and other unavoidable darknesses,
Wendy Brown-Baez
I appreciate all of Tomas Moore's books but this one is a reminder of the jewels in the compost. I think it could not be read and appreciated before going through a dark night, nor would I have been able to glean advice from it as I was going through my own dark night. But at the edge of the tunnel, as I once again immerse myself back into ordinary life, it makes a lot of sense and gives me a perspective I didn't have. For one thing he says you can't avoid it and you can't work through it with t ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 28, 2008 Kristen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
We each have times when life seems bleak and almost unworthy of continuing. Thomas Moore puts this into great perspective and helps one to go on. This book has saved me more than once.
Jason , etc.
I recently spent a day in a bookstore where I read this and another book in a single sitting. The other book was planned; this one was random. Admittedly, in certain sections it was more of an aggressive skimming than an actual read, but the overall point was gotten and the themes understood and appreciated.

I read a lot of books similar to this one about seven years ago, as well as stacks of psychology and philosophy in an effort to educate myself on the pain I was going through at the time. I
Apr 18, 2009 Allison rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I read half of this book and just had to put it down. The author is trying to say that depression can be a teaching tool, it shouldn't be labeled as a pathology, it can teach us things and inspire us... man, have I heard all that before. and I don't buy it. I've been depressed on and off since I was 13. yeah, I've written some interesting poems but believe me, there is nothing divine or soulful or enlightening about this. the author also draws quite a bit on spirituality and that seems like a co ...more
Jul 22, 2016 Melissa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Just as the beauty of nature includes storms, droughts, and geological eruptions, so the beauty of a person includes emotional storminess, dry periods, and occasional explosions. To care for the soul in earnest, you have to learn to appreciate the dark elements as well as the light ones."-Thomas Moore

This is a very comforting book, inspired by the work of Spanish mystic and poet John of the Cross (1541-1597). Moore takes the mystic's Dark Nights of the Soul, which is commonly thought of as depr
Nov 11, 2015 Drick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thomas Moore does it with this book that looks at the spiritual/psychological experience St. John of the Cross called the "dark night of the soul." While Moore begins the book comparing the dark night to the biblical story of Jonah in the whale he draws on a wide variety of spiritual traditions and the works Jung and Hillman to explore how the dark night which he claims is not depression can teach about ourselves. Unlike our culture's attempts at medical quick-fixes ("here take this pill and you ...more
Jasreet Badyal
Jul 05, 2013 Jasreet Badyal rated it it was amazing
This is one of the top three most significant books for me thus far in my summer project. It's definitely not for everyone. But if you're interested in soul work, literature, spirituality, and gaining a deeper reflective sense of self, I recommend it.

"In each case, you can't cheat the process by knowing that it will all turn out right eventually. It may not, in fact, turn out in a way that you would wish for. Your mother may die, your friend may commit suicide, you may lose your job. The new lif
Sharon Gausch
I read about the first third of this book closely, then I started skimming. According to the author, we all have a dark side, we will all go through trials in life, and we should embrace and honor those aspects of ourselves and our lives rather than be fearful of them or try to push them away. His focus on what we can gain from experiencing the dark aspect of life is interesting; unfortunately he just doesn't have enough to say about the topic. While the imagery was wonderful (I really liked the ...more
Jun 11, 2014 Adrien rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have read all the Thomas Moore books, except the new one, will buy it too, why not. It is fun reading, and if one is going through any kind of dark night, this is a very good book. Moore is into James Hillman and they believe rightly that one shouldn't try to find a cure all for one's problems like modern therapy but live with it and transcend it by doing something one loves. One can't be fixed perfectly and if one wants perfection then seeks the hucksters that are more than willing to deceive ...more
Steve Arthur
Dec 25, 2012 Steve Arthur rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
O.M.G....I have seen and lived the dark side!
Not a place I ever want to visit again.
In saying that.
A dark night?
Think about your worse secrets haunting you! think about how to make those voices stop!
That us the importance if this book.
I can not find the words to express how grateful I have been in reading this book,
The depth in understanding and expressing how to make a dark night become your friend.
Is full of compassion.
It was like a cup of cold thirst quenching water.
Mme. Bookling ~
Aug 22, 2007 Mme. Bookling ~ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: The non-religious religious - and deconstructionists
I have listened to the first three chapters of this book, and just like Care of the Soul - Thomas Moore successfully weaves philosophy, literature, mythology, psychology, and theology into one very simple and effective package. He again reminds us to think of depression and melancholy as gifts to be enjoyed - and to be learned from...not to be CURED by a therapist or ERASED by medication.
Katja Willemsen
Sep 20, 2012 Katja Willemsen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A thought-provoking book on accepting and embracing the dark and tough side of life and oneself.

Rather than run away from times of grief, loss, pain, failure, Moore suggests that by living them, accepting them, one grows, and becomes stronger, less vulnerable to life's knocks.

"She lived her life with imagination" - my favourite quote in the book
Caroline Minor
Jun 12, 2016 Caroline Minor rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed reading this book, as a matter of fact, as I approached the end, I felt somewhat melancholy. Like a friend was getting up to leave after a life enlightening discussion. This book confirms what I knew all along, and that is our "dark nights" have value. Although the feeling a dark night brings with it isn't a good one it leaves gifts we would not have received if it were not for those nights. One of many quotes I enjoyed is "Clearly love is not about making you happy. It is a form of in ...more
3.5 stars. i think this is aimed at a more conventional sort of person, though i think many could glean something useful from this. that being said, i agreed with many things he expressed, that i easily identified with or related to. much of it was things i had thought of/considered before, so it was affirmative in a way. it's rare to find a psychology that is non-pathologizing these days and i greatly appreciated that. someone on an astrology blog recommended this for people going through major ...more
Rereading Thomas Moore's work, and this one in particular resonates with me. I found what he said about life's 'dark nights' significant, in that he emphasizes being in the moment rather than focusing on how to get 'better.' (His insight that our society does not handle these shadow periods of life well, and often tries to gloss over them or push people into a recovery they're not ready to feel, was in line with some thing I've realized during my own struggles. It is good to have someone else ac ...more
Mar 19, 2010 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone but particularly to those going through difficult times
Recommended to David by: I found it by browsing
I "read" this book in its audio CD form, read by the author, unabridged. I am somewhat familiar with the "Dark Night of the Soul" (DNOTS) concept via St. John of the Cross, and I thought this was going to be a spiritually-oriented (i.e. religious) discussion. I was just browsing in the library looking for something to load up into my car's CD changer so that my time spent going to and from work (only 20 minutes each way) would be enhanced, but with this book I got much more than entertainment.

Fair warning: this type of book is not my cup of tea, please read this review with that in mind.
I just finished reading “Dark Nights of the Soul” by Thomas Moore. I am reminded why I do not like reading new age and self help books. I can shut out a book of this size in one night if I put my mind to it. Not this one. It easily took me 9 months to finish this thing. I could only stomach a few pages a day. Also, it was because a friend of mind let me borrow it that I read it in the first place. I d
Nick Blasier
My favorite yet in trying to find more peace with tough times. I guess what I liked about it vs books like The Untethered Soul or A New Earth was that it was more permissive of the painful side of things in a way. I guess I've always found some of the greatest beauty in darker art, and this book sort've encouraged treating life events the same way - something I suppose I already did, but this just fleshed out more robustly. Sort've made everything I'm going through seem a bit more normal. While ...more
Pranada Comtois
May 01, 2012 Pranada Comtois rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For a title that is cliche, Moore's writing is not. Moore looks at the "dark" experiences of life from a variety of angles. I found myself resonating with Moore throughout the book. He's hit universal themes; perhaps that's why this is a bestseller. I like, and agree with, Moore's take on depression being (oftentimes) a period of spiritual unrest. There are lots of fascinating nuggets, like this one that hints at larger meanings (but the author himself didn't explore!):

"In intimate relationships
Mar 25, 2008 JayeL rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this audio book up on a whim when I was feeling
a bit down. I got over being down, but became really
interested in the book for a number of reasons. First, the
author cites a multitude of religious, philosophical and
cultural sources for his discussion. I appreciated how he
wove in different traditions and mythologies into the book.
I had to buy a print copy, so I could keep track of all the
sources I wanted to read later!

The book discusses those times in our lives when we are
not feeling as ch
May 03, 2013 Carmen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: set-aside
This one took me some time to get through. Not because it was slow and plodding but because the insights and depth pscyhology of it struck a deep chord. I found the book to say a lot of what I didnt want to hear, but still needed to. I now see a dark night, dark time of the soul, not as a period of opportunity, as a superficial guide or aid to depression, but something that happens and deepens who you are even as it hurts. I look back on my difficulties of the past few years and mark the ways th ...more
Oct 25, 2008 Alicia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Melancholy ruminators & those facing life crises
Some beautiful imagery from Moore, the former Catholic monk whose 'Care of the Soul' is still a classic. He refers to the ancient Greek goddess Hecate as an archetypal 'lunar spirit'. A guide to embracing dark times in your life. She rules the crossroads where 3 roads meet: choice, consequence, the subterranean internal landscape. Which of course, as a goddess-worshipper, fascinated me. But I think a better choice would have been Innana, the ancient Sumerian goddess who descended to the Underwor ...more
Andrea Paterson
Really loved the central premise--reframing depression as a "dark night of the soul" which can be a gift, a journey of discovery and transformation. There are some great references to myth, literature, and religious texts to guide a person experiencing a dark night. Moore also outlines a number of common dark night scenarios from marriage to sex to aging. I was disappointed that motherhood only gets a passing mention. It seems to me a huge trigger for a dark night of the soul and I was hoping th ...more
Apr 04, 2016 Cameron rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I just finished reading this interesting book. The author presents the idea that rather than avoiding our "dark nights" we should spend some time there and learn the lessons that they bring. I have often wondered why some experience more dark nights and as a therapist I want to get them out as quickly as possible. This book brings a different perspective on the dark nights, one of acceptance. Not a place where we need to hang out to be punished but a place where we can truly learn about our soul ...more
Kristen Nace
Sep 21, 2011 Kristen Nace rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another library book sale book. I had always heard people talk about Thomas Moore, but had never read anything by him. He seems like a very interesting peson. I think he would make a great therapist. One of the main ideas of this book that really struck a chord with me is the modern idea that we should always be "happy", things should always work out, that there is some ideal way to be in this world -like the people in commercials...f only we do this, or that and the other we can finally be happ ...more
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Thomas Moore is the author of the bestselling book Care of the Soul and fifteen other books on deepening spirituality and cultivating soul in every aspect of life. He has been a monk, a musician, a university professor, and a psychotherapist, and today he lectures widely on
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“It is precisely because we resist the darkness in ourselves that we miss the depths of the loveliness, beauty, brilliance, creativity, and joy that lie at our core.” 77 likes
“During the dark night there is no choice but to surrender control, give in to unknowing, and stop and listen to whatever signals of wisdom might come along. It’s a time of enforced retreat and perhaps unwilling withdrawal. The dark night is more than a learning experience; it’s a profound initiation into a realm that nothing in the culture, so preoccupied with external concerns and material success, prepares you for.” 3 likes
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