“When Darkness Was the Light”

The Transmission of Women’s Power and the Demonizing of the Night

by Lauren Kaye Clark

Darkness and LightSince the era of female subordination, nighttime has become symbolic of evil, fear, and that which must be heavily resisted in many mainstream ideologies.  In the world of academia, it became synonymous with what is ignorant and mentally inferior, and therefore in need of “enlightenment”. Then, spiritually, the night became an aura of what is lost, and the time in which human beings “air” out our most sinful and wicked desires.  The inability to see the unseen with the conscious mind was unfortunately interpreted as that which was ignorant and uncivilized.  It is no coincidence that with the suppression of ancient female knowledge, wisdom, and spirituality, the night became symbolic of evil, and that which spiritually and intellectually must be resisted.

The darkness of the night establishes a realm of the ability to bring that what cannot exist in rigid conceptions of “reality” because of its limitations, and narrow-minded way of thinking.  Its possibilities are endless and create many pathways to practice, and appreciate, the art of imagination (which is often dismissed in favor of oppressive concepts of logic). Furthermore, it motivates us always to inquire into those hidden forces, and senses of consciousness which have yet to be discovered.  It is this discovery, of the unknown, and the unseen, which allows for us to become “enlightened” with knowledge.  Such understandings and  interpretations of the night are those which were heavily intertwined with the sacred feminine.  In addition, the night, and its coloration of blackness, was highly celebrated not only because of its infinite power, but also of its connection to the female body.

In the times of our foremothers, the night was a realm in which women were able to celebrate and continue to inquire into these mysteries.  It became evident with the understanding of their connection to the moon, and themselves as powerful beings during the night.  Unlike today, the night was a time for women (and the men of those communities), and was not a time of fear, nor was it a time of metaphorically being lost.  Rather it was a time of truly becoming awakened, as we are able to walk into areas which allow us to “dig deeper” into what is possible beyond what we could ever imagine, or were cognizant of.  It is during the night in which we are illuminated as we are given the opportunity to fully connect with the unseen, and bring it into manifestation.  The daytime allows us to reflect on what it is which has come to be, because of our connection with the forces of what could be (night).  It is absolute freedom, as our imaginations run rapid with whatever positive attributes we desire.  It is also this sense of liberation that allows us to further “tap into” our own senses and interpretations of divinity.

An auspicious component of the night is the darkness.  Its refusal to provide direct clarity allows us to partake in an actual journey in our understanding of all of life’s essentials. It gives no boundaries pertaining to what it is that we can see.  There are no limitations, and words such as impossible are virtually unknown.  With such being said, it is of no surprise that with the suppression of feminine knowledge and wisdom, and the eradication of women-centered societies the night became a place of demise and defilement.  A domain that had at one point empowered women soon became their realm of defamation.  The coming of the defilement of female spirituality also created the association of the unseen as something which is harmful and evil.

The mystery associated with that not visible to the naked eye became forbidden.  Indirect pathways leading to the mysteries created infinite avenues which were an indication of those many possibilities that could occur on earth.  The magnificent phenomenon is that we are not disconnected from any of these forces which are present for our connection with ourselves, the universe, and those living beings that we make encounters with.  It was this celebration of endless, uplifting, and powerful interpretation of freedom which creates a sense of peace within, and our dealings with other people, animals, and other products of the universe and Mother Earth.  Even when examining archaic civilizations (i.e. ancient Kemet and others), it was the darkness which was associated with life.  Some would even argue that darkness is an original form of life itself. Those unseen conceptions associated with darkness are a replica of the complexities associated with life.  It is our full understanding of darkness which not only allows for us to cope with our current life, but to bring into existence that which has not yet come to be.

In referring to the night, and its association with women, it must be heavily articulated that women’s bodies are, in actuality, a reflection of night (including all of the universal mysteries).  The biological functions associated with the feminine (i.e. menstrual cycle, the ability to lactate, ovulation, the production of estrogen, and many others) are all traits which are indicative of life, and are those which allows for us to actually see a replica of the unseen in the physicality.  All of the biological functions unique to the female body have their own unique way of displaying aspects of the unknown.  Even when we address those physical aspects of women that remain unseen with “normal” vision such as female intuition, and the “tapping into” the female psyche, we are being presented with manifestations of the night.  It is even during the night when women have the opportunity to fully indulge in the genius of the female mind.  Unfortunately, these aspects are written off as “frivolous” superstitions because of their inability to meet the criteria of rigid logic.  They are deemed as things which should not be taken seriously, and are regularly ignored.

One of the intricate phenomena of women’s association with the night is that it is also a time where we can bask in celebration of each other’s existence.  The endless boundaries of the night (in addition to the ancient rituals of women congregating and engaging in fellowship during the night) permits the recognition of every woman.  There is no hierarchy which only validates a select group.  The uniqueness of every woman is a representation of the different energy patterns prevalent in the universe.  The recognition of such patterns rids the aura of jealousy.  Competition, which has plagued and damaged relationships amongst women for the past 5,000 years, was virtually absent.  The night was not only a time for women to re-ignite their own relationship, but also to support, nurture, and encourage the illumination within each other.  Such a practice also contributed to the healthy relationships formed by women, as festivities of the night allowed for women to see themselves in each other and not as arch enemies (or rivals) set to win the affections of men.  In addition, these nightly patterns also established opportunities for women to understand that this connection was necessary in our own spiritual journeys.  Our investments in each other would strengthen the enlightenment in ourselves.

In examining the highly profound and inspiring poem “Our Deepest Fear,” by Marianne Williamson*, one cannot forget the portion which states “it is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.  Again, we see the use of darkness (because of sociological beliefs and attitudes that were not established by the author)in reference to failure, or evil.  However, it is exactly our darkness that we most fear.  As previously mentioned our light is that which presents to us who we are, and our present conditions.  Our darkness is what provides us with the ability to envision that which has not come into existence.  The light gives us the ability to see what had become thought of (or conceived of) in the night.  We are most afraid of the dark because it is in this arena in which we discover and develop our greatness, which may seem insane to the present reality.  It is the dark that pushes us into accepting our innate existence, and to create our own realities as we see fit.  As we create these realities and perceptions, we move closer and closer to that of the unseen.

 

* You can read Marianne Williamson’s poem here (link no longer active November 2015)

Lauren K Clark

Lauren K Clark

Lauren K. Clark was born in the United States in Atlanta, Georgia.  She finished her undergraduate education at Spelman College in the Spring of 2009.  Though finishing as a Comparative Women's Studies major, she also studied sociology-anthropology, music, history, and others.  In the area of Comparative Women's Studies her areas included the following:  African, African-descended (Caribbean), Native/Indigenous, Asian, Arab, Latina, and European women in the areas of performing/visuals arts, literature, spirituality/religion, and health.  Miss Clark also received the opportunities to study in countries such as Tanzania, Kenya, Germany, Mexico, Jamaica, Jordan, and Israel.
Miss Clark is also the founder of WUFF (Women United in Faith and Feminism), an organization dedicated to using the Sacred Feminine in activism.  She will begin her graduate studies with the American University in Cairo, Egypt in Gender and Women's Studies and Forced Migration and Refugee Studies in the summer of 2010.  Miss Clark enjoys traveling, fully engaging with other cultures, and community service!
Lauren K Clark