Definition of dark night of the soul in English:

dark night of the soul


Christian Theology
  • A period of spiritual desolation suffered by a mystic in which all sense of consolation is removed.

    • ‘Yet only in the modern period has the dark night of the soul taken the form of radical doubt, doubting not only one's own state of grace, but God's promises and even God's existence.’
    • ‘Although he has not written openly about his dark night of the soul, it led to his very public break with mainstream analytic philosophy and his subsequent conversion to American pragmatism.’
    • ‘They don't want to hear about the dark night of the soul and the times of deep anguish where you have to explore those parts of yourself that you normally find very challenging.’
    • ‘After the long dark night of the soul, the day thus seems to herald rebirth and renewal.’
    • ‘The dark night of the soul, which sometimes is manifest in our concrete failures in the struggle for peace and justice, cannot, she insists, ‘be voted out of existence.’’


Mid 19th century: used to translate Spanish Noche oscura, the title of a poem by the mystic St. John of the Cross.