Embrace the dark to move through it

Embrace the dark to move through it

Embrace the dark to move through it 2560 2560 Karin von Daler Healing Arts

We can’t repress the darkness right now, but we can see, hear, feel, and acknowledge that it’s here – both inside and outside of ourselves – and create as much light as possible by working for positive change. To do this, we need to draw on new and old wisdom.

Right now, we’re close to Vetrnaetr (Winternights), where ancient Norse peoples marked the coming of winter’s darkness. Hel, the goddess of the underworld (and healing!), was also celebrated at this time. According to ancient folklore, All Hallows’ Eve was the night when the forces of darkness, ghosts and witches were at play.

Many cultures have rites of passage and stories to help us cope with the darkness and move safely into the next phase of life, development or season. Rituals and most crises have clear stages that anthropologists and folklorists have identified:

Separation, liminality, and reintegration.

First, we are separated from the reality we have known – the world or ourselves are no longer as we know it.

The liminal phase is characterized by the fact that we are now out of category, in flux, not belonging. This is where we are in crisis, in the dark. We don’t feel like ourselves, insecure, afraid, alone and outside. We may feel grief over loss. Chaos reigns and we don’t know which way things are going.

Reintegration happens when we return to life, family, and society and know that a new status or order is emerging. It is characterized by the fact that we have learned to live with what we have lost or our limitations and can see opportunities instead.

But for transformation to happen, we must create space for creativity and reflection. Images and expressions are important because they can pave the way for change through the unconscious. Images can be created through encounters with rhythms, symbols, metaphors, stories, and myths.

Meeting with others in the same situation and co-creating and sharing these images can also provide a collective cohesion in the transition and a sense of oneness with others that can be meaningful.

I have experienced it over and over again in recent years in my work with art therapy in Ukraine: even in the darkest darkness, beauty, unity, and life can emerge.

I will soon be launching a new online course that takes you deeper into The Art of Self-Healing cards and shows you how to work with them in groups and with a deeper self-healing process that takes you through the three phases of transitions safely and lovingly. If you already have the cards, you get the course at a discount. If you don’t have them, you can get them at your local bookstore, health food store, or right here.

Here is a ritual you can do right now to get safely into the new year and your next chapter with hope and creativity intact – something we need more than ever.

Much love and creative sparks,



Art and words by Karin von Daler ©