Adam McLean via alchemywebsite.com
"We all have the capacity to experience the numinous, that which connects us with transcendent dimensions of reality that are beyond the ego and ordinary states of consciousness. When we are stuck in any arene of life, we can tap into inner realms that may guide us toward change and growth, toward new adaptations that are life serving, even life saving at times. These realms may include experience of the chthonic regions of the alchemists, of all world religions, and of the pagan dieties. And certainly not all contact with the numinous is pleasant or easy. For in contact with the numinous we encounter the opposites as well ~ the heavenly and hellish, the celestial and demonic, inner darkness, and processes of enlightenment. With such experience of the numinous may come activation in the psyche of unique guiding and protecting forces. Then we have the chance of discovering a fruitful relationship with psyche and psychoid. As we learn the way of the religious or transcendent function, life's very crises can bring us toward renewal.
Authentic relationship with darkness and unknowing usually brings about a shamanic death (the alchemical nigredo). It is not for the faint~hearted, and it's way beyond the ego's fantasies, attachments, or ideas of grandeur. It includes experiences of 'hell', as well as 'heaven', as we attempt to find optimal relationship with the flame. Jung found that a victory for the Self always included a defeat for the ego, an experience we are sure to have is seeking alchemical renewal.
Relating with this part of the psyche usually means that we must encounter feeling lost, bereft, or simply unable to go on the way we have been living. If we turn toward the psyche and psychoid during these spiritual crisis, we may find honest, humble way to discover this source of renewal. Crisis contains a fire capable of clearing the attitudes that blind us to mysteries, if we will but allow the reality of our inner death to the old ways. The dark night of the soul may then bring us into contact with the inner light that expands our mortal lives through connection with the eternal essence dwelling in each of us.
The need to be in contact with mystery, unknowningness, and darkness is as crucial to the soul's life as any gains in consciousness. What are gains in consciousness worth if we lose our rooting in the chaotic unknown, the erotic wilderness of the psyche that brings renewal of consciousness in the first place? Without experiential roots in the wilderness of psyche, we lose connection with the original living spirit that is the healer, the uniter of opposites of which Jung and the alchemists spoke."
Pregnant Darkness ~ Alchemy and the Rebirth of Consciousness by Monika Wikman. p xix~xx