Book Review: Learning To Walk in the Dark

I just checked this book off my summer reading list and, wow, it is so rich. It’s an easy read that doesn’t sacrifice depth. And it’s just good storytelling, too. As Barbara Brown Taylor says, this book has, “cosmology, biology, and psychology in it as well as history and theology.” 

The ideas in this book resonate with where I’m at now, a year into learning to walk in my own darkness. Taylor references many other authors and books that I’ve read over the last year, including Miriam Greenspan’s Healing Through the Dark Emotions, which is one of the best books I’ve read on the subject. 

Each chapter of this book is themed around a phase of the moon beginning and ending with the full moon. The author explores metaphorical and literal darkness by engaging in dark situations such as going on a “wild” cave tour and spending the night in a cabin alone with no phones, books, or media. 

Taylor talks about how it’s nearly impossible for city dwellers to escape light. There are so many important reasons for us to experience darkness, such as getting healthy sleep and reducing our stress levels. She also explains the benefits of safely exposing ourselves and our children to things that we perceive to be dark and scary—to face our fears of literal darkness so that we’re more prepared for the spiritual darkness that we will inevitably encounter in life. 

Ultimately, Taylor presents a non-dualistic perspective of light and darkness: “If there is any truth to the teaching that spiritual reality is divided into halves [light and darkness], it is the truth that those pairs exist in balance, not opposition.”

I highly recommend this book for those of you who are drawn to explore your own dark corners and the uniquely mysterious and transformative powers of darkness. 

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