Who were your first teachers about the dark? What impressions have you carried into adulthood: perhaps evil, danger, terror, the devil, death, bats, etc.? How do these color your perceptions and judgments today? Might there be a deeper way of considering the dark–one that enriches rather than diminishes?

Such questions find resonance in the nine essays, composed by the lunar spirit of Barbara Brown Taylor, a woman seasoned as wife, mother, grandmother, professor, theologian, and Episcopal priest. Fearlessly, she explores the underbelly of darkness from varied aspects: physical, psychological, emotional, relational, and spiritual. Each chapter is introduced by a different phase of the moon.

Strewn among these essays are anecdotes from the author’s childhood experiences with the dark, from her present communing with the drama of the night sky in rural Georgia, from caving in West Virginia, and from her visit to the crypt beneath the Gothic cathedral in Chartres, France.

What eventually emerges is a spirituality of darkness: how to find God–or let God find you–in the dark. For this, she recommends the honing of certain skills: give up running the show; expect bumps along the way that will frighten you; and ask the darkness to teach you what you need to know. A “dazzling light” does hide out in the dark.

Learning to Walk in the Dark (2014) companioned me during December’s darkness.

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