Entering the Darkness: Annwn – Emotional Sincerity


Emotional sincerity matters to me. I am far from perfect – but I am sincere.


Why is it that the world tells us not to be sad or angry or bitter or full of hatred? Why, even worse, do we get told that such feelings are unnecessary and wrong? This means that we have the feelings boiling away inside us – and no safe way for them to come out because of other people’s need for constant, if false, displays of happiness, calm acceptance, sweet-nature and endless shallow love.

We are told, endlessly, to think positive, to envision a bright future, to be upbeat and cheerful – and, when we are not able to do these things, when we slip into the darkness – which is, and always was, but the other side of the coin – others look askance, back away, try to jolly us out of our despair, get impatient, tell us we are self-indulgent and wrong-headed.

But, sometimes, we have to choose darkness; we have to face the entrance to Annwn, the Underworld, which is dark but also beautiful. We have to go to the cleansing and emotionally open pools and sanctuaries, glens and healing streams and weep and immerse ourselves in water and align our spirits with the source. We have to allow Sorrow’s Springs their place in our inner landscapes, and let tears form another small tributary.


We have to accept that we may not feel better immediately; that we may, in fact, have many layers of grief and sorrow and loss to shed before the light can stroke us gently and give us radiant relief. We have to accept that bite-sized emotions, snapped on and off speedily, are not real or desirable; that this endless need to get over it in ten seconds flat is neither healthy nor desirable; that the knitting together of wounds, be they abrasions of the skin or cicatrices within the soul, take weeks, even months or years, and not minutes.

Above all, I feel, we need to bring back a sense of the darkness being integral to our lives and experiences. We need to remind ourselves that no emotions are black or negative unless made taboo and named-and-shamed by those who seek control and fear the strength of their own inner weather fronts.

Weeping is not a sign of weakness or mental illness. It never was. The Creator gave it to us for a purpose – catharsis – and we dam it up so unwisely and very much to our detriment. Every time we tell someone, ‘Don’t cry!’ we are stoppering an essential safety release pipe.

What do we actually mean when we tell others not to feel the way they are feeling? Let me tell you: We are implying that WE do not want to see their raw selves; that, because we are unable, or unwilling, to access our own so-called dark emotions, we do not wish to be around anyone else’s.

The Holy Grail is not endless happiness and peace. How can it be? Life dips and soars. Intensity reaches both heights and stygian depths. Sobbing our hearts out, feeling the whiplash of grief, mourning all losses – none of these make us weak or negative individuals. Sometimes they are as inevitable as they are therapeutic.

I have a vast capacity for joy and laughter and pleasure and excitement and love. At present, however, there are very good reasons for my sadness and fear and anger and descent into the dark underworld of the spirit.

We can keep the faith – that we are on the right path; that this chapter will, eventually, end – without needing to promise unrealistic glory and happy-ever-after-ness. We can experience the vulnerable emotions without needing to call ourselves failures or pathetic.

Why is it that the world tells us these feelings are wrong, dark, forbidden and to be hidden?

The wrongness lies in the endless denial of nature’s safety valves and not in the feelings themselves.


17 thoughts on “Entering the Darkness: Annwn – Emotional Sincerity

  1. Bodynsoil

    I’m not sure about everyone but the unhappiness of others fires up my empathetic emotions, causing stress.. At times, trying to cheer someone up is as much for them, and their feelings, as it is my own. I hurt along with people I know who are suffering; wishing them to feel happy or at peace is a selfish way to circumvent my own reaction to their struggle.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely agree with this. I think there is a time to stand in the darkness of pain with another simply holding hands; but, at other times, it is more appropriate to bring a little laughter into the equation. Loved your final phrase: So true. x


  2. Great post. The paragraph I especially appreciate is:

    “What do we actually mean when we tell others not to feel the way they are feeling? Let me tell you: We are implying that WE do not want to see their raw selves; that, because we are unable, or unwilling, to access our own so-called dark emotions, we do not wish to be around anyone else’s.”

    I think about situations where crying people have been in my vicinity – the desire to have them stop crying is seldom for their sake. Rather, it is usually for mine – triggered by a sense of discomfort on my part. I think there is so much counter-cultural wisdom in the words “weep with those who weep” because they are not separated from the words “rejoice with those who rejoice”. It’s not about what someone should be feeling in a given moment, their response to a complex series of stimuli that goes beyond the moment. Rather, it is an opportunity to journey with someone, and even camp with them under a starless and fog-filled heaven.

    Again, thank you for your post – it really comes as a fresh reminder of the challenge of sincerity, emotional honesty and vivacity that is multi-faceted.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for sharing! I have learned much in the last two years about letting myself feel those hard feelings. There is much to be learned as we pay attention to why we feel as we do. Much can also be revealed about our past, through emotional triggers, that we can address. As we explore and learn, we can find healing and freedom.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I really enjoyed this.
    I suspect there are varying shades of darkness – it will have different meanings to different people. As you say, this topic might make some feel uncomfortable, (can’t say I blame them, however burying one’s head in the sand never achieved a thing) but for others it is yet another affirmation that it is ok to feel the way they do, regardless of how others might react.
    I have come to embrace the darkness – from there I can take stock of how I am coping. I no longer feel that I should “feel” happy just because on the outside everything looks rosy. The darkness has given me the courage to find out who I can become for the sake of me and not others – am not there yet, but definitely on the right path.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Elaine Dedicoat

    As usual your writing is touching and thought provoking but to me darkness is terrible depression and I love the Christian song ‘pushing back the darkness’. I agree with what you said about being free to show our emotions and not bottle them up but for me I would rather ‘push back the darkness’ than enter it x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Elaine: Lovely to hear from you. Yes, I can understand your feelings and reaction. I meant darkness in the more symbolic sense, and as a blanket term for emotions deemed dark by mankind. The point I wanted to get across was that, if we resist going into the metaphorical darkness of, let us say bereavement grief, we simply allow the dark area to grow and engulf us. Sometimes, it is better to face the sadness and, as it were, drain the poison – rather than putting it off for a more convenient moment. Deep depression is a very different case, however – and I certainly wouldn’t advocate a willing climb into that particular cave. xxx


  6. This has always been the one nag I get that I have never understood. Whenever I slip down into the darkness, and it happens far too often I will admit, I get sick of being told to pull myself together, that I shouldn’t need to feel sad about anything. What they don’t understand, is there really isn’t anything I can do about it. It’s not like a headache, take a pill and it will go away.
    If I could live near St Nectan’s Falls, they would never see me me, sad or otherwise!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely identify with what you are saying. St Nectan’s Glen reduced me to floods of tears (in a good way). I think an awful lot of people see, in my sadness, an echo of something they do not wish to face in themselves. They want me to pull myself together – for them, I often suspect! xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: Entering the Darkness: Annwn | O LADO ESCURO DA LUA

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