Dark Night of the Soul, which is a continuation of The Ascent of Mount Carmel, is the most famous spiritual work of St. John of the Cross. In the work the poet describes the soul’s mystical journey toward God in which the soul passes through three stages of mystical union. Detachment and suffering are required for the purification and illumination of the soul. More specifically the term “dark night of the soul” refers to a state of intense personal spiritual struggle, including the experience of utter hopelessness and isolation prior to attaining mystical transcendence. (see Mysticism). A.G.H.