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Observations placeholder

Nightingale, Florence - Her spiritual awakening



Type of Spiritual Experience


Number of hallucinations: 1


It is unclear from this whether it was just an inner voice or came with true visionary additions

A description of the experience

Florence Nightingale – Mystic, Visionary, Healer – Barbara Montgomery Dossey

In the first stage of the mystic's spiritual development, there is an awakening of the Self to the Divine Consciousness, to the direct, immediate presence of [the spiritual]. This event is nearly always abrupt and well-marked - a "road-to-Damascus" experience. It triggers a complete shift of consciousness to a higher level. Often, it's preceded by a period of restlessness, uncertainty, or any activity that readies the person for this encounter with the Divine to which they are drawn - such as Florence's selfless immersion in nursing during the influenza epidemic of 1837.

Florence Nightingale's awakening, late in her 16th year, was just such a striking event. She experienced a sudden inner "knowing" that is characteristic of the mystic's calling. At the time, she had no clear idea of the exact meaning of this vision or what her path would be. She shared her revelation with no one, not even her cousin Hilary, with whom she shared so much.

Lore has it that her revelation, which she referred to as her "Call from God," took place at Embley in one of her sacred spots for contemplation under two majestic cedars of Lebanon. For an instant, the door to the spiritual world to which she always had been drawn was cracked open.

Like nearly all other mystics at this initial stage, she did not yet know how, or have the capacity, to sustain the experience. She had received only the first instruction:

"That a quest there is, and an end, is the single secret spoken."

Energized by this contact with the Divine Reality, Florence "worked very hard among the poor people" …. for the next 3 months.

The source of the experience

Nightingale, Florence

Concepts, symbols and science items




Science Items

Activities and commonsteps