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Observations placeholder

Ritter, Christiane - Seventy-eight days of darkness have already passed



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

A Woman in the Polar night – Christiane Ritter

seventy-eight days of darkness have already passed, there are still another fifty-four days before, for the first time, the sun will peep for a few seconds over the southern horizon.

With iron consistency, as though my life depended on it, I take my walk every day. It is scarcely a walk anymore, rather a daily crawl on all fours close to the walls of the hut. Round and round mechanically, in circles, ten times, twenty times, over the uneven snowdrifts that have frozen hard as steel. I know every inch of it and go with my eyes closed.

At first I was uncertain in the darkness.

Often I would suddenly imagine a bear in front of me, but now I have found a way of dealing with my fear. At regular intervals I beat on the walls of the hut with my fist, so that the noise will scare away anything that may be in the neighbourhood.

The days pass uneventfully, without any real work, without a consoling glimpse into the reality of the world. At night we lie down, neither tired nor wakeful, encompassed by the unending darkness and the profound quiet.

Surrounded by this boundless deadness and rigidity of everything physical, one's living senses begin slowly to go their own way. More frequently and more brightly as the winter is prolonged, a strange light spreads before the inner eye, a remote and yet familiar vision. It is as though here, in this apartness, we develop a particularly sharp awareness of the mighty laws of the spirit, of the unfathomable gulf between human magnitudes and eternal truth.

Outside of time, everything is annihilated.

The imprisoned senses circle in the past, in a scene without spatial dimensions, a play in which time stands still.

Often I see the flowers and trees of the distant sun world, but I do not see them as I used to see them. They are glowing with colour and piercingly beautiful. Their most secret meaning lives in their growth and their colour. But the people who live under the sun seem distant and small to me. With bent heads they are running round in circles, the circles of their anxieties and troubles.

Only a few of them see the glory of the sun.

Early morning-is it a relief or a disturbance?-the sound of the little coffee mill breaks through the multicoloured scenes of another world. It is with difficulty that my mind comes back to the reality; slowly I realise that another pitch-black day has broken in the hut under the snow.

The source of the experience

Ritter, Christiane

Concepts, symbols and science items





Science Items

Activities and commonsteps