Facing the Darkness

Facing the Darkness

Stories, tools and inspiration to help those suffering from depression - from a Pagan perspective.


Facing the Darkness aims to support those going through times of crisis and depression - primarily Pagan, but accessible to all. Utilising Pagan spiritual imagery, skills and perspectives, a combination of inspirational text and easy exercises work with images and stories to distract and encourage for short-term relief and long-term healing.
From the apparent hopelessness of deep night through to the inevitable return of sunrise, Nature imagery, tales of mythology and Deity combine in accessible meditations, activities and anecdotes to remind the reader that they are not alone on their path through the darkness.
Cat Treadwell acts as a guide through the forest, working with the Druid skills of Bardic tales and Ovatic land/spirit connection. Darkness and despair can lead to peace and inspiration...through the simple bravery of stepping forward.


As I began to read the book, I further warmed to it. Cat Treadwell approaches the 'topic' from a decidedly pagan and druidic point of departure, but that doesn't preclude its quiet wisdom from being available to non-Pagans and non-Druids. This is not a work of psychotherapy or clinical psychology (I can hear the murmurs of appreciation as I type), but a book written from the heart by someone who clearly knows the 'dark place' well. It is structured around the four elements (Earth, Air, Fire and Water). Its primary message, came across loudly as a compassionate but nonetheless urgent appeal to those languishing in the 'dark place' to understand that the way out of it lies in their own hands. To this end there is a succession of ideas, some quite challenging, aimed at understanding what the 'dark place' is and what role it might have in someone's life. To accompany these is a series of personal testimonies, and these underline another theme of the book: 'You (we) are not alone in this; others have been there as well,' a seriously important point to make because the dark well can be a desperately lonely place. ~ OBOD, http://www.druidry.org/library/book-reviews/facing-darkness

If depression is about cut-off-ness, then this little book aims to provide a thread of connection, inviting sufferers to take control through simple practical, mythic and ritual techniques and suggestions. Through the druid path of interrelationship with nature and the ancestors, leading to an understanding of the complex needs of our own inner natures, the author guides with the empathy and perspective of one with first hand experience of what she writes. ~ Penny Billington, Author of 'The Path of Druidry'

A wise, practical and spiritual guide to dealing with depression, with advice from those who have walked the black dog and learned how best to kennel it. ~ Liz Williams, Award-winning Novelist & Guardian Columnist

This is a book for those times when you are literally on your knees and the screaming inside your head is so loud that its either going to come out, or tear you apart. And for those times when you are numb to the marrow of your bones and the despair is so overwhelming that you can see no way to keep going. There’s very little that can help a person in those places, as you will know if you’ve been there or tried to help someone going through that kind of deep depression. Cat Treadwell has written a book that faces the torment head on, and offers words of support and insight to help a person not be destroyed by what is happening to them. A brave, raw and potent piece of writing, from someone who knows that the dark nights cannot be magically banished, but that they can be survived. ~ Nimue Brown, Author, Druidry & the Ancestors

It takes a certain special something for words in a book to reach you through a tar-pit of depression - the words in this book have that something. Cat shares her own experience and that of others simply and sensitively, offering insights and suggestions in small doses which have helped sufferers to hold on when it is hardest to do so. Some books expect a lot from you - this one accepts you where you are, as you are, offering perspective and a safe place to be when you're vulnerable. If the best in us comes out when we are tested, maybe these words will guide you to the best in you. ~ Paul C Newman, Bard & Storyteller

This rather ‘counter cultural’ little book (and by that, counter to the current ‘light’ obsessed perfection-driven and success-oriented western spirituality culture) is profoundly honest and filled to the edges with the gritty wisdom of one who’s not avoided the pain-filled way. It’s a book to be read slowly and mindfully. The exercises are practical and quietly powerful if given adequate time. As one also prone to the black clouds, I was grateful for the immediate sense of solidarity and support. ~ Mark Townsend, Author of Jesus Through Pagan Eyes

For anyone facing their dark night of the soul, Cat's lyrical and painfully honest account is a guiding light. Cat's tale of her own difficulties is moving, poignant and powerful. There is vulnerability here and a delicious inspirational quality that serves to lend a helping hand through the forests of depression and anguish. ~ Kristoffer Hughes, Head of the Anglesey Druid Order and author of From the Cauldron Born

Cat Treadwell
Cat Treadwell Cat Treadwell is a Druid Priest based in Derbyshire, England. She is a professional celebrant and multifaith worker, Trustee of The Druid Ne...
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