Opening To Darkness

“A profound exploration of darkness, through the interwoven perspectives of wisdom teachings, earth medicine, and indigenous spirituality.” – From the publishers

“Opening to Darkness is beautiful, wise, magical, earthly, and utterly necessary for our time.” —Resmaa Menakem, bestselling author of My Grandmother’s Hands, The Quaking of America, and Monsters in Love

“In these times, what some might call… “dark times,” Zenju Earthlyn Manuel does not offer us a sun, starlight or even a torch yet in this book we are lovingly led. This book beckons us to remember that the sacred nutrients of wisdom, creation, and transformation dwell in blackness, in darkness. Opening to Darkness cradles us with grace in the womb of that ever pregnant possibility.” – Sonya Renee Taylor, Activist & Author ,NYTimes Bestselling Author of The Body is Not An Apology

“Zenju shines a contemplative light on the wisdom of sacred darkness, offering a journey of returning to what we have forgotten and must now remember that heals and unites humanity. This book offers life-giving practices to those seeking the revelations of wholeness and belonging.” – Ruth King, author of Mindful of Race: Transforming Racism from the Inside Out

We are born from the darkness. We return to the darkness. And throughout all of our lives, the darkness is ever present. Yet do we really understand the dark? With Opening to Darkness, Zenju Earthlyn Manuel explores darkness as a cosmic landscape for transformation within unsettling times, rooting her teachings in indigenous earth-based wisdom, her Buddhist practice, and her lived experience.
For Manuel, darkness is both a universal concept and embodied experience—and she’s witnessed firsthand how our cultural rejections of darkness and blackness can have painful, real-world effects. Here, we’re asked to confront the questions: What has been lost in our pursuit of the light? And what has or has not been born into ourselves and our world because we fear, oppress, and misunderstand the dark?

Upaya Zen Center

A TEN PART SERIES EXPERIENCING THE GATEWAYS -led by Zenju Earthlyn Manuel and senior students – (Online 2023)
Tara Mandala Buddhist Center.

To Be Notified When Registration Opens – email

Here, Manuel introduces eight deities who guide us through gateways into different aspects of darkness, providing reflective inquiry, blessings, and meditations through the essence of Buddha’s Eightfold Path: Haitian Mama Dantor helps us face childhood fears of the dark, West African Mami Wata embraces us while dwelling in darkness, and forest-dweller Mama Black Panther senses the truth of what lies in the shadows.
Opening to Darkness is a profound invitation to explore our collective and personal relationship with darkness and blackness, so that we are skilled, intuitive, and awake in the absence of light.