Spiritual Ascension: Signs and Symptoms of your Awakening

Has your life recently turned upside down? Are you starting to see things in a whole new light? 

This article will outline the key signs, symptoms, and stages of spiritual awakening; supporting you to navigate and understand the ascension process. 

What is Spiritual Ascension?

Spiritual ascension is the rising of awareness to higher levels of consciousness. Ascension may involve: an initial catalyst, experiencing the death of the ego, being able to connect to a sense of ‘oneness’, and experiencing major shifts in perspective. 

The terms ‘vibration,’ ‘frequency’ and ‘awakening’ are often used to describe this process.

The process of ascension is different for each individual, but often there is a key catalyst that initiates one’s awakening. 

Spiritual Ascension catalysts may include:

  • The sudden loss of a home, job, or relationship.
  • An unexpected accident or traumatic event. 
  • Immense grief or inner turmoil.
  • The experience of chronic illness.
  • Recovery from drug/ alcohol/ other addictions. 
  • A karmic soulmate relationship.
  • Engaging in intense spiritual practices (meditation, pranayama, etc). 
  • A near-death experience, or being faced with death.
Man overlooking sunset with hands out and sacred geometry

Often, there can be many negative associations linked to a spiritual awakening, with many reports online of people experiencing bizarre and scary symptoms. However, there are also many positive experiences to be yielded from the process of ascension. 

Positive attributes linked to a Spiritual Awakening:

  • The shedding of old thought patterns and beliefs.
  • Beginning to live in alignment with your core values.
  • Feeling more positive, lighter, and uplifted.
  • Uncovering your true potential and life purpose.
  • Find the strength and courage to create your dream life.

Often people ask ‘What is the difference between a spiritual awakening and spiritual ascension?’ 

Ultimately, they are one and the same thing; the rising to higher states of consciousness. However, there is another form of ascension known as a Kundalini awakening which we will explore later in more depth…

Stages of the Spiritual Ascension Process

There are six key stages to the process of spiritual ascension, which have similarities to the concept of ‘The Hero’s Journey’ by Joseph Campbell. The stages are as follows:

  1. The Call to Change – This is often the catalyst that pushes us over the edge; this could be the death of a loved one, chronic illness, addiction or some form of a traumatic event. This is the catalyst for change. 

  1. Self-Reflection – After a period of turbulence, we are called to look at what needs to change in our lives. Often, this is accompanied by a profound change in perspective and suddenly being open to a new way of doing things. 

  1. Discovery – During this process, we may seek to learn and connect more. This may include the discovery of new practices such as meditation or yoga, or simply a new interest or hobby that enriches our life with a deeper sense of meaning. 

  1. Facing your Demons – At this stage, we may be faced to look at our shadow, the parts of ourselves that we like to keep hidden from the world. This can include repressed feelings, impulsive actions, and old behavior patterns triggered by past wounds. This can be compared to the ‘death and rebirth’ of the Hero’s journey. 

  1. Owning your Spiritual Gifts – At this point, we may begin to have access to higher states of consciousness and become aware of our spiritual gifts. These gifts can be expressed in many forms such as creativity, seeking to help or support others, accessing intuitive and psychic abilities, teaching, leading, and inspiring others.  

  1. Integration – This is when we begin to embody a new, higher frequency. At this point, our whole world may have turned upside down. Often, our physical reality no longer matches our new vibrational state; jobs, homes, and relationships may drop straight out of our lives. And that’s okay! It is time to step into a world that resonates with your new frequency. 

These six stages may not always happen in chronological order, in fact, it is not uncommon for people to experience more than one catalyst and a series of awakenings throughout their lifetime.

A study on Spontaneous Spiritual Awakenings: Phenomenology, Altered States, Individual Differences, and Well-Being found that out of 152 participants:

  • 73% reported having experienced more than one Spiritual/Kundalini Awakening in their life
  • 27% reported having experienced it just once

Moreover, during the study the question “Considering your most powerful Spontaneous Spiritual Awakening or Spontaneous Kundalini Awakening, do you think there were any significant factors that led you to have this experience?,” had some mixed responses. 

The top three significant factors reported were: psychological turmoil/trauma (52%), meditation practices (47.4%), and spiritual literature (31.6%). Other answers included: near-death experiences, sacred sexual intimacy, sleep deprivation, and physical injury. 

Whilst this is an interesting area of research to explore, you may be asking…

But what does spiritual awakening feel like?!

What does spiritual awakening feel like?

A spiritual awakening feels into the extremities of our being; it can feel like the hardest, most turbulent, and challenging journey we have ever embarked on, yet we can also be blessed with moments of extreme ecstasy and bliss

At one point on my personal awakening journey, I thought that I was bipolar – I simply could not understand the huge mood swings that I was experiencing; from feeling desperately depressed and lonely to being filled with love and ecstasy. It made no sense. 

However, as I have progressed along my awakening journey the extremities of my mood have leveled out – I am now able to access and tap into a more balanced state of peace and joy. My partner, with his own awakening experience, reports the same.

In the book ‘The Spiritual Awakening Process’ by Mateo Sol & Aletheia Luna a spiritual awakening is described as:

‘one of the most confusing, lonely, scary but also supremely beautiful experiences in life. If you listen to its call, your life will be transformed into something meaningful and significant. On the other hand, if you refuse it’s call, your life may feel like an empty graveyard.’ 

It is clear that spiritual ascension is not for the faint-hearted, however, it appears that if we are willing to surrender to the process, then it is possible to reap pure gold. 

When asked about her experience of ascension, The Conscious Coach & Kundalini Yoga Teacher Anna Lempriere said:

“I have always felt language like higher and lower creates judgments and encourages us to compare where we are, and yet the sages write about stages of evolution in consciousness. My experience of evolution is terrifying and painful.

Terrifying because everything we identify with changes and usually disintegrates. Painful because we face that death-relationships work, fantasies of who we think we are and what we think the word is; courage to continue to come back to love through these deaths.

We face in the s**t with no knowledge or safety or what’s to come. The process is entirely humbling. For most of us, it is brought to us as a seemingly destructive force – it is the making of our metal and when we grow and find the love the mental is transformed into gold.”

It seems that the process of ascension is far from linear, with many highs, lows, and truths to be faced. It is the death of everything we have ever known, and the rising of our whole new world. 

The above describes what spiritual ascension may feel like on an emotional level. However, what might you expect to feel in your body?

Spiritual Ascension Symptoms 

Spiritual ascension can manifest as physical, emotional, and spiritual symptoms. The process varies for each individual. Here is a breakdown of the most common signs and symptoms:

  1. Ringing in the ears: usually experienced as high pitched frequencies, without pain. These are simply high vibrational frequencies being ‘downloaded’ into your body. You may find that your hearing becomes more sensitive to loud noises and that loud music may be overstimulating. Practice moments of silence, without your headphones or distractions. This will support you to receive messages of divine guidance and channel creative inspiration.

  1. Heat rising in the body: this can feel like waves of heat through your system. This is clearing pathways and burning away old ‘illusions’ of your reality. The practice of Chi Gong is especially effective at clearing these pathways and can support you to rebalance the ‘fire’ and ‘water’ elements within your body, supporting you to cool your system. 

  1. Dizziness: this can happen when huge amounts of high vibrational energy are entering your system – think of it as an energetic upgrade! Drink plenty of water and practice grounding exercises such as walking barefoot on the earth and grounding yoga postures. According to Ayurveda practices eating root vegetables such as sweet potatoes, beetroot, and turnips can also support grounding back into your body.

  1. Headaches/migraines: these often occur when you are resisting the changes happening in your life. Fear and anxiety may be causing you to grasp on to what you have always known your life to be, however, the more resistance you put up, then the more intense these experiences will be. Surrender to what is and allow the rest to unfold. 

  1. Flu Type Symptoms: heavy muscles, fatigue, and low energy. Whilst rest can help to restore the body, it is also important to move your body to flush out old, toxic energy. Your body may also begin to become more sensitive to the fuel you are putting into it; eliminating junk food and incorporating more healthy, whole foods can support your body during this process.

  1. Anxiety: which may be experienced as heart palpitations and shortness of breath. It is important to allow ‘heavy’ things to drop out of your life, the more you grasp, the more anxiety you will feel. You may also become anxious around other people’s energy, or in certain environments. This is because your empathic skills and senses may also be upgrading. When you suddenly feel anxious, ask yourself ‘is this my energy?’ If not, allow the other person feelings to pass through your body by saying ‘I acknowledge this feeling of __________ and allow it to pass through my body.’ 

  1. Depression: You may lose interest in the world around you, as old friends and past times no longer uplift you. Your outer world may not be aligned with your new energy state. This can feel incredibly lonely at times. However, hang on in there because once you have shifted and sorted through denser energies, your new life will blow you away! You may experience more intense periods of depression during a Dark Night of the Soul, which we will discuss towards the end of this article. 

  1. Feeling ‘out of your body’: Your body is processing a lot and at times you may feel like you are not really there. Relax, your body is simply trying to get your mind out of the way so it can do its thing. Yoga and exercise can support you to feel more grounded. Practices such as Ecstatic Dance can also be hugely supportive, as it allows you to get into your body and express the energy that may be stuck and stagnant, without engaging conscious thought.  

  1. Vivid Dreams/Lucid Dreaming: your soul may be guiding you to face your inner demons in your dream state. You may wake up with a profound message or realization which brings you great clarity. Sometimes, these experiences can be frightening, but take comfort in the fact that by facing these truths, you will be emerging as a stronger, upgraded version of yourself. 

  1. Increased Empathic/Psychic Skills > as you become more in ‘tune’ with yourself, you may also become more in ‘tune’ with the world around you. You may find yourself picking up on other people’s energy states and being able to tap into a sense of ‘knowing.’ Sometimes, this can develop into more specific skills such as clairaudience, clairvoyance, clairsentience, and claircognizance. However, sometimes it can be as simple as knowing when someone is about to call you, or when something feels ‘wrong.’ 

The above list outlines the basic signs and symptoms that you may experience as a result of spiritual awakening. However, please note that these symptoms are similar to many other medical conditions and if they are persistent or painful, please seek medical advice.

Dark Night of the Soul and Spiritual Ascension 

So far, we have discussed initial catalysts and possible signs and symptoms, but what about the ‘Dark Night of the Soul?’ How does this relate to the process of spiritual ascension?

Often, a person’s initial catalyst can be the start of their ‘Dark Night of the Soul.’ 

Man worried and depressed in dark woods with crows behind him.

This is a process that can feel incredibly lonely, as a person goes through huge amounts of upheaval and transition in their life. A Dark Night of the Soul is usually characterized by a total abolition of one’s understanding of self, to gain knowledge of a greater connection and purpose.

As a person’s illusion of self dissolves, often so does their outer reality. 

People often report experiencing a ‘Dark Night of the Soul’ before their ascension process begins. 

The Dark Night of the Soul is a painful state where everything comes crashing down around you. All hope seems lost, and you have tried everything and come up empty-handed. This is due to holding onto a faulty belief system, or a belief system that no longer serves you. One that you feel you need in your life to be happy. Once you let go of that belief and embrace a new one, the Dark Night will end, and new possibilities will appear.

You can read more about ‘What is the Dark Night of the Soul’ and its stages here

How long does the process of spiritual ascension last? 

It appears that once awakened, the process of spiritual ascension is an ongoing state of evolution. 

The initial awakening stages may be harder to navigate, however it seems that if we learn to surrender, trust and step into the flow of our upgraded energy body; the process can get easier.  

The greatest challenges come from our inability to let go of resistance and from holding on to old beliefs. If we can let these go, then spiritual ascension can become a breeze. In fact, after conducting my own research one person reported:

‘The first step was becoming comfortable with the sensation of being awakened. I would describe it as feeling completely loved and accepted.’ 

However, the length of time someone may experience intense signs and symptoms can vary from person to person. This leads me to return to the study of Spontaneous Spiritual Awakenings: Phenomenology, Altered States, Individual Differences, and Well-Being

When asked ‘how long was the peak of your spiritual/kundalini awakening experience?’ participants reported the following:

  • 21.1% said it lasted minutes
  • 10.5% said it lasted hours
  • 7.9% said days
  • 9.2% said weeks
  • 14.5% said months
  • 7.9% said years
  • 29.9% said it was still ongoing

Therefore, it appears there is no set timeline when it comes to the process of spiritual ascension. 

In Conclusion

The process of spiritual ascension can be hard to navigate. There may be many trials and tribulations along the way, however, ultimately it leads us to discover great truths about ourselves. 

The truth can be scary, but also liberating!

Just last month, I experienced a crazy, form of Kundalini awakening. 

For those of you who are wondering, a kundalini awakening is very similar to the process of spiritual ascension. However, signs and symptoms manifest more intensely in the physical body. 

Last month, I was camping in my van, at a beautiful seaside location. Suddenly, my whole body started to shake uncontrollably! Out of nowhere, tears began to flood down my face and I felt as if years’ worth of stored trauma was being shaken to the surface…

I cried and I cried and I cried.
I shook and I shook and I shook.

This uncontrollable shaking and wailing lasted almost an hour before I was able to calm my system and rebalance. 

For a few weeks after this ‘kundalini initiation,’ I began to experience heat rising through my body, to the point where it was making me feel so hot and dizzy that I could do nothing but lie down and surrender – I also began to experience spontaneous movements known as Kundalini Kriyas.

At first, I was petrified and couldn’t understand what was happening!

However, as the weeks went by I learned to trust the process; carving out time to simply sit on my yoga mat and ‘experience’ these symptoms – welcoming them into my body.

As I made time to truly feel and welcome what was going on, symptoms began to decrease and I began to feel much lighter in my mind, body, and soul.

In conclusion, there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to navigate the ascension process. However, when we can learn to surrender to what is, the process can become so much easier. Allow the walls of your life to crumble and allow your awakening to rebuild your foundations – this time in alignment with you!

Picture of Jadine Lydia
Jadine Lydia
Jadine Lydia is an Intuitive Life Coach L.C.H Dip. Freelance Writer & Inspirational Content Creator. She lives on the Cornish coast in South West England. Her writing shares her happy-go-lucky, holistic approach to love, laughter, and life; inspiring others to deepen their connection to the divine. She empowers others to take 'intuitive action' towards manifesting their deepest dreams and desires through her inspirational content, books and e-courses. www.jadinelydia.com