For me, the dark night of the soul has involved these three:
(a) A loss of capacity to meet what’s here with presence, wisdom, love. These are temporary losses, mixed with finding the capacity again. And it’s all out of “my” control.
(b) Surfacing of deep shadow material. This is both personal and universal, as all shadow material is, and some of it is very primal and core.
(c) Loss of (awareness of) the presence of the divine (God, Christ) and of that as all there is. Often, there has been a faint awareness of this, although the “volume” of it has been turned very low. This allows me to not “escape” into the divine (the soul, or the absolute) to avoid meeting the shadow material.
The process is very well designed to uproot the darkest areas of the psyche, to shine light into it, and eventually recognize it as love and meet it with love. And it’s been as tough as anything I have experienced in this life.