The Ascent Of Mount Carmel is part of four works by John dealing with the "Dark Night of the Soul", when the individual Soul undergoes earthly and spiritual privations in search of union with God. Along with The Dark Night Of The Soul, The Living Flame of God, and the Spiritual Canticle, The Ascent Of Mount Carmel is regarded as one of the greatest works of mysticism in Christianity.
In The Ascent Of Mount Carmel St John of the Cross illustrates the Soul's progress to the summit of the metaphorical Mt Carmel where God is encountered. The book is divided into three sections and is presented as a commentary on four poetic stanzas by John on the subject of the Dark Night. He shows how the Soul sets out to leave all worldly ties and appetites behind to achieve "nothing less than transformation in God".
Saint John of the Cross was a major figure of the Counter-Reformation, a Spanish mystic, Catholic saint, Carmelite friar and priest. He was also a reformer of the Carmelite Order and is considered, along with Saint Teresa of Ávila, as a founder of the Discalced Carmelites.