Posts Tagged ‘shadow’

My Carl Jung Action Figure

October 4, 2011
Carl Jung Action Figure

Carl Jung Action Figure

I have numerous totemic items around my house that fortify the environment with their imagery, energy, artistry and energetic properties. Many of them had to be stored safely away to clear the area for other activity while 115 people, including lots of children, came through my house during the weekend wedding event in September.

One figure that remained, who has been catching my eye and capturing my imagination through the past month, is the wonderful little piece of plastic that my youngest daughter Arlene gave to me, my Carl Jung Action Figure. The original packaging had a huge shadow of the figure behind it with scary graphics, “Beware of the shadow.” There’s Carl in his suit with his pipe in hand; like, “I’m just sayin’!”

In the dimensions that human consciousness seems to exist within, there is a back side and a front side to everything. An up side and a downside. An inside and an outside. A you side and a me side. A his side and a her side. This world and the otherworld. The living and the dead. There is what we do know and what we don’t know. The sayable and the unsayable. We live in a world of opposites that cannot be separated. Like the light side and the dark side of the moon, they are one thing. But we so often forget about or deny the back of everything, what we don’t see and remain unaware of.

“Shadow” in Jungian terms is the parts of self and life that we are unaware of. That, in my estimation, is 99% of what is going on. If we think we know, we are probably wrong.

Looking into a mirror, we see the front side of what we present to the world, with a little twist maybe the side view, or with a hand mirror the back view. Without a mirror we don’t see ourselves at all. Think about it. Everyone else sees us coming and going, sideways and all ways, but we don’t ever see our self ever without a reflecting tool. This doesn’t mean someone else knows us by seeing us, but – think about it  – we don’t even see ourselves. This is a metaphor for everything, really. We don’t see the “other” dimensions of almost anything we are looking at. There is a whole lot of shadow going on. “I’m just sayin’,” says Carl.

To “know” is a virtue, something rewarded by teachers and parents and peers and public all through life. To not know – you failed that “course”. Embarrassment. Pain. Shame.

What? NOT knowing is the truth! Knowing is so, so, so, so limited and limiting.

We gotta get over it. I’m just sayin’.

Dreams and Shadow

January 16, 2010

Today, January 15, 2010, I write my first blog post ever. First New Moon of the year and the decade, a new beginning. I am a doctor of depth psychology and have a retreat center, Bridging Worlds, in the remote, gorgeous, ancient mountains of Western North Carolina outside of Asheville. My work and passion is to create an environment where people can feel safe to explore their own psychological and spiritual life, either privately or in groups. Reconnection to the natural world and to the indigenous person, with indigenous ways of sensing and knowing, that lives inside of each human is one of my major concerns. Working with dreams of the night is a favorite, and most valuable method. I am close to completing work on my new website, which explains a lot more. I am thinking a first blog should say who I am, thus this explanation. I’m a woman, age 58, who lives alone in the wilderness with my dog. I have two daughters, Josi and Arlene, who are powerful and awesome women. Enough information for now. See website for more. This is a place to share thoughts, concerns and ideas.

So I start with a concern that I have felt slammed with during the first part of this new year. There is so little understanding in general awareness of how to deal with and think about what Carl Jung and Jungians call the personal shadow — the parts of ourselves which are alive and active in our personality structure but of which we are unaware. Generally this refers to the “dark” side of the personality, but shadow includes all parts — strengths, weaknesses, everything of which we are not conscious. In this writing I refer to the dark side.

We all have this side, and generally, in my belief, it is only because we are unaware. Generally it isn’t intentional evil or hurt that we commit. The heart is in the right place but words or actions reveal other systems of operation going on, or are misunderstood and trigger those other systems going on in others. And people for the most do not know how to deal with it. They bounce off of each other, hurting each other without meaning or wanting to, and don’t know how to deal with that.

Christmas is often an intense time in crowded environments where a lot of this is going on and not being dealt with. I had experiences myself and keep hearing those of others so that this is becoming a fascination of mine at this moment. I don’t know the cure, of course, but if I could write a prescription it would be trust. Trust in ourselves, trust in each other, trust. There’s a subtle panic that seems to go off when shadow material arrives, and I am thinking the medicine for that is trust. It sounds simple, but it is actually a tall order.

And then listen to dreams that come in the wake of the experience because they rarely fail to comment with some of the only intelligence and astuteness that will be found. Learning the dream language takes attention and an open mind, but is very worth the trouble.

I think there is an urgency in the world right now that we become a lot smarter a lot faster about this problem. So I’m committing myself in this new year and decade to work to figure this out in whatever way that I can. To own it and work on it in myself, have trust and compassion for it in others, and do what I can for anyone who wants to work on it as a dreamworker, assistant and guide for people in their psychological and spiritual quests.

Ok, I just wrote my first blog. I’ve been thinking about this for a long time, and now it is begun. Happy new year.