its not supernatural, clairvoyance, occult or psychic....its science....the psychology of dreams
the unconscious dream
dialog with the inner psyche

Dream Topics

The Shadow
In Conscious Life & In Dreams
The shadow is a part of the unconscious mind consisting of repressed weaknesses, shortcomings, and instincts. According to Jung, the shadow, in being instinctive and irrational, is prone to project: turning a personal inferiority into a perceived moral deficiency in someone else.

The Shadow in Dreams

In dreams, the Shadow typically appears as a character of the same sex as the dreamer but inferior, a zombie or walking dead, a dark shape; an unseen ‘Thing’, someone or something we feel uneasy about, a sinister, threatening type. It can occasionally be seen as an animal or part-animal figure. Typically a shadow image or figure will posses negative or evil qualities.

Further Reading

The Shadow in Mytholgy, Folklore & Fairytales

Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde Folklore
In The Strange Trial of Mr. Hyde, John Sanford employs Jungian psychology and Christian thought to flip our assumptions about good and evil on their heads. Is Dr. Jekyll, outstanding citizen that he is, more responsible for the evil unleashed by Mr. Hyde than Hyde himself? Is there something about Jekyll rather than Hyde that needs to be destroyed?
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Cinderella as a Shadow Figure

Cinderella is a shadow figure. She is ignored and neglected by her elder sisters. They go out into the world, but Cinderella is shut up indoors. This represents the contrast between the conscious ego (which relates to the outside world) and those parts of the unconscious that have not been allowed any part in one's conscious activity. However, Cinderella eventually escapes from her imprisonment and marries the Prince. This marriage symbolizes the joining together of conscious ego (Prince) and shadow (Cinderella), which is the end result of the penetration of the conscious mind by the unconscious and/or the penetration of the unconscious by consciousness. Symbolically - in myths and in dreams - consciousness is usually represented as male, the unconscious as female; and the sexual penetration of female by male is therfore a common symbol of the descent of consciousness into the dark cave-like depths of the unconscious.
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Exploring the Unconscious World of Dreams

The Shadow In Jungian Psychology
In Conscious Life

In Jungian psychology, the shadow refers to the entirety of the unconscious, i.e., everything of which a person is not fully conscious, or an unconscious aspect of the personality which the conscious ego does not recognize in itself. Because one tends to reject or remain unaware of the least desirable aspects of one's personality, the shadow is largely negative. There are, however, positive aspects which may also remain hidden in one's shadow, especially in people with low self-esteem. Contrary to a Freudian conceptualization of shadow, the Jungian shadow often refers to all that lies outside consciousness or conscious awareness, and may be positive or negative. "Everyone carries a shadow," Jung wrote, "and the less it is actualized {made real} in the individual's conscious life, the darker and denser it becomes." It may is a link to more primitive animal instincts which are displaced during early childhood by the conscious mind.

How is the shadow created?

In childhood and throughout our life, we develop an ego which has a collection of traits. But in order to think of ourselves as having a particular trait, we usually would not also think of ourselves as having the opposite trait; for example, we might view ourselves as a compassionate person rather than as a vicious person. Thus, our potential for viciousness becomes an element of our shadow. Consciously or unconsciously, we adopt certain characteristics because those are the ones for which are rewarded by our parents, friends, peers, teachers, ministers, employers, ourselves, and other people whose opinion matters to us. Some characteristics and their opposites include gentle and violent, forgiving and vengeful, brave and cowardly, rational and irrational, honest and deceitful, cheerful and gloomy, intelligent and dull, hard-working and lazy, sexual and chaste, and confident and insecure. The traits which we reject are cast into the shadow, where they remain energized, autonomous, and ready to be expressed {and thus projected}. The shadow is different for each of us. As we develop as unique individuals, our shadow becomes unique. For example, if a someone is shy, the shadow contains boldness; contrarily, a bold person has shyness in the shadow.

Shadow Projection

According to Jung, the shadow, in being instinctive and irrational, is prone to projection, turning a personal inferiority into a perceived moral deficiency in someone else. In other words they can see qualities in others that they do not like but which form part of their own shadow.These projections insulate and cripple the individual by forming an ever thicker fog of illusion between the ego and the real world. The failure to recognize, acknowledge and deal with shadow is often the root of problems between individuals, and within groups and organisations; it is also what fuels prejudice toward minority groups or countries and can spark off anything between an interpersonal row and a major war. Hitler's antisemitism is an example of such a prejudice which led to the Holocaust and the murder of 6 million Jews. It has been suggested that Hitler's hatred of the Jews was a projection of his self-hate and a consequence of guilt feelings for his dark and evil fantasies, and perhaps also his putative Jewish ancestry.

Shadow projection is an unconscious act which causes us to see our own shadow parts as though they belong to other people; as a result, we can deny those elements within ourselves in order to preserve a particular self-image -- a self-image which then becomes untrue {and usually self-righteous}. The people upon whom we project probably do have the characteristic which we are projecting onto them, but the projection intensifies our perception of it, and we view it with a judgmental attitude which exceeds any natural reaction to the imposition of that person on our lives; for example, we despise someone's innocently wild behavior because we are repressing our own wish for wild behavior. Examples of shadow projection are:
  • One member of a family might receive the shadow projections from other members; this person thus becomes "the black sheep of the family."
  • Children receive the shadow projections of their parents; that can be one reason why a minister's kids tend to be hell-raisers.
  • Scapegoating. We project our shadow qualities onto another person, and then we symbolically "destroy" the person through social ostracism and dehumanization.
  • Projection onto our partner. Couples project their shadow qualities onto one another. In short-term relationships we might abandon the person when those projected qualities become intolerable to us. But in a long-term relationship we form more of a commitment to the partner and come to terms with this person and with the characteristics which we have projected.

Under the influence of the shadow, we are far less likely to admit responsibility for our failures, and will be more inclined to blame circumstances or other people or our upbringing. We may also admit to some faults to show off our self awareness, but downplay their significance. Or we may confess to certain faults we are actually quite comfortable with, to avoid facing deeper and more destructive ones.

Shadow Integration

Jung said that the more conscious we become of our shadow aspects, the more we have a chance to correct them, and even find good uses for them. He said that trying to be a good person, to do what people expect of us, often clashes with our true character. This means that the shadow often contains some of the most creative and valuable aspects of our character.

Medical psychology has recognized today that it is a therapeutic necessity… for consciousness to confront the shadow. In the end this must lead to some kind of union, even though the union consists at first in an open conflict.

The first step to Shadow integration is to recognize or encounter the shadow. People who experience depression, boredom, emptiness are encountering their shadows spontaneously. Jung considered it a danger in life that "the more consciousness gains in clarity, the more monarchic becomes its content - the king constantly needs the renewal that begins with a descent into his own darkness - his shadow - which the dissolution of the persona sets in motion." What this means, is that as we become beings of higher consciousness, and rise into enlightenment, and raise our vibrations, and get closer and closer to the divine, the more we need a renewal in our spirit. This renewal begins with letting go of the ego, then, letting go of the fears and doubts, regrets, and karma that follow us.

Another way to identify the shadow is to look at our obvious failures. There is a reason for everything even it is unconscious. The more we realize and admit our weakness, faults and negative emotions, the more sane and well grounded we become. Most of us are not particularly bad, but this clear sighted assessment benefits both ourselves and those around us. The psycho-spiritual approach to re-integrating the shadow and transforming and resolving limiting thoughts, emotions, behaviors and habits is also an important step in shadow integration. This involves the discovery of the shadow parts that have a tangible presence in the physical body. Behind each of these aspects is part of your mind that when engaged in a specific way will automatically and rapidly resolve the problem that it created for you. Learning to befriend your 'dark side', to give reverence it.

The shadow is the unlived life - options presented, but, not chosen. This can sometimes lead to regret, or a conflicting feeling of not following our purpose. The shadow is not entirely negative, however. There are many positive aspects to the shadow, and when it is integrated and the individuation process takes place fully, a person is more keenly aware of his or herself, feels more powerful internally, and is essentially "reborn", restored and renewed into a whole being. In the shadow is where we find our purpose - our great work - our higher calling in life. People concerned with personality and how other people view them may not be ready for their higher calling. This includes the creative aspects as well as the spiritual. It can be a long road in identification and resolution but with a knowledge of the process as well as discipline of self the process will lead to a more harmonious life. Casting out the shadow brings about a realization of the light within. In the light we find meaning in life and comes from within, a psychological process of self discovery and personal growth.

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