shadow integration


This spread is called “Illuminated Shadow” as it is used to assist us with shadow work by showing what we know about ourselves and our inner (illuminating) what we don’t know or understand and how to integrate all of it in the interest of wholeness. It is in this shape to remind the querent of the axiom “As Above, So Below. As Within, So Without” 

My breakdown of the above reading is here
The general card positions are as follows…

LEFT SIDE (3-5-7) = Unconscious Shadow
This side of the spread represents automatic behaviors, internalized ideals, and defense mechanisms the querent may be unaware of acting out or projecting onto others.

RIGHT SIDE (4-6-8) = Conscious Shadow
These are the traits the querent is aware of both positive and harmful or any trauma the querent is aware of being affected by.

7 - 8 Positive Manifestations of Shadow

5 - 6 Negative Manifestations of Shadow

3. Your Shadow as an Unconscious Identity This is the self you act out when emotionally unstable or threatened in anyway.  This is the you that others see that you do not acknowledge.  This can also manifest as what you most often project onto other people, usually those close to you or in situations that are mentally/emotionally triggering.

4. Your Conscious Self This is the way you are aware of presenting yourself to others and behavior your consciously engage in order to progress in life.  This is who you see when you look in the mirror.

2. The Potential Self If one becomes aware of their mal-adaptive behaviors and hidden talents/attributes and consciously integrates them with the conscious self, this is the best possible manifestation of the self as whole.

1. Advice This is what you need to focus on or do to heal and unify the shadow with the conscious self. Whatever card shows up here is path to self-actualization and also action most immediate that will facilitate healing. The bottom of the deck may offer more clarification on this card.


8th house transits are dying rehearsals. Except for when we realise that dying no longer truly exists. Then we have nothing to compare this transit to. We walk in as a victim and leave as a God. We have not just died, but become intimate with death, held it, rejected it, accepted it, and learned from it. The real ‘death’ is just a game now. Because after an 8th house transit we have truly burned to the ashes, screamed, held on tightly to nothing, we have vanished and woken up the next morning, gleaming, not forgetting. An awareness is released into the individual, one which is forced to grasp the magnificence of life, the trauma of loss, the anguish of our support systems evaporating. When an outer planet, like Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto cross the 8th house, nothing in life will ever be the same. We look back on the person that begun the transit and wonder how we ever truly existed as that aperture. The whole fakery of life seems to appear. And everything hurts for what seems like centuries. It’s sort of like a labor pain, the pain of childbirth, in some way forming new life within, a new self that smells more like soul, the pain of giving this birth is of course, more than unpleasant. We have a contact with the life and death cycle that can be frightening. 

The outer planets move slowly enough to ensure we are submerged long enough to hear and receive the sacred message and initiate deep change. The parts of the self, those that have been contaminated by betrayal, trauma, addiction, and delusion are thrust into consciousness. These poisons are haunting, they appear as fate, they emerge as aches and dis-ease in the body and mind. They scream so loud they are impossible to ignore. These poisons can infiltrate as people, both inspiring and abusive people, those who foster them to realise, bond with, and integrate their shadow. It may force the individual into spiritual pursuits or psychotherapy. That which is no longer useful to the spirit is lethal. But the individual’s response these images or feelings or events may be destructive. The overwhelming waves can feel like drowning. The person may feel out of control or confused by the sudden replay of memory or violations. This is however, the alchemy of the 8th house, the power to process and transform from this poison is available at this moment, ready to show the individual an inner sorcery never realised before.

A person may withdraw into their own world during an 8th house transit. They focus on the inner experience, the wealth of unconscious truth that is being imparted. A person may not speak about what is going on for fear of their sanity being questioned. There may be a sexual awakening, the power of one’s feminine or masculine and creative fertility activated, a channel with angels during sexual experience. Some people leave an 8th house transit without having to escape themselves anymore, they have found soul, they have found home. People leave an 8th house transit knowing they have survived, but they died, and they died, and they died. I doubt many of them are scared of ever truly dying again.


art: Harumi Hironaka


Top 10 longest fics posted on AO3 this month

1. Sankta Lucia by @wednesdaythunder [E, 47.8k]

Draco just wanted to get through his eighth year without any fuss - Trust McGonagall to drag him into some battle between the light and dark, and to make Potter his guardian. 

2. Until Dust Is All That’s Left Of Us by WantsUnicorns [M, 47k]

There’s a dark presence at Malfoy Manor and its smoky tendrils are already reaching for Draco. Will Harry be able to save him and more importantly their budding friendship, before it’s too late?
H/D Smoochfest 2012

3. Hexed! by Randominity [M, 34.1k]

Harry uses the wrong hex, and Draco suffers the consequences. 

4. Sine Qua Non by @khasael [E, 34.1k]

Harry and Draco manage to escape from being trapped in a wine cellar, but their problems don’t end there. Voldemort, somewhat inconsiderately, doesn’t think to pause the war while they work out their feelings for one another, and the Order is not quite as supportive as Harry had hoped. 
 Remix of Need by dysonrules

5. The Consolations of a Summer’s Day by @blamebrampton [T, 32.8k]

Harry Potter is absolutely certain Draco Malfoy did not murder Pansy Parkinson. He’s almostabsolutely certain he can prove this without sacrificing his career and having them both hauled up before the Wizengamot. 

6. Suffer The Children by oldenuf2nb [E, 32.3k]

Draco Malfoy has learned via painful experience that the least complicated way to go about things is to not allow himself to care – about anyone. After all, he’d tried that once without success. But now he finds himself thrust into a situation where maintaining the armour around his heart simply isn’t an option. 

7. Seawater Tea by @naatsue [E, 25.7k]

It is their last assignment as Trainee Aurors and the only time they will have to work together (Draco hopes), but then the storm arrives, and Draco’s life gets much more complicated. 
H/D Smoochfest 2012

8. My Own Worst Enemy by @dysonrules [M, 22.3k]

After a night of heavy drinking, Draco wakes up fully-clothed to find that his flat is a wreck and several things are missing. Things only get worse from there. 

9. Integrating the Shadow by @mab-speaks [E, 21.2k]

Suffering from Post-War Stress, Auror Harry Potter finds the best way to move past his insecurities and find healing is by trusting those he loves to accept him exactly as he is. 
H/D Smoochfest 2012

10. Praxis by @dysonrules [M, 21.1k]

When Draco succumbs to a terrifying illness, he is taken to the only man who has a chance of saving him. With Draco’s arrival, Harry’s self-imposed isolation comes to an abrupt end. 

other months


If Saturn represents our struggle with the external world and with our own difficulties living in it, Pluto represents our struggle with ourselves. Saturn and Pluto must be best friends, because they sure do know how to make life a living hell. More accurately, they make life a living hell when you resist their influence. And as Carl Jung said, “What we resists persists.” This is Pluto’s tagline. Pluto, the sign it rules over (Scorpio), and the house it rules over (The Eighth House) all represent the human shadow. The dark side of life. The things we don’t easily own up to. The sides of ourselves we’re more comfortable projecting onto others. It’s much easier to view ourselves as perfect beings of light, and to point the finger at all the people out there in the world that are evil and bad, than to recognize that we’re all human. Jessica Lange’s character Sister Jude in American Horror Story might have been right when she said “All monsters are human.” There are true horrors in this world and sometimes we get lost in news stories of this murder and that war. We’re all quick to condemn and judge our fellow humans committing atrocities. But do we ever stop to think, what made them that way? What happened to them? What is their place in the great cosmic story? Could causing others pain possibly be their life purpose, or has a tragic childhood forced them to wander off their divine path?

These are questions that I have grappled with recently. They’ve made their way into this piece but I don’t necessarily have the answer. I do know that the greatest force in this world is love, the greatest connection empathy. Libra is the sign of relationships, and afterwards, Scorpio comes strolling along. Scorpio and the Eighth House are the things we share in a relationship. Shared finances are relegated to this pair, along with the distress they may cause. As everyone knows, sex is Scorpio’s thing. Taurus, Scorpio’s sister sign, can lay claim to it, too, but Taurean sex is candles, whip cream, and foreplay. Scorpio is bondage, whipping, and power-play. The darker side of emotional intimacy, the power struggle. Scorpios are known to be fiercely loyal and possessive. The Eighth House is where bodies and souls melt together, where transcendence is found through unity with another soul. Scorpio is known to be a psychic sign, in tune with the undercurrents in the room. Especially the darker ones. The collective shadow. They’re known to love the taboo, the occult, the mysterious.

Astrology, by relegating the darker side of life to this sign, shows that it has its place in our lives and the universe. And don’t think you can escape it by not having your Sun, Moon or Rising in Scorpio. It will rear its head in whatever house it’s in, wherever Pluto is in your chart, and in your Eighth House. It must be faced, or it will be repressed. Freud, who was Scorpio Rising, spent his career investigating the id, our instinctual side, and how repression of it leads to neurosis. The id is composed of our sexual urges, our aggression, and our death drive (thanatos). All very Scorpio. And all very human. I think this has been an especially hard thing for females to integrate into their lives in the past, as they run counter to what society thinks a woman should be. Lilith, an asteroid in astrology, may in some ways be the female expression of the Pluto principle. I wrote a little about it in an answer to a question, here. The struggle with Plutonian energy, though, applies to all genders and all peoples.

So how does Pluto operate in our lives? It’s the farthest planet, so its cycle through the zodiac is the longest. It spends about 21 years in each sign, so it is the most generational. To see how this force manifests in your personal life, look to its house placement. Wherever Pluto is, you will be prone to some extreme transformations. When it comes to the darkness, it’s always trying to be noticed. I read somewhere that Buddhists, rather than exorcising demons, would invite them to a grand feast. After being fed and paid attention to, the demons would transform. You see, we cannot fight our demons (or drown them - “they know how to swim,” as Bring Me The Horizon sings in “Can You Feel My Heart”). We all have inner demons, darkness we hide from others, that tears us apart when we are at our weakest. It’s a sad fact that most people don’t talk about this, putting on a show of happiness. You aren’t alone in this struggle, it is life on Earth.

We overcome our demons by looking at them, taking them for what they are. Bringing the darkness to light. Although Carl Jung parted ways with Sigmund Freud because the latter was too sex-obsessed, Jung never repressed the shadow in his studies. He’s made so many important statements on the human shadow that I must include more than a few:

“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.”

“Enlightenment is not imagining figures of light but making the darkness conscious.”

“The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely.”

“We cannot change anything until we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses.”

“If there is anything we wish to change in the child, we should first examine it and see whether it is not something that could better be changed in ourselves.”

“There are as many nights as days, and the one is just as long as the other in the year’s course. Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word ‘happy’ would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness.”

“There can be no transforming of darkness into light and of apathy into movement without emotion.”

“Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darknesses of other people.”

“There is no coming to consciousness without pain.”

“God is the name which I designate all things which cross my path violently and recklessly, all things which alter my plans and intentions, and change the course of my life, for better or for worse.”

This is Pluto. This is the unconscious force inside all of us that changes our lives in drastic ways. Whether you’re orchestrating your own transformations by confronting your shadow, or if the only thing that can get you to change is some catastrophe hitting you from the outside, Pluto will destroy what you thought you knew and replace it with something much greater. It will be painful - Pluto is the planet of death, and we will have to die to ourselves many times over to get closer to our truth. Pluto is also the planet of rebirth, because every end is a beginning. Pluto is a big fuck you to the ego we’ve carefully crafted, and it can be hard to let go of an identity you’ve held for so long. But the unconscious has bigger dreams for our time on Earth. We are not whole until we integrate our shadow side. This is the true essence of power - being in contact with your whole being. No longer being unconsciously directed by your shadow side. I think we’re so quick to look down on the criminals and the neurotics of this world because we’d like to think we’re nothing like them. But the one that makes peace with his demons knows the truth, that one soul contains the collective experiences of all souls. The only thing separating us is the material illusion we’re all under - this is the true source of “evil” - thinking that we’re not all One. Peace on Earth will come when we feel in our hearts this Oneness - and inner peace comes when you become One with your shadow.

Pluto is an earthquake. Pluto is a force of nature. A disaster, a murder, a suicide. It is everything we’re afraid of. But that which we fear cannot have power over us once we accept it. Understand it. Integrate it into our lives. Just as we all must face the inevitability of our own deaths, we must face the fact that we’re better off leaving our old masks at the door, as we enter into a new chapter in our lives. Embrace change, and embrace the darkness.

Luckily, this month there has been talk of Pluto being invited back into the solar system after its exile. This spells of great change in our collective psyche :) It will be interesting to see if, as a society, we begin dealing with our collective shadow.

i hear demons whispering

what else do you call the culturally ingrained resistance
fragmenting your mind into pieces –

separation.  exclusion –

attempt to cast them away, and you’ll make them stronger
for your illusion becomes your reality.   and yeah, matrix is 
a fake digital VR simulation “but your mind makes it real”–

just like your demons

my thoughts were hidden
deep in the shadows
of gamma waves

integrating into particles

for light is dark

we don’t enjoy each others company”. 

The condition of Venus in the birth chart determines a love of life, social attributes, and relationship behaviours. It can indicate how we form partnerships with others. Venus in Capricorn may approach relationships seriously and envisage long term maintenance, while Venus in Aries may prefer the spontaneous and surprising elements of relationships. It’s sort of like when you find somebody but discover you each seek different things in life. Venus in Sagittarius may want to travel and enjoy the world, while a Venus in Cancer may prefer to anchor down and nurture home and family. Contrasting Venus dynamics can also present opportunities to expand our tolerance, experience new things, and integrate shadow aspects. Like Venus in Capricorn may teach Venus in Aries the satisfaction of long term devotion, while Venus in Aries can teach Venus in Capricorn how to reunite with his inner child and charter through the world and people with fresh eyes.

The Shadow describes the part of the psyche that an individual would rather not acknowledge. It contains the denied parts of the self. Since the self contains these aspects, they surface in one way or another. Bringing Shadow material into consciousness drains its dark power, and can even recover valuable resources from it. The greatest power, however, comes from having accepted your shadow parts and integrated them as components of your Self.
—  John Elder

A. by Marian Rainer-Harbach
Via Flickr:
Camera: Polaroid SLR 680 Film: Impossible Black & Red 600 (2016-07) For Polaroid Week Fall 2017, Day 4, Photo 1. Happy Polaroid Week! I’ll be sharing some memories of a mystical and slightly uncanny summer gone past.

anonymous asked:

Are there any particular placements that might make someone seem to be on a different wavelength than everyone else?

We know there exists aspects between two or more people; but to look for something a little closer to inherent, look at the relationship between someone’s inner planets (more personal) versus their outer planets (more generational). Since outer planets take longer transits, they affect generations. 

For example, Millennials are 1983-1995, and this coincides with Pluto in Scorpio (double check if you’re on the cusp, you might be Pluto in Sagittarius or Libra). Pluto is an outer planet, and is more generational. It affected the events happening from the 80s-90s, but is affecting how those born during that time are navigating life today. Most llikely, you have attended school with your own Pluto generation. How does your Sun or other placements in relation to your Pluto affect how you navigated that?

For example, I’m Pluto in Scorpio, with a Taurus Sun. Pluto is very powerful in my generation because Scorpio is ruled by it, it finds home in Pluto. We gravitate towards demystifying taboos, unearthing the truth. We’re obsessed with magic, death, sex, and occult. My generation is defined by our inherent pull towards the secrets and the unknown. We sought New Age (i.e. astrology) and other forms of insight to guide us because we do not fully trust (or understand) the ones passed down to us. So how did my Solar sign affect how my wavelength might have been dissonant or harmonious with my generation?

Taurus is opposite Scorpio, so there’s an inherent struggle. Whilst Scorpio will die for the unknown, for their sixth/seventh/eighth senses, Taurus lives for that which exists already, the five senses. Personally, I’ve had to overcome my Taurus naivete of not taking everything at face value, I’ve had to integrate my shadow side/plutonian side and look beyond what my senses feel. Growing up, I was a little naive, I still have to overcome that some times. Though I know plenty of water signs who find home in my generation, which is why so many people I know go to water signs for support, we’re defined as a water generation.

I for sure rambled, but look at the story told in your chart. you might see that the reason you don’t get along with coworkers or bosses might be because of an uncomfortable relationship dealing with your Saturn and Uranus. Or maybe you have dissimilar tastes in music/art than those you know, could be a dissonant Venus/Pluto aspect. 

-Flex <3

Midak Skyblasters generate literal bolts of light for ammunition. The blasters do this by harnessing the elemental light around a wielder and concentrating it into a projectile. These light based projectiles made it particularly effective to wield against beings consumed by shadow, such as the Makuta. Midak Skyblasters can, however, also be modified to function inversely. Vultraz, a rather vile Shadow Matoran, integrated a blaster into his Skyfighter that he altered to generate and fire bolts of shadow.


E. by Marian Rainer-Harbach
Via Flickr:
Camera: Polaroid SLR 680 Film: Impossible Black & Red 600 (2016-07) For Polaroid Week Fall 2017, Day 4, Photo 2. Happy Polaroid Week! I’ll be sharing some memories of a mystical and slightly uncanny summer gone past.

I mean, sure, but that’s heavily dependent on how you define that term. If you agree with me that integrating the shadow and feeling compassion for others are pretty essential to hero journeys in coming of age fairytale type stories, then that’s all I need to say. Don’t care to hold the story to anything more, although wild speculation can be fun.

Mercury ☿, Venus ♀, and Mars ♂

“its like we speak two different languages” - This could be something like
Mercury in Cancer speaking about Mercury in Virgo or even Mercury in Pisces conversing with Mercury in Leo. Sometimes, it feels like we simply cannot ascertain intellectual rapport or flowing conversation. This suggests that Mercury is at odds. We can observe the qualities of Mercury when two people speak. But two contrasting Mercury elements can generate tremendous learning opportunities and expansion of perspective. Mercury in Cancer can teach Mercury in Virgo to apply empathy and imagination to his conclusions, while Mercury in Pisces could teach Mercury in Leo to focus on ‘we’ rather than ‘me’.

we don’t enjoy each others company”. The condition of Venus in the birth chart determines a love of life, social attributes, and relationship behaviors. It can indicate how we form partnerships with others. Venus in Capricorn may approach relationships seriously and envisage long term maintenance, while Venus in Aries may prefer the spontaneous and surprising elements of relationships. It’s sort of like when you find somebody but discover you each seek different things in life. Venus in Sagittarius may want to travel and enjoy the world, while a Venus in Cancer may prefer to anchor down and nurture home and family. Contrasting Venus dynamics can also present opportunities to expand our tolerance, experience new things, and integrate shadow aspects. Like Venus in Capricorn may teach Venus in Aries the satisfaction of long term devotion, while Venus in Aries can teach Venus in Capricorn how to reunite with his inner child and charter through the world and people with fresh eyes.

we don’t have chemistry’. Mars in the birth chart activates sexual resources and sexual secrets. There is a possibility that Mars in Taurus may find a lack of chemistry or sexual buzz with Mars in Aquarius. Mars in Taurus is soaked in his body, Mars in Aquarius is contained in the mind. It’s like we don’t feel that crackling infusion of energy exchanging. Mars in Scorpio may overflow with passion, desire, and focus while flighty Mars in Gemini may keep it lighthearted and become embarrassed easily. But like walking through a door of intimate self discovery, contrasting Mars signs can teach you senses you never knew you had, or urges you never knew how to express or satisfy. Like Mars in Taurus can guide Mars in Aquarius back into his own body and develop sexual sensuality, while Mars in Aquarius can emphasise the importance of the mind and intellectual rapport in sex


Let Me Make Something Clear...


It never really ends. There is no finish line, no set goal, no indefinite completion

I suspect there may be a misconception that you get through shadow work, pull the skeletons out of your closet, drag your demons out into the light, and then you’re done– you can exist the rest of your days without worry of what’s lurking in the shadows. But this is not true. Granted, you can integrate your shadow and learn to live with it harmoniously, but it evolves with you. It is affected by every new experience you have and therefore will need some conscious attention from time to time.

In a way, it is a lot like a closet. We go on shoving things into it, hiding things away, but eventually it begins to overflow. We tend to forget about a lot of the things we put in our closets. Some people may have cleaner closets than others, but that’s because they keep up with it. We have to periodically go in and clean it out– we have to go through and decide what we can’t yet bring ourselves to get rid of and what we need to get rid of. Which brings me to another thought.


In many respects the shadow is a defense mechanism. It helps us get through all kinds of turmoil, trauma, and distress. Though, it’s seldom used properly, simply because we’re not taught how to. We go on hoarding experiences and refusing to resolve them. We begin feeling identified with the characteristics of the shadow that are formed as a result of these experiences because they helped us “get out alive”. Even when those characteristics begin to impact other aspects of our lives in a negative way, we feel obligated to hold onto them, because they helped us– they are a part of what makes you, you. 

On the other hand, many people despise their shadow all together, mostly out of misunderstanding. They go on trying to conquer it or otherwise eradicate it entirely. Which brings me to the next point.


It is always there, following you. It is a quality of your being. The only way it goes away is if you cease to exist as you– if the ego dissipates. Think of it as your actual shadow. As long as your physical vessel it there, blocking the light that shines upon it, your shadow will be right there behind you. You can turn and face it, but it is still there. Sometimes it may be more faint than others, depending on the quality of light you’re standing in, but it is always with you– it is an extension of you, a product of your existence. You can even recede into a place of darkness where no light is cast, but then you are a part of a collective shadow of sorts. But this tactic, along with dissolving the ego, is typically a temporary state. You have to come back and reintegrate with your self if you are to continue functioning in this plane.  

So don’t look at shadow work as something you just have to get through, make it a cumulative effort. Incorporate it into your practice and use it when you see fit. Don’t feel disheartened if you don’t make the progress you were expecting all at once; revelations will come to you over time and you can work things out as they are exposed. 

Shadow’s fur colour was originally golden yellow, as Gerald based his design off of the Super Sonic mural in the Hidden Palace. This is why his quills are upright constantly.

But when Black Doom’s DNA was integrated into Shadow, his fur colour changed to black and red.

Our Tribe

Daydreaming of what the community can accomplish has been filtered into every thought lately. A place where you can be your most authentic self, where you learn ways to delve into your shadow and integrate dramatic experiences. Where you can be surrounded by those that would rather lift you up than tear you down. A tribe. A family.

My dream cannot be accomplished alone but I know that in time my tribe of one will grow…

The Shadow Self: Integration of the Soul

Since we basically are aware of what is happening now i thought i would share some info on the psychological aspects of the Shadow Self. The Shadow self is fundamentally the aspect of the unconscious that wants to destroy itself. It’s ultimate world of illusion much deeper and darker than the subconscious world. This is the antithesis of ourselves. Therefore if you are feeling it, do not fight against it, you will only be kicking yourself and circling those thoughts until you are ready to let go and release. Also with other people if you are angry, upset or what have you, you are actually projecting these thoughts from yourself. keep this in mind ;) It’s also good to know that fighting your darkness as i know a lot of New Age spiritualistis like to do will only project more, if you fight the ego, it WILL fight back. It’s kinda like chasing your tail…This is a huge period where it would be best to keep love in your heart for love is our ultimate strength it will keep us true to ourselves. The heart is the key. 

May we find the light within the darkness

In Jungian psychology, the shadow or “shadow aspect” may refer to (1) an unconscious aspect of the personality which the conscious ego does not identify in itself. Because one tends to reject or remain ignorant of the least desirable aspects of one’s personality, the shadow is largely negative, or (2) the entirety of the unconscious, i.e., everything of which a person is not fully conscious. There are, however, positive aspects which may also remain hidden in one’s shadow (especially in people with low self-esteem).[1] Contrary to a Freudian definition of shadow, therefore, the Jungian shadow can include everything outside the light of consciousness, and may be positive or negative. “Everyone carries a shadow,” Jung wrote, “and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is.”[2] It may be (in part) one’s link to more primitive animal instincts,[3] which are superseded during early childhood by the conscious mind.

According to Jung, the shadow, in being instinctive and irrational, is prone to psychological projection, in which a perceived personal inferiority is recognised as a perceived moral deficiency in someone else. Jung writes that if these projections remain hidden, “The projection-making factor (the Shadow archetype) then has a free hand and can realize its object–if it has one–or bring about some other situation characteristic of its power." [4] These projections insulate and harm individuals by acting as a constantly thickening veil of illusion between the ego and the real world.

From one perspective, ‘the shadow…is roughly equivalent to the whole of the Freudian unconscious’;[5] and Jung himself asserted that 'the result of the Freudian method of elucidation is a minute elaboration of man’s shadow-side unexampled in any previous age’.[6]

Jung also believed that "in spite of its function as a reservoir for human darkness—or perhaps because of this—the shadow is the seat of creativity.”;[7] so that for some, it may be, 'the dark side of his being, his sinister shadow…represents the true spirit of life as against the arid scholar’.[8]

The Jungian Shadow: Its Phenomenology, Detection and Conscious Integration

Psychiatrist Carl Jung’s construct of the shadow, comprised of the denied aspects of the self (1959, p. 20), conceals within itself the golden key not only to understanding the agency by which wars and feuds of all kinds tend to start, but the very solution to preventing their emergence in the first place. Such conflicts develop out of constricted, narrow views, and Jung claimed the shadow itself was the result of a narrow identification with the persona—the social mask, at the expense of the unattended aspects of the self (Bennett, 1966, p. 117). 

External image

As individual attention is habitually and excessively focused on the façade of the persona, the deeper, neglected aspects of the personality continually sabotage the individual’s conscious intentions (Jung, 1959, p. 123). In order to account for these frustrations, while also avoiding their true source, the shadow is conveniently projected onto other people (Bennett, 1966, p. 119), resulting in what can often be perceived as threatening and unfriendly circumstances (Wilber, 1979, p. 82). Whether the shadow manifests as a war protester who covertly bombs public buildings, a novice guitarist who practically deifies Eddie Van Halen, or as a pro-life extremist who assassinates abortionists, it always represents the very qualities that the persona claims to lack. As such, attentive detection and conscious integration of the shadow would seem to offer a genuine solution to taming the darker aspects of humanity, as well as harnessing its highest potentials, especially if willingly practiced by a growing percentage of the world population.

This essay explores a first-person, phenomenological approach to detecting and integrating the shadow, as well as a third-person, structural view of development that is believed to occur as a result of shadow integration. Drawing from both first-person experience and logical argument, based upon insights in both transpersonal psychology and Buddhist mindfulness practice, it is theorized that the cultivation of compassionate yet intentional awareness is capable not only of detecting the presence of the shadow, but also of gently confronting and integrating it into the personality in a manner which develops a more deeply attuned sense of self with the world at large, with no inherent need to deny any aspects of the self and therefore no need to project any of these aspects outside of the experienced self.

The Phenomenology of Shadow Recognition

The first sign of shadow projection appears as a strong emotional reaction to anyone or anything in the environment (Wilber, 1979, p. 94). More precisely, the first-person experience of such affect feels visceral, impulsive and automatic, more like an unconscious reflex than a conscious, intentional response (Bennett, 1966, p. 119). The instinctive reflex arising out of such affect then projects the source of the feeling outwardly onto some other person, thing or situation, often in the form of emotionally pungent criticism and blame (1966, p. 119). It is this very tendency, in fact, which can serve as the prime indicator that the shadow is in play. By becoming mindfully aware of the people to whom the persona is positively or negatively attracted, in addition to the outwardly focused perceptions which accompany such attraction, it is possible to recognize the shadow (Welwood, 200, p. 208).

Surprisingly, the Christian New Testament may offer subtle insights into how the shadow can be detected and integrated. Jesus, during his famous sermon on the mount, asks,“Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me remove that splinter from your eye,’ while the wooden beam is in your eye” (Matthew 7: 3 – 4, New American Bible)? His aim here appears to be to encourage his disciples to investigate their own first-person experience during the act of fault-finding. His emphasis is on inquiring into why and how such criticism arises, particularly on how its very development emanates from a failure to acknowledge much greater defects within themselves

In order to help his audience more clearly see how their pointed criticism originates from an over-identification with the persona, he speaks directly to the persona and says, “You hypocrite remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7: 5, New American Bible). Interestingly, the Greek root used here, of which hypocrite is a transliteration, refers to an actor, one who plays a role. Similarly, Jung’s concept of the persona refers exclusively to the “mask of the actor” (Jung, 1959, p. 20). Additionally, Jesus suggests that two distinct qualities will emerge as a result of becoming more aware of the inner world, of mindfully attending to the shadow: 1) clarity of perception; and 2) a peaceful disposition that is motivated to help and serve others rather than to find fault and blame.

Integrating the Shadow through Conscious Awareness

“I looked, and looked, and this I came to see:

That what I thought was you and you,

Was really me and me” (Wilber, 1979, p. 95).

As is by now evident, the contents of projection are the secret characteristics—the ‘its’—which the persona refuses to acknowledge. And ending this externalization of the personal contents of consciousness is what Jung’s former mentor, Freud, was pointing to when he proclaimed, “where id was, there ego shall be” (Freud, 1965). Here Freud is literally saying, "Where it was, I shall come to be.” Just as Ged, the lead character in LeGuin’s A Wizard of Earthsea, purposely faces and intimately embraces his own formerly destructive shadow (1975), so also is the shadow integrated by consciously addressing the persona with its own antithesis (Wilber, 1979, p. 100), so that what was formerly a problematic ‘it’ now becomes an integral part of the ‘I’, where it may now bestow its once hidden wealth upon the experience of the personality (Jung, 1959, p. 270).

External image

As previously mentioned, shadow projection is accompanied by the presence of pronounced affect (Jung, 1959, p. 38), which in turn can act as the very signal for a return to, and cultivation of, mindfulness. By deliberately diving into the felt experience of this affect, while simultaneously acknowledging its source to be interior and not exterior to the self, it is possible to come face to face with the projected contents of the personal unconscious.

The first two of the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism state that:
1) suffering is the basic state of the human condition;
2) suffering arises from desire. By bringing a greater depth of conscious awareness into the roots of the affect—the roots of the suffering, so to speak, it is possible to become aware of the underlying desire—the concealed attachment—from which the strong affect is emanating. Viewed from this perspective, the strong affect which accompanies shadow projection, usually associated with a felt tension or contraction within the body, is seen as a form of suffering. And this contraction, in the Buddhist view, is the result of a desire that is presently being either repressed (i.e., resisted) or indulged (i.e., deeply identified with). However, by diving into the depths of the attachment with compassionate, nonjudgmental yet intentional awareness, it is possible to eventually release the desire in an inward posture of kindness toward oneself (Ladner, 2004, p. 68), thus relieving the suffering.

Though space does not allow for a further elaboration of what this process of mindfulness entails, it is the assertion of this essay that the same mindful process by which desires are said to be compassionately released within the context of Buddhist mindfulness practice, is the very same process by which the personal shadow can be benevolently confronted and assimilated into the experience of the self.

External image