Me and My Shadow

Tags

,

peace

It is a frightening thought that man also has a shadow side to him, consisting not just of little weaknesses- and foibles, but of a positively demonic dynamism. The individual seldom knows anything of this; to him, as an individual, it is incredible that he should ever in any circumstances go beyond himself. But let these harmless creatures form a mass, and there emerges a raging monster; and each individual is only one tiny cell in the monster’s body, so that for better or worse he must accompany it on its bloody rampages and even assist it to the utmost. Having a dark suspicion of these grim possibilities, man turns a blind eye to the shadow-side of human nature. Blindly he strives against the salutary dogma of original sin, which is yet so prodigiously true. Yes, he even hesitates to admit the conflict of which he is so painfully aware.

“On the Psychology of the Unconscious” (1912). In CW 7: Two Essays on Analytical Psychology. P.35 howlingatthemoonYour shadows are the truths about yourself that your own psychological processes keep hidden from you. That means the person most in the dark about your shadows is you. While some of these shadows are obvious to every one but you, others remain so well-disguised that no one can see them.

These hidden truths may be called shadows, but they actually include the superior aspects of your personality as well as the inferior that you have yet to discover.

For example, your instinctual drives are a part of your shadows when they operate unconsciously. You might think you are being generous and noble when, in reality, you might be operating from an unacknowledged need for power. Or, perhaps, you may believe you are behaving innocently with another person when you actually have a sexual agenda. A third example: you may think you are relating from a position of equality with a peer when you are really treating them like a child or a parent.

There are very few of us who, even as adults, have not heard or even said, ourselves, things like, “Stop treating me like a child,” or “You’re not my mother or father.”

A part of every individuation journey includes revelations of your unconscious instinctual behaviors. Unfortunately, these cannot be discovered by simply sitting down and thinking about it. Neither does it help for someone to point them out to you. These behaviors are usually discovered through life experience.

Claiming your shadow will bring you unexpected gifts–qualities such as strength, inner beauty, leadership ability, tenderness, and incisiveness, among others. These are qualities that you might have only pretended to have or never really believed that you could possess.

Unfortunately, until we can claim our shadows as a part of ourselves, we will tend to project them on to others. Whenever you have strong feelings, positive or negative, about another person, there is something within you that is being unconsciously projected on that person. A quality that exists within you is being seen not in yourself, where you cannot see it, but in that other person, who may or may not actually possess that quality.

Some people will cause you to feel irritated, angry or outraged, or alternately, they will receive your praise, admiration and devotion. These people will tend to possess this characteristic in an exaggerated form, which makes it easier for you to see it in them, and more difficult for you to see a subtler version in your self. If it were not a quality that belonged to you in some way, you would not be so strongly affected by it.

Once you can bring yourself to stop and reflect on why you are having the reaction you are having, you will begin to realize that the cause of your agitation is within yourself and not in the other person.

Next Week: Some ways to begin the shadow journey.

The Shadow Knows

Tags

,

Bonaventure Jesus

Bonaventure Jesus

I intend to “give up” Social Media for Lent, so I thought I would go ahead and rerun this nine-part series on Shadow Work, which seems apropos for this special time of year:

“As soon as the two houses of the soul [the sensual and the spiritual] are tranquil and confirmed and merged in one by this peace, and their servants the powers, appetites and passions are sunk in deep tranquility, neither troubled by things above nor things below, the Divine Wisdom immediately unites itself to the soul in a new bond of loving possession, and that is fulfilled which is written in the Book of Wisdom: ‘while all things were immersed in quiet silence, and the night was in the midway of her course, Thy omnipotent Word sallied out of heaven from the royal seats’ (Wisdom xviii. 14). The same truth is set before us in the Canticle, where the Bride, after passing by those who took her veil away and wounded her, saith, ‘When I had a little passed by them I found Him who my soul loveth’ (Canticle iii. 4).

~St. John of the Cross, Dark Night of the Soul

Picasso sculptureIt is my belief that one cannot truly find union with the Divine unless you have learned, first, to love yourself. And, to truly love yourself, you must be completely self aware. That being said, there are different methods that can be used to learn more about yourself.

Being of a Jungian persuasion, myself, I prefer using Shadow Work in my process toward individuation. I once, somewhat jokingly, introduced myself as a Shadowholic. But, the truth is shadow work is not unlike a 12-step program in that it progresses through stages.

The first stage, like that of any 12-step program, is to admit that you are powerless. In Christian terms, this is experiencing the call to follow Christ.

“If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross every day and follow me.” Luke 9:23

Once you have surrendered to Christ, you should see that your center shifts from the ego as you begin the second stage of the journey. Not unlike accomplishing the first three steps.

Step four asks us to make a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves just as the second stage of individuation is centered in shadow work. This simply means integrating the contents of the personal unconscious.

This is a long process and, as we are ever changing, it is never truly finished. But, with a conscious effort, your Shadow can become more integrated within five years.

During this period, the journeyer is gradually shown the more obvious ways in which he or she is off center from his or her true self. For example, a woman will face issues having to do with her feminine reality and will be gradually led toward a more complete and satisfying embodiment of the woman she was born to be while a man is led toward a more conscious embodiment of his masculine reality.

This can bring about fundamental adjustments in relationships, work and social life. While it can be a difficult period in some ways, the end result is a movement toward health and wholeness and a truer life in God.

. . .  stay tuned; this will continue next week.

Angel Falls Rapid Trail

Tags

,

Angel Falls Rapid

Angel Falls Rapid

I’ve added a new hike at my website. You can find more details here: Angel Falls Rapid Trail.

Angel Falls Rapid Trail, which is 3.6 miles roundtrip, is located in Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, which straddles the Tennessee-Kentucky border.

From the early Native Americans who hunted the area to the more recent inhabitants who mined the land for its coal, the Big South Fork area of the Cumberland Plateau has seen a lot of history over the past 12,000 years. The Cherokees that lived in the area were pushed out by the arrival of fur trappers in the late 1700s. By 1810, the first pioneer settlers arrived to build farms and mine saltpeter. Following the Civil War, the land was mined for coal and stripped of timber before its oil and gas resources were developed.

The 125,000-acre park features waterfalls and numerous rock formations as well as its famous river. The constantly moving water that eroded the sandstone and shale that make up the top layer of the plateau caused the park’s distinct features. The limestone beneath layer beneath contains the parks oil and gas deposits. The park also features a wide variety of wildlife arranging from Black Bear and Elk to 60 species of fish and 160 species of native and migratory birds.

Directions: There are numerous ways to access the park depending on which section you wish to visit. You can reach the Bandy Creek Visitor Center (from which you can get more information) by taking US 27 north from Interstate 40, Exit 347, to Oneida. In Oneida, turn left (west) on Tennessee 297 and travel about 15 miles. The Visitors Center and Bandy Creek area is to your right after you cross the Big South Fork River. There are also Visitors Centers for the park in Rugby and Crossville (which is on Central Time).

An exposed coal seam located along the trail.

An exposed coal seam located along the trail.

Hallowed Treasures Saga

Tags

,

What it took for me to create a 3-book fantasy saga.

What it took for me to create a 3-book fantasy saga.

It is finished. What began with the idea of one character in college (more than thirty years ago) and progressed to the concept of a Princess discovering the world beyond her father’s kingdom about ten years later, before morphing into the concept of a Divinely-inspired Quest to gather together the Thirteen Hallowed Treasures, has finally come to an end.

From The Path to Misery to In Lonely Exile to the final book in the saga, Death’s Dark Shadows, it needed more than 380,000 words to tell the tale.

The photo above shows what it took (for me) to accomplish writing a fantasy set in a post, post apocalyptic world over the course of more than three years of travel set within Thirteen Kingdoms.

Dozens of notecards detailing characters, food, lodgings, details about each of the Kingdoms and the Treasures, among other things, were absolutely essential. I also made calendars to keep track of where the characters were and how long it took them to reach their destinations.

In Death’s Dark Shadows, I was able to maintain continuity by checking facts against the books that had already been published. I even went so far as to make notes and drawings in Eluned’s leather-bound journal.

Hopefully, Death’s Dark Shadows will see publication in the late spring (it’s still in edits). And now I will turn my attention to the possibilities of what I will write next: Romantic Suspense? Historical Romance? Or a series of books for 7- to 12-year-olds?

The drawing that inspired the character, Jabberwock, which I sketched while bored in Geology Lab.

The drawing that inspired the character, Jabberwock, which I sketched while bored in Geology Lab.

The Garden of Love

Tags

,

img_2557

I went to the Garden of Love,
And saw what I never had seen:
A Chapel was built in the midst,
Where I used to play on the green.

And the gates of this Chapel were shut,
And ‘Thou shalt not’ writ over the door;
So I turn’d to the Garden of Love
That so many sweet flowers bore;

And I saw it was filled with graves,
And tomb-stones where flowers should be;
And Priests in black gowns were walking their rounds,
And binding with briars my joys & desires.

~~William Blake~~

Geocaching

Tags

Some pirate booty for desert caches.

Some pirate booty for desert caches.

I’ve been hearing about geocaching for a very long time, but somehow never quite got around to trying it out. But, on our most recent trip to Arizona, we decided it was about time to see how difficult this thing might be. So, armed with some pirate booty from River Street (because what could be cooler than finding pirate booty in a geocache?), we headed out into the Superstition Mountains.

Our first cache.

Our first cache.

It wasn’t difficult, and we were addicted immediately. We continued to look for caches for the rest of the day. The photos below give you some idea of the variety that can be found out there:

geocache2

A tiny scroll

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

geocache3

tupperware

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A magnetic box

A magnetic box

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We searched until dark the first day, ending up at the park at Fountain Hills, and paused briefly to see the world’s fourth largest fountain spew water to a height of more than 560 feet.

The eponymous fountain of Fountain Hills, Arizona

The eponymous fountain of Fountain Hills, Arizona

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next day, though it was rainy, we searched for a few more. I believe we found a dozen total. The last was my favorite as it included not only a bunch of “treasures” but an ongoing story that began in 2005. Despite the drizzle, my daughter and I read through the entire story and added a couple of sentences of our own.

This is what this one looked like before opening.

This is what this one looked like before opening.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And some of what was inside (the notebook with the story is missing)

And some of what was inside (the notebook with the story is missing)

When I returned home, I downloaded the geocaching app. It looks as if we have plenty of caches to discover in the future. FYI–Apparently one is supposed to give a title to the caches one hides: an ongoing story and cool titles. I may want to hide my own geocache.

The geocaching app

The geocaching app