Shadow is a term that Jung used to refer to all the unconscious elements of the psyche — those aspects of the self that are unknown or unrecognized by our everyday consciousness. Ego rejects them and labels them as bad, dangerous, negative, not me or out of reach. This is not necessarily a bad thing because earlier in life it was necessary to psycho-spiritually downsize oneself to create a socially acceptable personality to gain acceptance by family, peers and authority figures. We need to descend into the dark realms of the unconscious to retrieve these lost qualities or forever remain fragmented. These negative shadow qualities show up in dream world characters, in nature and in day world people onto who we project our own disowned negative qualities. The positive qualities of our shadow can also be projected onto others — these are esteemed traits that seem out of reach for us. An encounter with shadow can be extremely challenging. As we develop a relationship with these elements and begin to consciously integrate them we experience their strength, resourcefulness, unique perspectives and sensitivities.
And he was the evil spirit of my dreams
BY ANTONIO MACHADO
And he was the demon of my dreams, the most handsome
of all angels. His victorious eyes
blazed like steel,
and the flames that fell
from his torch like drops
lit up the deep dungeon of the soul.
“Would you go with me?” “No, never! Tombs
and dead bodies frighten me.”
But his iron hand
“You will go with me.” … And in my dreams I walked
blinded by his red torch.
In the dungeon I heard the sound of chains
and the stirring of beasts that were in cages.