March 27, 2011
In way too much psychological writing you get the impression that our "shadows" are all the personal qualities we are ashamed of. Shadow equals bad aspects about ourselves. The fact is that the term "shadow" came about to represent those qualities that we allowed the culture to repress in us. Thus, if we felt different in any way or if we wanted to make art or think about meaning or live by the ocean and surf and rescue dolphins, and if our parents or teachers tried to steer us in different directions, then our desires and aspirations were repressed. They became hidden in the darkness, our shadow. We didn't show our true desires to our bosses or families either when we suppressed them to fulfill what we thought were cultural aspirations. Our shadows therefore really contain our best talents, gifts, and aspirations. Instead of allowing one's light to shine, one hid it under a bushel in the darkness. No one can explain this better than Clarissa Pinkola Estes on disk 2 of her new Mother Night series. She has been one of my great mentors because she is such an evoker.