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    Thread: The Shadow

    1. #1
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      The Shadow

      In Jungian dream work, 'The Shadow' is one of the essential archetypes. The Shadow represents all of the unknown, repressed, or undesirable traits about ourselves. Not all of it is bad, but perhaps the majority of it is. Some of it can be hidden gifts.. after all, many people run from their own power or don't believe in themselves and their gifts. It is also where our pride is stored, our hidden insecurities, our immature reactions, our evil intentions. Everyone has a shadow, but the more integrated (and self-aware) one becomes, the less shadow one has. It is our ego.

      What experiences do you have with your own Shadow archetype? For those of you who practice dream interpretation, do you have a consistent character or characters that usually play the part of your Shadow? Have you ever had a shadow integration experience in a dream? Have you ever questioned a Shadow dream character while lucid?


      ----

      For myself, I know when I see my sister or my old friend from high school, I am experiencing my Shadow. She is me, but she is impulsive, sometimes selfish, often insecure, and emotionally reactive. She is me, but she is the unconscious version. Like an evil twin or clone. On rare occasions, I've heard her saying things, my own voice saying things, I would never say. Things I don't think or feel on a conscious level, but perhaps some repressed unconscious part of me (maybe 1% of me) feels that way. I don't know, but it's startling sometimes. Luckily, this doesn't happen very often.

      I've also had a shadow integration experience. At least one (it's hard to remember back then). In that lucid dream, after I rescued a dog, it turned into me as a child and literally merged into my body. The energy sensation afterward was amazing, and I felt it the next day. It was like feeling more wholeness in my chest. I've also had many experiences of being lucid and working with shadow characters, who have told me things about myself, things I did not realize.

      Anyway... anyone else have these experiences?
      Last edited by MoonageDaydream; 09-18-2021 at 12:21 AM.
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    2. #2
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      Sometimes I have dream where an animal wants to attack me. I think in these cases, the animal represents my Shadow.

      I recall a recent dream about an antagonistic looking white cat that was on my bed. I assumed it represented an anxious part of myself and I tried to calm it down, saying, "it's okay," and immediately after I said that, the cat rapidly shrunk in size until it disappeared.

      I think if a dream character is based on a feeling of ours and that feeling changes, then the character must change as well.

    3. #3
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      Shadow aspects probably do appear in my dreams but they have never been consistently one thing, person or creature. One time, there was certainly a Shadow encounter in one of my more recent lucid dreams, a voice that spoke to me as something external, which was really interesting, asking me if I'd killed one of my siblings yet.

      Though I have to admit that in my view the Shadow doesn't necessarily represent just bad or evil(?) aspects; for me I would say it largely represents the aspects of my Self that I generally keep under reins or that I do not allow "out" most of the time.

      If anything, this is making me think of myself as a jailor to my Shadow, because it is an aspect of myself that for one thing is too care-free to understand that we can't always do what we want. So to me, it is also the aspect of myself that is behaviourally ugly (more to the outside world than to myself), having flaws of character that can (and have) really made things difficult for me at times, especially when it comes to social interactions.

      The Shadow aspect is more instinctual in some regards, I feel. In that sense, I see the Shadow as more of a human animal than a regular human. And I think these aspects do manifest for me in terms of my own role in dreams as a character, that is, when in a dream I do things that are more in-line with Shadow-like behaviours.

      Spoiler for A non-lucid dream with a Shadow encounter of some kind:


      Without looking through my dream journal properly, I would say that a lot of my encounters with Shadow characters can result in some kind of antagonism if they are not coming through myself as the dreamer. Though, even if I can't remember which dream it was right now, I know I had a recent one where there were helpful interactions too.



      I do want to leave a reading suggestion here for others; Tom Chetwynd's "A Dictionary of Symbols" (part of a series of three books) has a lot of Jungian thought in it and is well worth a read both for that and all the diverse symbols talked about within. I have not suggested this book for the Lucid Dreaming Book Club because it does not relate specifically to dreaming alone and is probably not especially relevant to people who aren't interested in this school of thought anyway.

      Had some extra thoughts on this but I've forgotten them now, as I had to go away for a bit half-way writing this.
      Singled out from some of my favourite quotes from Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri: "Risks of [Planet] flowering: considerable. But rewards of godhood: who can measure? - Usurper Judaa'Maar: Courage: to question."

    4. #4
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      Quote Originally Posted by DarkestDarkness View Post
      I would say it largely represents the aspects of my Self that I generally keep under reins or that I do not allow "out" most of the time. ...

      If anything, this is making me think of myself as a jailor to my Shadow, because it is an aspect of myself that for one thing is too care-free to understand that we can't always do what we want. ...

      The Shadow aspect is more instinctual in some regards, I feel.
      Yes! I am quoting this for truth. That's how I am experiencing it, too. It's like the shadow aspect has instinctual reactions and thoughts that cognitively, I don't agree with at all. Like a toddler or child within that sometimes whines about something. The more I think about what the Shadow has to say in my dreams, the more that repressed feeling surfaces and then dissipates. These feelings and thoughts have no substantial merit to them. They are just passing things, and mostly fear-based. Probably, they are remnants of unprocessed emotions because of things that happened in the past that were never resolved properly. Like a thorn in the foot. Then, they try to apply themselves to current situations in our dreams to get our attention: "Hey! Resolve this!"

      I had a dream a few nights ago. Quite literally, a shadow-woman was stuck on a cave wall and snuck out while I wasn't looking. She morphed from a shadow into a version of myself, and flew off on a magic carpet, to do God know's what.

      Although I speak negatively about the shadow, like a child that whines, I do think the answer is to listen to this aspect. We do need to feel whatever we're repressing within our Shadow. But we do not have to act on these feelings. Feeling, and accepting ourselves fully (all 100%), is key to integration and to those shadow aspects dissipating naturally on their own.
      Last edited by MoonageDaydream; 09-19-2021 at 06:13 PM.
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      The question, I read somewhere that Mercury in Retrograde is when you see the most Shadow-selves. What are your thoughts and opinion on this? And do you guys think that is the reason you have been seeing your shadow-selves in your dreams?
      Last edited by HumbleDreamer; 09-19-2021 at 08:36 PM.
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    6. #6
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      Quote Originally Posted by HumbleDreamer View Post
      The question, I read somewhere that Mercury in Retrograde is when you see the most Shadow-selves. What are your thoughts and opinion on this? And do you guys think that is the reason you have been seeing your shadow-selves in your dreams?
      I have no idea, but I think it's a possibility. Just because astrology is a pseudoscience does not mean it doesn't have some truth or power to it. It's my belief that anything we give our mental energy to has power - the same way the placebo effect has power. It certainly would explain some things..
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      Quote Originally Posted by MoonageDaydream View Post
      I have no idea, but I think it's a possibility. Just because astrology is a pseudoscience does not mean it doesn't have some truth or power to it. It's my belief that anything we give our mental energy to has power - the same way the placebo effect has power. It certainly would explain some things..
      I agree. Although I usually say that 'Mystic Megs' and today's astrology have no factual basis, ancient astrology, believe it or not, is based on observations that have been made by our ancestors. In particular, where dates of birth and personalities are concerned. Recent studies show that being born at certain times of the year can influence one's psychology. The seasons and the place are major factors.
      Last edited by Summerlander; 09-20-2021 at 07:30 PM. Reason: Typographical
      THE PHASE = waking consciousness during sleep hybridisation at 40Hz of brainwave activity conducive to lucid dreaming and autoscopy.

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      That's more or less along the lines of my thoughts on it too. I don't personally believe in the star sign predictions and so on. To me the focus really is around the personality types that seem to emerge from each different time of the year. Maybe there's an observational bias but I often find that when people tell me their star sign, it usually fits fairly well to their personality, sometimes more than I realised at first. Though, a lot of star signs would seem to have overlapping key traits which I suppose may or may not develop in someone based on their life's experience.

      It would be interesting to know how the ancients first came to their conclusions but I suppose humans were in a more natural state then, which may have had something to do with it?

      So anyway, in my view there's some weight to star signs as a psychological tool/marker. Because of that, I think they also have some value for our own personal symbolisms and personal myths. The fact that they all have a visually representable symbol is useful in that regard.

      If I can call it this... Personal mythification - which I guess we can think of like personal world-building? - seems important to me under a Jungian context because that context has some level of dependency on highly personal and visual symbols, such as pretty much everything that we get to see and experience whilst dreaming. Things like star signs can be incorporated into this if we feel they fit us in some way, but like with any symbol I would say it really depends on what kind of meaning it has, since a non-personal or trivial meaning is likely not going to be very relevant within this context. I am not Gemini, but if I were, I'd say there are some interesting possibilities there for personal symbolisms relating to the Self, for example as an element of duality between Jungian archetypes. The Libra would also lend itself well to personal interpretations around duality with the potential for differences in nuance versus Gemini, I would think.
      Singled out from some of my favourite quotes from Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri: "Risks of [Planet] flowering: considerable. But rewards of godhood: who can measure? - Usurper Judaa'Maar: Courage: to question."

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      It's funny, until I got into this thread, despite all my previous reading on the subjects of relevance here... I had never been able to really separate my dream characters from their waking life counterparts, even when I hadn't seen or heard of them for many years.

      Especially in the (unexpected) short lucid dream I had just last morning, it was so much more obvious how much I could relate to the accompanying dream character as a part of myself, rather than the image of the person they mirrored. This never happened so naturally before, but I was also not expecting a lucid dream in any sense any time soon.
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      Singled out from some of my favourite quotes from Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri: "Risks of [Planet] flowering: considerable. But rewards of godhood: who can measure? - Usurper Judaa'Maar: Courage: to question."

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      In Aion, Jung's Quaternio 'chain' describes the structure and dynamics of the Self as well as our reality. The diagram in the book shows a series of double pyramids attached together by cones that denote the development of the Ego and the world, and the base of each pyramid is a quaternity distinguishing four separate elements. A Gnostic sect known as the Naassenes conceived of an image known as the Moses Quaternio—Moses being the second most important man in Judaism because, although he never achieved the prestige of Christ, he was the next best thing for setting the realistic example of working on his individuation throughout his lifetime—which is also known as the Anthropos Quaternio.

      At the top of the pyramid lies the Anthropos or Higher Adam (Jungian Self) and at the bottom of the cone below the quaternity is the Lower Adam or Man (Ego). The edges of the square which represent distinguished elements and go between the Higher and Lower Adams are labelled as follows (with the corresponding Jungian archetypes in brackets): Higher Jethro (Wise Old Man), Higher Moses (Great Father), The Positive Miriam (Anima) and The Wise Zipporah (Great Mother). (These names are derived from the Book of Exodus in the Old Testament.) Before the Ego can become the Self, it has to confront the Moses Quaternio—in other words, the striving towards the Higher Adam by the Lower Adam describes the process of individuation.

      The Moses Quaternio is only one of the four in the chain and sits at the very top (immediately above the Shadow Quaternio that begins with the Serpent at the bottom of the cone). Based on the decisions one makes, one can either strive towards God (Self) or the Devil (Serpent) depending on archetypal interaction. The Shadow Quaternio includes the following archetypal opposites: The Lower Jethro, The Negative Miriam, The Ethiopian Woman, and the Carnal Man. According to Jung, the Ego interacts with these archetypes and chooses to integrate their positive or negative contents. Even the Serpent is not necessarily all negative as it possesses its own peculiar wisdom which can catapult one closer to God—Lucifer, after all, means 'light bringer', and darkness bestows dimension to light. Even though the Serpent rules the Shadow, this one contains all the repressed material we need to confront for better or for worse.

      The double pyramid at the very bottom of the chain is called the Lapis Quaternio, with the bottom of the cone labelled as Rotundum (prima materia or the chaotic state of being at the beginning of time) and the top is Lapis. The four edges of the middle square are labelled as follows: Earth, Wind, Fire and Water. (The tangible forms derived from the intangible source.) The Rotundum coming asunder can be symbolically thought of as the squaring of the circle in alchemy to form the elements to be subsequently united in the Lapis (which is not to be mistaken for the Philosopher's stone). The Lapis encompasses all elements like an ordered seed which marks the bottom of the Paradise Quaternio whose edges in the middle indicate the four rivers that flow from the source in paradise (Aqua Doctrinae): Gihon, Tigris, Pishon, and Euphrates. The water can be thought of as the blood of God which sustains paradise and culminates in the Serpent (the highest possible state in the animal kingdom where the Ego is developed but the lowest in the Shadow kingdom).

      As we move up the planes in the chain, a point is reached which is indistinguishable from God and there are no more squares to integrate. As Jung puts it in Aion:

      'The four quaternios depicted above are first and foremost an attempt to arrange systematically the almost limitless wealth of symbols in Gnosticism and its continuation, alchemy.'~Carl Jung

      Once the Ego reaches the summit of the Quaternio chain, it has nowhere else to go but to go back to the beginning, thus the mouth of the chain turns to its tail to form the Ouroboros—where the Ego, having reached the perfect unity of the Self, disunites to start anew in the void.

      'Man's task is ... to become conscious of the contents that press upward from the unconscious. Neither should he persist in his unconsciousness nor remain identical with the unconscious elements of his being, thus evading his destiny, which is to create more and more consciousness. As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being.' ~Carl Jung
      Last edited by Summerlander; 10-19-2021 at 08:25 PM. Reason: Improvement
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