Individuation

THE SHADOW

To maximize your personal psychological progress it is integral to realize that: 

the INDIVIDUATION process truly begins when one becomes conscious of the Shadow.

The reason it is so difficult to acquire insight into one’s own shadow is that inferior personality traits are mostly of an emotional nature.  Emotions and affects are to a large extent relatively autonomous; they possess consciousness and can only with great difficulty be controlled.  Projections coupled with emotions isolate the human being from his surroundings and put him into an autoerotic or autistic state.  P&R 19

“Recognition of the shadow, on the other hand, leads to the modesty we need in order to acknowledge imperfection.  And it is just this conscious recognition and consideration that is needed

“But if we step through the door of the shadow we discover with terror that we are the objects of unseen factors”  (or…) To know this is decidedly unpleasant, for nothing is more disillusioning than the discovery of our own inadequacy”

(As) the archetypes, like all numinous contents, are relatively autonomous, they cannot be integrated simply by rational means, but require a dialectical procedure. 

Encounter with the Shadow often coincides with the Individual's conscious realization of the functional and attitudinal type to which he belongs.  Jacobi

  Responsibility of the shadow rests with the ego. 

The development of the shadow runs parallel to that of the ego; qualities which the ego does not need or cannot make use of are set aside or repressed, and thus they play little or no part in the conscious life of the Individual.  Jacobi

And because in the course of our lives we are constantly having to inhibit or repress one quality or another, the shadow can never be fully raised to consciousness.  Jacobi

Outburst of rage, suddenly curse, against will act anti-socially, stingy, petty, cowardly, furious, … out of the ordinary we carefully hide or suppress… we ask ourselves in amazement: how is it possible?  Is it really true things like this are in me?   Jacobi

The dark and shadow side of individuals is usually completely denied, projected onto others or cognitively recognized and then suppressed.  It is very unusual for it to be befriended.  Yet, it is precisely through the process of befriending the shadow that ultimately, self-knowledge is attained.  This self-knowledge creates greater self-consciousness, which leads to a greater realization of the Divine image within each individual.  This greater consciousness transforms the dark side into an experience of potential new light and understanding. 

… Accordingly, a child has no real shadow, but his shadow becomes more pronounced as his ego gains in stability and range.  Jacobi

The light of wisdom is driving away the darkness.          

Look at the ground        

Now you can see your own shadow    

If you have been scared by the shadow that's been following you, just remember, wherever the shadow is, the light is always nearby.

As I said, it is easier to gain insight into the shadow then into the anima or animus. With the shadow, we have the advantage of being prepared in some sort by our education, which has always endeavoured to convince people that they are not one-hundred-per-cent pure gold.

… So everyone immediately understands what is meant by “shadow,” “inferior personality,” etc. And if he has forgotten, his memory can easily be refreshed by a Sunday sermon, his wife, or the tax collector.

Since the shadow, in itself, is unconscious for most people, the snake would correspond to what is totally unconscious and incapable of becoming conscious, but which, as the collective unconscious and as instinct, seems to possess a peculiar wisdom of its own and a knowledge that is often felt to be supernatural. This is the treasure which the snake (or dragon) guards, and also the reason why the snake signifies evil and darkness on the one hand and wisdom on the other. Its unrelatedness, coldness, and dangerousness express the instinctuality that with ruthless cruelty rides roughshod over all moral and any other human wishes and considerations and is therefore just as terrifying and fascinating in its effects as the sudden glance of a poisonous snake.

Just as the serpent stands for the power that heals as well as corrupts, so one of the thieves is destined upwards, the other downwards, and so likewise the shadow is on one side regrettable and reprehensible weakness, on the other side healthy instinctivity and the prerequisite for higher consciousness.

You are painfully aware that these things happen in you, but nobody likes to admit that he is subject to such phenomena. He prefers to leave them in the shadow, because that helps him to assume that he is perfectly innocent and very nice and honest and straightforward and ‘only too willing’, etc. – you know all these phrases. As a matter of fact, one is not. 

THE REALIZATION OF THE SHADOW

Through dreams one becomes acquainted with aspects of one’s own personality that for various reasons one has preferred not to look at too closely.  This is what Jung called “the realization of the shadow.”  (He used the term “shadow” for this unconscious part of the personality because it actually often appears in dreams in a personified form.)  M&HS 174

It represents unknown or little-known attributes and qualities of the ego = aspects that mostly belong to the personal sphere and that could just as well be conscious.  M&HS 174

When an individual makes an attempt to see his shadow, he becomes aware of (and often ashamed of) those qualities and impulses he denies in himself but can plainly see in other people – such things as egotism, mental laziness, and sloppiness; unreal fantasies, schemes, and plots; carelessness and cowardice: inordinate love of money and possessions – in short, all the little sins about which he might previously have told himself: “That doesn’t matter; nobody will notice it, and in any case other people are doing it too.”  M&HS 174

If you feel an overwhelming rage coming up in you when a friend reproaches you about a fault, you can be fairly sure that at this point you will find a part of your shadow, of which you are unconscious. M&HS 174

But what can you say if your own dreams – an inner judge in your own being – reproach you?   That is the moment when the ego gets caught, and the result is usually embarrassed silence.  174

Afterward the painful and lengthy work of self-education begins – a work, we might say, that is the psychological equivalent of the labors of Hercules.  This unfortunate hero’s first task, you will remember, was to clean up in one day the Augean Stables, in which hundreds of cattle had dropped their dung for many decades – a task so enormous that the ordinary mortal would be overcome by discouragement at the mere thought of it.  M&HS 174

The shadow does not consist only of omissions.  It shows up just as often in an impulsive or inadvertent act.  Before one has time to think, the evil remark pops out, the plot is hatched, the wrong decision is made, and one is confronted with results that were never intended or consciously wanted.  Furthermore, the shadow is exposed to collective infections to a much greater extent than is the conscious personality.  When a man is alone, for instance, he feels relatively all right; but as soon as “the others” do dark, primitive things, he begins to fear that if he doesn’t join in, he will be considered a fool.  Thus he gives way to impulses that do not really belong to him at all. 

It is particularly in contacts with people of the same sex that one stumbles over both one’s shadow and those of other people.  Although we do see the shadow in a person of the opposite sex, we are usually much less annoyed by it and can more easily pardon it.  M&HS 175

In dreams and myths, therefore, the shadow appears as a person of the same sex as that of the dreamer.  M&HS 175

(Dorn) sees the healing experience, though it is given by God, not in some outer religious experience or outer teaching, but in a genuine personal inner experience.  Everybody can extract the healing experience from himself.  He even says (and this is interesting, after having repeated the scorn of the body to be found in every meditation text of the time) that the healing medicine is in the (body).  In just that part of the personality which most strongly resists any conscious effort, and which we would call the shadow, is the healing medicine.  It is incorruptible and has to be detected and extracted from there.  AAI 66