Giles

The Jungian Shadow Theory: Practical Applications

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Understanding this theory is an invaluable tool for some people because alongside accessing and integrating the shadow comes the insight that it's not just dark, it's also golden.

Integrating the Shadow can also be seen as analogous to what some religions label enlightenment.The practical application of this understanding is what leads to access and integration.

Edited by Giles
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Personal preference: More information on the subject the title implies, and perhaps personal experience with shadow work, and less focus on another member.

 

Would you like to try again?

 

P,S. We tend to frown upon taking an issue one has with another member in one thread to another, and tend to see it as a bit baiting and trolling.

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Fantastic subject matter to discuss.

There are a few members here, @Yueya in particular, who have a deep connection to Jungian philosophy and methods. I know little about it but always find it connects to my own view and practice and often sheds light through its unique and well developed perspective.

 

I agree with Ilumairen that the emphasis is best focused on the subject matter without pointing at specific individuals without their consent and request. As has been stated elsewhere more eloquently than I am capable, taking the responsibility to point out the defects of others in a public forum uninvited can be quite offensive and often poorly received -

Some welcome the feedback and the opportunity it affords to work on oneself. Others may not be on that path, may not be ready, willing, or interested. It’s a big responsibility to take on for real. In an anonymous, digital community it’s very touchy.

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Thanks for the feedback. Would it be better if you gave me a personal practice forum and moved this discussion there or would you prefer to delete it completely?

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1 minute ago, Giles said:

Thanks for the feedback. Would it be better if you gave me a personal practice forum and moved this discussion there or would you prefer to delete it completely?


If you would simply edit out the commentary on the other member there is still a possibility for an interesting and informative discussion here.

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My awareness of the Shadow as an idea in self knowledge goes back to my first exposure to Daoist ideas as a kid - 

Ursula LeGuin's Earthsea books. 

 

By my early twenties, I'd also read a bit of Jung, mainly as a response to a psychology course I'd taken and very much disagreed with. (Freud to Frankl to Skinner- which still seems a viscious and ill intentioned arc). 

 

Ensuing years of creativity and exploration , along with the drinking games that are part of any demimonde or floating world, had me believing as so many do - that my shadow was particularly dark and fierce, nothing to mess with. My public persona as a busker, a street performer,  reinforced illusions -  casting false shadows in all directions.

 

    Constantly moving meant that the light source was never in the same place - relative to me - that I expected it to occupy.

Now we have a small cottage, we've been here a few years.

 

Orion, long time companion on scattered early boat launchings, camp breakings and late returns from the bars, strolls predictably between the cedars.

 

In "A little Book on The Human Shadow", Robert Bly talks about the long bag we drag behind us, filling it up as we go. Later in life, we may start to take things out of the bag. while doing that, I notice that my shadow is no special monster, no devil, just a small thing I cast.

 

Altogether, I'm still far too wrapped up with Kerouac, and Li Bai, so,

 

 

Among the blossoms waits a jug of wine.
I pour myself a drink, no loved one near.
Raising my cup, I invite the bright moon
and turn to my shadow. We are now three.
But the moon doesn’t understand drinking,
and my shadow follows my body like a slave.
For a time moon and shadow will be my companions,
a passing joy that should last through the spring.
I sing and the moon just wavers in the sky;
I dance and my shadow whips around like mad.
While lucid still, we have such fun together!
But stumbling drunk, each staggers off alone.
Bound forever, relentless we roam:
reunited at last on the distant river of stars.

—translated by David Bowles
April 20, 2014

 

Edited by Sketch
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21 hours ago, Giles said:

Understanding this theory is an invaluable tool for some people because alongside accessing and integrating the shadow comes the insight that it's not just dark, it's also golden.

Integrating the Shadow can also be seen as analogous to what some religions label enlightenment.The practical application of this understanding is what leads to access and integration.

 

If you´re willing to share, I think it would be fascinating to hear about any experiences you´ve had integrating your own shadow and what benefits you´ve enjoyed from the work.

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I note that the complete quote from Robert Bly appears in the previous thread.

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27 minutes ago, liminal_luke said:

 

If you´re willing to share, I think it would be fascinating to hear about any experiences you´ve had integrating your own shadow and what benefits you´ve enjoyed from the work.

 

I stumbled across my own Shadows (dark and later golden) about forty years ago and didn't fully understand what was going on until I trained as a psychotherapist about 10 years later. I'm happy to discuss the specifics in more detail in a personal practice area if it interests you or anyone else but I don't want to use this thread for the purpose of my own autobiography.

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42 minutes ago, ilumairen said:

An older thread with some interesting commentary on the subject, for anyone interested:

 

 

 

I'll certainly read that later. Thank you for the link.

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How interesting! I'd completely forgotten that I'd posted in that thread.

This thread differs from the premise of that thread in that I disagree with any assertion that it's necessary to read Jung in order to do effective Shadow work. In fact, I consider that reading Jung makes the job unnecessarily complicated and potentially impossible because Jung is so convoluted.

Shadow work is really simple, you just need the courage to undertake it and once you've managed to light the blue touch paper, you just need to hang on for the duration of the ride.

Edited by Giles
Punctuation and clarification.
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Given two unexpected reactions to my last post (from Bindi and Nungali), I've rewritten that post, as I saw that it was considerably lacking in clarity.

Sorry!

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7 minutes ago, Giles said:

Given two unexpected reactions to my last post (from Bindi and Nungali), I've rewritten that post, as I saw that it was considerably lacking in clarity.

Sorry!


Your post just made me laugh, I liked your attitude :) I read one Jung book, “memories, dreams, reflections”, and that was enough, my main interest was in dream interpretation and working with dreams, which is intrinsically shadow work anyway. 

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7 minutes ago, ilumairen said:

What comes up when “shadow” is searched at The Center of Applied Jungian Studies site:

 

https://appliedjung.com/?s=Shadow&post_type=post&cat=0

 

 

As I've said, I personally find Jung too convoluted to be of practical value (in 30 years of experience of working directly with both my own and others).

When I came across his writings, I considered myself extremely fortunate that I'd encountered my Shadow directly and also been lucky enoughto be able to hang on for the frankly terrifying first part of the ride up to the point that I was given acess yo the golden aspects.

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1 minute ago, Giles said:

 

As I've said, I personally find Jung too convoluted to be of practical value (in 30 years of experience of working directly with both my own and others).

When I came across his writings, I considered myself extremely fortunate that I'd encountered my Shadow directly and also been lucky enoughto be able to hang on for the frankly terrifying first part of the ride up to the point that I was given acess yo the golden aspects.


I’d be interested to hear what you mean when you say the “golden aspects”.

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1 minute ago, Bindi said:


Your post just made me laugh, I liked your attitude :) I read one Jung book, “memories, dreams, reflections”, and that was enough, my main interest was in dream interpretation and working with dreams, which is intrinsically shadow work anyway. 

 

Thanks Bindi!

I don't approach dream interpretation either with myself or with clients in the way that Jung seems to have approached it. Nevertheless, I'm glad that his work on dreams is useful for your own Shadow work.

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6 minutes ago, Bindi said:


I’d be interested to hear what you mean when you say the “golden aspects”.

 

Basically, whatever you are able to see in others but unable to see in yourself is your Shadow. There are two aspects to that Shadow, the "bad" stuff and the "good" stuff.

The golden Shadow is the "good" stuff that you see in others but not in yourself.

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13 minutes ago, Giles said:

 

Thanks Bindi!

I don't approach dream interpretation either with myself or with clients in the way that Jung seems to have approached it. Nevertheless, I'm glad that his work on dreams is useful for your own Shadow work.


No, I have developed my own dream work methods, like you not Jungian. I learnt more from reading Edgar Cayce and Denise Linn, and attending one seminar. 

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Thank you @ilumairen and @steve for adding those references that include previous posts of mine on shadow. I read them through and am content at this stage to leave my contributions on the subject to what I’ve already said. 

 

I note that Giles wants to take this discussion away from Jung’s insights into his own experiences. I’m very happy with that as it means I don’t have to contribute!  My growing preference at this late stage of my life is for silence. The more recent posts I've made on this forum are very much at the urging of my inner voice. But I'm increasingly finding it a burden to express myself in words.  

 

I don’t consider Jung's insights to be convoluted and am happy to let his words speak for themselves for anyone who’s drawn to read them.

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Thank you for your contribution Yueya, although, in fact, this

 

11 minutes ago, Yueya said:

I note that Giles wants to take this discussion away from Jung’s insights into his own experiences.

 

is a misunderstanding and therefore a misinterpretation of my intent, which is to discuss the possibility that some can own not only their own darkness but also their own illumination granted to them directly by accessing their own golden Shadow, instead of projecting either it or their own darkness onto others.

If you read back, you'll note that I've actually refused an invitation to turn this thread into an autobiography.

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7 hours ago, Sketch said:

In "A little Book on The Human Shadow", Robert Bly talks about the long bag we drag behind us, filling it up as we go. Later in life, we may start to take things out of the bag. while doing that, I notice that my shadow is no special monster, no devil, just a small thing I cast.

 

I appreciate this reminder about Bly's work. I found his Iron John was a fascinating read and I've just added A little Book on The Human Shadow to my reading list because that quote from it rings true.

Thank you.

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8 minutes ago, Giles said:

[…] my intent, which is to discuss the possibility that some can own not only their own darkness but also their own illumination granted to them directly by accessing their own golden Shadow, instead of projecting either it or their own darkness onto others.

 


I have ever so briefly touched on this in the past referring to people placing their own “goodness” on others, and then elevating them (where perhaps this may not be so appropriate or owing to any special skill, understanding, achievement, enlightenment, whatever.)

 

It is an interesting dynamic which I noted most clearly in myself through interactions here.

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