When I was a little girl my parents took me to Disneyland. I was having the time of my life until I suddenly starting screaming bloody murder. My mom kept asking me what was wrong? What was the matter? I pointed to my shadow. That thing that was following me everywhere I went. The figure that was haunting me with every step I took, when all I wanted to do was ride the teacups! My mom recalled this story often throughout my childhood and laughed sharing how funny it was that I was afraid of my shadow.
On a surface level – yes, this is a super cute, fun recollection that will forever live within my family’s precious memory bank. But if we take a moment to lightheartedly lift up the hood of this scenario, we can see a young girl at such a young age in absolute fear the unknown aspects of herself. Fast forward to today, here I am as a growing, bad-ass woman in her late twenties pounding the New York pavement. Although I may not be screaming like I’m in a horror movie every time I see my shadow while I’m walking down the street, it still is a hard pill to swallow when I am confronted with aspects of my shadow self.
“Everyone carries a shadow and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the black and denser it is.” – Carl Jung
So what is the shadow self & how can we accept this as much as we do the lighter aspects of ourselves? Psychologist Carl Jung was the person that coined the concept that the shadow is the aspect of ourselves that we deject, that is unexamined. The shadow may be our own inner darkness that is often buried deep within our unconscious that we are unable to acknowledge or identify – mostly because we do not like what we see. Now knowing that, it is no surprise that even as a child – I went off running at the sight of the physical embodiment of my own shadow.
These past few months have shown me my shadow self like no other time in my life. I have seen parts of myself that I did not know existed. In my mind, I am this person that does so much introspection and inner work that how could I not know about these deep, dark corners of my soul that exist within me? But as I am in the thick of my saturn return, I am being shown the cracks in my own foundation that is forcing me to take note of those buried down deep dynamics of myself. Sometimes these dynamics are dark, damp and even dangerous – the antithesis of everything I project out into the world. The more that I take claim and ownership of these dynamics of my shadow self, the less scary they become. The more that I acknowledge my darkness, the more that I am embracing my shadow self. It’s the key to ascension into higher dimensions and the ticket to meet, greet and get to know your higher self. It is by no means easy inner work. It is not that warm and fuzzy feeling that we normally get when we are loving ourselves and growing. But journeying down into the underworld, is the necessary spiritual work that we must do for ourselves to become integrated beings.
Darkness is not a dirty word. It isn’t this terrible thing that makes us bad or evil people. There is no light without dark. There is no growth without truth. And if I could talk to my younger self, I’d tell her there are far more scary things than seeing your own shadow.
I hope you enjoyed this post! I found some great information about Carl Jung and the Shadow Self from this article from Loner Wolf. It’s a great resource if you too are exploring your inner darkness. And if you are, please share how you are embracing your inner shadow self – we all learn from one another <3