What IS IT that creates such messes in our lives and relationships, seemingly out of left field? If we are willing to delve in, we will likely find out it's our own shadow.
Shadow is a mythic term, described in Jungian psychology as all those parts of our self that we've disowned and cut ourselves off from; but which we still carry. In the poet Robert Bly's treatment, shadow is "the long black bag we drag behind us".
The things we've relegated to shadow are things we don't want to look at - things that are embarrassing or don't match our idea of who we are. But if we don't engage with it, our shadow remains unconscious and leaks out into in our lives in unexpected and often unpleasant ways.
But do not despair, there's gold lying in that darkness! Reconciling the disowned parts of ourselves can bring us to new levels of wholeness, integration, and peace.
One of the most shadow-prone areas of our lives in this culture is sexuality. We've gotten so many mixed messages: rules about how we should be, enticements to show up in a certain way, and magazine articles telling us exactly how to be a good lover. Sexual intimacy is one of the most vulnerable places in our lives; it's pleasurable, juicy, and enlivening... and also can be frustrating, disconnecting, and sometimes downright frightening.
What's frustrating about working with shadow material is that we can't see it directly, though pretty much everyone else can. (cringe!) By its very nature it's something that's invisible to us. But there are ways to recognize shadow, and we'll be exploring them at Spirit & Shadow
November 11-18 at Haramara
If you are ready to reveal and integrate your sexual shadow in a safe, guided, supportive environment, please join us. Time is running out!
Love & blessings, Apollo & Amrita Grace, Caroline Muir, & DFI Staff