The Jungian Shadow

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The shadow is your unknown side. In analytical psychology, it is called id, shadow aspect, or shadow archetype. In simple terms, it is everything of which a person is not fully conscious – the unconscious.

According to Carl Jung, the unconscious may be positive or negative. Jung was a Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst who founded analytical psychology. He felt that the personal qualities we deny, repress, or ignore do not go away, but are relegated to the unconscious.

Do you know your Shadow side? This archetype is often described as the darker side of the psyche, representing wildness, chaos, and the unknown. Why repress these things? Desires or qualities that are frowned upon by others are generally repressed. We may do it to protect ourselves from emotional or even physical harm.

I’ve written about dreams before and I am fascinated by them and their interpretation. Jung believed that when we repress desires or qualities, the Shadow may begin to show up in our dreams. It might appear as a snake, a monster, a demon, a dragon, or some other dark or wild figure. In waking hours, you might be drawn to shadow figures in films and literature.

Encountering the Shadow archetype be a sign that you are ready to begin a new cycle in life. According to Jung, integrating the Shadow aspects of our psyche is the first step in our spiritual growth. You might resurrect positive qualities that you have been repressed and put them to use. A man may have repressed his nurturing nature because he felt that showing something that was seen as “feminine” would be unmanly. Confronting the Shadow and moving that part to consciousness might happen when a man becomes a father.


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A lifelong educator on and off the Internet. Random by design and predictably irrational. It's turtles all the way down. Dolce far niente.

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