Shadows, in the Jungian psychology sense of painful truths that we’d prefer to ignore but consume and corrupt our souls if we repress them, come in many forms. I guess they call for many different sorts of processes. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of making a safe space and safe time to get in a particular half-conscious state of mind where Shadow confrontation-processing can happen.
In addition to the example I linked, more recently on the 10th of September 2014, I achieved this again with confronting platitudes about my deceased abusive mother. Her voice seemed to come into my head from outside me, bypassing my ears, and echoing, “I sacrificed everything for you” “I’m not perfect” “I did the best that I knew how to do” and I wrote that down, as well as my direct responses to each of them, saying exactly why they were wrong. I seemed to get responses, so I continued this sort of conversation with whatever was generating a reply. It seemed to take form, too, at the edge of my thoughts, a dark and spiky-plated Western dragon in a cave with, I intuitively sensed, a tendency to hoard kidnapped maidens and turn them into her daughters. I named this dragon Rafflesia, to keep this floral and arboreal theme with naming my imaginary characters.
But returning to the actual notions being dealt with, when I hear the same from other people, I get similarly defensive. In what I call the blacksmything mindset, however, I could get to the heart of those harmful messages and dismantle them and dissipate them.
Other times, it’s more symbolic, such as witnessing the effect of the Shadow upon what I call the Fetch, or witnessing and interacting with a shadowy separate person (probably… I just don’t know about that last one, it’s just strange. Does it count as a Shadow of something like “my self-righteousness” when I have such a thorough conscious conviction that I’m right to have developed such an elementary thing as personal sovereignty?)
What I describe below is the most elaborate blacksmything experience I’ve had, if that’s what it even was. It did involve mulling over events that I’d prefer to forget about for their implications, but it took place in this surreal paracosm and involved characters that didn’t fit the classical image of the Jungian Shadow. This episode of manifestation of it simply dissolved, without conveying catharsis or epiphany, without even with some hint of how to progress with the process so that I can get to that point—another characteristic I attribute to blacksmything.
The hues of the “Shadows”, if that turn of phrase is even sensible, was rather different. Captain Marigold confronted me with the religious edicts utilized by my emotionally abusive family, but blacksmything would vet what part of me still believed in the feasibility and validity of such edicts that would condemn the rest of me, and I didn’t even have a single grain of that. Captain Foxglove confronted me with how my needs have violated other people’s boundaries, and that felt more like blacksmything because I believe it was wrong even as I couldn’t have done otherwise, knowing my character and the circumstances.
Neither of them brought up this one particularly sharp and many-hued shadow. No, not this one. Well, maybe something like that one. But it’s one I haven’t mentioned yet because I only have this nascent notion of it, which was why I would have thought someone below would have brought it up at some time. I mean, it’s kind of got to do with my sexuality, and as both Marigold and Foxglove showed up, who I consider my Anima and my Animus respectively, I thought that Shadow would have been their priority. But no, instead…
Well, first, I found myself in a mindscape that I’d visited before. It was a city of white marble pillars and white granite steps that lead into clear waters under clear skies. The rivers wrapped around every block of this city, like a road system.
The tops of the stairs that led into the rivers didn’t have bollards, so I imagined some in there so Foxglove could tie his ship to it.
The plot that I imagined on that spot was that I would seek out a book in a library. Foxglove declined to come with me, so I went to explore the city on my own. I found an archway of a building and walked through it. That was in August.
In mid-September, the fantasy continued from whatever stasis had halted it, and I wanted into a courtroom. Well, it was more like a giant void with a giant statue of a giant blindfolded figure holding balancing scales. Foxglove stood on one. Marigold stood on the other. I walked through the archway onto a jut of stability that just sort of elbowed me into the void, and the double doors slammed behind me.
Except there hadn’t been doors there before, there had just been an archway leading into a void. In any case…
Captain Marigold was telling me that I was in the wrong for having a nature that would not make small concessions freely and without resentment; it would have been so easy for everyone else if I quit trying to pick up the rubble of the emotional devastation of the years before, even the day before, and simply allow for the concept that repair is left up to a higher power.
I argued back that this was too conveniently self-serving for those who would cause that emotional devastation daily, for me to just get over it the next day.
Why should I suffer so much when the perpetrators of such suffering never get taken to task? It wasn’t my choice to begin with, it was an effect and a consequence that nobody should be allowed to escape.
Then Captain Foxglove appeared, saying that I had to answer for the lies I told the extended family. I had told my uncle that I wasn’t insane, when I knew for a fact that I was. I confirmed the accusation.
“Why did you lie?” He asked.
I replied, “My motivations don’t matter.”
“Your intentions don’t, but the context does.”
“That’s splitting hairs over terminology!”
Foxglove folded his arms across his chest and said, “Well, we’re lawyers.”
(Actually, they’re both pirates. I don’t know why they came to mind in the surreal world as lawyers, nor why the surreal world came to mind as it did.)
I admitted to them that I lied about not being crazy because I wanted a roof over my head, a soft place to sleep, somewhere safe, and food. I also admitted that I should say that I wanted to bond with the family, but I knew full well that bonding would be a lie because our values were just too different. I was afraid that they would put me back in with Miasma or my godmother who had proven not to be safe. I was afraid that Alpha, who had kicked me out, and Miasma would be smug about how much of a wreck I was.
I admitted that I’ve used people. I’ve felt entitled to my own security and development at the cost of other people’s comfort. My depression is no different than Miasma’s addiction in that sense. My uncle might have been a religious supremacist, and the breadwinner of an entire family and had more economic power than I had, but he felt a very real violation of his home because I forced myself upon them all. I benefited from social pressures of family that I obviously didn’t believe in myself, anymore.
I’ve failed in my duties to other people, carrying instead some wishy-washy trust that the cosmic order had some plan for me. I haven’t even communicated them. I’m as neglectful and self-absorbed as my mother.
At that, the courtroom disappeared.
Was this my facing the shadow? I don’t know how this could have helped, really.
This didn’t feel like a confrontation with a shadow because, usually, there’s some release or catharsis that happens, or some epiphany, some obvious way to improve…
They only dissipate upon consideration if they’re simple and unimportant, showing to be less ingrained than one presupposed.
These dissipated, but I don’t believe that they were simple or unimportant to consider. Ergo this entry for it.