Sermon of the Week ~ Integrating the Shadow

Carl Jung's work on The Shadow of Human Consciousness reveals our need to integrate our "dark side" with our personality.  Shadow Integration work stops us from self-destruction and self-sabotage.  The shadow is a part of the unconscious mind consisting of irrational fears, weaknesses, and basic instinct.  Jung states "The shadow projects outwardly and is capable of manifesting a personal issue into a deficiency in another person."  This projection cases a illusion to appear between the self (ego), and the real world.  Jung called the shadow a "resivoir for human darkness", yet also the "seat of creativity".  The shadow may appear in dreams and visions.  Interactions with the shadow may shed light on one's state of mind.  A conversation with the shadow may reveal conflicting desires or intentions.  It is important that we encounter and acknowledge our shadow aspects.  We all carry a shadow within us.   During the winter, when the land is dark more often than light, it is the best time to look inward and connect with our shadow selves. 

The shadow is the unlived life - options presented, but, not chosen.  This can sometimes lead to regret, or a conflicting feeling of not following our purpose.  The shadow is not entirely negative, however.  There are many positive aspects to the shadow, and when it is integrated and the individuation process takes place fully, a person is more keenly aware of his or herself, feels more powerful internally, and is essentially "reborn", restored and renewed into a whole being.  In the shadow is where we find our purpose - our great work - our higher calling in life.  People concerned with personality and how other people view them may not be ready for their higher calling.  This can sometimes be very difficult to accept.  I speak from experience.  Sometimes the higher calling is so great and so vast that it can be difficult to wrap your mind around.   Integrating our shadow allows us to connect to the collective consciousness.  

The first step to Shadow integration is to recognize or encounter the shadow.  People who experience depression, boredom, emptiness are encountering their shadows spontaneously.  Jung considered it a danger in life that "the more consiousness gains in clarity, the more monarchic becomes its content - the king constantly needs the renewal that begins with a descent into his own darkness - his shadow - which the dissolution of the persona sets in motion."   What this means, is that as we become beings of higher consciousness, and rise into enlightenment, and raise our vibrations, and get closer and closer to the divine, the more we need a renewal in our spirit.  This renewal begins with letting go of the ego, then, letting go of the fears and doubts, regrets, and karma that follow us.  

The first step to clearing these issues is to recognize that they are there, lingering, in our shadow.  We find our shadow reflected back at us in things we don't like about other people.  If we refuse to acknowledge these aspects about ourselves, we find conflict between what we are doing and what we came here to do.  Jung says "The shadow personifies everything that the subject refuses to acknowledge and represents a tight passage, a narrow door, whose painful constriction no one is spared who goes down to that deep well".   

When we attempt to see our shadow, we become aware of those impulses we deny in ourselves but plainly see in others - such things as unreal fantasies, schemes, plots, carelessness, love of possessions and money, etc.   There is danger in falling victim to the shadow, but, remember the purpose of this journey is to learn to accept ourselves fully.   Deep meditation and shamanic journey can bring us into contact with our shadows.  It is helpful when meditating our journeying to the shadow to see the pieces of the shadow within boxes or behind doors that we can open, acknowledge, merge with, and then put back into the boxes or back inside the doors.   

To become a spiritual warrior, one must merge with this dark aspect of the personality. Merging with your shadow requires genuine courage and strength.  The descent is dangerous, however, every descent is followed by an ascent.  Once we have descended, acknowledge, and merged with each aspect of our shadow, we being to travel upwards through healing spirals - straight up - into the light.  When we assimilate the shadow, we retain awareness, but, not identification with it.  Acknowledging the shadow must be a continuous process throughout life.  When we do this, accepting the shadow becomes natural.

I encourage each of you to take time out during these dark days to go into meditation for the sole purpose of speaking to your shadow self and learning the aspects of your darker side.  The process will make you stronger and more authentic in everything you do.   I am available to help you journey to your shadow through the tarot.  Try my "See Your Shadow" reading here: 
It's only $6.66 to find out what lies beneath the surface of your own consciousness.

Blessed Be!

Rev. Dr. Stephanie Weed / HPS Solace Starchild