Psychic Compost

(I’ve been reading up on Jung and analytical psychology recently…)

The (Jungian) shadow is collective, not something we are born with but something that develops out of our upbringing and early social interaction. Some religions describe our personal faults as original sin or past life karma, or, more sophisticatedly, it’s got something to do with the genes that are inherited, which is probably still little more than passing the buck. It doesn’t do much good passing the buck the other way the other way either: “It’s not my fault I have this shadow, my parents/society didn’t do anything about it.” Someone’s got to do something about it, whatever the generation.

When an individual works on their shadow they are doing a collective work, not just their own but a shadow of family, culture and society too. Integrating the shadow is a part of the wholeness of the individual, yet also it is a healing work for the collective from which it is derived, and it can save future generations from inheriting something they don’t deserve.

It doesn’t always have to be unpleasant if you have a bit of humilty and a sense of humour, and it’s not always about dealing with what is “evil” within us, because there are beneficial qualities hidden there that we deny ourselves because we feel they are not “acceptable”, but in terms of self-knowledge it is essential, and whilst we don’t pay attention to it it remains an inconvenient, unused lump of compost in the garden of the psyche. Find yourself a shovel and apply a bit of elbow grease, you may see “bloomin'” miracles.

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