It’s official—this is my 100th blog entry, and how interesting it is that it coincides with all the talk about the lunar eclipse. Perhaps this is a message and a reminder to slow down and look at the sunny side of things, because sometimes certain forces can bring us toward the darkness.
An eclipse is an astronomical event where one planet moves into the shadow of another, and it is considered to be a momentous event, both scientifically and spiritually. Some people believe that it can negatively affect humans. Others think that ghosts take advantage of these times, resulting in a reverberation of negative energy.
I’ve also heard that we need to be mindful of our shadow sides. If we’re not aware of them, they will show up more strongly for us during an eclipse. In my forthcoming book, Writing for Bliss: A Seven-Step Plan for Telling Your Story and Transforming Your Life (September 2017), I share that writing can help unleash the secrets inside of you as a way to tap into your shadow side. The shadow is a term introduced by psychologist C. G. Jung, and pertains to the unconscious, or less liked, part of us. Jung said that even though we might not want to acknowledge our shadow, if we confront it in an honest manner, it can prove to be pure gold for us. According to D. L. Hart (1997), Jung believed that knowing the shadow is crucial for the individuation process to occur. Further, knowing, acknowledging, and working with our shadow is a lifelong process, and doing so is the only way to achieve a sense of wholeness and well-being.
Because the shadow is composed of impulses that society views as unacceptable, our conscious mind does not want to claim ownership of those feelings or instincts, so we relegate them to the unconscious mind. Some of those feelings might have to do with hatred, jealousy, aggressiveness, cruelty, and so on. Or, maybe they involve walking around naked or spouting nasty comments or making love to everyone. indiscriminately. Regardless of the particulars, most people view the qualities that make up the shadow side as a part of themselves they would rather not think about.
Jung said that one of the best ways to get a handle on what your shadow qualities are is to think about what irritates you the most in other people. The idea is to accept that those same characteristics are true of you, too. There is usually a huge payoff for this work! Jung considered the shadow to be so valuable because getting in touch with it releases pent-up energy that can then be used in healthier ways, leading to a greater sense of well-being.
When trying to confront or identify your shadow, you might discover that for years you’ve avoided paying attention to a part of yourself that you don’t particularly like or aren’t proud of. It’s important to know, and also to write about, your shadow side because if you don’t, it can be a roadblock to achieving your bliss. Focusing on your shadow can make it come to the surface, so if you write about it, other issues might crop up, such as forgotten memories.
The opposite of the shadow or dark side of ourselves is the light, which is a symbol for consciousness or what illuminates us. In order for healing and transformation to occur, you need to bring your shadow into the light. There is great transformative power in facing your shadow and then understanding it, and writing is an excellent tool to help you shine the light of consciousness on this side of you. When you willingly look at your shadow side and feel it, then you can become free from its grip, and then you can more easily enjoy the light that is ever-present.
Hart, D.L. (1997). “The Classical Jungian School.” In The Cambridge Companion to Jung by P. Y. Eisendrath and T. Dawson, Eds. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.