“To confront a person with his shadow is to show him his own light. Once one has experienced a few times what it is like to stand judgingly between the opposites, one begins to understand what is meant by the self. Anyone who perceives his shadow and his light simultaneously sees himself from two sides and thus gets in the middle.”
— Carl Jung
As many of you who read this blog may know I’ve been working on a set of tarot pictures that will eventually consist of all 78 cards of a standard tarot deck. I’ve completed a little over a third of the deck. I started making art in order to be able to do these so its a project close to my heart. On the days I feel like starting a new card, I shuffle the deck and ask what would be the best card for me to work on and shuffle and draw until I get to one I haven’t done yet. Today Trump 15-The Devil came up.
So tonight I’m taking a bit of a detour from The Hero archetype and talking about leaps of faith. Hmmm, or am I? The Devil by its very nature represents our shadow selves, some of the very qualities that try to hold us back from taking that leap. It could represent insecurities and fears that we may not be good enough. It may represent hopelessness that the system is rigged and there’s no way that it will do any good. All those lies and rationales we use for not taking that chance to be a hero. In the picture, both figures are only chained by very flimsy strings that they can break at any time. It is not the externals keeping them chained. It rarely is. We are not only the prisoners but our own jailers as well.
How do we break free? How do we reclaim ourselves. The simple yet oh so difficult answer is self-honesty and courage. I believe that each of these grows out of the other one. We need to first admit that our shadow self is there and that its real. What about yourself would you sweep under the rug rather than admit? For me lack of confidence and laziness tend to be the main ones along with too much reliance on my left-hemisphere logical self and too little trust in my ability to feel. Other things too no-doubt, those shadow selves be sneaky buggers.
Once exposed at looked at and shared the shadow can be dealt with. It is only when we hide it or fight it that our chains become stronger. The more we disassociate from our shadow self, the stronger it becomes. The more we accept it and integrate it the more whole we become. Accepting our shadow? That requires quite the leap of faith. Hmm maybe this subject isn’t as far a detour from the Hero as I thought.
Much Love, G
Click on image to see full-size
The Universe Lies Within