Welcome to the Hidden Meaning Page!
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you have portal-jumped to a Hidden Meaning Page.
1880's poster of R.L. Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (The Shadow? The unintegrated Dr. Jekyll?)
The Picture of Dorian Gray (an unacknowledged shadow self?)
Painting done by Ivan Lorraine Albright (1945)
Currently in the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago
The Individuation Process
is the process toward an integrated personality–the drive to become whole. Carl Jung thought of it as the process where one discovers the divine within themselves—their "true" self and what some call the "authentic" self
, or consciousness beyond the ego. It is the process whereby the innate personality elements, the aspects of the immature psyche and the different experiences within one's life become integrated into a well-functioning whole. Once this is complete you become aware of your relationship with all other things.
It would seem critical to have some idea about your relationship of your behaviors with your experiences, but also your innate personality traits in order to further the process of individuation. A better understanding of the filters that you unconsciously use to interpret everyday experience and dream meaning would be useful to your process of self-actualizing.
I have found that knowing my innate predominant interactive and information gathering traits— the personality filters through which I interpret the world— is of enormous help to understanding both the symbols of the sleeping and waking dream. To that end I offer two methods for helping you to assess your type and its effect on how you see the world:
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and the Enneagram Type test.
Though I have taken both, I tend to use the MBTI more often than not, probably due to my training in Jungian Dream Analysis (The MBTI is based upon Jung's philosophy of personality types). I have also found the Enneagram approach to be useful in some areas of my personality study.
The following links might help you to further study these two approaches:
Jung saw us as being both the Persona, the seat of consciousness—the ego— and the unconscious that was split between the Personal Unconscious and the Collective Unconscious, and the Self, the larger Self—the essence of who we are.
The Personal Unconscious and the Collective Unconscious
In the Personal Unconscious are all our perceptions, forgotten or repressed memories, hopes, desires and emotions. Jung claims that knowledge of the personal unconscious is knowledge of the self and that the unconscious is always working toward wholeness (individuation). In the Collective Unconscious
lay the shared archetypes of the peoples of all cultures.
According to Jung these archetypal symbols will show up in your dreams when critical events show up in your waking life e.g. births, deaths, grief, and extreme fear.
The archetypes of the general culture of man are many, but one among them stands out for me, that of The Shadow. The Shadow is what we deny in ourselves, but clearly see in others e.g. arrogance, egotism, greed, indifference, etc. It is also the interplay of personalities in opposition to one another. It is whatever you reject. When it shows up in both our sleeping and waking dreams we have been taught to avoid it, supress and deny it, "Get thee behind me Satan!"
Of course there needs to be some control of the Shadow in order for one to be accepted into a society—whatever society or sub-culture one finds oneself in, but to continuously deny it only makes it grow until it eventually pops out in some very unfortunate and often unsavory ways. Basically the shadow is as Jung portrayed it in The Collective Works of C.G. Jung—"The thing that you have no wish to be." It is the total of all those unpleasant qualities that one wants to hide—everything that doesn't agree with the image one wants to be and project; the dark side of the personality.
But what you resist will persist and will eventually dominate. This is essentially the message of Stevenson's story of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde where the good Doctor denies his shadow self that eventually takes him over. Note how frequently basically good people become overcome by hate and begin to sacrifice their good qualities as a means of defending these good qualities (you fill in the examples). They who vociferously condemn sexual promiscuity in others are often sexually promiscuous themselves, or at least have the desire, but keep it hidden until it shows up in very embarrassing ways (you fill in the politician and celebrity. By the way, we should all thank them for showing us that otherwise good people have a dark side, for they speak for all of us.).
When the Shadow is repressed to the unconscious, it can show up as bias and bigotry e.g. people (we) project their (our) own feelings of bias onto others so as to feel righteous and pure.
I speak to this repression and its effects in the DreamDragon
Too often throughout history and even today in our most modern of civilizations the Shadow is mistaken as something outside ourselves. People used to be burned at real stakes of fire because others saw their own shadow in the persona of another and sought to punish this supressed inner demon of themselves by destroying the other (this is also known as 'scape-goating'). This is what damage the unseen and the unrecognized can do. But we don't do this today do we? Whose arrogance do we see in that man across the street? Whose greed do we condemn to the fires of our own judgments in that banker? Whose lust do we demean in that adulterous politician? Whose incompetence do we see in the boss?
We also demonize others, or lay our internal shadow upon them, in order to justify killing them, either in war or state-sanctioned executions. We demonize people to dismiss their worth as well and thus to disenfranchise, or marginalize them—note that this is what passes for most public and political discourse today. Is there any wonder so little of substance gets done?
Is the Shadow the "original sin" that some religions speak of? Perhaps. But it is not sin in the 'having' of a shadow, but the sin of resisting and/or refusing to recognize it. Some may say that to not resist it is to condone it, but perhaps we can accept without condoning, acknowledge without becoming, act in concert with it instead of through it.
What does the Shadow look like?
When dreaming, the Shadow shows up as the same sex of the person who is having the dream. It may appear with dark features, as a shadowy figure, a zombie, an 'unseen' something—dark and threatening— a sinister figure in the dark, or in the form of a stalking animal. Frequently shadow characters show up in nightmares
. It's as though the unconscious is trying to focus our attention on something we've hidden. (see the Dream Dragon blog article on nightmares
Surprisingly, the Shadow can also be a good person to an evil person's ego as is Cinderella to her evil step sisters. In the mix of personalities that are neither good or bad, some personality traits are the polar opposite to others, thus being the "shadow" to each other.
When you see it, don't resist it—guide it, be compassionate, love it, understand it, accept it, and work with it.
Individuation becomes a transcendental integration of the known and the unknown that moves the center of the persona away from the ego and more toward the center of our being. There is a hidden unity in this center. The unity of which I speak may, as C.G. Jung said, actually be evident to us all the time if we had the eyes to percieve it. Synchronicity, or the connection of meaning of all things, may be the unconscious providing evidence for our integration, our individuation.
Death in dreams as part of the Individuation process
Death too, whether visiting in the form of a loved one who has passed on, unknown dead people, or you own actual or threatened death can be a symbol for something inside you, a way of being, belief, attitude, behavior, or personality variable that needs to change e.g. "to die" in order for something new to develop. Thus these dreams come in the service of transformation and further the individuation process. To resist them, or to run from them, is to fix yourself at one stage of your development. Recurring dreams, especially nightmares, can then come in the service of helping you to face your shadows, your demons and to then to move on. Bottom line we need to accept the death of the old parts of our being in order to become the greater being that we are. (see the dream dragon blog entry for June 5, 2012
This conflict of opposites and their integration into a whole can be seen acted out in the Hindu Trinity of the gods Vishnu, Shiva and Brahma. Vishnu is the preserver of all that exists, the epitome of mercy and goodness while Shiva is the destroyer and purveyor of death; One preserves while the other causes change. Brahma recreates what has been destroyed and the cycle starts all over again. In this Trinity, however, what looks bad, Shiva, is actually the destroyer of Ego, (the false identification with form). What has been destroyed is the illusion of individuality. The destruction actually opens a path to a new creation.
The Hindu Trimurti from the story of the sages
Markanddeya & Bhavana (1850-1900)
(Click here to enlarge)
In The Dragon's Treasure a great deal of time is spent on not only the archetypes, but on learning how the unconscious shapes our lives and how one can learn to be the author of their life through the exposing of the suppressed—the unconscious darkness— to the light.
"The psychological rule says that when an inner situation is not made conscious, it happens outside as fate. That is to say, when the individual remains undivided and does not become conscious of his inner opposite, the world must perforce act out the conflict and be torn into opposing halves."
–Carl Gustav Jung
Is this what the society I live in is doing? By not acknowledging its collective cause for grief, gluttony, greed and pain in the world—by not acknowledging its Shadow, the country may be the collective equivalent of the "unconscious individual" tearing itself apart.
In closing, I offer one more aspect of the Shadow. When man "objectifies his/her God, by giving it a name, by placing it as something outside himself, and/or in opposition to another's god— God itself casts a shadow (because all objects cast shadows). They are the images of the "isms".
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For more on the conscious and unconscious mind dichotomy click to this article on the DreamDragon blog: