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In the psychology of C. G. Jung, the shadow is the unconscious, evil side of human nature.
The shadow is said to be one of the first aspects of the unconscious psyche encountered in Jungian analysis.
Apparently its positive side is expressed through creativity and humor. According to this view, representation of the shadow’s dark tendencies in non-violent, socially acceptable channels (e.g. art, music or controlled ‘acting out’) facilitates mastering them.
Otherwise, Jung says the shadow could conceivably control the ego.
If merely repressed, Jung further says the shadow might find a way through the cracks of the psyche and momentarily express itself in a disturbing manner.
This might account for the cruel actions toward children by Sister Francesca at the Missionaries of Charity, founded by Mother Teresa.
Another version of the shadow comes as a comic strip, pop culture figure, “Only the shadow knows…” And more recently, the Canadian science fiction TV program, Lexx, features ‘His Divine Shadow’ as the archdeacon of darkness.
» Archetype, Darth Vader, Demons, Dracula, Hesse (Hermann), Kafka (Franz), Self, Steppenwolf, Trickster, Vampires, Witch, Yoni
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From his considerable study of world myth and religion, Jung came to the conclusion that this collective data is cross-cultural. In fact, he didn’t just see the collective unconscious in myth and religion. He saw universally recognizable motifs among dreams, myth, religion, the arts and architecture. One leading example he provides is the mandala. For Jung, the circular shape of the mandala represents the potentially limitless self.
Jung calls these hypothesized patterns of human existence archetypes.¹ Existing in a larger time frame than most people’s daily awareness, the archetypes of the collective unconscious apparently connect the past, present and future.
Jung speaks to the arbitrary nature of the term collective unconscious. Towards the end of his career he writes that he rendered essentially spiritual ideas in scientific-sounding language for the sake of professional and societal legitimacy. So this, in a sense, makes him something of a postmodern thinker way before the term became popular.
Because he was, in part, doing a sell job, his insistence on the bio-genetic base of the collective unconscious seems confusing to some, especially when he says:
The unconscious has no time. There is no trouble about time in the unconscious. Part of our psyche is not in time and not in space. They are only an illusion, time and space, and so in a certain part of our psyche, time does not exist at all.²
Could a timeless psyche be entirely biological? Perhaps Jung was saying that, although grounded in the body, the archetypes exhibit or resonate with a spiritual component. That is, a bio-genetic ground is necessary for the interplay of body and spirit.
What About Sigmund Freud and the Unconscious?
Freud and Jung’s views about the unconscious differ, but not so much as many believe. Some pop psychologists and New Age gurus quickly dismiss Freud’s ideas, unaware that his model of the unconscious also contains collective elements.
As we’ve seen in the above, Jung describes the archetype as a component of mankind’s psychological substratum—the collective unconscious. Freud similarly spoke of phylogenetic “schemata” and “prototypes.” And borrowing from ancient Greek and Jewish literature, Freud also devised the “Oedipus complex,” a “primal father” and likened the shadowy contents of the unconscious to archaeological ruins.
In addition, late in his career Freud revised his libido theory to include the general ideas of eros (life instinct) and thanatos (death instinct). Because Freud maintained that the fundamental aspects of the unconscious are universal, aspects of his model of the self, like Jung’s, point to a collective unconscious.³ And not only that. Freud, himself, said that Jung introduced nothing new with the idea of the collective unconscious. He wrote that the “content of the unconscious is collective anyhow.”4
¹ Jung’s notion of the archetypes borrows from ideas previously found in anthropology, sociology, philosophy, religion and theology. The term archetype is traceable to St. Augustine, 354-430 CE.
² C. G. Jung Collected Works vol. 18, para. 684, cited in “Time and Space” at http://www.fundacion-jung.com.ar/ingles/citas.htm.
³ Michael V. Adams illustrates this point in The Cambridge Companion to Jung, (ed.) Polly Young-Eisendrath and Terence Dawson, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998, p. 101.
4 Sigmund Freud, Moses and Monotheism, p. 209, cited in R. J. Lifton with Eric Olson (eds.), Explorations in Psychohistory: The Wellfleet Papers, New York: Simon and Shuster, 1974 p. 90.
- Living in a world of symbolism (themysteryofchrist.wordpress.com)
- The quest for individuation: a Jungian looks at Matthew Arnold’s “The Buried Life” (brimmings.com)
- Jung today: An interview with Dr. John Ryan Haule (humanisticpaganism.com)
- Asheville Jung Center Works to Advance the Psychology of Carl Jung (virtual-strategy.com)
- Psychoanalytical Theory – Sigmund Freud (lcdcexamreview.wordpress.com)
- DVD Review – Archetype of the UFO (epages.wordpress.com)
- The Self – God’s window between pantheistic Taoism and Catholic personal god (stottilien.wordpress.com)
- Carl Jung quotes to ponder: (stephencmonahan.wordpress.com)
- The Creative Psyche: Carl Jung and the Unconscious Mind (songsandwordsandthoughts.wordpress.com)
Dream interpretation is practiced in most cultures and dates back to ancient times. Dreams have been analyzed in Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Jewish, Christian, Hindu, Muslim, African, Australian, as well as North and South American Aboriginal cultures. The overall aim in dream interpretation is to predict, assist and inspire.
Sigmund Freud makes a distinction between the manifest and latent content of dreams. The manifest content is the symbol first remembered by the conscious dreamer. The latent content is what the dream truly signifies, deciphered through the process of psychoanalysis.
The manifest content is usually a distorted, incomplete version of the actual dream, having undergone a process of psychological censorship. And if the latent content strongly threatens the ego, the manifest content may be symbolized two or more symbolic steps away from the ‘true’ meaning of the dream.
Consider the following hypothetical example: If a student’s unconscious homosexual desires for her math teacher conflicted sharply with her conscious attitude, the remembered dream image would be highly abstract, such as two mathematical equations adding up to the same result. During analysis it would be revealed that the patient also enjoyed dreaming about her math class.
In the next dream the patient would be invited for dinner to her math teacher’s home. Further analysis would reveal that, in the second dream, patient and teacher exchanged compliments over dinner.
After continuing psychoanalysis in this manner, the dream censor is finally overcome and the patient would finally realize her lesbian desire for the math teacher. Freud’s idea of the censor was later replaced by his concept of the superego.
Freud’s pupil and psychology superstar in his own right, C. G. Jung, says there are “big” and “little” dreams. Big dreams are often prophetic and stem from the collective unconscious. Little dreams deal with the personal unconscious and usually compensate for a skewed or incomplete conscious attitude.
In some cases the interpretation of a collective, big dream content is distorted by an unexamined personal unconscious. A similar idea was expressed by the thirteenth-century Kabbalists who claimed that dreamers may communicate angels but divine knowledge is often distorted by “subjective wishes” within one’s own “emotional life.”
Jung believes that his approach incorporates and extends both Freud and Alfred Adler‘s ideas. While Freud and Alder recognize libidinal impulses originating from a common psychological storehouse (similar to Jung’s collective unconscious), Jung’s idea of the archetypes tries to spell out the collective psyche to a degree not found in either Freud’s (i.e. eros/thanatos) or Adler’s (i.e. drive for aggression) theories.
More recently, the ancient interest in dreams and their relation to what is now called paranormal and precognitive phenomena has been rekindled by developments in the New Age movement and within depth psychology.
- Deciphering Dreams (earthpages.org)
- Integration and the Orient: Implications of Carl Gustav Jung’s Concepts of Persona, Shadow, and Theory of Psychological Types (epages.wordpress.com)
- Displacement (earthpages.wordpress.com)
- Your Take, My Take: Dream, Purpose, Interpretation (2voices1song.com)
- The Phenomenological Dignity of the Unconscious (philosophytheology.wordpress.com)
- Why Do We Dream? (thewhyquestions.wordpress.com)
- Nightmares And Dreamscapes (radaronelson.wordpress.com)
- H-Team ~ Archetypes – A Basic Understanding (shiftfrequency.com)
- Archetypes ~ A Basic Understanding (ascendingstarseed.wordpress.com)
- It Is not as if Jung Invented Dreams, but… (whitecranes.wordpress.com)
Dracula is Irishman Bram Stoker’s novel about a blood-sucking vampire, Jonathan Harker, who lives in a Transylvanian castle.
Written in 1897, Dracula was the most successful of a number of tales about vampirism. Its creepy violence and, especially in the 1958 film, masked sexuality have been said to represent the repressed subconscious currents of Victorian England.
Cliff Burns adds:
I had to re-read the novel some years back because I was adapting a student stage production. Terrible book–totally lacking dramatic surges. A blandly composed series of letters and diary entries. I thought Stoker’s JEWEL OF THE SEVEN STARS (think I’ve got that title right, it’s been a few years) was a far superior effort. To my mind, the best “Dracula” onscreen was the one played by Jack Palance, working from a Richard Matheson script. 1973? That sounds about right. Hard to find but worth the effort…²
- Dracula: Chapter One (word2live.wordpress.com)
- Dracula’s Denture Cookies (neatorama.com)
- Final Submission – Fantasy And Science Fiction – Dracula By Bram Stoker (copywriterspro.wordpress.com)
- Alice, Dracula and Frankenstein (riotthill.wordpress.com)
- Dracula Was Irish Not Transylvanian, Says Genealogist Fiona Fitzsimons (eogn.com)
- Dracula by Bram Stoker (cer90cer.wordpress.com)
- Bram Stoker’s Dracula (catharinasheely.com)
- Any One Book: Dracula by Bram Stoker (anyonething.wordpress.com)
- A Short History of Vampire Movies – Part I the 1920′s (mrmovietimes.com)
As the Princess of Wales, Lady Diana Spencer (1961-1997) arguably became an enduring type of mythological figure. While critical media hype discredited her public persona as a mere chimera, another perspective sees her as an inspirational role model for human kindness, honesty and noble humility.
Diana took an active interest in AIDS victims and worked with the International Red Cross. Early in the Royal marriage, Lady Diana quickly overshadowed Prince Charles in the public eye. Charles’ princely decorum was eclipsed by her straight from the heart charm.
Apart from all the media attention surrounding Diana’s untimely death by car accident, one scholar claims she is a mere “footnote” in human history.
Sir Elton John was a close friend of Lady Diana. He and Bernie Taupin recast their song Candle in the Wind (formerly written for Marilyn Monroe on the 1973 lp Goodbye Yellow Brick Road) with new lyrics appropriate for Lady Diana’s televised funeral. The reimagined single is the best selling single record of all time. Sir Elton John has vowed never to play the song in public again, unless requested by Diana’s children.
- Earl Spencer names his new daughter Charlotte Diana after his beloved sister (standard.co.uk)
- Diana Princess Of Wales – Diana, Princess Of Wales’ Brother Names Daughter After Late Sister (contactmusic.com)
- One for every day of the week: Earl Spencer celebrates the birth of SEVENTH child and names William and Harry’s new cousin after their mother Princess Diana (dailymail.co.uk)
- Lady Gaga – Lady Gaga Causes Controversy With New Song About Princess Diana (contactmusic.com)
- Princess Diana Remembered: Earl Spencer Names New Baby After His Late Sister (celebuzz.com)
- Earl Spencer names daughter for Princess Diana (cbsnews.com)
- Prince Charles’ wedding toast for $350 (bigpondnews.com)
- Diana, Princess Of Wales’ brother names daughter after late sister (hollywood.com)
- Concorde picks up German rights to Naomi Watts’ “Diana” Lady Di biopic (panarmenian.net)
Diana (Greek equivalent = Artemis) was a Roman goddess worshipped by the plebeians, the so-called lower classes of ancient Rome. G. Parrinder says Diana’s name may have meant “bright one” like the Indic Dyaus and Greek Zeus. Diana may have been revered as a moon goddess but was primarily a goddess of women, the wood, wilderness and the hunt.
Widely worshipped in the ancient world, her primary centers of worship were as follows:
King Servius Tullius (578-535 BCE) dedicated a temple to her on the Aventine Hill at Rome. She was also worshipped at Aricia (in the crater of a dead volcano about 10 miles from Rome), and at the mountainous Tifata. And the Romans converted a Greek temple at the Asian port of Ephesus, formerly dedicated to Artemis, for Diana’s worship.
That she was favored by women is evidenced by the fact that religious processions of women bore torches in her honour at Aricia¹ and votive offerings were made for successful childbirth. She was also favored by slaves, making her a patroness of many marginalized peoples.
The Roman Emperor Augustus decided that he’d make Diana the patroness of his wife Livia and his daughter Julia to counterbalance his own egotistical identification with the god Apollo.²
Associated with the woodlands as well as the moon, the celebrated mythographer, Sir J. G. Frazer, writes in The Golden Bough that Diana had a sacred grove of oak trees at Lake Nemi, just outside of Rome at Aricia. The resident priest of the grove usually was an escaped slave who served as Diana’s consort. Priestly succession was determined by the outcome of a deadly challenge made by another escaped slave, these new rivals generally coming from the city.
In order to obtain the right of combat the challenger first had to break off a bough of mistletoe from within the grove. If the challenger obtained the mistletoe without being killed by the residing priest, ritual combat would ensue. If the challenger won this “religious” fight to the death, he replaced the slain priest and found himself in the same uneasy spot as his predecessor.
Diana’s renown is recorded in Acts 19: 23-41, in which the King James version of the Bible calls the Greek goddess Artemis “Diana.” In this story St. Paul turns many away from Artemis through his preaching about Jesus at Ephesus. As a result, the converts stop buying small terra cotta and silver images of Artemis. In turn, some of the townsfolk become angry and denounce Paul.
A silversmith named Demetrius, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought in a lot of business for the craftsmen there. 25 He called them together, along with the workers in related trades, and said: “You know, my friends, that we receive a good income from this business. 26 And you see and hear how this fellow Paul has convinced and led astray large numbers of people here in Ephesus and in practically the whole province of Asia. He says that gods made by human hands are no gods at all. 27 There is danger not only that our trade will lose its good name, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be discredited; and the goddess herself, who is worshiped throughout the province of Asia and the world, will be robbed of her divine majesty.”³
The writer on women’s myth, Barbara Walker, says that Diana was declared evil and denounced by 14th century Christian Inquisitors.
¹ The Oxford Classical Dictionary, 1999, p. 463.
² (a) C. M. C. Green “Diana” The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece and Rome. Ed. Michael Gagarin. © Oxford University Press 2010. The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece and Rome: (e-reference edition). Oxford University Press. Toronto Public Library. 3 August 2012 http://www.oxford-greecerome.com/entry?entry=t294.e369
(b) C. G. Jung and Joseph Campbell talk about this dynamic, generally regarded in depth psychology as “inflation.” Campbell, however, adds a few interesting nuances to the idea or, at least, puts some of the complexities of Jung’s depth psychology into easily understandable terms.
³ http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts+19%3A23-41&version=NIV See also, The Eerdmans Bible Dictionary, 1996, p. 88.
- Artemis (bookstove.com)
- Diana: essence of feminine spirit. (ggsethericjourney.wordpress.com)
- Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness (gatherednettles.com)
- The Netherlands: Successful Naming and Launch Ceremony for ARTEMIS (worldmaritimenews.com)
- Acts 19: How the Early Christians Did It (cutpaste.typepad.com)
- Artemis from Parion (rogueclassicism.com)
- My trip to Turkey 3: Celçuk and Ephesus (shawjonathan.wordpress.com)
Most religious and mythological traditions attest to the reality of demons. For the most part, demons are regarded as dark, evil spiritual beings whose sole purpose is to wreak havoc on individuals and the world.
In Hinduism, demons appear in the Puranas as Rakshakas (evil beings capable of shape-shifting) and tramp souls. Also in Hinduism the, at one time, god-like asuras of the Vedas devolve into demonic spirit beings which, the mystic Sri Aurobindo says, try to place false and harmful ideas into the minds of impressionable, vulnerable human beings.
In Tibetan Buddhism, immediately after a person dies a priest reads the Tibetan Book of the Dead aloud over the dead body, instructing the departed soul how to avoid different spiritual lights and deceptions that demonic beings use to try to trick the deceased into falling into another earthly incarnation. And Mahayana Buddhism portrays many hells, each presided over by horrific entities
In China demons are thought to be able to inhabit dead bodies and haunt various places, both inside and out.
Demons in China… are capable of animating dead bodies, haunting cemeteries, cross roads, and the homes of relatives. Some live in Hades…others inhabit the air. Many are hungry ghosts, the spirits of those who have had no proper burial or who have no decendants to feed them sacrifices.¹
Traditional Roman Catholicism doesn’t envision the demon in terms of a psychoanalytic, physiological id or Jungian shadow archetype, as is fashionable in some circles today. Instead, traditional Catholicism makes no bones about the belief in demons. The Prayer Against Satan and The Rebellious Angels, published in 1961 by order of H. H. Pope Leo XIII refers to various “spirits of wickedness,” “diabolical legions” and “infernal invaders” that are to be driven away with the help of this solemn prayer.
Contemporary Catholicism, however, is incorporating secular and psychiatric perspectives on demons, but arguably in a clunky manner that seems to conform to ancient and medieval styles of analyzing issues. This shouldn’t be surprising as certain aspects of Catholic theological discourse borrow from Aristotelian and Thomist analytical categories and modes of analysis. And as history suggests, deeply entrenched patterns of thought and practice usually take time to be positively redirected.
In secular society alleged demons are often described as nothing more than a product of the imagination, hallucinations, an arrested or disturbed personality, mutated chromosomes, or the much debated idea of chemical imbalances. Along these lines the Catholic Catechism makes a sharp distinction between “the presence of the Evil One,” on the one hand, and current understandings of mental illness on the other:
The solemn exorcism, called “a major exorcism,” can be performed only by a priest and with the permission of the bishop. The priest must proceed with prudence, strictly observing the rules established by the Church. Exorcism is directed at the expulsion of demons or to the liberation from demonic possession through the spiritual authority which Jesus entrusted to his Church. Illness, especially psychological illness, is a very different matter; treating this is the concern of medical science. Therefore, before an exorcism is performed, it is important to ascertain that one is dealing with the presence of the Evil One, and not an illness.²
In contrast to the arguably underdeveloped either/or perspective outlined above, a more productive and responsible approach would intelligently consider different perspectives — physiological, psychological, cultural, transpersonal and spiritual — using as many of the analytical tools that are available to us in the 21st century.
Having said that, we should also keep in mind the very real possibility that God could permit a fundamentally good and ‘well adjusted’ person to be afflicted by evil, as we find, for instance, in the Old Testament Book of Job.
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¹ S. G. F. Brandon, A Dictionary of Comparative Religion, 1971, p. 230.
² Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 1673.
- Audio of exorcism performed in Germany, 1976 (NoiseMadeMeDoIt.com)
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Eratosthenes (276-194 BCE) was an Ancient Greek who apparently was the first to calculate the circumference of the Earth with remarkable accuracy using math that involved measuring the angles of shadows.
He also invented the idea of longitude and latitude, the leap day, and may have calculated the distance from the earth to the sun.
- History of Mathematics (Btelus) (spacezilotes.wordpress.com)
Rosemary Ellen Guiley (19?? – ) is an American researcher, author and broadcaster on paranormal phenomena. Dr. Guiley promotes awareness of the paranormal. At her website she writes that her “driving purpose is to help further our understanding of our place and role in the cosmic scheme” (visionaryliving.com). She also addresses issues like communicating with the dead and dealing with malevolent spirits.
This is all very interesting stuff. Unfortunately, it’s still difficult for most people to understand because of the inherent difficulties in the public verification of paranormal reports. In addition, some materialist or (ironically enough) religious reactionaries tend to cast aspersions on anyone interested in trying to understand the paranormal—even though the very same people will often delight at movies like The Exorcist.¹
¹ The Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, of course, would say that the horror movie watcher is momentarily fascinated by the archetype of the shadow. For Jung this is not unhealthy. But in some destructive instances, if left unconscious the shadow archetype apparently can erupt and compel non-integrated individuals to behave in a manner harmful to self or others.
- Paranormal? Earling Possession – Anna Ecklund – Last Sanctioned Exorcism – Begone Satan (etxhaunted.com)
- Demonspotting: Vassago (teresawilde.wordpress.com)
- deZengo liked Eli’s blog post ‘What Is Affirmative Prayer?’ (community.humanityhealing.net)
- Strange Dimensions January 2012 (visionaryliving.com)
- Stuart Gordon (earthpages.wordpress.com)
- The Paranormal Genre (kyomirichardsa2.wordpress.com)
- Paranormal Activity (ambalabamba.wordpress.com)