Perhaps one of the greatest psychologist of the 1900s was Carl Gustav Jung. He was a man who pushed the barriers of what was modern psychology at the time. Of the many psychologist, he was one of the very few who got to study under Sigmund Freud, and yet, still remain a deeply spiritual person. Jung founded the ideas of the Archetypes and the Collective Unconsciousness. He also expanded upon the Individual Unconsciousness, which he had learned about under his teacher, Sigmund Freud. In this article I’d like to go over Carl Jung and the Shadow self, which pulls together both the Collective, and the Individual, Unconsciousness, and show how this relates to the ‘Occult and the Psyche.
The Collective Unconsciousness
The idea of the Collective Unconsciousness almost exclusively belongs to Jungian Psychology. Carl Jung believed that it was not only the body that evolved over millions of years, but also the human psyche. This evolution caused humankind to suppress certain aspects of the self, and uphold other aspects. Within the Collective Unconsciousness, which is the Unconsciousness of the human race in general, we find the Archetypes, and the Shadow. In a later date we will look at the Archetypes, and see how they relate to the Occult. For now, it is fitting to know that what humankind has termed as Gods and Goddesses can be found in the Collective Unconscious as Archetypes.
The Shadow is the other part of the Collective Unconsciousness. What makes the Shadow so different though, is the fact that it is also part of the Individual Unconsciousness. It does have a counterpart, and I believe that to be the Knowledge and Conversation with the Holy Guardian Angel, which actually happens after a person has reached Self-Actualization, or to use a Jungian term, individuation. Again, this will be a topic that will be discussed in later articles. What is important to note here, though, is the fact that the Shadow is the repressed part of our personality that takes on some of the darker sides of the Collective Unconsciousness. The qualities of the Gods and Demons that we find repulsive are part of what the Shadow will take on, and because it is an evolutionary part of us, it is hard to overcome that.
Individual Unconsciousness is each person’s own unconsciousness, separate from the rest of humanity. Every person has one, and within it the Shadow Self is suppressed. This suppression is done because as a societal being, we want to act a certain way to be approved by our peers. The Shadow is those suppressed personality traits we do not want our peers seeing.
Carl Jung believed that we run into psychological problems when we try and suppress these traits, as we are not being true to ourselves. The Shadow is, after all, a part of us. It is not going to leave us just because we do not want it shown to the world. By accepting the Shadow as just another part of our personality, we take the control it has over us. This doesn’t mean that we need to act in a way that is consistant with the Shadow personality, but it does mean acknowledging and realizing that those traits are there for a reason.
The Shadow and Persona’s
I have wrote about the Collective Unconscious and the Individual Unconsciousness, now I want to talk about how the Shadow can effect how we have other’s perceive us. The masks we wear in front of other people so that they do not see who we truly are, are know as persona’s. The Shadow is part of us that we try to suppress from everyone. When we are backed into a situation that can cause stress, anger, sadness, or any of the “negative” emotional states, our Shadow self wants to emerge to protect us from any possible threat. However, because of how we have been taught to act in society, many times we do not act in a way that is consistant to how we feel. This is the equivalent of putting on a smile even in times of distress so your children do not realize you are so stressed out.
Persona’s play an important role for us as relational creatures. However, they are not always what’s best for us as individual creatures. We should not constantly be hiding our feelings and personalities because of our fear of rejection. Luckily, there are ways to deal with these issues, and the study and practice of Occultism lead me to realize that.
The Shadow and the Occult
So I have talked about the many problems that can be presented to us through the Shadow. It may seem like the Shadow is a part of us that is bad, and it makes sense that we would want to suppress it and keep it hidden from the world. This is not true though. The Shadow is the part of us that comes out when we are in danger. It is the part of us that would fight and kill to make sure no one harms our children. It brings assertivenesss out, and makes great leaders. However, when suppressed for too long and too often, and can take a number of destructive forces, and some could same demon possession is one of those.
That being said, in the Occult the Shadow can be expressed in a non-threatening way. This is most often seen in the type of Gods and Goddesses we chose to dedicate a ritual too. Allow me to give an example from my own life. I suppress my feelings of Chaos in front of everyone. I absolutely love Chaotic powers and seeing how people react to situations that go out of control. I would obviously never do something to cause such situations. So my altar is sometimes set up in a way that I dedicate it to a God or Goddess of Chaos, and I form chants for them. Set is my favorite. He was certainly the God of Chaos in Ancient Egypt, and Aries is another. I also have Hundun from ancient Chinese beliefs. This helps express my Shadow self in a way that is safe and it ties directly to the Archetypes and the Collective Unconsciousness, in which the Shadow pulls from. So you see, the possibilities are endless here, and they are harmless! The Occult has been around for centuries, and I suspect it will be around for centuries more because it ties directly into the human psyche and the needs therein.
I hope this has given some understanding of Carl Jung and the Shadow. There is a lot of knowledge that Jung passed on to us through his words, techniques and his books. A simple search on Youtube will show you how influential he has been. I highly recommend looking deeper into the Shadow, and the Archetypes in general.
Frater C.P.T (Chaos, Power, Trickster)