December 27, 2015 by petrujviljoen


10 thoughts on “OUR SHADOW SELVES

  1. Good poem that, “her company of nounless fright” especially. What seems a monster outside is really inside and therefore inescapable; Jung’s shadow approaches as Nosferatu’s–best to make peace not war–so why is it titled “Ego” not shadow?

    • I had to go reread the poem to ‘get’ your question. And read most of what followed. I’m wondering if the ego persona is not the one that went to seek shelter with her comrades, fleeing the shadow in fright? The ego then being the self-preservation impulse? Had to look up Nosferatu – not my genre and I think perhaps not really applicable?

      • You are right…“I (the ego) swim the way my comrades swam and (as persona) hide among them.” if my memories of Jungian metaphors are accurate, that is. And she hides from the “Vague, submarine, giant twin” is the shadow, a literal one on the sea floor, as well.
        Jung seems to be making aspects of our mental workings out to be actors in a play when they are experienced as much less human than that. Nosferatu, who as a shadow, simply arrives, takes, then leaves is more a presence than a character and better parallels the “nounless (nameless?) fright.”
        A couple of days ago, this: I was journaling, copying text from my mind (self) to my notebook when there appears such a shadow. It obscured the words I wanted to copy. That shadow was editing what I (ego) could could be conscious of! This literally was a “nounless fright,” not an “on the tip of my tongue” lapse or senior moment.

        • Interesting mentioning the shadow obscuring what you wanted to say in your journal. I’ve experienced that but didn’t think of it as the shadow ‘interfering’. I saw it as maybe not grasping what I want to say clearly enough and as I try to fathom how to say what I want to say about something lying deeper than the thoughts, it most often disappears. Attributable to the positive side of the shadow I would hope. Have you seen Nan Mykel’s comment? I asked her to join the conversation. I don’t often relate my dreams but for the sake of this conversation will mention a dream of me submerged from the neck down in water, just my head showing above and me being afraid of what’s underneath the surface yet realising I’m going to have to go there. The perception was of muck and yucky things lurking, a polluted harbour and all I wanted was to get out the water. I don’t think this is resolved yet even if I have an inkling I’ve begun ‘diving’.

    • nmykel says:

      Good question. I think she’s identifying with the persecuted poet, herself, from her ego and not from the shadow. I hadn’t thought about it and am not surte I have answered or responded to your question. My Shadow still nibbles at me. Words from her \Shadow may be like “I’ve got you cornered now.”

      • Nan, I don’t know if you’ve seen my comment to Howard, but I’m beginning to wonder if the shadow is perceived as threatening purely because it isn’t known well enough?

        • Yes, the shadow threatens. It threatens each of us as long as it’s seen as a projection. Whats unknown is that it is us. When we see it as part of our Selves it will no longer threaten us. This is not necessarily good. Sociopaths at peace with the selves and even more “normal” folk relieved of our projections can still be jerks.
          We all metaphor as a way to understand/know what we feel. Freud and Jung were really good at this at this, so much so that the rest of us usually just pick up where they left off. Freud’s engines and Jung’s people still work pretty good. But they are not perfect, so we all still try to put it (our Selves) in our own words. Or pictures if so inclined. Hence poetry. Hence art.

        • Hence poetry, hence art. Indeed, you’re right. Psychology can do so much and not more.

        • nmykel says:

          And what is glimpsed is a part of us we don’t accept as being us. This leads to projecting those traits onto others, according to the experts.

        • Yes, including one’s shadow self?

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