About the shadow

The term "shadow" was first used by Carl G. Jung to describe the repressed or denied part of the Self.

What is a shadow ?

We believe it is proper and useful to have a shadow bag, and to keep some shadows in the bag

The term "shadow" was first used by Carl G. Jung to describe the repressed or denied part of the Self. Robert Bly popularized this idea in A Little Book on the Human Shadow. Bly says that we were each born into a "360-degree personality." As infants, we expressed the full breadth of our human nature, without editing or censoring.

As we grew up, however, we learned that certain slices of our 360-degree pie were unacceptable to the people around us. Maybe we were shamed for crying or punished for being angry. Maybe we were ridiculed for wanting attention or for being proud of ourselves. So, we learned to repress those slices of our pie; the ones that got us hurt. According to Bly, it was as if we threw these unacceptable qualities over our shoulder into a bag, which we've been dragging around behind us ever since.

In Shadow Work, we define "shadows" as all the parts of ourselves we have stuffed into the bag. These may be "positive" parts or "negative" parts. Our shadows are all those parts we have split off, repressed or denied — the parts of ourselves we are afraid to show.

We believe it is proper and useful to have a shadow bag, and to keep some shadows in the bag. But when the weight of the bag slows us down and prevents us from being who we really want to be, it is time to open it up. It is time to find a safe place to look into the bag, examine its contents, and see what needs to come back out into the light.

Links to further reading

There has been a lot written about working with the Shadow, and about Shadow Work in General

About Shadow Work

This is the main Shadow Work website in the US
Lots of info and articles about the Shadow and Shadow Work on the Soulful Living website
Connie Zweig talks about Shadow Work
A good article about Shadow Work by Mark Walstrom
German Shadow Work website One & Two
French Speaking Shadow Work website
Russian Shadow Work website
Consulting with Shadow Work

Regarding working with the Shadow

A very good talk by Debbie Ford on the Shadow
Here is a link to Robert A. Johnson's excellent book, Owning your own Shadow: Understanding the Dark Side of the Shadow.
We love Robert Bly's Little Book of the Human Shadow
Excellent article by Debbie Ford on the Shadow Beyond The Blue Snow: Finding the Gift of the Shadow
Befriending the Shadow, an article by David Richo
 An article called Me and My Shadow by Sally Kempton 

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