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November 29, 2019

Shadow Quotes and the Daimonic Attitude

According to Jungian analyst Liliane Frcy-Rohn, the dark treasury of the personal shadow includes our infantile parts, emotional attachments, neurotic symptoms, as well as our undeveloped talents and gifts.  The shadow, she says, "retains contact with the lost depths of the soul, with life and vitality—the superior, the universally human, yes, even the creative can be sensed there."

The "brain of Jung," Marie-Louise von Franz acknowledges the relationship between the devil and the personal shadow when she says, "The principle of individuation is actually related to the devilish element, insofar as the latter represents a separation from the divine within the totality of nature. The devilish aspects are the disrupting elements—the affects, the autonomous power drive, and such things. They disrupt the unity of the personality."

James Hillman, the so-called "anti-Jungian" said: "The unconscious cannot be conscious; the moon has its dark side, the sun goes down and cannot shine everywhere at once, and even God has two hands. Attention and focus require some things to be out of the field of vision, to remain in the dark. One cannot look both ways."

Jungian Astrologer, Liz Greene points to the paradoxical nature of the shadow as both the container of darkness and the beacon pointing toward the light: "It is the suffering, crippled side of the personality which is both the dark shadow that won't change and also the redeemer that transforms one's life and alters one's values. The redeemer can get the hidden treasure or win the princess or slay the dragon because he's marked in some way—he's abnormal. The shadow is both the awful thing that needs redemption, and the suffering redeemer who can provide it."

Author Doris Lessing tells us: "Yet there is a mystery here and it is not one that I understand: Without this sting of otherness, of — even — the vicious, without the terrible energies of   the underside of health, sanity, sense, then nothing works or can work. I tell you that goodness — what we in our ordinary daylight selves call goodness: the ordinary, the decent — these are nothing without the hidden powers that pour forth continually from their shadow sides."

William Shakespeare: "This thing of darkness I acknowledge mine."

Pondering these questions can awaken awareness of the personal shadow. But, we have to be willing to consciously feel and suffer these feelings without acting in a base way on their prompting. Fortunately, there are many methods of sublimation which contribute to conscious feeling without denial and repression. Art-making in all its shapes is good because we can choose to contain suffering within images, sounds, paint, color, ink, movements and gestures. In this way we can preserve the unconscious shadow in a mindful state of awareness. 

Imaginal dialog is effective too. If I am willing to let feeling become a personification through creative imagination, that personified emotion can express itself to me. The presence of this previously unconscious spirit within my daylight consciousness can teach me something new about my totality. By maintaining an openness to the inner figures of emotion, I gain in power and inner light. I can choose to take the advice of this inner figure, or I can reject it's opinion since I am responsible for my total personality. Yet this shadow figure is an important part of the complete person I claim responsibility for. 

I call this the "daimonic attitude." I don't know if I invented this term or not, but find that a daimonic attitude assumes personality and intellect all throughout the soul I live within. I can generally talk with another intelligent being. I can argue, persuade and agree with it, even it it's values are at times radically different than mine.

Magical traditions retain spirit lists such as the 72 demons of the Lesser Key of Solomon or other grimoires. These can be useful in practical magic, and that seems to have been their historical purpose. But someone who is open to the daimonic worldview and the creative imagination hardly requires a prefabricated grimoire to converse with the pregnant darkness. The individual psyche opens seamlessly into the collective unconscious of humanity even as the anima mundi births all our personal souls. 

Close the eyes and breathe deeply, drifting into an easy trance state. What is your mood? What feelings predominate? Ask them to become visible in images. Wait... it will come spontaneously. Allow the imagination to express itself on its own authority. Be patient with your inner world, allowing it to visualize itself within the mirror of self-reflection. 

This is the daimonic attitude: spontaneous, willingness to feel, openness to beholding interior images, patiently waiting upon the unconscious to present itself to awareness and having faith in the image.

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