What lurks in the shadows beneath?
What flutters from view as you turn your head to look over your shoulder?
There is something not quite tangible. Something you are not quite sure you want to catch.
It is a shadow. Flickering in the flame. Distorted out of shape as it hits the surfaces.
Elusive to the touch. A flighty thing that sits at your shoulder. Taunting.
Jung says that shadows are the parts of ourselves that we reject. If it doesn’t fit with our self-concept then it is discarded to the hinterland of darkness, un-examined.
How strange, to possess a part of yourself that you do not take ownership of – that you deny. It is there, affecting and infecting your interactions in the world, your relationships with others, your views and actions in life. And yet, we cannot bear to look.
Is it then, to the Shadowlands, that we depart when sanity leaves us? Is it into the depths of ourselves, those discarded parts, that we plummet in the grip of madness.
I met a mad woman once. She could not prevent herself from speaking her every thought. There was no filter, no social constraint, no urgency to conform. She was deemed to be mentally ill. I envied her a little, although she scared me. I wanted to speak without censoring myself. 'Ramblings' they would call her words. The ‘ramblings’ of a mad woman. A woman who to me, saw the world as it was, including the shadows and she wasn’t fearful of raising them as a topic of conversation.
Nietzsche said ‘Thoughts are the shadows of our feelings – always darker, emptier, simpler’. These things are what the mad woman was deemed to have become – dark, empty, simple but she was filled with vision and she wasn’t prepared to keep it to herself.
She held her shadows up to the light and, she dared to say as much.