Friday, 5 October 2012

Midnight Mystery Cult: Shadow and Light




I've always been fascinated by psychology, especially Jungian and depth psychology.  I think one of the main reasons for my fascination is that Jungian interpretations of the Psyche especially tend to view the realm of consciousness as an almost self-sustaining, constantly shifting artistic expression.  I'm a big believer in the idea that our search for meaning in our experiences governs many of our choices, both good and bad.  Because we are subjective creatures, forever contained  within our own self-awareness, I think we attempt to make sense of our experiences in much the same way as we try to make sense of Art.  I think this isn't simply because it's the only strategy we have available to us.  Rather, I suspect it is because on some deep level we recognize that the universe itself is built on artistic principles.  Despite our modern faith in Science, I think most humans recognize that there is a fundamental, primal aspect of human experience that can only be explained adequately through an artistic medium.  I think we find evidence of this in the odd feelings, synchronicity and bizarre brushes with the 'unseen' that each human being has at least some experience of.

My whole life I've been fascinated by the darker aspects of life, and what the psychologist Carl Jung called the Shadow, because I sensed intuitively that there was great meaning and opportunities for wisdom there. Here are two quotes from Jung that express my general view of our connections to our Shadows.

"The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge."

   - Aion (1951). 

Everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is. If an inferiority is conscious, one always has a chance to correct it. Furthermore, it is constantly in contact with other interests, so that it is continually subjected to modifications. But if it is repressed and isolated from consciousness, it never gets corrected. 

   - Psychology and Religion (1938).

I believe that becoming cognizant of the Shadow aspect of our own consciousness is vital, on an individual and collective level.  But also we need to recognize that true Shadow Work is dangerous and not to be taken lightly.  To negotiate with such primal energies requires a measure of discipline and insight before ever entering into such terrain.  With this in mind, I present to you a map that will hopefully be of use to you in such an Underworld voyage.





Once you have returned from the depths of the Shadow - with the gifts of insight, self-knowledge and renewed vigor - it is important to remind yourself of the intricacies and subtleties of Light.  After such a deep, dark excursion it is important to bathe yourself in artistic, psychological and social Light.  It is a much-needed cleansing, that will allow you to more fully utilize and apply the sacred knowledge that the Shadow bequeathed to you.  This is Magick.  This is the Midnight Mystery Cult.


2 comments:

  1. When I was a boy, my mother took my brother and I to see Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. Like everyone else, it blew me away. What also blew me away was the way the film seemed to resonate so deeply with just about everyone. People were spending days camped on rainy sidewalks for tickets. In my attempt to understand this phenomenon, I discovered Jung and the archetypes.

    This event gave new meaning to the concepts of the Dark and Light sides of the 'force.' My mother had explained to me immediately after the first film that there would be more, and it began to dawn on me that the film series was to be about the alchemical transformation of Anakin Skywalker. This was possibly my very first foray into cultural ethnography and I felt I had unlocked an ancient secret about humans and 'our minds,' in the terms I thought at the time. I was hooked on self-discovery and eventually learned the hard way, why Yoda knew to 'prepare' the Jedi early.

    It was during another period of personal research, immediately following my own 'trip to the mountain' that I once again delved into Jung's work, coming at it this time from an interest in the Nag Hammadi texts. This is also when I 'accidentally' surfed into The Secret Sun. There I was exposed to your work, and here we are! Luke faced his shadow self in the cave, as have you and I, and I understand all to well that "that true Shadow Work is dangerous and not to be taken lightly. To negotiate with such primal energies requires a measure of discipline and insight before ever entering into such terrain." A truer warning never was given, as Vader an I should have both heeded. But some "return from the depths of the Shadow - with the gifts of insight, self-knowledge and renewed vigor - it is important to remind yourself of the intricacies and subtleties of Light. After such a deep, dark excursion it is important to bathe yourself in artistic, psychological and social Light."

    Raj, I find this statement to be extremely significant, valid, and laced with vast wisdom. This post is the stuff of real life, sometimes the path and course of entire lives...thank you. It will be among my considerations as I attempt "to more fully utilize and apply the sacred knowledge that the Shadow bequeathed to" me. Respect. ~ Dave

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  2. Very good post Raj.
    Which reminds me to turn "The Red Book" into my read book.-)
    Cheers.

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