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Shadow aspect discussion

I seriously question Jung’s assignment of shadow gender. Shadow as the dark side of the Psyche often projected outward. If each aspect of Self, animus, anima, mana, etc contains and has potentiality of both light and dark, positive and negative why would Psyche portray the dark side only through characters of the same gender as that of the dreamer? If each aspect has this potential for duality (light/dark. positive/negative)…are there no traits that are genderless or not gender specific? I’m re-examining the aspects as Jung describes…to something? A bit different…
Anima – feminine
Animus – masculine
Shadow – negative anomaly, masculine, feminine or genderless
Mana – positive anomaly, masculine, feminine or genderless

Could Shadow and Mana contain non gender anomalies?

This comes about due to a dream, of course. The personal interpretation possibly identifies two masculine characters as shadow aspect…projection of dark side onto male characters.

Thoughts anyone? Have a recommendation on a Jungian resource appropriate to this topic?

Kind regards,
Kathy

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Re: Shadow aspect discussion

Kathy,
I'm working on a tight schedule this morning so my thoughts may not be as clear as I wish {the social dragon breathing down my neck}. But here are some of my thoughts to your thoughtful post.

I don't question Jung's concept of the shadow but I don't believe he ever meant it to be firmly set in stone. Just as there are the variations in nature {Darwinian}, so to the possible variations in the different aspects of the psyche. There has to be a somewhat different approach to the feminine when addressing a gay person's dreams since their psyche is more feminine but biologically they are male. One reason I don't often allude to the possible aspects within a dream {shadow, mana, anima/animus, Self} is I see each individual as being different and those aspects each person possesses is based more on than just biological possibilities. I believe in both nature and nurture and try to discern each dream from what I sense as much as what I read in the wording of the dream. And I seem to be more successful in my interpretations when I let that intuitive aspect take charge. To merely ascertain whether a dream symbol is addressing the shadow or the anima/animus leaves out to many other possibilities. Those aspects can play a role in the symbolism but there may be other overriding aspects that have to be considered.

But there is no question in my mind that as a rule of thumb Jung got it right. Applying his philosophies when interpreting dreams fits on too many occasions. It can't be a matter of luck, his approach fits in too many dreams I have worked with. From experience I can see where he gets his ideas and if it fits, what else can there be? There has to a broad brush when addressing each symbol and i believe that the successes I have is because I let my senses rule and not just the formula Jung laid out. But of course Jung was also using his senses when he discovered these different aspects of the psyche. They are universal and knowing what we know from today's science universality is not some foreign concept. We see it in many facets of life.

Non-gender anomalies? Should we consider a gay person dreams as non-gender? Or cross gender? Or either, or neither? I believe it depends on the individual. I strongly believe all dreams can be interpreted {most all} if there is a continuing dialog between the dreamer and the interpreter. Since almost all dreams are all about the dreamer, we merely need to match the dream content to the dreamer's life. That is my approach, less about matching an aspect and more about discerning what the dreamer's life is about. The differencing aspects will fall into place if we can understand the dream motif. It is an intuitive approach. Of course, and again, I believe an intuitive mind has better success at dream interpretation than just trying to discern those differencing aspects of the psyche, whether universal or personal. I don't look for archetypes, I let the archetypes speak for themselves. If they are relevant they will show themselves to be so. I don't see 'universal' archetypes as an important ingredient in most dreams. I do believe personal archetypes {those emotional energies that reflect on the universal but are more personal in nature} are always present in dreams. So it gets back to the personal as to what the dream subject is and what the dream is trying to address in the dreamer's life.

It is difficult to know much about the dreamer when they make a post {age and gender are the most important to begin with} at the forum but with experience, using Jung's approach, and an intuitive mind, I believe it is possible to start a dialog with the dreamer to ascertain the dream message. Of course that requires the co-operation of the dreamer.

It is a minor irritation when an interpretation is given and the dreamer does not follow up with comments. I have thought about making it a requirement.

Gerard

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Re: Re: Shadow aspect discussion

on the same theme,
why is it that the shadow is mostly viewed as a negative quality, i remember jung mentioned in one of his works ,the shadow is everything you choose not to accept about yourself,everything that you think, you are not,
this must cover a multitude of positive aspects about ourselves,
that because of social,political,religious,and yes psychological definitions ,we are afraid to accept,and thus repress,

regards steve.




steve.


be careful in casting out the so called demon,lest you cast out the best part of your being,

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Re: Shadow aspect discussion

I believe we sometimes put to much emphasis on the universal archetypes such as the shadow. These qualities are definitely recognizable in our dreams but to what extent they play in our everyday waking lives may be over emphasized. Not every person of the same sex represents our shadow. At least not in the way we wish to think of the shadow as repressed aspects or opposite the ego.

On a related subject. I sense some disagreement about the intuitive aspect when working with dreams. Here is a statement from the school of metaphysics that states the importance of the intuitive mind. I believe it explains the approach I use when working with dreams.

The Intuitive Nature of our Dreams

Intuition is the direct grasp of truth. While the outer, waking conscious mind must discern truth through reasoning and direct experience, intuition frees man to draw upon timeless truths that are universally applicable. These are transcendental truths. They exist independent of physical differences, regardless of age, race, nationality, culture, while being relevant to all whether ourselves, our neighbors next door, or the strangers half a world away. Colerdige’s Kubla Khan or Shelley’s Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, both arising from their authors’ dreams, have outlived their creators because they embody universal truths that apply to anyone, any time, any where.

Rene Descartes, 17th century mathematician and philosopher, also realized transcendental truths because he was attentive to the workings of his inner mind. He experienced illumined perspectives from dreams that led to his theory of dualism: man’s physical body functions in a manner similar to that of other animals while his mind operates on a metaphysical basis under the influence of the soul. Descartes’ discovery of Analytical Geometry was the result of a dream which revealed that all sciences could be combined through mathematics. Such insights will become more common place as mankind enters the next century.


I don't see intuitiveness as something beyond a normal human trait. We all possess certain so called metaphysical characteristics but that doesn't mean they are supernatural. I believe all things can be explained except one; the origins of the universe. And that is because we are incapable of knowing something that is beyond our capacity to understand. The brain has yet to evolve to that point. If man survives another 1000 years then it may be available for our understanding. At the present our understanding of the origins are merely concepts. Truths come about only after the concepts have been proven. I believe there is enough evidence to say we do possess intuitive insights. So why not believe that those insights are available for us when working with dreams?

As I stated previously I don't work with the symbols as I originally did when working with dreams. Jung's concepts have proven to be correct because they are universal, we all possess certain aspects {shadow, anma/animus, etc}. The intuitive mind can recognize these universal concepts. Have you ever spoken to anyone who is really good at understanding dreams but has never had any training in dreams? I have. I believe it is because their intuitive mind recognizes the universal truths. They may not understand fully the concepts but intuitively they understand. I do believe when working with dreams we should develope our intuitive instincts.

Gerard

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Re: Shadow aspect discussion

Good morning,
Thank you both for providing your thoughts. Your insights lend much to the examination of Jung’s concept of the Shadow aspect and more.

Steve,
Thank you for reminding us the Shadow is not the container of only dark but of light, too. And that it takes careful and considerate work to weed the Shadow garden to balance those necessary traits. A nurturing of all the aspects, including Shadow. This brought realization the trait is necessary, but it’s darkest form unacceptable therefore own it and use it appropriately.

Gerard,
Attributing Shadow aspect to the two male characters was made after the interpretation was complete. I reread both dream and interpretation, several times, prior to identifying the aspect. Aspects become visible to me only after the dream interpretation is complete or nearly so.

Jungian theory and method is overall the most ‘precise’ and fruitful of the psychological sciences. Jung’s Psyche was able to identify various parts of different theories, separate them from their theoretical counterparts that were not valid, or not as valid, then creatively explore and add his own theory to develop a new, holistic theory and method. His most gracious gift to human kind.

I suppose my questioning of gender assignment of traits, and the possibility of non gender traits, is not Shadow specific and originates with what I believe is a non physical form of Psyche, as non duality. Nature being physical outward appearance, and inner physiology, is gender specific for most. Nurture as the physical conditioning and indoctrination. (There are to a lesser number dual gender, hermaphrodites, and non gender, eunuchs, in the human species.) I believe gay and lesbian are in themselves a third category of the species. Not an aberration or anomaly, but natural being, with a set of psychological traits specific to the category. Women are the most obvious and widely prevalent ‘cross dressers’. In that I am a ‘cross dresser’ I view that as a worthless social rule based on fear from the ‘religious morality’ groups. Prohibiting outward expression of individuality is a societal psychology, Shadow!, issue.

An extreme example of nurture would be a child reared by wolves or dogs. (Saw an interesting program on PBS a while back. This phenomenon does occur even in our ‘modern’ time.) A child reared from very young age by dogs believes itself to be a dog, an expected result. After separation from dogs with years of intense integration to humans, including psychological treatment, the human psyche retains aspects of a dog psyche. Even many years into integration, it is recognized the now adult person may never fully integrate it’s human aspect, or at minimum retain a portion of the dog aspect in Self.

So would Psyche’s original form be without gender, perhaps even without species, only taking on aspects forming to Nature and Nurture? So is there the possibility the Psyche, as a non gender entity itself in original form, that exists within us? It only makes sense that yes, there are some traits or aspects that would be with out gender. Because to relate to the spiritual aspect, the non duality Campbell speaks of, we should also have this non gender aspect driving the innate sense to balance the dualities, or we could not relate to the non duality. The whole emphasis being to bring duality into balance, into one. The innate drive to balance the duality to non duality is in essence sourced from a non dual aspect?

Is the Psyche, ‘God’, male, female or neither? Following along the lines of interrelation of the genders requiring traits of the other in order to relate, then would we not also require a non gender aspect or traits to relate to what I believe to be a non gender ‘God’? Or is it my belief of the unknowable as non gender that fosters a psychological need within me of non gender aspect or traits?

As to my previous post about intuition as ‘foolish and unreliable’. I should have been more specific in that I was speaking about MY intuitive sense. I agree it’s inherent to many who can develop or not. But should we take into account that it can be irreversibly damaged, like the other senses? When one sense is damaged or void others compensate. Hearing and touch of a blind person are more sensitive, utilized to a fuller extent, because there is no sight. The same physical make up of these senses exists as before, but now the body/brain relies on these more, so they are developed and utilized to a much greater extent than before.

For me, it should be the most reliable sense. At some point my intuition was damaged thus becoming ‘foolish and unreliable’. This is partially attributable to conditioning, or anti nurture, by parents and society. (Help! Help! I’m being repressed!) While this influence can be reversed through Self work, can there be permanent irrevocable damage to intuition. Like partial hearing loss. It’s still there, but a great deal is now void and can’t be recaptured. So what sense(s) would develop to compensate? Still working on that…

The definition of intuition as ‘the direct grasp of truth’ doesn't fit with my personal experience of intuition. Or more likely what I think is intuition is actually something completely different. That instinct and intution are separate entities. To me that’s the definition of instinct, wholly different than intuition. I can only explain this as…intuition is what tells me…someone two blocks away is staring at me so I know to look to examine the why, what, etc; or when I pause or step another direction at a closed door to avoid collision or being hit with the door; or a person with a most basic knowledge of financial investing selects investment funds that do actually profit when ‘those with investing knowledge’ forecast doesn't. But again, for me sometimes it’s there, and sometimes not as described prior.

I attribute personal dream interpretation skills to both intuition and acquiring knowledge base. The more I learn of Jung, Campbell, mythology, symbolism, etc it increases the likely hood of a hit rather than miss interpretation. The intuitive factors in, but how much I'm not sure. Arriving at a relevant interpretation is a conscious process. A where do A, B, C and D intersect question and answer. Cognitive thinking, deductive reasoning, logic, etc must be applied and necessary.

A mostly philosophical or unanswerable discussion yet interesting.

Thank you both for your input and assistance.

Kind regards,
Kathy

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