Shadow –a term that is said to have been coined by the Swiss Psychoanalyst, Carl G. Jung. It is believed that ‘Jung’ became aware of this ritualistic process while observing activities of what was then called tribal people, on the continent of Africa. This process has now been developed to fit western standards and definitions and utilized to describe certain characteristics of the psyche, that we repress, depress, oppress, deny, and in certain instances project onto others. Carl Jung postulated that the shadow represented those forbidden parts of the personality that are unwanted, undesirable, unloved, and unacceptable to society and thus ultimately to the individual.

While they (shadows) do not represent a total split in the personality, as in those with multiple personality disorders, they do represent a fragmentation, of sorts, of which one may be totally unaware. They (shadows) are universal in all humans. In other words you are eligible too.

In a more practical example, the beneath the surface shadow shows up as a behavior that may be abhorrent or admired in others. Most people are in denial that they harbor the same feelings, desires or needs that are so easily seen in another. In some circles there is a saying, “If you spot it you got it”. Shadows are not necessarily bad things, just the forgotten things about the personality. A small number of people may have started the very arduous journey toward finding, outing and sometimes embracing their shadows. Let us be reminded, the shadows we face can be numerous. I do not mean only the individual shadows, but the collective shadows and the shadows of the culture in which we reside.

I met Cliff Berry, founder of Shadow Work Seminars, back in 1995 when I attended the Inner King Training, a training of some cost, $2500 for 4 days. I was trained as well as other attendees with a re-connecting process of what was termed the "sovereign self", another archetype believed to be coined by Jung

This was the summer before the Million Man March on Washington D.C. The march and the Shadow Work training would later prove to be pivotal when we developed a strategy for creating an initiation process for people of color. At the Inner King training I remember sitting at the table asking Cliff Berry and Bill Kauth, the primary founder of The New Warrior Training Adventure, which is now The Mankind Project, what they believed, may be the shadows, of people captured, kidnapped and placed in the holds of slave ships?

They were honest with me, and said that, they didn't know the answer, but they thought it an interesting question. I thought so too, because I had been thinking about it (the question) since I was first introduced to the concept of shadow back in April of 1993. In fact, at that time, I was so fascinated with this process that as a consequence, I purchased every book and read every article I could find on the subject.

Two books, by Connie Zweig, grasped my attention more than all of the others. One book was ‘The Collective Shadow of America’ the other is called ‘Meeting the Shadow’. It is a collection of essays by various Jungian Authorities exposing the shadows of various institutions and groups in America.

Of particular interest was one author’s statement that said, "African Americans are essentially shadow sponges for the cast off, unwanted, unloved, denied, projected parts of white Americans, and black Americans do not have the collective power to repel these projections".

This information was astounding to me, for it infers that, perhaps, so called black people are both attracted to, and, repulsed by so called white people and their construct of life. That is a contradiction and an enigma. It presents a problem that one cannot easily find a solution for. If there has been no discussion of the underlying causes, that are the factors of the equation, then finding a correct formula to solve the problem may be an act of futility.

Please understand that I am by no means an expert on the shadow, but I can say that I have done an awful lot of research, not only reading books and articles and trust me I have read dozens and dozens of them, but I have talked to and queried people who knew much more about the process than I. I have also allowed myself to be a part of the experiment in order to gain experience, much as Jung did, in order to trek the road less traveled into my own psyche and personality.

As a result I learned that few of the researchers have ever transposed the shadow into the area of race and/or oppression save the one lone author in the book that was mentioned earlier in this essay. I vividly remember having a conversation with Dr. Niam Akbar about this particular phenomena and he was (at the time) not aware of it. This statement is not meant to be critical of Brother ‘Akbar’ by any means. I have asked the same question of Dick Gregory and he was equally as miffed. However, both of these great minds confirmed that I was on a solid tract to something real and encouraged me to continue.

Subsequently, the Underground Railroad Odyssey was to become an experiment and an experience in healing the cultural trauma of so called black people. Can you imagine how debilitating the first disappointments were that were experienced? Healing Circles were created and the first person in the circle brought out family of origin issues and the next person did the same and the next and so on. This was not what I intended to have happen.
After all of my research, you mean to tell me that so-called black Americans are still stuck in mama and daddy issues?

After all the prompting, the emersion into the annals of the institution of slavery, all of the atrocities that are recreated on the Underground Railroad Odyssey attendees were only able to get back to mommy and daddy?
It was at that point that a novel idea appeared. “People are setup to serve the construct, to be victims and food for its institutions and they are being setup in what is supposed to be the ultimate safe place in the world, their own family!” Wow, double fucking wow to that!

However, come to find out, there is more to learn and a great deal more that needs to be known!!!!

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Comment by Nadine on June 3, 2011 at 12:21am
Thanks for the update on this post, now when I go into the movie I will have the concept of Jungian theory available to reference to.
Comment by Aaron (Al) Lewis on June 2, 2011 at 11:27pm
While we are studying inception it may be helpful to grasp a working understanding of the concept of shadow since the movie Inception in large part was based on Jungian theory. The is something called Inception Psychology by the way.
Comment by Clifford Black on March 3, 2011 at 6:53pm

there are at this time some Jung videos that may be worth watching posted on the site.


Comment by Gene Williams on December 15, 2009 at 10:06pm
I LOVE this essay! I have always loved the work of Jung, and shadow work is why I have always been interested in Shamanism and Yoga. Bringing the shadow self under the control of the higher self to use it as a tool to free the self.
Comment by Aaron (Al) Lewis on December 15, 2009 at 8:06pm
This question has been asked and begs to be asked again and again.

What if there is empirical data, information, and irrefutable fact that there is no such thing as black people or white people? What if that information proves conclusively beyond a shadow of doubt that race as it is presented today and as it has been presented since 1795 is a false premise? What if all the investiture masses of people have in this false foundation-less concept is but a lie how would you feel, what would you think and how would that change and impact your existence today?
Comment by Aaron (Al) Lewis on December 15, 2009 at 4:56pm
For those that are ready and willing the next Red Pill Training will address these issues among others. Please prepare and ready yourself for a deep immersion into the soul. Maybe you are more than you think you.
Comment by Aaron (Al) Lewis on December 15, 2009 at 4:52pm
Part 2. On the shadow.

My first great venture into deep soul work came in October of 1994. I had met a guy from Colorado, named Tom Daly, no relation to the golfer. His group was called, The Boulder Men’s Project. His specialty was called, “Shadow Dance”. I found out about him in April of 1994 when I observed Dr. Morris Stallings, a certified shadow worker, do the first shadow work process I had ever seen. I was hooked. This shit was precise, masterful and safe. That night at the New Warrior Community Retreat we engaged in the first of many shadow dances I would attend. Morris lead that dance also, I was hooked again.

I made it my business to get to know Morris and to pick his mind on a few things. He gladly opened up and it was from him that I learned about Cliff Berry and Tom Daly. I contacted Tom, after convincing both the white and black New Warrior members, to do a shadow dance on race. He was for it all the way and agreed to come and both lead and teach us the rules of shadow dancing and in fact certified Patrick, Dr. Chumley, Joe Whitten and I to lead shadow dances related to race. Shadow Dance is different from Shadow Work, in many different ways. Although both men (the founders), collaborate at times on certain ventures, the processes are mutually exclusive one to the other.

A shadow dance is an engagement in controlled chaos. It happens in a “container” where there are certain specific agreements and understandings, with deep safety guidelines inserted to protect the participants, physically and emotionally. The “dancers”, act out in ritual, many of their hidden and repressed desires.

Oh boy!!! Now that dance, was, a spectacular event. It was scary, intense and powerful. Imagine 45 men, black and white, in the controlled chaos of acting out their shadows around race in a container and we were in the south to boot?

While I witnessed spectacular courage exhibited by both groups I was sorely disappointed again. I am sure it was deep for some people it just didn’t go deep enough for my liking. Something was missing and I couldn’t put my finger on it. However, as usual I took it for what it was. I analyzed everything that happened, but my conclusions were inconclusive. What really fascinated and mesmerized me was what happened shortly after the dance began.

Ok so here is the set up. A shadow dance is an event where a group gets together and dances out their shadows, they act out the various components of their shadows. I mean anything you can think of becomes a part of the ritual, you are made safe and you can do it. The odd part is there may be a dozen or more pieces going on at once. To set it all up we did group vignettes (small plays) before the dance, to set the tone. In fact after observing some of those plays we created processes around them.

The tone is set firmly around race, the rules are set, safety, a major concern is in place, the men are scared shitless and the dance begins. So I’m thinking, “Man with all this repressed hostility this ought to be one donnybrook of cultures and shadows clashing?” Wrong! What happened? Well, less than 5 minutes into the dance the brothers start the killing. They started shooting, robbing, raping, stabbing, gang beating, -----------EACH OTHER!

Nope, not one attack of a white man, initially, and these men were not afraid to confront white folks. This, like the family of origin stuff, was deeper than I ever imagined and certainly not what I expected or intended to have happen. So much for my insight and brilliance huh?

I became obsessed about finding out what triggers this kind of behavior. Oh I know about the theory of self-hatred, but I think it is deeper than that. Those theories are too easy, and, conclusions about what is taking place can be reached by assumption. Is this that is being acted out an attempt to destroy the false image of self that has been created for the individual to hide behind, in an attempt to protect them?

Of course it would take years and a good dose of Prof. Clifford Black before that all came into view. Anybody groking me yet?

Fast forward a few years later. What I have come to understand, in a most fundamental way, is that, one of the basic ways large groups of people perpetuate their own institutionalization and oppression is via trauma and language or the lack of understanding about how powerful language is.

Every visceral experience that we can call to memory, we attempt to apply some nomenclature to this moment. Lacking the ability to articulate into words what those experiences represent to us, we then make up what we believe they mean. A very bad thing to do if you are trying to dissect and debrief a past fraught with land mines of ignorance, lies and deceit. It appears that sometimes we prevent, for ourselves, any real attempt toward the quest for freedom.

So I will end with asking these questions. What if who you think you are and what you think you are, you are not? What happens if your carefully constructed identity is just a sham, the egos way of belonging? Think about, now think about it again, but deeper this time.

What do you think? And after reading this what do you feel. There is a difference.
For more information on the concept of Shadow you can read:
Robert Bly’s, A Little Book on the Human Shadow

Iron John by the Grimm Brothers

Debbie Ford’s ,The Dark Side of the Light Chasers

Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach

Animal Farm by George Orwell

These are good primers before getting into Jung. Trust me we are a long ways from that just yet.
Comment by Clifford Black on December 15, 2009 at 4:51pm
Not only is this great information, but, it is what needs to be done by everyone that may be (is) interested about the pathway to understanding FREEDOM!!!!!!!!!!

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