Guess who’s back? (back again). What is it this time, I hear you ask?

In this blog, we will go ‘inward’ and start to discover and integrate the ‘parts’ of our psyche that can lead to transformation and help us achieve great things.

Not only this, but we can start to realise why we do some of the things we do, good and bad. Yes, I am confessing during this.

Let me be clear: the shadow is not ‘separate’ but rather our psyche is all ONE (see black-and-white diagram below). The real kicker here is that in our daily lives, ‘we’ are not exactly conscious of an endless pit of darkness in our subconscious. But our shadows manifest in ways we may not think, some more obvious than others.

Life is a series of peaks and valleys. There are moments when our expectations are shattered, or we find ourselves grappling with the absence of a loved one or the betrayal of someone we trusted. I want to reiterate that many of you, my readers, have likely faced these situations. Your experiences are not overlooked, they are acknowledged and they matter.

However, it is crucial to understand that the shadow side, as this quote below says, can help us rise out of our miseries. Keep reading.

Image Link

Dark behaviours:

As I said, our shadows become more obvious with some of us than others. For me, heavy metal music, along with massage, is a powerful way to bring the ‘shadow’ to the conscious mind and channel it in a cathartic, healthy way. Yes, heavy riffs and screaming is catharsis, for me anyways. This, admittedly, is a very obvious form of shadow release and does involve: leather, spikes and lots of black. But it’s also a source of comfort and reassurance for me.

I recommend a song by a German heavy metal band, ‘Imperium Dekadenz’, called ‘Still I Rise.’ Look at the lyrics; you will see what I mean. Here is the Spotify link:

Impeirum Dekadenz: Still I Rise

In the past, I have also done DIY black face paint for metal fests, which, if you aren’t familiar with it, is referred to as ‘corpse paint.’

Here’s a link to more info: Corpse-paint guide

Doing this sort of face paint makes me feel free. Why? I’m literally ‘wearing’ my shadow, it’s more than conscious at this point. It’s on my face and there for everyone to look at. Nothing to hide.

The detailed diagrams above & below show how deep the shadow is ‘buried.’ Admittedly I am learning as much as you are here! Take a good look and do your own research as our shadows are all unique.

Link to colour image

A key point to understand here is that everything, including our behaviours, how we treat others, and how we treat animals, is a projection of what’s going on inside. Even our, yes, I will say it, kinks. These are perfectly healthy, and we all have them in one way or another. Domination and submission are both shadow manifestations in different forms. One is excited by power, and the other is powerless.

Of course, it goes much deeper. I highly recommend the works of psychiatrist and psychologist Carl Gustav Jung, who explored the dark side of the human psyche and brought it to public attention.

How does the Shadow form?

It starts in childhood. Both children and adults have basic needs of safety and to feel ‘part of something.’ When we are children and, for example, don’t get a toy that we really want, we may express anger, sadness, and maybe envy if another child has the toy we want.

We are told off by our parents after said outburst and taught that it is a ‘bad’ behaviour and, if we are old enough, might be grounded and have certain privileges removed such as gaming consoles or (god forbid in 2024) our smartphones (sacrilege!!).

Of course, I am not saying be a bad parent here. Do not forget you are a whole, complete being with a heart and, therefore, EMPATHY. Love, cherish, and care for your children absolutely. This does have a point, though, so stick with me here.

What happens to our child’s psyche after the reprimand? Their need for safety and belonging is threatened, and behaviour changes accordingly to belong and feel safe in the family unit. The ‘bad’ behaviour gets pushed into the subconscious mind and becomes ‘condemned’ and therefore part of the shadow.

As responsible individuals, it’s our duty to understand the psychological impact of reprimanding a child. This knowledge equips us to actively foster a healthy emotional environment. The image below, based on Freud’s research, illustrates this point, even if it does rely on the cliché of an iceberg!

Subconscious mind image

It’s the same story in school when a child is disruptive and reprimanded by the teacher(s) for being a nuisance. The child is, in some cases threatened with removal from the school which threatens their basic need for belonging. Again, the behaviour becomes part of the shadow.

I could go on and on about different shadow behaviours, but I think you get the gist.

Don’t go too far!

It’s important to remember that while the shadow can be a valuable asset in terms of determination, discipline, and not being swayed by others’ opinions, there’s a fine line. It’s possible to go too far and become an arrogant, self-centred person who disregards others’ feelings to achieve their goals.

This blog advocates making this work for everyone. The more we talk about, express (safely), integrate our shadows and acknowledge the darker aspects of ourselves with similar-minded loved ones/friends/partners, the more I truly know that society will greatly benefit.

As I have said, this is why metal shows and mosh pits mean so much to me. We are all expressing and releasing our shadows together in a healthy environment. The band that is playing is doing likewise, it all becomes one fantastic cathartic experience and guess what? We all hug each other afterwards and make sure we’re all ok!

One last point: talking of catharsis, why do some of us watch horror/thriller films? Why put ourselves through two hours of terror? The shadows, violence, darkness, etc., shown in these films are ‘forbidden’ behaviours that we don’t acknowledge.

By watching and experiencing fear, we are confronting our own fears, allowing the shadow to emerge from the safety of our homes. Sometimes, we do this alone, and other times, we share this experience with our parents or partners, creating a sense of shared understanding and connection. It’s particularly intriguing, given our current discussion, to observe the portrayal of violent villains in horror films. It’s a unique opportunity to witness the extremes of the human psyche, and how it can become depraved and dark. Furthermore, in films where the villain isn’t human, such as ‘Alien’ it’s very interesting to see how the shadow helps the hero (in this case, Ripley) survive and kill the xenomorph.

Leather face Image

Iconic xenomorph In Aliens

From my own life experience, I’ve found that horror fanatics are often the happiest people around! It’s a curious thing, isn’t it? Here’s an interesting link that explores why we enjoy the scare of these films. And it’s the same with horror games like the nerve-wracking ‘Dead Space’ cosmic horror trilogy (it’s seriously scary!).

The End, I promise:

The truth here is that only you can integrate your own shadow, only you can dive deep into the depths of your own psyche and integrate it. This is a very lonely road. As I have written in previous blogs, we are all Emotionally Unique. So, therefore, our shadows are all individual—remember that!

As always, do your own research on this. There are so many books on human psychology, especially C.J. Jung, who inspired this blog.

I am no psychologist or psychiatrist but just want to help people.

Share this with others and another blog will come next month! Until then, take care.