Romancing the Shadow: Illuminating the Dark Side of the Soul

Overview

"One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light but by making the darkness conscious."
--C. G Jung

Within each woman and man, the dim cavern of the unconscious holds our forbidden feelings, secret wishes, and creative urges. Over time, these "dark" forces take on a life of their own, forming an intuitively recognizable figure--the shadow. A recurring theme in literature and legend, the shadow is like an invisible twin, a stranger that is us, yet is not us. When it acts out in the public domain, we...

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Overview

"One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light but by making the darkness conscious."
--C. G Jung

Within each woman and man, the dim cavern of the unconscious holds our forbidden feelings, secret wishes, and creative urges. Over time, these "dark" forces take on a life of their own, forming an intuitively recognizable figure--the shadow. A recurring theme in literature and legend, the shadow is like an invisible twin, a stranger that is us, yet is not us. When it acts out in the public domain, we witness our leaders, like hero-villains, fall from grace in scandal. Closer to home, we may feel overcome with rage, obsession, and shame or succumb to self-destructive lies, addiction, or depression. These appearances of the shadow introduce us to the Other, a powerful force that defies our efforts to tame and control it.

Steve Wolf, Ph.D., and Connie Zweig, Ph.D., innovators in the use of shadow-work in psychotherapy, have helped hundreds of clients in their encounters with the dark side. Seeing it--meeting the shadow--is a first step. Learning to live with it--romancing the shadow--is a life-long challenge. It means reading the messages encoded in the events of daily life in such a way that we gain consciousness, substance, and soul. In fact, shadow-work is soul work.

With shadow-work, we cultivate a deeper self-knowledge and authenticity. When we identify family shadow patterns, we move toward cultivating family soul. When we untangle romantic projections, we begin to build the soul of a relationship. When we face descent at midlife and meet the underworld shadow, we reclaim the unlived life of the soul. And when we retrieveour lost vitality and creative fertility--the gold in the dark side--we nurture the hungry soul.

The authors weave together the rich perspectives of Carl Jung and James Hillman, timeless Greek myths, and universal archetypal images with insightful contemporary stories from their clients' lives. They show that the shadow is not an error or a flaw; it is part of the natural order of who we are. And it is not a problem to be solved; it is a mystery to be faced. It has the power to connect us to the depths of our own imaginations.

This book, breathtaking in scope and eloquent in style, is a landmark investigation of the personal and archetypal dimensions of the soul's hidden face--the shadow.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Replacing murky psychological language with easily understood stories and characters, Jungian psychotherapists Wolf and Zweig (Meeting the Shadow) offer a plethora of myth-based modern parables for reconnecting with our "dark" sides. In this version of Jung's theory of archetypes, "banished" aspects of individuals or families"anything that is forbidden, shamed, or taboo"comprise a "shadow" self that is inaccessible to the "persona" or mask-like public face we wear among others. The result can be a host of problems whose causes seem diffuse, such as addiction, depression or abuse. The authors assert that by "romancing" or bringing the shadow into the light of consciousness by identifying and giving voice to its demands, the true "third body" of intimate relationships and authentic "family soul" can replace false selves. A recurring metaphor is of King Arthur's round table. In chapters such as "Looking for the Beloved: Dating as Shadow Work" and "The Shadow at Work: The Search for Soul on the Job," real-life cases of people in common situations, such as having sex with one's ex- or enduring grinding boredom at work, are analyzed in terms of which mythic character (from a wide variety of world literatures) sits at the head of one's own round table, inappropriately controlling one's actions and reactions. Everything from keeping a journal to tracking physical sensations, the authors assert, can aid in the "shadow work" of identifying and integrating such voices into an authentic self. (Sept.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345417398
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 8/26/1997
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 9.59 (h) x 1.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Connie Zweig, Ph.D., is a Jungian psychotherapist who specializes in shadow-work, as well as creative and spiritual issues. The former executive editor of J. P. Tarcher, Inc., she has written for Esquire, Omni, the Los Angeles Times, the Christian Science Monitor, Psychology Today, and Spring: A Journal of Archetype and Culture. She is coeditor of the bestselling collected volume Meeting the Shadow: The Hidden Power of the Dark Side of Human Nature and founder of The Institute for Shadow-work and Spiritual Psychology in the Los Angeles area.

Steve Wolf, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist, developed shadow-work as an integration of twenty-five years of experience with psychology, mysticism, martial arts, and storytelling. He has held trainings in corporations, schools, and prisons and offers ongoing workshops and individual and couples psychotherapy. He lives with his wife and son and maintains his therapy practice in Los Angeles.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction to Shadow-Work 3
Our Stories 24
Ch. 1 Me and My Shadow 36
Ch. 2 The Family Shadow: Cradle of the Best and the Worst 57
Ch. 3 A Parent's Betrayal as Initiation into Shadow 88
Ch. 4 Looking for the Beloved: Dating as Shadow-Work 110
Ch. 5 Shadow-Boxing: Wrestling with Romantic Partners 144
Ch. 6 Shadow-Dancing Till Death Do Us Part 177
Ch. 7 Shadows Among Friends: Envy, Anger, and Betrayal 215
Ch. 8 The Shadow at Work: The Search for Soul on the Job 247
Ch. 9 Midlife as Descent to the Underworld and Ascent of the Lost Gods 280
Epilogue 305
A Shadow-Work Handbook 308
Who's Who in Greek Myth: From Aphrodite to Zeus 317
Notes 321
Bibliography 333
Index 341
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