Your Shadow is Showing
Today I am bringing two photos I took in Costa Rica, one of a male that I found carved on a wall, and the second of a female that stood in a garden on the side of a mountain. Though the two are representations of native Costa Ricans from a distant past, these two images tell a modern story of men and women.
As usual, active imagination takes me past the images into a different places. These images take me into a realm where consciousness is almost absent. In the case of this image of a man, the bound hands talk to me of how we become slaves to physicality when consciousness is weak. One becomes trapped by an outer life with a corresponding sense that one is a victim in that life. In the outer world, one knows that one is at the mercy of the elements, at the mercy of nature and those that have power.
All that circulates within the psyche is unquestioned, often allowing the circulating shadows to exert powerful influences over the ego. The shadows act as gods and goddesses that must be obeyed or one suffers madness. And the shadows demand much of their human hosts. The shadows within compete with each other in order to find an outlet. In the outer world the humans who give these inner gods and goddesses their due find that they become leaders, powerful beings in their collective communities. The shadow expressed touches the collective shadow and swells with the resonance.
It is all about power, power that becomes meaning, power that ensures survival. Where one is placed in the power matrix determines if one is to thrive or to simply survive. These images evoke powerlessness for men and women.; they evoke servitude and bondage.
Women become chattels of men, sexual containers that also serve to provide heirs and or status beyond the satisfying of sexual urges. In cultures in which the collective unconscious is dominant, women then look to men for protection from other men. Their bargaining tool, their sexuality, their apparent fragility. The few who rise above the collective in terms of ego intelligence learn to harness the desires of men and the desirability of women in order to increase personal power.
As humans evolved becoming more and more intelligence in the ways of human behavior and psychology, they devised more and better tools to gather power and dominate other humans and nature. The discovery of the religious center of humans provided yet another pathway for exploitation, one that rivaled if not surpassing the exploitation of humans sexual nature. The rise of religion which seemed to always find a way to either glorify or demonize human sexuality which in turn unconsciously pulled even more and more into a collective unconsciousness.
It has only been with the refusal to drawn into the collective unconscious that allows us today to see there is another way forward. Daring to consciously confront the personal shadow which in turn allows us to recognize a larger collective shadow effectively sets us outside of the unconscious participation that seems hell-bent on a descent into collective madness where even those wielding the reins of power are caught in the web of madness, a collective unconscious that has destroyed all the boundaries meant to contain it.
There is another option, but it falls to individuals who dare to challenge the collective, a collective that includes family, and community. Who will dare to tell the emperor that he is not wearing clothes, and that his shadow is showing?