I want to come back to one particular part from the last post in this series, that of Adam and Eve discovering that in the Garden of Eden, they were naked. With their becoming conscious of themselves, they became vulnerable and their first attempt to deal with this vulnerability was to clothe themselves, to use that clothing as armour against the unknown, the shadow.
Consciousness begins as a ray of light that allows awareness to emerge. But where there is light, there is shadow. When consciousness in newly formed, only a small light has been lit in the vastness of an immeasurable unknown.
“In Jungian psychology, the shadow or “shadow aspect” may refer to the entirety of the unconscious, i.e., everything of which a person is not fully conscious, or an unconscious aspect of the personality which the conscious ego does not recognize in itself. Because one tends to reject or remain ignorant of the least desirable aspects of one’s personality, the shadow is largely negative. There are, however, positive aspects which may also remain hidden in one’s shadow (especially in people with low self-esteem). Contrary to a Freudian conceptualization of shadow, therefore, the Jungian shadow often refers to all that lies outside the light of consciousness, and may be positive or negative.” [Wikipedia, Shadow]
In this story of Adam and Eve, consciousness comes to them as adult beings, when sexuality is ripe. With that beginning of consciousness is born a fear of the unknown, the darkness, of others. And almost everything is beyond consciousness when one wakes up to the fact of one’s self. It is different for children.
A child’s journey into consciousness begins as he or she becomes aware of being separate from mother, being separate from his or her creator. There is no sense of shame in being unclothed. Shame only comes into existence through the words and actions of the mother and/or father. It doesn’t take long for this shame to be integrated into a child’s shadow resulting in an unconscious fear of being naked. Yet, a child’s consciousness is limited and the shadow is ready to emerge at any moment. In spite of a child’s best intentions, a child will quickly shed his or her clothing to play as a free spirit, unconscious of his or her nakedness until an adult appears and invokes the gods of darkness and fear to reel the child back into the fold of body shame.