Integrating Shadow

Originally published at:

Ken and Corey offer a stunning overview of the psychological shadow. Ken describes several different kinds of shadow, how shadow can show up differently in all four quadrants, and the relationship between shadow, violence, and social transformation.


Wonderful discussion, as always. Thank you, Corey & Ken! (It looks like Ken is “integrating” his new hair more and more into his public image. I love it! It’s looking more and more a part of him.–sorry, getting off topic!)

I recently saw this article and (without really knowing anything about this particular topic beyond what the article is saying) I was fascinated at how shadow is (or maybe isn’t) being processed in our culture:

The author writes: “Celebrities, for the most part, have lost our blind admiration, and earned our distrust. I think that’s a healthy development”
I find myself wondering if that is true. It looks less like a healthy integration and more like the 2 sides of the same shadow projection:
First, we project our “golden shadow” out onto the celebrity, who seems to represent all the good that we cannot quite see inside ourselves, and then, when some detail comes out about them, that we cannot deny and that doesn’t fit into our idealized image, we throw ourselves fully on the other side and they now represent the unintegrated demons we so much want to think don’t exist in ourselves.
(Many of us who have been part of various spiritual communities with strong leaders, may have experienced this many times over: The “Perfect Guru” who suddenly became the “evil depraved manipulator”…and yet nothing about the actual person had usually changed between the times they represented the first and the second version of themselves. And: Wasn’t it usually the most devoted and uncritical devotees, who eventually became their most fervent opponents?)

It looks like our culture is very publicly working with personal and collective shadows right now, but still is getting lost in the dualities of dark and golden shadows, without quite finding its way to healthy integration.

Wonder what others think and what examples you are seeing in the public space right now.


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