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Article ID: 6619
Age Group: Adult
Posted: July 20th. 2003
The Shadow Knows
There is a question that often comes up in the Earthwise Community. It is this:
"Why are there so many books and classes at levels 101 to 303 but no classes or books that seem to go past level 3?"
I believe that those classes do indeed exist. I believe that they have little to do with ritual, clothing, holidays, spells, books or tools and everything to do with personal growth. These classes are not offered by a Priest or Priestess, except where they teach by example. Instead, Life itself offers us these classes. In a Trickster-like fashion, it offers us the test first and the lesson afterward. If we survive the lesson, we will have reached the next level.
The challenge here involves claiming our power, living responsibly and accepting the consequences of our choices.
Carolyn Myss [WebSite] writes in her book, Sacred Contracts, that all great teachers teach the 3 C's; that is: Consciousness, Choices & Cause and Effect.
Whether the teacher is at a dojo or showing how us to care for our car or offering a class in Earthwise Spirituality, they are teaching the three C's as these pertain to their field of knowledge. For example, my mechanic wants me to be conscious of my car's needs, to realize what happens if I don 't take care of my car and to make right choices (such as changing my oil in good time). Spiritual teachers work with the same principals.
Some people are drawn mainly to the toys, the costumes and the fun involved in our path. Some of them are, sad to say, in full flight from adulthood. They want unicorns and moon beams and money spells. They like to think of themselves as rebels and tend to have a "look at me" attitude towards their practice. There is less rebel and more faddist in their make-up than they know.
For some people, becoming fully conscious of their own emotional baggage, dealing with their Shadow Sides, owning their own strength and power, and living as joyful and responsible beings sounds like too much work. As a result, they rarely move beyond the lower levels in their practice (unless, of course, life gives them a really rough push.) All too often, though, they sense how much work it is to move forward and they switch paths or partners or do whatever it takes to avoid the pain of growth.
Myss claims we need to confront our Shadow Selves in order to grow and move forward. She sees the journey as one in which each of us is the Co-Creator of our Highest Good. I have noted some of the Shadow archetypes she lists in her book, below. In the interest of balance, I have included what I consider to be, the Positive Companions to these Shadow Sides, as well.
The Prostitute: This is the side of us that that will do anything to insure love, acceptance, financial security or safety. This applies to body, mind and spirit. The question here is: What does it take to make us sell our self? The Companion to the Prostitute is the Priest or Priestess; that part which supports, appreciates and protects us. This Companion speaks for our Highest Good.
The Victim: This part feels perpetually wronged or misunderstood. This part is often angry and resentful. If we unconsciously get "points" for our suffering, then we then slip into a Martyr path, as well. The Companion to the Victim is the Peaceful Warrior; think of Aragorn in the Lord of the Rings. The Warrior is that part of us which is strong, capable, loving and wise. It has the courage to make difficult choices and to embrace change.
The Saboteur: This is how we get in our own way. This part makes sure that we do not have balance and it keeps us too busy, too tired, too overworked or too stressed to pay conscious attention to our life. The Saboteur is involved when we do not feed our selves in healthy ways and it puts the needs of others above our own needs. The companion to this is the Wise Parent. The Wise Parent works in the light of the conscious self and helps us to make healthy choices. The Wise Parent is that part of us that is loving and patient and kind. This part cares for us in ways we may not have been cared for as children. We may be better at caring for others and fail in being a Wise Parent to ourselves. If we never had a Wise Parent modeled for us in real life then we have had to create our Wise Parent from scratch and this is no easy task.
The Wounded Child: The Wounded Child feels unworthy of love. This child is shame based, has abandonment issues and feels that there is nothing they can do to fix their life. This part feels unworthy of attention. At the same time, the Wounded Child is angry for the lack of attention of others. This part lives in fear and has a great need for safety. The Wounded Child has difficulty with intimacy as a result. The Companion to this archetype is the Magical Child, that part which is healthy and intact and who we were always meant to be. The Magical Child is not selfish or childish, as some would have it, but is creative, active and in touch with our Highest Good. Knowing the Magical Child does not preclude behaving like an adult. When we see folks "acting out", what we see is the Wounded Child in action.
Shadow Sides do their best work in the dark of our unconscious. The more we avoid and ignore them, the more power we give to them.
As I have said, each of these Shadow archetypes has a healthy Companion. Together they form a sort of spiral, a double helix, of sorts; one in which each part of our character has both a positive and negative aspect. To be conscious then, is to know these sides of our character; strengths and weaknesses alike, and to make the best choices we can.
Myss writes that these Shadow archetypes are neutral. They are not out to get us, but they are there to teach us a lesson. If we choose to make right choices, the Laws of Cause and Effect and the Laws of Energy and Attraction will support our healthy sides. If we allow our Shadow archetypes to make our choices, then we choose to learn our lessons through them.
Wishing us all the courage to look at our Shadow sides and the wisdom to make right choices.
Bio: Sia is Council Leader for Full Circle: http://www.fullcircleevents.org. She can be reached for comment at firstname.lastname@example.org
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