Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Shadow Knows

Recent journeys of mine, as I dabble with increasing amounts of low dose psilocybin in conjunction with nitrous oxide, have had me stumbling into the territory of shadow psychological material from time to time.  In some ways I think I could relate even simple feelings of paranoia to the shadow in some mild way, but these recent very specific archetypes and feelings under psychedelics point so clearly and directly to the repressed material described by Jung that it ain't even funny.  Besides the overall shadow, Jung postulates the anima, a set of repressed feminine characteristics for males, and the animus, a corresponding set for females.

When I first encountered this material, I wanted to push it away, to shun it, and it caused a fair amount of anxiety to have this uncomfortable material shoved right in my face.  At some level I was resisting, and yet I knew from experience with psychedelics and meditation and psychology that I needed to accept this material and make peace with it, but it has been difficult.  I tend to throw vipassana at it, but still have to note "unpleasant."

I think it makes a certain amount of sense that our individual acculturation creates repressed material, and I think it also makes sense that when you peel back the surface layers of the personality (in Jung's terms the persona or mask), that what has been pushed down for so long is what pops up and stands out.

With repeated experiences, I have been able to view this material with more equanimity, and even some curiosity, although I feel like I have a ways to go.  Last time around I got a good clear look at my anima in the wake of yet another experience of oneness.

I have gotten to the point where I am actually looking forward to more opportunities to accept and embrace this material.  Obviously, at the level of oneness, this material is integrated, so it seems to me that a process of integrating this into the persona over time would help bring about even more oneness in everyday life.

Here's a very informative transcribed talk by Ann Shulgin, wife of Alexander "Sasha" Shulgin (noted psychedelic chemist) on the shadow.  Note that page links to a podcast of the material but the link is wrong - you'll need this link to get it.

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