Pearls of Wisdom
Halloween and the shadow self Walking outside, one can already sense the changes in the air as summer ends. ‘Tis the season, after all, the season of life, death, and rebirth. Halloween is fast approaching and it is time to reflect and prepare.
Many will relish in the fun and excitement of costumes and candy, looking forward to the next persona they might take on when pretending to be anyone else is encouraged. And yet, creating the most elaborate disguise is not the sort of preparation intended by this mystical holiday.
Halloween is actually about quite the opposite. Delving back into the depths of the true reason for the season, one will find that this Celtic festival is a time for reverence, reflection, and community before the light fades and winter comes. It is the time when all who died within the year would begin their journey into the afterlife.
During this time, just as the light and warmth of summer leaves and we transition into the cold, dark winter, beings of light and dark are able to mingle together on a single plane. The story goes that Samhain (the Celtic name for this holiday) is the time when people would not live in fear of the ghosts of their ancestors, but made offerings and lit bonfires to help guide the souls on their way.
In the same way, this is the ideal time of year to focus on the shadow-self, or that darker and repressed part that resides in all of us. The psychologist, Carl Jung, often discussed the idea of the shadow self and how to manage this potentially dangerous and unavoidable aspect of our beings. The most important task is also the most difficult, to acknowledge and accept it.
As the Celtic people embraced the inevitable dark of winter, we must look inside ourselves and acknowledge our deepest, darkest secrets and embrace the fact that without our dark side, we are not whole. In repressing an integral part of our being, we can cause that side to manifest in a negative way and make a violent attempt to emerge into our lives. Only by facing our inner demons and respectfully acknowledging their presence can we make peace and move on to a brighter place.
“When we must deal with problems, we instinctively resist trying the way that leads through obscurity and darkness. We wish to hear only of unequivocal results, and completely forget that these results can only be brought about when we have ventured into and emerged again from the darkness. But to penetrate the darkness we must summon all the powers of enlightenment that consciousness can offer.”
“The Stages of Life” (1930). The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche. P.752
Halloween, or Samhain, represents the time in between. We are at a point between the summer and winter. We are between the hopeful living and the solemn dead. We are between a time of plentiful harvest and frozen tundra. We are between the best and brightest aspects of ourselves and a time for introspection into our baser thoughts and desires. Embrace this time when we might compare and contrast what we have with what we need and prepare to move on, into a bright new year.
Nuggets of Dirt
Cory Ian Shafer