Autumn Equinox: A Shadow Work
Yesterday was a very symbolic day that brings us different insights to be addressed. The Autumn Equinox marks the end of summer and announces the arrival of winter here in the Northern Hemisphere. We switched positions with the Southern Hemisphere, and now we are the farthest from light, from the sun. In Brazil, the moment is the opposite. Opposite sides, opposite seasons.
One of the most important changes - practically and symbolically speaking - is the change in the amount of daylight in our days. The shadow becomes predominant. But yesterday, daylight and darkness had the same duration. Is a special moment in the year when there balance in the heavens. The perfect harmony between light and dark. Between lighting and shadow. A day when we need to be aware of the opposites. A day that invites us to look and welcome our dark traits, instead of trying to drown them out.
The concept of shadow in analytical psychology is fundamental to understanding the human psyche and our role in society and universal energies. In theory, ideal and desirable would be the possible internal equilibrium just as the equinox brings us: The balance between self and shadow. The exact division of energy invested in the two parts of our mind/soul. But this is just theory.
Part of the meaning of being human is in the constant struggle between these opposing forces that govern us. It’s from this battle that we gain energy and potential to actually live. I have been interested more and more in the concept of Shadow Work. Most psychotherapeutic processes and theories give more space for the narrative of the Self, of what is known. We talk about what we would like to become, we praise our qualities, and somehow drown out defects and desires that may often not be worthy, pure.
Everyone has within them a darkened portion full of truths that cannot be spoken aloud. The Shadow Work gives voice to this other part within us, gives a narrative, creates space, and facilitates understanding. The shadow itself is already a misunderstood concept because it carries a huge negative connotation as if everything there were evil and perverse.
No! The shadow carries everything that we could be, but for some reason we were not, we are not. It carries several potentials that have not yet been touched. It carries desires that for different reasons were suppressed - a profession that could have been exercised, but it wasn’t. A relationship that we were too ashamed to assume. A hidden skill that we couldn’t develop. A very human feeling of envy, jealousy, a rage that we don’t allow ourselves to feel – without realising that only really feeling it would allow that feeling to be depurated.
Light and Shadow, Good and Evil are concepts, words. There is no way to qualify, to measure. What is evil for one person could be basic self-defence to the other one. What makes someone proud to be can be something horrific to another. Don’t judge your self by other eyes metrics.
Don’t label your internal content by social statements. Don’t deny any part of you. Embrace it, this is the first step towards your Higher Self. And that’s what the Equinox is about. Find balance, find love for your hate and proud for your rage.
Tarot Cards related to the theme: The Chariot, The Devil, The Lovers, The World.
The World: A Dance Of Eternity
The last card of the Major Arcana, the XXI, has a figure that is not a man, not a woman. This person is a dancer. The Dancer. The neutral gender removes the being from the everyday world and brings it to the Transcendental World.
It holds two wands, representing the positive and the negative energetic poles. When it dances, the wands goes up and down, in a compensatory mode, representing the dynamic constant interaction of all opposites.
It is inside a natural arch, that creates a sacred space, separating it from everything that is not meaningful and essential, separating it from everything that it doesn't belong to “her”. Without having around her unnecessary energy, she has space to move within her own personal, sacred space, she is free to express her self freely e without efforts. In Jungian terms, she represents the Self, centre of our psyche.
Her sexual parts remain occults. This reminds us that even if we feel that sometimes we are very close to a big and total “truth", the creative impulse in the heart of every life cannot be totally revealed. Not because she thinks that she is better than others, and not everyone would understand… but simply because the revelation is about a mystic universal secret.
In archetypal language, this tendency to hide our private parts seems to be an instinctive feeling, caused by social restrictions. This archetypal fact reminds us that being naked is something absolutely normal and natural, but our Self always finds the need to be protected and held.
The Self is the centre of our psychological balance. When we lose contact with our internal dancer, we lose this balance. When we lose contact with Nature - our internal nature - we feel inside a feeling of inferiority. For Jung, when we are in touch with with our Natural Self, we don't feel superior either inferior, we only feel finally like: ourselves.
The protection that she has from the Wreath creates a safe space for this new Self that might be emerging, in order to don't let the outside world corrupt who she became. The nice thing here is to note that this protection is illustrated in the card as something from nature - the plants on it affirms this.
This natural element indicates that Protection seems to be a natural and spontaneous need during this stage of our psychological development. The World then comes in a moment where we are completely formed and an entity that cannot be corrupted by the external world and influences anymore. From this wreath, a new being emerges, a new personality starts to be part of the world that suddenly, is different for us.
The World, the card XXI is about the moment in our lives that the main energy is focused simply on the fact of BEING. Being who you truly are. Not thinking anymore how the past still hurts you or how the future can make you happy or disappointed, here, she dances only on the present rhythm, she understands that the only thing we truly have is the NOW.
The four elements in the corner represents what Jung calls “Amplitude of Consciousness”, and it's about that moment in our psychological development when we are able to remove the “Self” of the main focus, and we are mature enough to start to look for collective problems, issues and questions instead of focusing our energy mainly in our Ego-Questions.
The Dancer comes to tell you that she doesn't have to worry about making sense anymore. She doesn't have to spend time thinking about what she said, what she should do. She doesn't think about the past anymore in order to understand what she can ask or do today. She dances the moves she wants to dance, even if people tell her that her moves don't make sense. That her music is weird and loud. That she is dancing too much when personal/family/work problems should have her whole attention.
The dancer learnt that loving you more than loving everything around you can be offensive. That taking care of you instead of taking care of everyone else first, is not always well seen. You understand that it's not only ok to take care of you first when you start to hear the same music that tells you that you have the right to simply be who you really are. And you, you are The World.
The physicists tell s that the World and ourselves are nothing but a dance of particles. In a microscopical level, all the dynamic of opposites loses meaning. In a quantum level, there is no you, me. Black, white. Inside, Outside. The Dancer, IS the World.
And understanding the power that we have when we finally awake to the fact that we are the world, brings the possibility to change not only within yourself but also the world around you.
The Individuation process for Jung is also a collective change. The way someone perceives themselves can interfere in the community around them. When you comprehend this, you reincarnate different in the middle of people around you.
Your ego dies to become the Whole. You die inside to live, in the World. That's the lesson of The World, to remind us that our main purpose in being alive if to find a life with true meaning. I finish with a quote that I read last week for a Seminar that is very much like the whole concept of this card:
“This life of yours which you are living is not merely a piece of this entire existence, but in a certain sense the whole; only this whole is not so constituted that it can be surveyed in one single glance. This, as we know, is what the Brahmins express in that sacred, mystic formula which is yet really so simple and so clear; tat tvam asi, this is you. Or, again, in such words as “I am in the east and the west, I am above and below, I am this entire world.”
— Erwin Schrödinger
The Jungian Hippie
I always find strange the fact that when we introduce ourselves we tend to say what we do for living as part of who we are, it's almost like it's part of our names: “Hi! I am Jess, I am a Jungian Psychoanalyst" - I am indeed, but I am many other things.
I am determined, intense, analytical, independent, volatile, sometimes too critical and judgemental. Also potentially loud in my personal relationships - I am Brazilian, it's in the blood. I guess my favourite and most said word is: “Why?” I just happen to love to know the reason of things.
If I like something, I become extremely passionate and devoted to that, spending all my time and energy invested on that interest, sometimes even more than I should. I am fascinated with themes like Reality & Consciousness, Time, Synchronicity, Greek Mythology, Astrology, Psychedelic Healing, Sacred Feminine, The Dark Goddess, The Universe, The Multiverse and of course, Jungian Psychology. Every day I wake up I feel grateful for having the chance to work with the thing I love the most.
But, this is not who I've always been… What if I tell you that I didn't believe in anything that became my work? That I used to do everything I could to prove people like me now, wrong? Tarot was for me a cheap trick; “Spiritual World” was a bullshit that didn't exist; Time was just the numbers inside the clock; Jungian Students at Uni were “hippies smoking weed, believing in the invisible” which I must admit, I was not completely incorrect with that one lol.
The only thing I always had with me since a kid was astrology but I don't even understand how, as no one in my family ever talked about it. I guess my passion for Mythology brought everything together and I was the chubby nerd that knew all the planets, myths, gods and astrological correspondences at 9 years old or less. But when I grew up, “Astrology was real, but ALL the rest for me was bullshit”.
During my first year at Uni I was totally going for Behaviourism Psychology and Neuroscience, I don't even like to think about the amount of time I spent going to Congress and Talks where my biggest pleasure was to make fun of people who believed in the Unconscious and “all that magic bullshit”. All that was not “SCIENCE”. Well, well, well, if the one who writes now is not the one that cries when hugging trees lol.
So you might ask yourself: What happened?
The answer is simple: I've found myself.
Life happened: Destiny. I've listened to the signs, the synchronicities became a map leading me to where I had to be (In my case, 9.177 km far from home). The Universe presented itself to me and even if I tried so hard to fight it, to tell myself that I was crazy, that nothing that I was seeing, feeling, predicting could be real… it was. It was like if I was living a constant Dream, a Deja Vú that never ended, it was like I was seeing the Invisible - and now I know that I was. I even didn't know what Tarot really was, but Tarot itself chased me in every possible way until I had to surrender,
I became who I was always meant to be, now I can see that many of the things I am today, I've always been, I was just fighting too hard to admit it. That's why spending so much time projecting jokes on the Other made sense, because it was easier than admitting that I was already one of them.
I guess now we can talk about what I do for living? Yes, so I am Jess, and I am a Jungian Analyst. I also do Tarot Readings, Astrology Charts and I teach people how to do it on my School: The Venus School, Academy of Higher Psyche.
My professional goal is simple, I want you to become who you are too. I want you to feel free, to stop being scared, to stop worrying what people would think if you finally break free from whatever is keeping you far from finding your essence. My work is to show you that everything you dream about is at the other side of fear.
I believe in Energy and in many realities. Life is a constant vibration, and somehow I can perceive, access and receive other frequencies than our everyday one, I know how crazy this might sound for a few, but yes, I simply can. It's not just because “Science” cannot prove things “Real” that it automatically proves the phenomenon “Unreal”, my mission is not only to help people to receive the messages, signals and advices that we have from these other layers, but also to help them understand that we all can access these vibrations, we all have the Universe within, we just have to find and refine its frequency.
How we receive this message is different to everyone - that's why I offer different techniques. Everyone has a different way to receive messages, and at the end they all come from the same place, we can call it Collective Unconscious, The Universe, The Spiritual Side… you can give whatever name feels right for you, in Jungian Therapy there is no right or wrong, there is only integration of opposites in order to find You in the middle term.
So you might be up for a reading, or maybe you feel like now is the time to finally go deeper and start Psychotherapy. Just listen to what your heart is calling you, why are you here reading this now? You might be just bored, or you spent your time reading this huge text just to judge this crazy Jungian Hippie that doesn't know Science.
Or maybe this is exactly the sign you've been looking for.
(Credentials: BSc in Psychology at the Universidade Presbiteriana Mackenzie in Brazil, and Clinical Practice in Psychodynamic Therapy at SAP (Society of Analytical Psychology).
Currently doing a MSc in Spirituality, Consciousness and Transpersonal Psychology at The Liverpool John Moores University along with a Clinical Jungian Practice Training with the Jungian Institute in Lisbon.
I've been studying Astrology for more than 18 years. I've graduated at CPA (The Center of Psychological Astrology). My Tarot Graduation is Certified by the LSA (London School of Astrology) and my background on Analytical Psychology and studies on the work of C.G. Jung brings a Therapeutic style to my Tarot Reading sessions).
How Did I Become Crazy
“We, as well as all other living organisms, are but dissociated alters of cosmic consciousness, surrounded by its thoughts. The inanimate world we see around us is the extrinsic appearance of these thoughts. The living organisms we share the world with are the extrinsic appearances of other dissociated alters.”
— Kastrup, B. (2018)
The Past is Just a Story We Tell Ourselves.
The first time I heard this quote from Spike Jonze it sounded beautiful, but I didn't truly understand it as I do now. At that time, my life was happening in what I like to call now “a numb-awake state" where I didn't have much sense of the present. My anxiety inserted me in a constant disturbing futuristic-frequency, making me deal with all the imaginary possibilities ahead, but with no skills to face what was there, in front of me, or to wonder about life as a full circle.
How did I start to get Crazy
So everything that I will try to explain here came from a period that I like to call “When I start to get crazy” - in a good sense. One day I started to reflect on the following personal “logic”:
Imagine yourself in your room, alone, after a long day of work and activities. Try to remember the places you've been during that day. Now, try to see yourself in a place where you had a considerable amount of strangers around you - Inside a bus or a train to go home, for an example.
If that bus was crowded, you can consider that at least 30 strangers were there with you. Now try to think about everyone that crossed your way during that day, every stranger that was around you. Can you remember their faces? Can you imagine their names? No, because they don't exist.
Yes, yes, I know. Hold on!
You will say, of course, they exist Jess! They have families and work and kids and they are people just like you and me. Yes, they are.
But… do you know their names? The stories? What were they wearing, their hair colour? Would you even think about then if you were not reading this? In a normal day, we don't even think about those people, they only exist when in fact we question ourselves about them. Otherwise, they are shadows without faces walking around us.
People start to exist at the moment they cross your consciousness. When you attribute them a name, a story, a narrative. When they pop into your mind when you think about them. Otherwise, if you don't even think about them, where are they??? When somehow your frequency, crosses someone else's frequency.
You are there, walking among 100 strangers. Somehow your make eye contact with someone else. That's it, you make yourself aware of that third person, this awareness brings the existence of that person into your reality. Or when you introduce yourself or make a new friend. You have a name, an interaction, and you start to build a new personal story with that relationship - this comes to your mind, you made it real.
“Ah but you are saying that nothing is real?” Well, yes.
I mean, I do think that nothing is real but this is not what I am talking about here. Yet.
I am trying to show that when you think about what is Real…. Consciousness is all That Is.
Translating: What is Real? Everything you see, everything you feel, everything you think. Ok. But all of this only exists because it first came into your mind. If your mind doesn't feel, see, hear, think… is simply not there.
I am not saying that we are hallucinating and that other people are not here. Everyone else is a singular and particular Universe part of a big Cosmic Souce of Consciousness. The world that we see, is the world that is within us. Now, alone in your room, think about your friends.
You will maybe remember that your parents are working, they will come home soon.
This is a memory, right? You learnt that your parents, partner, or friends are supposed to be working. You learnt this from your experience of this fact because that probably happened before. Stories are related to the concept of time.
I will use me again to illustrate this. My dearest friend was at home with me and then 30 minutes later she went to Brazil. During the 13 hours that she was inside that plane, I couldn't hear from her, I couldn't talk to her, I couldn't see her, everything I had from her was memories.
At that moment, Maite only existed in my mind. I could try anything, she was simply nowhere. Her existence was on hold. I knew about her based on my concept of time and the memories that I have from our story together. But to get even crazier: Maybe she didn't even exist! Maybe one day I woke up and I invented that I was living with her and that we had so many amazing stories and that I loved her.
The curious thing here is that as soon as she got internet, she texted me to say that inside the plane she had the feeling that when you are flying time doesn't exist anymore. You are just…. there, waiting, on hold.
Ok, let's bring all of this to “everyday real-life now”.
The same applies to what we understand as our Past. And if we understand better our past we can shape our present perception and interaction with life.
Think about you as a kid. Your favourite toy. Try to see you sleeping in your bed when you were a kid. Try to remember your favourite dish, your favourite t-shirt. The feeling you had when your parents were arriving at home. Or the fear of some experience that really hurt you at that time.
Does it exist? Is this feeling real anywhere else than in your head and heart when you think about this moment in the past?
You can do anything on Earth, this will never come back. Now, the only place this exists is inside of you.
You won't feel that pillow and blanket, you won't hear that childhood music in the TV ever again. (Yes, you have youtube but this will never bring you the same experience, only a replica). Your past is a memory. Is only a story that you tell yourself over and over. Nothing more.
And when we understand this, we see that we can shape the stories that are echoing inside of our heads. The things that truly hurt us, our negative memories. You can try to close your eyes and see that they are not here anymore, and they will only be here because you bring them to your frequency, you make them real inside of you, again.
You can understand that maybe you are stuck in a Character that not even suits who you are anymore. You can see that maybe your ego is just someone telling you the same victim story over and over again.
And if you think that our life experience is shaped based on how we perceive things, and our perception is based on our point of view, if you can change your narrative you can change absolutely everything that is around you. Consciousness at its simplest refers to sentience or awareness of internal or external existence”.
I know it sounds impossible and trust me, I am the one doubting myself constantly every single day, but if you truly, truly get it… you will see that the Whole Universe is you. And you are the owner of every single thing inside this Universe. Then you understand that somehow, you are also, God.
The Idea of the World: A Multi-Disciplinary Argument for the Mental Nature of Reality
Baby Steps: About Being Blue.
One year ago I had the most meaningful spiritual experience of my life. I could not even dream everything that would change and come on my way after that. I could describe that experience and the 6 months before and after that as very purple. Without consciously realising, my visualisation exercises were always strongly purple coloured, the crystals I was more attracted to work with was Amethyst and my Peacock Stone and now I can see that everything makes a lot of sense, I was strongly living my Spiritual Awakening, changing the way how I perceive reality, understanding my position on the Cosmos, learning how to hear and balance my intuition that was something so strong that I couldn't believe. And this is super related to the Crown Purple Chakra. I can say that in 2018, a big part of me was not even here on this reality, I was dreaming, studying, experiencing the feeling that you have when you break the veil. But I couldn't bring any of that to my real life because I couldn't find words to explain and describe what I was living.
And most of the other things became colourless. I couldn't even find my way on Psychology anymore… after studying Jung for such a long time, I knew that he would always be my first love, but was time for us to break up… I was seeing a whole new Universe that I couldn't transform into my professional practice if I continue to walk only on the path that he created. But I didn't know where to go. To be honest I think I even didn't want to go anywhere else. Everything was magic, everything. The tarot readings were so powerful that most of the time when I finished I felt sick and with the sensation that I had no idea how I knew everything that I said on that session. If I dreamt with something, it became true. If I thought something would happen, it would. Everything, absolutely everything that I wanted, I had. So at each step into the realms of the Universe was a step far from my every day practical life.
I was in love, amazed and I wanted every single person that I know to see and feel everything that I was feeling. I can see now that my happiness was naive and even if I could bring everyone with me, if I could take everyone and say read this book, watch this movie, use this potion, use this medicine they would see things in a different way, but they would never see what I was seeing, because it was me there. I started to hate my job, and the only thing that I wanted was to spend my day studying, more and more. But the feeling I had was that every book, every article, every movie that I finished made harder for me to explain what I was seeing and to integrate it with my profession. Everything was really very purple.
But we have to trust the process, everything has the right time and way to happen. Six months ago, somehow I felt that a new phase was taking form around me. I was being able to plan, to ground, to organise ideas, to write again, to know where I was going.
I've found the Transpersonal Psychology and a Master Program that studies exactly everything that I was strongly passionated: the nature of consciousness, the possibilities of consciousness beyond the brain, the higher states of being, contemporary spirituality, creativity as vehicle for transformation, the psychological basis of spiritual and mystical practices, the dialogue between science and mysticism. So basically I was going to continue to do what I was doing, but in an academic way and with professors and tutors to help me to don't lose my way, to integrate theory to practical life. I mean, sometimes I can't believe that I have to read 120 pages about how parallel realities are completely possible. It's a dream!
Two months ago I was talking with friends and we started to ask in kind of a joke what colours people were. My closest friend said: "Blue, you are blue. You were purple, but now you are blue". I never said any of this to her because as I am saying, I could not even put in words all these perceptions.
Then I had a second super important spiritual experience that showed me the total integration of my past year, where to go, how to continue my work as a therapist. How to work with love and empathy and to respect people's times and process, to understand that life if here, is now. I might not be able to bring everyone "there", but I should at least share all of this.
Last week my friend came for her annual tarot reading and I was telling her this. How I needed to integrate theory, experience and communication in order to promote creativity and transformation in my personal and professional life.
On my birthday, last week, this same friend gave me a meditation stone. When I opened the purse, a blue stone there. A blue meditation stone engraved with the Throat Chakra symbol to enhance my sense of communication and creativity. I couldn't believe and she said: "Do you want to know something? When you were telling me all of that, I already had this present with me, I was just waiting to give it to you today".
Yes, now, everything is blue. And somehow this blue stone is working, I am here finally writing, even if sounding a bit confuse, I am sharing.
Thank you Christine, your present worked and helped to realise exactly where and how I want to go.