The Golden Shadow

Your playing small

Does not serve the world.

There is nothing enlightening about shrinking

So that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

                                                                                                  Marianne Williamson

What is the Shadow?

To understand the Golden Shadow we must first comprehend the Shadow itself.  The Shadow is a Jungian term which describes that part of us that we vehemently deny.  It is the unconscious aspects of our personality which often inadvertently come out of hiding periodically.  These aspects, are perceived negative traits in our personality which over time become relegated to our unconscious.  This is a sort of self preservation process, as humans do not normally want to identify with their more immoral, selfish and self destructive traits.  Jung adhered to the idea that unless the shadow was brought into the conscious, it would appear in our lives anyway as “fate.”  This fate would be controlled by these negative traits that seem to have power over our behavior and subsequent lives. Some people will show their shadow when they argue with others.  The things we cannot stand about someone else may be some of our worst shadow traits.


The Golden Shadow

As it turns out, not all of the shadow is composed of undesirable traits.  In fact, there are little gold nuggets of greatness hidden in there as well. These are your hidden talents, beauty, creative genius, and cleverness, basically your gold.  These we also hide away from others.  We may shine too bright  or seem too outrageous if we let these gifts be known.  Again, we may find traits from our Golden Shadow in others.  You may admire someone for their beauty or confidence when it is really a projection of your Golden Shadow.

Why hide the Gold?

Now I can understand the reasoning behind hiding our dark shadow from ourselves and  others.  It is quite apparent why we hide our selfish thoughts, our immorality, and our dirty little secrets from consciousness. However, why would we hide our gold? Marianne Williamson sums up the reason nicely in her poem Our Deepest Fear:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate,

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It’s our light, not our darkness,

That most frightens us.

We ask ourselves

Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God.

So it’s the Golden Shadow that is most feared, but therein lies your power.  For within this Golden Shadow the divine resides!  What if all the things you wish for yourself were true already?  You would be creative, wealthy, gorgeous, smart, powerful, talented, and desirable and would have nothing to yearn for or dislike about yourself.  Wow! No drama or complaining!  Now that is scary!  We are secretly masochists, and seek to sabotage our greatness and stay in our world of dissatisfaction and lack.  Our best bet is to recognize our Shadow and bring the darkness to our conscious mind and try to work through some of that muck.  At the same time embrace our genius and imagine ourselves already possessing the amazing traits we are searching for in our lives.  Chances are, we already possess those traits within ourselves.

We are all meant to shine,

As  children do.

We were born to make manifest

The glory of God that is within us.

                                                                                         Marianne Williamson






photo credits:

unsplash-logoJohannes Plenio

unsplash-logoRob Potter

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