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Meeting the Shadow: The Hidden Power of the Dark Side of Human Nature
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Meeting the Shadow: The Hidden Power of the Dark Side of Human Nature

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  1,256 ratings  ·  89 reviews
The author offers exploration of self and practical guidance dealing with the dark side of personality based on Jung's concept of "shadow," or the forbidden and unacceptable feelings and behaviors each of us experience. ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published April 1st 1991 by TarcherPerigee (first published 1991)
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Another one of my go-to books in addition to Jung's Lexicon by Daryl Sharp and Inner Work by Robert A. Johnson, which I've read two weeks ago.

This book is an assortment of essays that elucidate and expand on Carl Jung's conception of the shadow, or the disowned self—repressed and therefore unconscious aspects of the psyche.

The essays are extensive in scope, covering the personal shadow and its formation in the family, the archetypal Shadow (or simply, Evil), the shadow in literature and religion
Booze Hound
Jun 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I read this book when I was like 16...It blew the shit out of my ass...Good stuff...I want to read it again in my adulthood, though probably not much has changed since my youth...
Mar 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This book is absolutely amazing. It is life-changing, it is a book where you will not be the same after having read it. It is a book you will keep and come back to, and with each read you will understand and grow even more. It is a blend of Jungian psychology, existentialism, and philosophy, and it is gathered into a collection of essays that each address the topic in a different manner. This is one of the best books I have ever read in my life, and I know I will read it many more times in my li ...more
Dec 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This book is mind blowing. It's a fascinating lense into the parts of ourselves that we repress and passivly experience through others, not realizing that the traits of others that we wish were are own are indeed our own, we just deny ourselves them due to shame or our upbringing. This book shows you this and teaches you how to open yourself up and own all parts of yourself, balancing the dark and the light. This can open a floodgate of power, confidence, sexiness, and creativity that you didn't ...more
Aug 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ptsd
Although I personally do not see this as a book for those who are still actively dealing with panic traumas (particularly related to childhood abuses), this book is extremely useful, in many chapters, for working through the details of getting to the bottom of the traumas and less severe but nonetheless hurtful events of earlier life. I found in particular those excercises for finding and dealing with Shadow projections to be potentially helpful, if rather difficult, and useful. This is a book t ...more
Jānis Kļaviņš
Oct 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book moved me. Towards consciousness of the shadow, towards confrontation with it. And it is no lip-service to acknowledging the theory of it - during this week or so that I have been reading it, I have begun to realize the changes in my behaviour that have been inspired by the revelations from the authors of this compilation.

The chapters are different in style and theme, and some of them seemed easier to read than others, but I believe that the ones that seemed easy for me were hard for so
Dec 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.

(No, it's not Schrödinger's cat, maybe one of Le Fey's...)

Maybe the black bats, the dark witches and brooms around led me to reconsider reading this book on the dark side of the human nature. Sure, in the Jung's vein "to be aware of obscurity" as a means to reach for more illumination.

Aug 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing

The Shadow, The Other, Anima, Animus, Archetype, Mythological Identity---all powerful elements of the dream and mental underworlds, and all fertile material for the poet to explore in stirring her creative pot, so to speak. This book offers a stimulating array of essays voiced in a range of styles, from the more formal, academic kind to those written from a very contemporary, personal place. Jung’s beliefs concerning the unconscious factor into many of the pieces in this compilation.
Steve Woods
Well this one enters the list of the top ten books to have influenced my life. Reading this really opened my eyes to the workings of the human mind and exposed to me the spurious basis for all my certainties. It reinforced the Buddhist view that I am the source of all my suffering, though the point was put in quite a different way. After 8 years of Buddhist practice and a wide ranging curiosity about the views of western psychology and how the two inter relate, I seem to have found the niche tha ...more
Dave Bones
Feb 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Great Darth Vader title behind which is a really surprising book if you are struggling with inner blackness. A whole load of stories on various themes which collectively point in the same sensible direction. Need to read it a few times for it all to go in. You can't borrow mine. ...more
Jan 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Some books you read and give away again. This is a book that you keep. For anyone interested in human evil, en yes: also his/her own, and his or her growth and development, this book can be a valuable resource of insights. A beautiful collage of thoughts from very diverse thinkers, all of whom have made it into a mission to delve into the depths of human experience, of what is means to be alive in this very confusing way.

One of the surprising, and very important answers is: the evil that I see e
Nithin Thompson
Wow. This book has a lot in it! It explores the Jungian principle of the shadow, the place where we shove all of our anger, rage, fear, hopes, fantasies, etc. There are some authors that I read that I found really profound, helpful and full of hope. Some I found confusing, clunky and even suspicious. I'm reading this book with a guy I work with so I can't wait to sit down with him and pick his brain.

As a Christian pastor and teacher, reading this book made me ask the question, "What is the shado
Jul 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
WHEW! This was an eye-opening and intense read. I defy anyone to read it without running smack dab into her Shadow. The minute I finished the book, I made an appointment with my therapist, who I haven't visited in over a year. My Shadow was showing up left and right, and I was at a loss about how to relate to her. I'm not complaining. I happy to get acquainted with this aspect of self. That's why I read the book, but I'm not a therapist, so I was applying what I read only to myself. It was big b ...more
Mar 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I really hope the interested inquirer won't feel like this subject is taboo. But let's be real, some things that we consider darker parts of our human nature are brought to the pedestal in other cultures than our own. Therefore, I find that it's high-time we form an individual opinion about our own darkness. We must integrate our darker reasoning with our 'lighter' reasoning and accept that we as human beings are only whole in this way, and that there is nothing to be ashamed of it. In an integr ...more
David Anderson
Nov 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is undoubtedly my favorite resource on the shadow--a fascinating and very insightful aspect of Jungian psychology. I recomend it to anyone who is trying to make sense of the many tensions, conflicts, and struggles of life, whether global, national, local, family, individual, or any other level of interaction. Also to those who are trying to learn more about themselves, and the problems within their own lives, or who are just simply trying to better themselves.
David Meditationseed
Mar 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An incredible collection with more than 60 essays on the Jungian concept of “shadow”.

Very well organized in specific themes, dealing with the individual development of the shadow in childhood, passing through themes of the collective unconscious and general subjects such as the shadow in religion, in sex, in mythology, the book presents reflections of psychologists, doctors, poets, artists , philosophers, experts in mythology and other specialties.

Some texts, as in any collection, are not very
Lauren Patton
May 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: witching
I really enjoyed this collection of essays and found it enlightening. I was specifically interested in the shadow within the self and less in groups or in greater society so I found those sections most helpful, but all of the topics covered were interesting and insightful.
Mar 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book is about the quack in every doctor, pornography as the mythology of chauvinism, political power as covert coercion in order to avoid spiritual growth, the false prophet in every priest, the demonic side of sexuality, the notion that we are healthier when we are sick, your partner as your opposite, forgiveness as an act of faith, shifting our intrapsychic problems to interpersonal conflicts, Christ as the christian scapegoat, daughters creating mothers, the betrayed provoking rejection, ...more
Chris Maats
A collection of essays and excerpts from books relating to the idea of facing your shadow: those parts of the psyche you suppress, disallow, reject and revile.

The idea is that in stead of wasting energy denying and suppressing the darker parts of the psyche, making them burst out uncontrollably in fits of anger and distress or neurotic behaviour, we should become aware of them, engage with them and learn to accept them as parts of ourselves. This way, their psychic energy becomes available to u
Clarissa Santelmo
Dec 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I could not recommend this book enough. One of the best I've read in my life. You will feel terrible... cry a lot, confront yourself with your shadow, suffer to see your other side. But this with the intention not to project your shadow onto other people, not to act out evil unconsciously... when you are not aware of these psychic mechanisms "the conscious conflict between good and evil takes the place of unconscious dissociation." Instead, as the result of shadow confrontation, "unconscious ins ...more
Jul 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I have learned a lot about tools to deal with dealing with your Shadow Self and self acceptance and finding positive power from your shadow self and then choosing to be in control and not let the negative aspects of your shadow self be in control.
Loving it so far! Just finished it. Awesome book! 65 essays from great authors on the Shadow. I can't recommend this book highly enough! Gives you a full and complete understanding of the Shadow from so many different perspectives. Each essay is about 2-3 pages long so its very easily digestible. ...more
Sean Bradford
Nov 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018_queue
several solid essays. some dated language. enjoyed:
Oct 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a breath of fresh air this book was! The shadow, as the dark treasury of instinctual, neurotic, underdeveloped tendencies within us, is calling to be acknowledged in the world. Shadow erupts in our lives through depression, anxiety, anger, illness, and crises, and we ignore it at our peril.

We say we want to be "good," but our shadows whisper something else. The shadow reminds us of all the parts of ourselves we've hidden in order to be socially accepted. These parts aren't necessarily bad;
W. Hartman
Aug 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An excellent book on the study of Shadow. I use it as a reference book and keep on coming back to it. And each and every time I read it differently.

It is a collection of texts, from many different authors, from many different fields.
Each author brings her and his point of view and the result is a lovely mosaic of insight and knowledge.

The study of shadow is a necessity. I think that shadow is the first great violence we’ve committed to ourselves, as we split ourselves, or our Self, into fragment
Ben Palpant
Apr 20, 2019 rated it liked it
An anthology, by its nature, has weaker and stronger selections. The stronger selections in this volume help clarify Jung’s rather vague commentary on the human shadow. The weaker selections extrapolate ways in which his theories can resolve our human duplicity. I found them wanting, like putting a bandage on a person suffering from cancer. And those who brought up Christianity were, for the most part, guilty of a cursory understanding of biblical theology. They base their comments on what they ...more
Gerry Gallenbeck
Sep 07, 2018 rated it liked it
I had higher hopes for this book. It was essentially a summation of others opinions with some practical suggestions. None of the work was particularly new or in depth for me bc of that. A good book, but if you're familiar with why you're interested in this book, it won't bring anything new to the table. Good organization/structure perhaps? ...more
Oct 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This one of which I'm glad i have to on my bookshelf. The obvious advantage of having a collection of essays is that you get too look at the topics from different angles. The information in this book is, I feel, important and known by too little people. As Jung said, we know dangerously little about ourselves. Highly recommended! ...more
Dec 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Maybe best book about the shadow I've read. This collection of essays covers the shadow in the myriad of ways it can show up in your life: at work, in love, friendship, family, even in everyday traffic! Must read if you're into this kinda jazz. ...more
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I'm author Meeting the Shadow, Romancing the Shadow, and Meeting the Shadow of Spirituality. My new book, THE INNER WORK OF AGE, extends shadow-work into late life and explores aging as a spiritual journey.
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124 likes · 44 comments
“The Taoists realized that no single concept or value could be considered absolute or superior. If being useful is beneficial, the being useless is also beneficial. The ease with which such opposites may change places is depicted in a Taoist story about a farmer whose horse ran away.

His neighbor commiserated only to be told, "Who knows what's good or bad?" It was true. The next day the horse returned, bringing with it a drove of wild horses it had befriended in its wanderings. The neighbor came over again, this time to congratulate the farmer on his windfall. He was met with the same observation: "Who knows what is good or bad?" True this time too; the next day the farmer's son tried to mount one of the wild horses and fell off, breaking his leg. Back came the neighbor, this time with more commiserations, only to encounter for the third time the same response, "Who knows what is good or bad?" And once again the farmer's point was well taken, for the following day soldiers came by commandeering for the army and because of his injury, the son was not drafted.

According to the Taoists, yang and yin, light and shadow, useful and useless are all different aspects of the whole, and the minute we choose one side and block out the other, we upset nature's balance. If we are to be whole and follow the way of nature, we must pursue the difficult process of embracing the opposites.”
“In order to protect its own control and sovereignty the ego instinctively puts up a great resistance to the confrontation with the shadow; when it catches a glimpse of the shadow the ego most often reacts with an attempt to eliminate it. Our will is mobilized and we decide. "I just won't be that way any more!" Then comes the final shattering shock, when we discover that, in part at least, this is impossible no matter how we try. For the shadow represents energically charged autonomous patterns of feeling and behavior. Their energy cannot simply be stopped by an act of will. What is needed is rechanneling or transformation.” 4 likes
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