CREATIVITY: ARTS & THE SHADOW

"The demons of the world are all in our own heart, and that is where all our battles must be fought" —Gandhi







To me, the journey of life is meant to be towards liberation. The only meaningful liberation is the mind being free of its illusions. At that point, all structure is taken on by choice, and your life is self-created.

Life is formless, and we need structure to select our focus and thus our experience. The problem is. we grow attached to the structures that give us identity and meaning. Leaving these behind when life wants to lead us into more brings up resistance, hence suffering. In astrology, this structure-builder in us is referred to as Saturn, who can quickly become what other systems refer to as Satan, still others, Ego. Each implies something within working to keep us from expanding into our wholeness. Ego, our current idea of ourself, needs to maintain the status quo, and uses fear to do so. Satan, whether defined as demon, thought-form, bad ET or fallen nature, can only piggyback on Ego’s need to stay in control.

However, with the freedom to live a self-created life comes a growing realization— one's real goal is to transform ego-desires into the will to live out one's dharma, one's unique potential and contribution to the whole. For our uniqueness is that which answers an unfulfilled need in the evolving whole.

In short, we are here to fulfill the need we were born to answer. This requires overcoming the inertia of the Ego, and involvement with our Shadow helps prepare us to do just that. This quote from a commentary on the work of Dane Rhudyar, pioneer astrologer and transpersonal humanist, may help clarify:

"Because humanity is in a phase of transition, we as individuals should realize that we are also in a phase of transition. We would not have been born now, unless we were individually capable, potentially, of helping humanity to make the right decisions during this crucial period..."

Overcoming the inertia of the Ego means, the need to face and integrate what remains unconscious and unloved in us, called the Shadow. Too often, this can include our uniqueness, that gift we bring to help evolve the whole.

I have found we can work out our rites of passage in the arena of self-expression and inward journeying, instead of only in relationship and outer encounter. One way this is done is by a process I will call Archetypal Journeying, tho it could simply be called Entering the Imagination. This is a form of lucid dreaming while awake, which I did for decades. It is natural, far superior to channelling, and can be adapted to the arts. Over a period, I will say more, especially as I get questions. Meantime, I’ll frame it this way:

The journey (as depicted in my play, SWEET REMEMBRANCE) is from head to gut to heart. The head is a nice office, but is no place to live. Yet we are constantly programmed to live in the left-brain rational mind while ignoring the lie lurking beneath. I call it putting Descartes before the horse. Descartes said, centuries ago, “I think, therefore I am,” and the scientific-industrial world has made that its mantra. Yet the truth is, “I AM, therefore I think, therefore I feel, therefore I imagine, therefore I co-create.”

Until we embody this reversal of that false identification with head, no amount of social and political activism can heal the imbalances of the world, because the imbalance is first within. To re-balance, we must first pass through the shadow-realm of the gut, to befriend what is there.

This is often called the Hero’s Journey, where the adversary reflects the hero’s inner weakness, and thus must symbolically die. Too often, this befriending within, what makes the villain lose power, is not clearly shown. It is portrayed, and thus left to be understood, as an outer struggle. This may be deliberate in the media. It allows for sequel after sequel. But on the personal level, if I only shatter the mirror that reflects my unloved Shadow, my wholeness (dharma) sends me further mirrors, till I integrate or dissolve what is really only a pattern from the past. Only then am I free to help create the future I am called to help create.

For the shadow to be truly cleared, there must be self-acceptance and self-forgiveness, a step too often not shown. More can be said about this failure in our culture’s formulaic use of the Hero’s Journey, another time.

Shadow cleared, we move into the heart by finding the joy of our own Being. Something within is quietly waiting to assist. That something can be called on through artistic expression that reports on one's own deepening, and often dream-like, inner experiences, instead of on what appears to be out there.

I call this the Rainbow Climb.