Shadow Work

Of Love and Loss by Gloria Gypsy
Of Love and Loss by Gloria Gypsy

Shadow is said to be part of ourselves that we may try to hide or deny. According to Carl Jung, it can be said to consist of energy patterns known as selves or sub-personalities that were disowned... pushed down into our unconscious in childhood, as part of our coping strategies. I would take this even further, and say that shadow emerges from any stage of our lives.

The goal of working with shadow is to integrate and come to know and accept all of those parts that we have attempted to hide or run from, or bring these aspects to consciousness. It is instinctive or intuitive work which asks us to follow our own soul's call and inward response.

"One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious". -Carl Jung

By facing our shadow we begin to shine light into the darkness and invite that which has been hiding to come out. It asks us to bring our secretes out from the corners of our psyche. It helps us to ask our inner self questions about ourselves, and our relationships with others.

The above painting is my most recent intuitive work with shadow. It is much darker and raw compared to my usual or outward work. I've worked on this painting throughout the last month and it has been over layered time and again as my inner shadow expressed itself through my hands and creativity. This particular piece holds many frustrations, anger, and hurts that we're never given voice during this last year of struggling in my relationship with my husband. Yesterday, I laid the final brush stroke and new immediately that is was finished. I felt a sense of lightness. My plan of (outward) action was crystal clear to me.

When we allow ourselves to paint, whatever wants to be painted, we are mirroring back what is repressed and wants to be allowed to come to light, or consciousness... It can be difficult at times, whether one is just starting out in their work with shadow or seasoned with the process, to not only see what wants to be expressed but also to accept it and allow it to flow.

When I first started with intuitive painting, I was reluctant to just allow. I continually struggled with trying to control what was coming forth into the painting. I stayed with it however, and the struggle then became my reluctance to share the work with others, with the public. I was in fear of 'baring myself' to the world.

For many years I kept these paintings private, stacked in a corner of my studio. I would on occasion share them with a select few who I had a deep connection with. I continued the work. In the past few years I became more and more comfortable with sharing and I believe it is due to the continued work with shadow, I was transformed/am transforming into the person (artist) I am today.



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