“One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.” ~Carl Jung
The dark half of the year is upon us and that is not always a comfortable thing. The natural cycles shift from the outward exploration of energy and manifestation, to one that cycles inward. This half of the year is often associated with the shadow self, the things that are hidden or unseen, those things that we are not sure we want to look for but yet have no choice.
I often think about how the shifting in the energy of the dark half is not something that is “bad”, and instead it is something that is unifying within the self. The chance to purge, the chance to look into the dark corners of ourselves, and to make peace with the things that are hidden and unseen. It is not an easy process to work in the middle, holding the balance of the light and dark as equal partners of one another. I myself am often afraid of how things manifest in the dark half of the year, and struggle to embrace the silence of the season.
My own fears are compounded during the dark half of the year, and with good reason. I have dealt with some of the most challenging examples of loss and intensive grief in the dark half of the year, leaving me to struggle with the anticipation of the turning wheel every time. Yet, I feel the energy that is manifested by the anticipation of change is just as powerful as any other type, if not more so. I have tried to hold this dear within my practice, so that I can utilize moments of power to stabilize me and to support the lessons in which the dark half of the year will bring.
Carl Jung took the work of Sigmund Freud and expanded the concepts of what he referred to as the “shadow side of the psyche”. The unconscious mind that holds the secrets and the hidden parts of our being, often triggered to the surface when we do not wish them to be. While I recognize some of the characteristics of this within myself, I continue to work to integrate those two parts of myself into the oneness that I am. I am often stretched in this area, walking through what seems to be endless challenges and spiritual conflict.
I have come to understand, or trying to see how, things connect in a way that does not separate us from the polarized areas of ourselves, and our magic; The shades of grey, the varying different hues of life, come to the surface as they need to and when they need to. We process our place in this world as the shifting of life pushes personal development, bringing us different opportunities to explore present reality and question our versions of truth. We all should question our versions of truth…. because truth changes and is subjective to the context; thus is our magic.When I apply this to my own magic, I remember how I see things determines how I approach it, internalize it, and (ultimately) work it. Viewing things black and white only works when choosing our clothing, and so the shadow work begins when we see the various shades that make up our existence, and we are able to connect that all things are still a part of us.
At my 20th school reunion I went to last night someone asked how my mom was, and when I told him she had died, he said he was so sorry for bringing that up. I told him, no need to be, I am a social worker and talk about those things all the time. Those dark parts have become a part of my story, they have helped to shape who I am and while I am not grateful for her death, I understand it’s role in my life today. I have worked on that shadow, and I continue to work on it.
The lessons happen when I am able to integrate those two worlds, achieving a balance between introspection and outward reflection.
The dark half of the year is often a precursor to these lessons unfolding. It is a time of work. I have feared it for years and yet today I am anxiously excited because I want to continue to be the best version of myself… all the time.
We get to shed those parts that are no longer healthy, do not serve righteous purpose any longer, are impeding growth, sidetrack us from revealing ourselves, or distract us from our personal mirrors. I would like to reframe the concept that the this half of the year is the scary, and dark one. Dark has never been the enemy, balance is always the key.