My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Another short and fantastic read on the ideas of the shadow and its related elements. Johnson’s text is extremely accessible, and goes into a well-rounded understanding of the shadow, examining both the negative and positive aspects we bury into our shadow. Johnson discusses how religion, properly understood, and Christianity, in a full process of the mass, really embraces the light and dark and helps us access/understand that in ourselves. He discusses where we are at in culture right now, and how the collective shadow can certainly be destructive; if we all do our inner work though, as he quotes Jung, we aren’t doomed.
I enjoyed this book on many levels. It further enriched and deepened my understanding of the shadow, which is preparing me for writing my Jungian Psych paper. It touched on ideas of the wounded healer, which I will set aside for my possible future dissertation topic. And it discussed embracing opposites and accepting paradoxes, something I am personally interested in. Actually, a lot of what he discussed, including the shadow in marriage, resonated on a real and personal level, beyond the realm of studies and in the realm of real applicable life-stuff. “To own one’s shadow is to prepare the ground for spiritual experience” (91).
The final concept I want to mention is the mandorla that Johnson has introduced me to. Similar to the mandala, which I’ve grown to love through Jung’s works, the mandorla (the overlap between two circles) offers “safety and sureness in our fractured world” (103). Johnson also discussed language as a mandorla, which really excited the English-teacher side of me! “To make any well formed sentence is to make unity out of duality. This is immensely healing and restorative. We are all poets and healers when we use language correctly” (104).
I have a feeling I will be rereading this little treasure many times!