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This is the second in my series of a macro abstract of a Palm Tree frond.
I have been fortunate to enjoy my favorite books in epic style whether exploring Tolken’s Middle Earth in the Lord of the Rings or the profound and stunning classics, The Chronicles of Narnia by the eminent C.S. Lewis. I think it is interesting and informative to pair my photographs with my favorite children’s books when the imagery is appropriate to a particular book or series of books. Doing a series on Jung’s concept of the Shadow works well with several of my images. There is no way of comparing these literary masterpieces, all inspiring and life altering written by the most brilliant writers for children in the genre of imaginative literature. These books are treasures that are read and reread by ourselves or hopefully to the children in our life who embrace the import of these fascinating journeys. Like a beautiful piece of art, every reading has more depth and new discoveries that were not evident in the first reading. CS Lewis’ masterpiece, The Chronicles of Narina have been loved for many generations. Fantastic creatures, and epic battles between good and evil
- what more could any reader ask for in one book? The first book that has it all is the lion, the witch and the wardrobe, written in 1949 by C. S. Lewis. Six more books followed, and together they became known as The Chronicles of Narnia. For the past fifty years, The Chronicles of Narnia have transcended the fantasy genre to become part of the canon of classic literature. Each of the seven books is a masterpiece, drawing the reader into a world where magic meets reality, and the result is a fictional world whose scope has fascinated generations. All seven books of The Chronicles of Narnia continue to captivate fans with adventures, characters, and truths that speak to all readers, even fifty years after the books were first published. Since these epic worlds are well known, many have not read one of the most affecting series of children’s books, the Earth Sea trilogy written by the brilliant Ursula Le’ Guin better known for her adult books in the science fantasy/genre. Although these great writers cannot be compared for the genius of their literary achievements, people are captivated more by some of these chronicles of fantasy than others. I was deeply affected by Le’ Guin’s books and the evil force that threatened the hero Sparrowhawk in Earthsea’s history, The Shadow. I described the concept of Jung’s Shadow in my narrative attached to my photograph, Shadow People. Earth Sea is a world of vast oceans and islands where magic is every-present and technology is limited to wind and muscle power. The planet’s human inhabitants live on a series of islands where they scratch out a living as mariners, craftspeople, or fisher folk. Those who display an aptitude for sorcery are sent to study at the Wizard’s Academy on the Island of Roke. Trained by masters, they are taught magical spells and martial arts are instructed on up residence near inhabited areas. Perhaps the greatest mage in Earthsea’s history was Ged, who later took the name of Sparrowhawk. Born on the rocky isle of Gont seen in this photograph, Ged exhibited a talent for magic at an early age. Apprenticed to a local wizard called Orion, his thirst for knowledge eventually led him to Roke. Ged was an impulsive student who allowed his classmates to goad him into acting foolishly. Determined to prove his skills, he tried to summon a dead woman’s spirit. The attempt backfired, releasing a shadow-beast from the twilight realm between life and death. Temporarily banished by a teacher’s sacrifice, it returned to stalk Ged. To survive, the young wizard was forced to conquer his fear of the shadow and confront the monster his misuse of power had released. Although lacking true substance, the shadow-beast is able to assume many different forms, including a bear-like shape, the semblances of several of God’s friends, and a doppelganger of he young wizard. It also has the power to seize control of people and transform them into gibbets, mindless puppets subject to its will. Unaffected by gravity, the shadow- beast can drift through the air and walk on water. A silent, ghostly presence, it is truly nightmarish and the more Ged flees from the shadow, the more powerful the demon becomes threatening to annihilate him until he travels to the Farthest Shore. What happens when we run away from our shadow, the dark parts of our psyche that are disowned only to appear in destructive form? This question was most brilliant addressed by C.G. Jung and his associates who understood that if we don’t meet the shadow in ourselves, the dark side of human nature as it appears in families, relationships, work, spirituality, politics and creativity, we will live a live avoiding the critical disowned parts of ourselves. In Jung’s autobiography, Memories, Dreams and Reflections, his dream reveals the powerful lesson that Ged learned as he earned his place as a mature man who finally knew how to deal with what terrorized him. Jung’s dream reveals the importance of his quest: “It was night and in some unknown place, and I was making slow and painful headway against a mighty wind. Dense fog was flying along everywhere. I had my hands cupped around a tiny light that threatened to go out at any moment. Everything depended on my keeping this little light alive. Suddenly, I had the feeling that something was coming up behind me. I looked back and saw a gigantic black figure following me. But at the same moment I was conscious in spite of my terror that I must keep my little light going through night and wind, regardless of the dangers. When I awoke I realized at once that the figure was my my own shadow on the swilling mists, brought into being the little light I was carrying. I knew too that this little light was my consciousness. the only light I have. Through infinitely small and fragile in comparison with the powers of darkness, it is still a light, my only light.” All the feelings and capacities that are rejected by the ego and exiled into the shadow contribute to the hidden power of the dark side of human nature. However, not all of them are what we consider to be negative traits. This dark treasury includes our infantile parts, emotional attachments, neurotic symptoms, as well as our undeveloped talents and gifts. The shadow retains contact with the lost depth of the soul, impacting our life energy, creativity and vitality. One young patient of mine drew all his monsters and told me they were too many to destroy. He was overwhelmed by them in night terrors and nightmares as they appeared repeatedly in his dreams. I suggested that maybe we did not have to destroy them, but first name them and take one at a time to see if we could work with them so they would no longer frighten him. Establishing a working alliance with the monster was an important step in therapy. He drew a picture of a dark staircase where he drew himself following me into a dark dungeon where the monsters lived. He told me that as long as I am with him and walked in front with my flashlight, he would go down the stairs to the basement where the monsters lived. He was less afraid with me as his guardian in the light of day especially given the intensity of his ghoulish and demonic monsters that appeared in his dreams at night. He also drew a treasure chest in a corner of the basement that also existed in the dark subterranean realm of his unconscious. I said the problem is that without working with the darkness and the monsters that lived underneath, he could not use the treasures in the box that were overflowing with bright and glowing goods. Like Ged, he eventually discovered that all he had to do was to stop running and to turn around to meet the “shadow-beasts” and when he confronted them, they disappeared never to appear again. This is the powerful message of Le Guin’s trilogy that mirrors Jung’s concept of meeting the shadow for psychological integration. My brave young patient who integrated his shadow monsters was also able to use his immense creativity as he grew into a mature man and became an accomplished architect. We can’t compromise our gifts by running from the shadow, an integral part of ourselves. Meeting the shadow calls for slowing the pace of life, listening to the body’s cues, and allowing ourselves time to be alone in order to digest the cryptic messages from the hidden world. It is more important today to confront and own the dark side of human nature when the most devastating effects are made visible to us on a global level. The world has become a stage for the collective shadow.
how to use their power responsibly to avoid dangerous results. Graduates of the Academy perform a variety of tasks, including healing and weather working. They also protect the population from dangerous beasts, like the dragons who sometimes take
Series: The Earthsea Novels Author: Ursula Le’ Guinn
Nikon Coolpix 10 mgs. 3x zoom (Macro)