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Owning Your Own Shadow: Understanding the Dark Side of the Psyche

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Book Overview

Understand the dark side of your psyche--a Jungian approach to transformative self-acceptance. We all have shadows--the unlit part of our ego that is hidden and never goes away, but merely--and often... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

6 ratings

Shadow Perspective from Religious Viewpoint

This book does a decent job at explaining the basics of the shadow, but comes at it from a very black and white perspective that is definitely the author's religious leanings influencing his perspective. Honestly, this book felt like a Sunday school lesson on how to be "good" with a Jungian twist. A bit disingenuous in my mind. Read Robert Bly's Little Book on Shadow if you're wanting an easy explanation of shadow and its effects in life without the religious slant. Bly's take is succinct, but cuts through to the heart of the matter.

The point of unlimited possibility

This was the first book by Johnson I read, though my mentors and teachers spoke of him often. The information about the mandorla was particularly helpful, giving a visual and archetypical model for holding the energy of the apparently opposite forces in a space of new possibility. Johnson writes that if I can be with the opposites, at the point of their intersection and stay with my conflicting thoughts and impulses long enough, the two will teach each other something and produce an insight that serves both... produce something utterly new instead of win, lose or compromise. The key appears to be that every real solution has to grow from the unique situation I face. Formulas, how-to's, devices and processes can never be enough in such moments. Referring to my own past for an experiential reference or to another's experience or advice can't do it, either, because it prevents or sidetracks the point of unlimited potential that wants to appear in and emerge out of each unique encounter. I liked what Maria had to say in her post: "Meet your shadow", dated November 22, 2003. She said she gave it only 4 stars because he doesn't tell how to DO that is described as possible in the book... I felt a little of that, too. And I have since appreciated the blessing of not being told how until I've done a bit of my own struggle with my own opposites in many life situations. A book I found to be a perfect companion to this one is "I of the Storm - Embracing Conflict, Creating Peace", by Gary Simmons. I highly recommend it in addition to this book. It addresses some of the questions I felt about the nature of conflict after finishing Owning Your Own Shadow, in a way that shed light into my life. I am very appreciative of both books.

Excellent story-like introduction to the Shadow archetype

I have read Robert Johnson's autobiography, and have recently become intrigued by the concept of a "Shadow", so I looked forward to reading Robert's own thoughts on this particular archetype. I wasn't disappointed. The writing style is story-like, unfolding slowly right up until the conclusion. The only disappointment was the section on the Shadow in romantic relationships, which I don't think was covered particularly extensively. Nevertheless, the book was full of wisdom and insights into the role of the Shadow in our lives, and hammered home the important message that this archetype needs to be integrated into, not rejected from, our lives if we are to live holistically.

I am creating a review; do I have to destroy next?

Although this book is only 118 pages and easy to fly through reading, I found that it took me longer because I wanted to stop and ponder so many of the trinkets of wisdom Johnson displayed and I eventually got out a highlighter to mark the parts I found especially educating.The premise is that everything is based on balance -- yin and yang, black and white, good and evil, but that to find our true balance we must explore the dark side of ourselves as much as the better part of ourselves. This is how we are (only momentarily) enlightened. I do have to slightly agree with some of these reviews in that Johnson's examples on just how to achieve this goal are sparse; yet, at the same time we are allowed to interpret our own shadows as we would like to and we are forced to find our own solutions. In this way, Johnson's book is more of a piece that requires you to work as much as he does.The only thing that bothered me a bit was the collective shadow of a nation, which transforms into the tangible via wars, oppression, etc. While this is an interesting idea to ponder, it seems a little extreme to say that World War II (for example) was the formation of a shadow of a nation and not the real, underlying causes.

Excellent global discussion of ones Shadow

I am a therapist who comes from a Jungian perspective, but I would not yet call myself an "analyst." I am very impressed with Johnsons discussion on ones shadow. I found that it was a little off beat from classicaly Jungian thought, but not in any serious ways. I found his discussion of projecting ones shadow to be a great introduction. If however you have read Jung himself you will find the ideas fairly basic. The real strength of this work is the authors ability to reduce complex concepts into a form which can be so easily read.The biggest error a reader can make is to try to read the book as a step-by-step manual. This book should be read for the big picture which appears when all of the details are assembled, otherwise the apparent contradictions will become very confusing. The reader would do well to remember that any discussion on the shadow is a discussion of opposites. You must therefore be able to focus on both opposites to understand the essence of the shadow. If you read other reviews you will notice that at least one of the reviewers seemed to be unable to make this leap.I was surprised with the authors heavy use of Christian symbols. Normally Jungians draw from several spiritual systems with thier systems, but I suppose it fits with Christianities repeated attempts to demonize the shadow in the first place.

You will feel like a "whole" person again after reading this

A wonderful book for those who seek answers and those who have the courage to look within. If you want to integrate, assimilate, transcend, and eventially TRANSFORM your shadow side.........your life will never be the same again. I read 3-5 books pr. week ( have done for some 20 years). THIS book changed my life for the better. Bravo Dr. Johnson!
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