Shadow Lands

Today Linda sent me a copy of this blog about a conservative blog called Free Republic, after it allowed a vicious attack from readers on 11-year-old Malia Obama, such as descriptions of her as a "common street whore," and speculation as to "... when she will get her first abortion." A complaint was lodged by a writer from the Vancover Sun doing research on the conservative movement, whereupon he was accused of "planting hate speech" and his private information provided to the readers, all of whom are allowed to keep their hoods on during their fraternal rituals.

I have known for many years that a black man in a dream represents shadow. Brugh Joy once related that someone asked him what was shadow for a black man. Was it a white man? No, he said, it is a blacker man. In a dream black denotes energy which isn't part of the ego. It's unconscious. So it is no surprise that a black President and his family draw a lot of shadow projection from people who are pretty much stuck in the good and evil dichotomy, which pretty much requires putting the shadow on somebody who is from another tribe, or race, or religion, or sex ... and then sacrificing them.

Joseph Henderson told me once that existentialism rose from the disillusionment among the European intellectuals after World War One. Before the war there was an assumption that there was good and there was evil, and that if civilized people could get rid of the evil, good would triumph. There was a romantic and aesthetic movement that extolled the virtues of fine manners, fine education, and a flower in the buttonhole from which wafted the faintest scent of delicate emotion. This was the ideal.

Joseph mentioned that a couple of the romantic poets were Lord Byron and Percy Shelly. They escaped the darkness by an upward path, but the shadow did not go away. It was with them on the night, at Byron's estate, where Percy's teenaged wife, Mary, had a disturbing dream. There was a monstrous man. A very tall man in a dream is probably a god or an archetype of some sort. He was being chased across the frozen wastes. Frozen ground in a dream is often frozen emotion. And note that he is created by a man who is trying to do something good, in a castle tower, though he is composed of corpses from robbed graves, i.e.: spare parts. Because he cannot be accepted into society, he turns on his master. Well, you know the old story, ungrateful protege turns on mentor who does not realize he used the wrong brain, so that his character has no right brain. Damn.

Later, Mary Shelly used her disturbing dream to create the character of Frankenstein. This was the subject of a 1986 film directed by Ken Russell and starring Gabriel Byrne as Lord Byron: "Gothic."

Robert Louis Stevenson published his famous novel, "The Strange Case of Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde" in 1886. Again, it was based in a shadow dream, in which the very kind and in all ways virtuous Dr. Jeckyll is in some strange symbiosis with Mr. Hyde, who indulges his most horrific appetites without giving a damn for the consequences.

In Conrad's, The Secret Sharer, the shadow image in not so frightening, because the Captain takes the swimmer from the water, while he is on night watch. Leggatt is "glimmering white in the darkness," as he contrasts with the dark ocean. He has "a shadowy dark head, like mine," the Captain, who is new to command and not yet trusted by the crew, relates. Whenever the two men are together there are always darkness and shadows, and in the end, the captain lets Leggatt (a confessed murderer), swim ashore by coming perilously close to land, which itself casts a dark shadow and threatens to destroy the ship except for the captain's skill in navigating past the rocks.

The acceptance of the shadow as an ally when conjoined with the ego is emphasized in one of the Star Trek adventures, where the captain is split in half in a transporter and his shadow is separated from him. Until they are reunited the ego has no decisiveness, while the shadow has no discipline and sense of duty toward anybody other than himself. Maybe it's going far afield to mention it, but in Navajo mythology, there is a powerful archetype, The Twins, who, when they ride together, are almost impossible to defeat. Thus there are two views of the shadow. One is that it is evil and has to be overcome by the ego; the other that integration of the shadow is necessary to advance consciousness from an immature to a mature ego.

The idea that evil could be separated off has proved to be a dangerous one, because when it is separated off, and goes unconscious, it no longer belongs to its host. It can be gathered up and used for great evil in the world, which, the post WW1 European intellectuals agreed, was continually the case. The darkness is gathered up by those who want to rule the world through forcing it into their image. It was to be repeated in less than a generation in another great war on the continent, when the idea of a Super Race was counterbalanced by the murder of millions of those considered not suitably chic for Super Race soirees. The only way this kind of mass killing could be stopped, they reasoned, was by ceasing to try to get rid of evil. Each of us has to accept our own evil, they concluded, and by doing so be responsible for it, to not let it act out as unconscious projection. This is why a zen master will often be greedy or selfish and laugh with delight. He, or she, is acknowledging the shadow but not letting it hurt somebody else.

Now, the people who are attacking the Obamas because they are Irish ... excuse me that's the other side of the family ... because they are African ... are used to being able to put all their waste materials off on blacks, women, Mexicans, or whoever is not a member of the ruling tribe. They do not identify themselves primarily as Americans unified under commonly held institutions, and thus equals of women, blacks, Latins, Native Americans, etc. They are more like a pack of dogs fighting for their place in the hierarchy. Somebody else's win is their loss in this kind of pack mentality. Working for a woman boss and seeing a black President on the evening news during confirmation hearings for a Latina supreme court justice is galling, to say the least. Drives a man to sea or highway robbery ...

There really isn't much to be done about this. The best I can do is apologize the the Obamas on behalf of the people in this country who are very, very proud of them for showing such a fine example of what a family can be. There is no help for there being people who need and expect that the Obamas will take on their shadow, and though it is a heavy burden to bear, I suggest they go ahead and accept it.

The shadow side of these people who gang up on an 11-year-old kid is tolerance, intelligence, justice, empathy, self-possession, tact, balance, a sense of rhythm, and ... well, you get the point. All the things that are missing in them have to be taken on by somebody, and the Obamas must bear up under the load. It is their cross to bear.

Posted: Mon - July 13, 2009 at 04:29 PM