It’s been a while since I pondered Jungian theory, or indeed anything psychoanalytical. The need to dissect my psyche has diminished somewhat with the birth of more settled times. However, today I have found myself pondering carelessly over my self-development, particularly the changes within me that have come about with age, or god forbid even wisdom. I was reminded of the revelation I had when I discovered the Jungian theory of the archetype, in particular the shadow, which supposedly hides within the depths of us all. I could finally name that dark energy that I have carried with me since I left the innocence of childhood; the rebel and the risk taker that was intent on following the path to self-destruction; with no stop button might I add.
I have a lot to thank for my shadow though. It is a part of me after all. In all its chaotic splendour it has made me take the kind of risks that has made me the person I am today; all the mistakes and all the journeys. The shadow is most evident in teenage rebellion and the choices I made during those times have shaped my friend groups, my passions and my callings. It has fuelled my transgressive artwork, surfaced the fears that I have to face and has damn well partied hard with me too!
Today’s revelation however is a freeing one. I have realised how detached I am from my shadow, that dark side of my psyche. Yes I do still have fleeting moments of the want for rebellion, whether it’s to get another piercing, make an anarchic statement about the state of society or drink my own bodyweight in rum. But that’s all those moments are; fleeting.
My shadow will always be with me, its need for individuality is intrinsically engrained. But I’m finding it so much easier to listen to what it says and make calculated decisions whether to listen.
My recent trail of thought has revolved around fear; what types of fear there are and what we associate with fear. I am also looking at the link between fear and the ego.
I recently read an interesting article (psychologytoday.com) which states that there is only 5 basic fears; extinction, mutilation, loss of autonomy, separation and ego-death. I found this to be quite accurate from my own experience. Some fears will include more than one of these at any one time and separation is intrinsically linked to the ego.
I thought of a few ideas to test this theory and one that stumped me was fear of ghosts. spiritualliving360.com comes up with an interesting concept that it is because they are associated with death or extinction. It could also be a fear of the unknown which could be related to either ego-death or loss of autonomy.
I have been exploring my own relationship with fear and most of it evolves around the fear of fear – I avoid certain situations not because they are a threat but because I want to avoid the feeling of being scared. A field of enquiry that does send shivers down my spine however is the uncanny – the fine line between animate and inanimate objects, and the suggestions of a fearful element, without the reveal that shatters the illusion.
I have been trying to represent fear in my recent artwork. Here is a couple of pics I was lucky enough to capture in my local park: