Meet your Shadow through Gothic Literature
Updated: Jan 16
In this post, I tell you all about the importance of learning about your shadow self and how gothic literature can help you face your monsters.
Life is a constant process of learning and during that process, we all need others to guide us, hold our hand and tell us what we are doing right and what we are doing wrong.
As well as being part of an accountability group I am always on the lookout for content that can enlighten my path in many different ways.
That's how I came across The Diamond Net and its content creator Emerald Wilkins.
Since I started my Jungian research regarding the shadow at the end of last year, a lot of my Gothic investigations have gone in that direction. This was thanks mainly to Tracy Fahey, who pointed out that the content of my YouTube channel seemed to be heading towards identity and the psychology behind our individual perceptions of the world.
Watching Emerald's channel brought more clarity regarding what the Shadow means and brought clarity and complemented the information from the book Meeting the Shadow edited by C.Zweig and J.Abrams that I bought and started to read in February this year.
I did my homework and downloaded Emerald's free Masterclass, took many notes and felt really engaged with the content.
I started to see how all the dots connected with me personally, but also with my work online helping others learn more about themselves.
I do that mainly by writing on Medium and through my online magazine "You Are Gothic But You Don't Know It".
Since I found her work really engaging and helpful I decided to write to her to let her know my thoughts.
In a few days, she gave me some of the most amazing feedback, which I am hugely grateful for.
THE CLUES ARE IN THE ARCHETYPES
If you are familiarised with psychologist Carl Jung, you probably know about the concept of "archetypes" which, in plain terms, are those universal feelings and models that we all have.
One of these archetypes is the Shadow or that part/s of ourselves that we repress and judge because we consider them as being negative.
To find balance, we are told we need to face our shadow self, and one way to do that is through the exploration of Gothic Literature. And here is where I can help you.
One of the abilities I get praised for the most is precisely that of connecting ideas, of finding the Gothic in the most unexpected places and making people say things like: "I've never thought of that before, I love it", "I didn't know that" or "That would explain why I ...".
In all those "aha" moments, they discover information about themselves they didn't know about before. And where there's learning there's inspiration to keep pursuing your dreams.
MONSTERS CAN TELL US A LOT ABOUT WHO WE ARE
The reason why we like most monsters is precisely because we share characteristics with them. It goes without saying that we are not aware of this.
Jungian psychologists tell us that we reject what we identify with at a suppressed level, partly because our "ego" has made us repress those characteristics that "we consider" don't make up our identity.
So when we reject or feel attracted to say, Dracula, that reaction is giving us information about our deepest desires, our traumas and even who we wish to become or not.
The realisation of what makes up our personal shadow means to "discover all sorts of potential capacities that have not been manifesting themselves, we haven't developed or even expressed" - Connie Zweig and Jeremiah Abrams.
Running from what we don't like about ourselves, only provides us with an agonising existence.
HOW CAN GOTHIC LITERATURE HELP?
In Meeting the Shadow, we are told that "one of the main finalities of literature and art has been to demonstrate the dark side of human nature. As Nietzsche said: "Art stops humans from dying from reality"."
I can't but keep going back to that statement over and over lately because it summarises perfectly well why people shouldn't just read, but read certain types of literature. Literature that confronts them with things they criticise, despise and might even discomfort them.
This is also deeply connected with your critical thinking.
One of the actions where we can catch our shadow is when we project onto others our criticism, and our anxieties when interacting with them.
But projection also takes place when we write dark passages in our stories if you are a writer. In that fictional situation, you are confronting your shadows. The same happens when reading texts that contain gothic elements.
In those contexts, we are actually "reactivating" and even "liberating our most perverted impulses in a safe surrounding".
Running away from those aspects of yourself that you don't like will only make things worse for you.
Figuring out what your shadow self is hiding from you is an exercise that can help you bring clarity to certain aspects of yourself.
Monsters are only archetypes of your repressed fears.
Through Gothic literature, you can learn to figure out your shadows and lead a happier life.
You just have to be willing to listen to all that you are suppressing and discover why you are suppressing it.
If you liked this post and found it useful, consider supporting my work by visiting my Ko-fi page or sharing it with others who you think might benefit from it:
You can read my article Your Demons will Turn You Into A Monster where I give you all the main highlights of this book or my article Encuentro con la Sombra-Book Review where I do an extended review of it.
Thanks for reading and your support!