Romancing the Shadow: Illuminating the Dark Side of the Soul

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9780345417398: Romancing the Shadow: Illuminating the Dark Side of the Soul

"One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light but by making the darkness conscious."
--C. G Jung

Within each woman and man, the dim cavern of the unconscious holds our forbidden feelings, secret wishes, and creative urges. Over time, these "dark" forces take on a life of their own, forming an intuitively recognizable figure--the shadow. A recurring theme in literature and legend, the shadow is like an invisible twin, a stranger that is us, yet is not us. When it acts out in the public domain, we witness our leaders, like hero-villains, fall from grace in scandal. Closer to home, we may feel overcome with rage, obsession, and shame or succumb to self-destructive lies, addiction, or depression. These appearances of the shadow introduce us to the Other, a powerful force that defies our efforts to tame and control it.

Steve Wolf, Ph.D., and Connie Zweig, Ph.D., innovators in the use of shadow-work in psychotherapy, have helped hundreds of clients in their encounters with the dark side. Seeing it--meeting the shadow--is a first step. Learning to live with it--romancing the shadow--is a life-long challenge. It means reading the messages encoded in the events of daily life in such a way that we gain consciousness, substance, and soul. In fact, shadow-work is soul work.

With shadow-work, we cultivate a deeper self-knowledge and authenticity. When we identify family shadow patterns, we move toward cultivating family soul. When we untangle romantic projections, we begin to build the soul of a relationship. When we face descent at midlife and meet the underworld shadow, we reclaim the unlived life of the soul. And when we retrieve our lost vitality and creative fertility--the gold in the dark side--we nurture the hungry soul.

The authors weave together the rich perspectives of Carl Jung and James Hillman, timeless Greek myths, and universal archetypal images with insightful contemporary stories from their clients' lives. They show that the shadow is not an error or a flaw; it is part of the natural order of who we are. And it is not a problem to be solved; it is a mystery to be faced. It has the power to connect us to the depths of our own imaginations.

This book, breathtaking in scope and eloquent in style, is a landmark investigation of the personal and archetypal dimensions of the soul's hidden face--the shadow.

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Review:

According to authors Connie Zweig and Steve Wolf, each of us has shadows that hold forbidden feelings such as shame, jealousy, greed, lust, and rage. Left to their own devices these shadows will become destructive saboteurs--causing us to betray our loved ones as well as ourselves. It is not within our power to choose whether or not to have these shadows; however, Zweig and Wolf believe that it is within our power to take responsibility for our shadows and put them to productive use. Chapter by chapter Zweig and Wolf reveal the shadow side of love, parenthood, siblings, friendships, midlife, and work. Rather than deny or destroy these shadows, the authors show readers how to confront and "romance" them in order to access the energy, vitality, and creativity that usually lie dormant within our dark sides.

From the Publisher:

"True freedom lies in getting in touch with the Self, which is both divine and diabolical, sacred and profane. This book enables you to peel away the layers of your soul and get in touch with the purity of Being that lies within you."
--Deepak Chopra, M.D.

"At last, a compelling, evocative book that brilliantly elucidates the difficult concept of the shadow in straightforward language. Shadow-work is our greatest challenge to becoming a global village."
--Marion Woodman, Jungian analyst and author of Dancing in the Flames: The Dark Goddess in the Transformation of Consciousness

"The secret is out: All of us, no exceptions, have qualities we won't let anyone see, including ourselves--our shadow. If we face up to our dark side, our life can be energized. If not, there is the devil to pay. This is one of life's most uregent projects."
--Larry Dossey, M.D., author of Healing Words

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