Forgot your password?  

Owning Your Own Shadow: Understanding the Dark Side of the Psyche Study Guide & Plot Summary

Robert A. Johnson
This Study Guide consists of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Owning Your Own Shadow.
This section contains 476 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our Owning Your Own Shadow: Understanding the Dark Side of the Psyche Study Guide

Owning Your Own Shadow: Understanding the Dark Side of the Psyche Summary & Study Guide Description

Owning Your Own Shadow: Understanding the Dark Side of the Psyche Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion on Owning Your Own Shadow: Understanding the Dark Side of the Psyche by Robert A. Johnson.

Plot Summary

"Owning Your Own Shadow" by Robert A. Johnson is a work in which the author lays out the Jungian theory of the shadow and brings new clarity to this subject. The persona is the image that the individual wants to present to the world. The persona is largely based on the material that is stored in the ego. The ego absorbs data that is positive and nurturing for the individual. The ego protects the personality and stores only that material, which will put the individual in the best light.

The shadow is the receptacle for those thought patterns and behaviors, which society has deemed unacceptable. The personality is largely unaware of the shadow and does not readily recognize it. However, the shadow does not go away and neither does the data stored in it. As more and more unacceptable information is pushed into the shadow, the larger and more powerful the shadow becomes.

Conflicts naturally develop between the ego and the shadow when the dark side growths in strength just from the sheer size of the data stored. Civilization has taught man to ignore his dark thoughts and view them as evil and sinful or work of the devil. However, this so-called darkness is part of us and denying it does not make it go away. It ultimately must be dealt with. An individual cannot be complete without the recognition of all elements of his personality. And, this recognition must lead to a balance between the two sides.

The ideal state resides on the fulcrum, that space or gap that exists between ego and shadow. In that neutral position, the personality has the ability to assess all aspects of its makeup. Sheer genius is not possible without taping into the shadow and benefiting from the buried treasures that exist there. It is religion that bridges that gap. The term religion in this work refers to its original meaning which is described it as a "healing" and "bonding" entity.

Having a real and constant connection with one's shadow will eventually lead to paradox, which is an existence in which an individual has a cognitive relationship with the ego and the shadow. This individual exists in a new reality in which both sides have equanimity and in which he makes no judgment against either force. A seemingly contradictory sentiment that it is bad to lose and also good to lose is embraced by one who has reached paradox.

The mandorla is the almond-shaped center of two intersecting circles. It symbolizes healing and unity and is used to strengthen one in a paradoxical state. The mandorla represents transformation and rebirth and departs from the mundane duality of normal existence. As man perfects his paradoxical state and the two circles of the mandorla become one of the highest order of existence and one that is the closest to God.

Read more from the Study Guide

This section contains 476 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our Owning Your Own Shadow: Understanding the Dark Side of the Psyche Study Guide
Copyrights
Owning Your Own Shadow: Understanding the Dark Side of the Psyche from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
Follow Us on Facebook