In working with shadow it is usually assumed that pulling the shadow out of the dark magical hat of the soul constitutes the principal step in its release. Doubtlessly this constitues a sine qua no (« without this not» ) , the shadow workers and workees ABC, so to say. Without it, the shadows would continue hiding (or rather: being hidden) in the underwoods of the individual ´s (and collective) underworld. And would remain there, as human beings entangled in a state of self-hypnosis tend to do everything in their power to avoid acknowledging the existence of a shadow per se and their personal shadow in particular. Maybe that is why Hades/Pluto, the mythological God of the underworld - has tradtionally been depicted with his face turned away from the observer. Thus, courage - and it really does take courage – to look, and to keep looking at what one subjectively does not want to look at, is literally fundamental to all shadow work. Without this foundation no house could be build on top of it.
But I would like to push the issue a bit further. In my experience this is not where the great work of releasing the darkness from the cellars of the souls stops (just as building a house does not stop after the foundation is put up). The other 50 % needs to follow.
The follow up I am refering to is not only to know, but to do.
In other words: the insights needs to be translated into action, baby ! The other side (the shadow is always the other side) that has been realised -as in: made conscious- now needs to be realised, as in – made real, manifested into reality. The potential that has been hiding behind its shadowy problem shell calls now -in stage II, so to say -for symbolically befitting and decisive action. Otherwise the potensial seed that has been brought to light, cannot begin to grow. Translative action is the watering and the fertilizing act for making any shadow grow towards sun light.
The following analogy derived from my inner gardener journals may clarify this progression:
1. The un-realized potential is a seed lying in the dark earth, hidden, waiting to be discovered
- The seed is found
- The seed is lifted out of the darkness, for the first time exposed to the rays of the sun
- The seeds existence needs to be remembered, not slip away into the darkness again
- The seed needs to be watered, fertilized, cared for in different seed-befitting ways
- The seed begins to sprout, starts becoming visible, also for others
- The sprout grows into a plant, becomes stronger, even more visible
- The plant matures into a strong, beautiful entity
- The plant creates new seeds