Halloween: Celebrating The Shadow

Written by on October 31, 2017 in Conscious Evolution, Conscious Living, Meditation with 0 Comments
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To Know the Dark by Wendell Berry

To go in the dark with a light is to know the light.
To know the dark, go dark. Go without sight,
and find that the dark, too, blooms and sings,
and is traveled by dark feet and dark wings.

 

We love The Shadow. We love the darkness, the sinister, and the morbid. That’s because it’s a natural part of the Cosmos. The Shadow, remember, is simply the polar opposite of The Light. And Halloween is the one time of year where we allow ourselves the necessity of bringing out and honoring The Shadow.

Humans have been celebrating The Shadow cross-culturally and since time out of mind. The Shadow shows up in many ways in almost every myth. Kali is a the sanguine Hindu goddess who wields a bloody sword, wears a belt made of severed arms or heads, and projects her serpentine tongue through her sharp teeth. She looks like the love child between Gene Simmons and Elvira. The Skeleton Woman is an Inuit goddess who represents the opposite of the abundant and plentiful life.


In Western cultures, we celebrate The Shadow with narratives like the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm, gothic tales of vampires, and novels like Frankenstein. The Shadow is present in our spiritual ceremonies and narratives.

In all of these cultures, these seemingly unsavory goddesses and ghouls are honored, celebrated, and loved. That’s because many cultures understand that good and bad, light and dark, peace and wrath are two sides of the same stick. We honor The Shadow for its ability to help us comprehend every spectrum of the human experience.

In real life, The Shadow might not come in the form of a vampire, Frankenstein, or Cruella De Vil (though those who have had dealings with NYC Parking Enforcement might debate this). Instead, it might come in the form of your crusty cubicle-mate, or splitting your favorite pair of jeans as you bend over to assemble some Ikea furniture (yeah, it was terrible, I’m still traumatized).

Many people consider the current presidential administration as The Shadow playing itself out in US politics.

When we practice yoga and mindfulness, we practice cultivating a consciousness that no longer hopes only for “good” things to happen. It is a consciousness large enough to hold the good with the bad.

Louis Armstrong once said, “What we play is life.” I echo that sentiment. Sometimes we the background music of our life is Happy Happy Joy Joy, and others it’s the Blues.

Our yoga and mindfulness practice mirrors our every-day living. We practice the tools that will help remedy life’s pain and intensity, and celebrate life’s sweetness and joy.

And as a result of our practice and our presence, we learn to expect to see goodness and light manifest around us, knowing that Shadow is just behind the next corner and that we do not need to be afraid of it.

And when Shadows do manifest, my hope is that we will have the presence to, like Sufi poet Rumi says, “meet them at the door laughing.” The less we fear The Shadow the more we see the magic that lies within it. Maybe this is why we love Halloween so much, because somehow we sense the magic in the darkness.

 

Scott Moore is a senior teacher of yoga and mindfulness in New York City and when he’s not teaching or conducting retreats, he writes for Conscious Life News, Elephant Journal, Mantra Magazine, and his own blog at scottmooreyoga.com. Scott also loves to trail run, play the saxophone, and travel with his wife and son. Check out his yoga retreats to places like Hawaii and Amalfi Coast and his Yoga Teacher Mentor Program

 

 

 

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