Saturday, 26 November 2011

Shadow Watching

We're told we're hiding in the shadow of others if we don't "achieve" as much as we could.

Also shadows are said to be where bad people lurk!

But shadows are the essence of something far more meaningful than a reflection of physical form. Shadows are the corners of our mind the light of reason rarely touches.

They offer a window into another world. The world of eternal darkness that all too many of us love to fear.

It was the Chinese Han dynasty that gave us shadow puppets. One of Emperor Wu of Han's concubines died and he was so stricken with grief that he ordered his servants to raise her from the dead, and so, with a lamp and a figure made of donkey leather, they brought her shadow back to life.

Things turn even more eerie when it comes to shadow people. These are dark figures that are said to inhabit our peripheral vision (accompanied by a feeling of terrible dread) only to vanish if you try to look at them directly.

But these metaphors of fear hide a much more relaxing and wonderful truth.

Those dark corners of the mind are not full of fear and woe, but are the first steps on the path of truth if we allow ourselves to find out more about them.

"Find beauty not only in the thing itself but in the pattern of the shadows, the light and dark which that thing provides".
~~ Junichiro Tanizaki


"Thoughts are the shadows of our feelings - always darker, emptier and simpler".
~~ Friedrich Nietzsche


Holidaying in Broome, Western Australia in May 2007 we went on a camel ride along Cable Beach. The sun was setting and I took this photo while up on the camel.

9 comments:

Jeff said...

Shadows offer a new window and mirror to our lives.

Roban said...

Facing our fears and then taking steps to vanquish them is such a huge part of living. Sometimes it's more difficult to face them than it is to put them in perspective. Once done, life can be much more enjoyable. I've never heard of the "shadow people," nor of the origin of shadow puppets. Thanks for enlightening me!

Christine said...

Love your header photo and your camel photo. Nice to think of shadows in a positive 'light'.

Cameron said...

I love this view of shadows...and have always felt that they can reveal so much more than can be seen through squinted eyes in harsh, bright light :0)

Hope you've been well, Peg!
Hugs,
Cameron

Mike Smith said...

Cliff Richard talks highly of them...

Stoneweaver said...

A very good explanation of the 'shadow self' - which we all have, but dare not look at! As you say, when we do find the courage to have a look we begin a journey of self knowledge and ultimately peace within ourselves.

Karl Jung had a lot to say about the shadow self, including:

"To confront a person with their own shadow is to show them their own light"

Which is really what you are saying in this article, you clever thing!

Chapter Forty said...

I have experienced those shadow people that tempt you to look at them, only for them to hide. That was in our previous house. I thought I had something wrong with my eyesight, it was like seeing black movement out of the corner of my eyes. I didn't feel dread though, I felt determined to occupy my space and own my own home. I remember telling them out aloud to "Go away and leave me alone!"

It was only once we had moved that the husband confessed to seeing a ghost in that house, but he had never told me so I wouldn't freak out. So so glad we have moved, your surroundings can really impact on you and how you live.

Your header photo of the Jacarandas captures the moment very nicely, those trees are such a riot of colour right now here. And that camel pic is awesome, great shot Peggy.

Can-Can said...

Our shadows are always with us, constant companions but we often don't pay attention to them. Some things we keep in the dark, on the edge, unexamined because of fear or our conditioning. You've given me a lot to ponder with this post. thank you.

Relyn said...

That last photo just THRILLS me! WOW!