10 October 2008
I've been researching ideas for a new story that's brewing -- something which is a bit of a departure from what I'm working on otherwise. During this Internet hunt, I came across an interesting concept that spans not only Pagan beliefs, but that of Shamanic Celts and Lakota Sioux. It's even something passed along in more modern times by Carl Jung, founder of analytical psychology.
The Shadow Self is said to be the part of people that is rejected. The side that they do not like or even fear. The dark side of human nature. I found this very interesting because not only does it fit the state of mind of my main character, I also feel that myths and legends take on a whole new sense urgency and authority when shared across cultures.
When looking at the concept from the Lakoa Sioux perspective, it gets even more interesting: "Nagi is one of the Sixteen Great Mysteries of Lakota Sioux tradition. Nagi is Ghost and Shadow Self. Ghosts are the humans’ shadows." The article goes on to say that the belief further states there is a circle -- between Earth and the Spirit World -- where those spirits who did not walk uprightly must go at death. A sort of hell or purgatory, from what I gather.
The Celts believed that "Shadow Self is the part of a person’s mind and being that have the parts of us we reject and keep hidden from others." Sometimes the negative, but it can include positive traits, as well. Anything that the individual fears will cause rejection by others.
No, it's not a new concept to most of you, I'm sure. In truth, it mirrors some of the things I believe personally, even though I've never quite heard it phrased this way. I think that's why paranormal is so popular. We find ideas or concepts that make us think, but also many that resonate. They feel right, somehow. They seem to fit within our own view of the world. Sometimes they merely reflect our own hopes or fears.
Either way, I love it when an idea speaks to me as a writer. That's how we keep those stories coming -- and I see a number of possibilities reflected in my Shadow Self.
If you'd like to read more of the article, check it out here.