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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in shadow
Working with Your Shadow Animal: Summary

Our shadow animals are the dynamic that brings change to our lives. They test us, and give us the energy to change ourselves. They break us out of our comfortable places, and push us out into the world. Our shadow animals help us to integrate ourselves. Without our shadow animals, we would be incomplete.

By challenging us, shadow animals also teach us many life lessons. They help us with family legacy issues, and resolve feelings of shame and guilt. Not only that but they guide us through a life of chaos to one of empowerment.

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Captain Flint from Black Sails

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Shadow Animals: Nahualli and Heyoka

Shadow Animals: Part Three

In my series on types of Shadow Animals, I am introducing two terms that may seem unfamiliar to many Pagans: “nahualli” and “heyoka.” People may have heard these terms as they are common to New Age beliefs. Nahualli and the more familiar “nagual,” are often discussed in New Age Toltec writings. I prefer nahualli as defined by Caelum Rainieri and Ivory Andersen in their discussions about Aztec religion. The common usage for heyoka is to denote “crazy energy.” However, this Lakota term also refers to the person, a sacred clown who is touched by Wankan Tanka (the Great Mystery). To the Lakota, the heyoka holds the sacred duality of the universe.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Shadow Animals (Part 1)

People fear snakes, and run from spiders. When we see these particular animals, we shrink in fear. Certain types of animals make our skin crawl. These animals are the “creepy crawly” ones or the ones we only see at night like owls. The ones that we feel the queasiest about are the animals that are the most alien or radically different from us.

Animals that elicit such a strong response from us are our Shadow Animals. These animals represent the part of our inner landscape that we want to keep in perpetual darkness. Shadow Animals are the manifestations of the unacceptable aspects of ourselves. They hold the aspects of ourselves that we dislike. Since many people feel uncomfortable in embracing their dark side, fear of certain animals is one way to keep it at bay. Hence, we invest our dark qualities in spiders and snakes.

What do Shadow Animals do? They give us permission to love the unacceptable parts of ourselves. When we work with Them, we take back our lost power to forgive ourselves. Once we embrace our Shadow Animals, we will be reunited with these missing parts of our being. They show us that our most hated, feared, and shameful qualities are actually our keys to living the life of our dreams. Shadow Animals call you to make peace with yourself.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

In my last post, I promised to describe a ritual which my family does about the Jungian Shadow.  We've done this ritual in the past at the summer solstice, but it can be done at any time.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • John Halstead
    John Halstead says #
    Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed it.
  • Archer
    Archer says #
    Wow I really enjoyed this. I've been looking for something like this for a while. What a useful ritual and a respectful treatment

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

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In my last post, I described Neo-Paganism as a modern-day mystery religion.  Historically, initiates into the mystery religions experienced a ritual death and rebirth.  Some Neo-Pagan rituals follow this format.  The idea is that we die to our old selves and awaken to a new, more expansive Self.  In Jungian terms, the Self is the wholeness of our many disparate selves, conscious and unconscious.  But to encounter the Self, we must let our old selves, our egos, die.  This is a psychological death, but no less significant than physical death from the perspective of the ego.  For the ego, the experience can be as painful as dying physically, and some people would prefer physical death.  

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

Villa of the Mysteries at Pompeii

As indicated in the introduction to this blog above, I discovered Jungianism and Neo-Paganism at the same time, through the writings of Vivianne Crowley, Margot Adler, and Starhawk, and the two have remained intertwined for me ever since.  In fact, the first Pagan writing I ever read was an essay by Wiccan priestess and Jungian psychologist, Vivianne Crowley entitled, "Wicca as a Modern-Day Mystery Religion", in Graham Harvey and Charlotte Hardman's Paganism Today (1994).  Wouter Hanegraaf has written that Vivianne Crowley’s Jungian perspective “is so strong that readers might be forgiven for concluding that Wicca is little more than a religious and ritual translation of Jungian psychology.” And, in fact, that is exactly what I believed.  Even after realizing that that Paganism is far more diverse than I had originally thought, Crowley's vision of Wicca has continued to influence me.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Sable Aradia
    Sable Aradia says #
    I don't disagree with you, John. Actually, I think that the personal transformation element is the superior of the two reasons to
  • Courtney
    Courtney says #
    In becoming a Pagan, I have experienced the initiation as a form of personal transformation that you spoke of. I liked this post a

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