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Halloween: An Opportunity to Discover Your Shadow Side

Charlotte holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology & a Master of Arts in Spiritual Psychology.

What are you going to be for Halloween?

People like celebrating Halloween because it's so much fun. There are costumes, candy, parties, ghosts, haunted houses, pumpkins, and so much more!

One of the funniest parts of Halloween is choosing a costume. You get to choose who you want to be on Halloween. You get to choose a costume. (Or does your costume chose you?) It’s the one day of the year when you can be whoever or whatever you want to be; without judgement. This is what makes Halloween such a fun holiday to celebrate.

However, analytical psychology suggests a deeper underlying reason why people like to celebrate Halloween:

Halloween is a time when you can explore your shadow side. This is the side of your personality you usually keep hidden. The part of your personality that you consider unacceptable.

Halloween is the one day when it’s acceptable to express your “dark side”. Analytical psychology suggests that you are attempting to express this "dark side” through the costume you choose. With a Halloween costume you can express this “bad” or “evil” side of your personality without feeling guilty or ashamed.

The shadow side of your personality is part of who you are. According to Jungian/Analytical psychology, you can only be a whole and complete person when you accept all parts of yourself. Even the parts you consider “bad” or unacceptable.

You can only live as your authentic self when you embrace and integrate every part of yourself. Halloween gives you an opportunity to do that.

Halloween is a time of fun and celebration. But analytical psychology suggests a deeper underlying reason why we like to celebrate Halloween.

Halloween is a time of fun and celebration. But analytical psychology suggests a deeper underlying reason why we like to celebrate Halloween.

Your Shadow Side

Your Shadow side is the part of yourself that you subconsciously reject. And your subconscious is always looking for a way to express the hidden part of yourself.

Halloween is the perfect opportunity for your subconscious to express itself. Your subconscious is using this opportunity as a way for you to get to know the hidden parts of your personality.

This brings us to the question of whether you are consciously choosing your costume. You might think you are choosing a costume just for fun. But your subconscious might just be using this opportunity to nudge you into exploring your Shadow side. The part of your personality that you keep hidden, because you think it's "bad" or "evil".

Only when you accept and integrate your Shadow side can you be a whole and complete person. You can only live as your authentic self when you accept every part of yourself. Even the parts you consider unacceptable.


Wholeness is Only Possible When You Accept and Embrace Every Part of Yourself

To confront a person with his Shadow is to show him his own light...anyone who perceives his Shadow and his light simultaneously sees himself from two sides and thus gets in the middle.

— Dr. Carl Jung, Good and Evil in Analytical Psychology

Consequences of Repressing Your Shadow Side

When your Shadow side is not integrated within yourself, it can have a negative impact on your well-being. This is because your inner shadow is part of yourself. When you ignore and reject it, you cannot be at your best mentally and emotionally.

When you repress or ignore anything; it will show up as symptoms. It finds ways to make you aware of it's existence. These are issues that can present themselves when you ignore your Shadow side:

  • low self-esteem
  • self-loathing
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • self-sabotage
  • offender behavior
  • unhealthy relationships

Jungian Archetypes

Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung (1875-1961) is best known for his theories of a personal and collective unconscious. According to Jung, the human psyche is made up of three parts. The ego, the personal unconscious, and the collective unconscious.

It is within the collective unconscious that we find the Jungian archetypes. Jung classified four main archetypes. The Persona, the Shadow, the Anima/Animus, and the Self.

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The Persona

Your persona is the mask you wear depending on the social situation you find yourself in. For example, you present yourself differently at work than you do with your family and friends. You wear the mask that is socially acceptable in every situation.

At work you might present yourself as the ultimate professional with a suit and a tie. But in your personal life you might be the wild one who is the life of the party. The persona is basically the mask you present to the outside world.

The Shadow

The shadow is your "dark side". This is the side of your personality that is repressed. This side of your personality is repressed because you believe it is an unacceptable part of yourself. So you keep it hidden. Sometimes even from yourself. You might not even be aware of this side of yourself because sometimes it is so deeply repressed.

The Anima/Animus

The Anima/Animus represents the ideal man or woman within you. The Anima/Animus represents the ideal of the opposite gender. The Anima represents femininity in a man's psyche, and the Animus represents masculinity in a woman's psyche.

The Self

Your Self is when your ego merges with your conscious and unconscious. Your Self represents your Whole Being. Self-realization and self-awareness are necessary for completion and wholeness.

Jung used the term individuation to describe the uniqueness and individuality of each person. It's only when you become aware of and integrate all sides of yourself that you can become whole and complete.

How can I be substantial if I do not cast a shadow? I must have a dark side also if I am to be whole.

— C.G. Jung

Benefits of Accepting Your Shadow Side

Just as there are consequences when you ignore or repress your Shadow side; there are benefits when you accept and integrate your Shadow side as part of yourself. Some of the benefits of accepting all parts of yourself, including your Shadow are:

Self-Acceptance

You will have greater self-acceptance and compassion for yourself when you accept every part of yourself. Repressing parts of yourself can lead to self-loathing. When you accept and embrace every part of yourself, your self-loathing will disappear. This is because the split off parts of yourself have been brought into awareness.

You Become More Creative

If you are creatively blocked, it's because you are using a lot of energy to suppress the parts of yourself that you think are unacceptable. When you accept and integrate the split off parts of your personality, you release the flow of energy that was blocked. That energy is now available for you to be more creative.

Healthy Relationships

You can't love anyone more than you love yourself. When you fully accept yourself, you will be able to have healthy relationships. You can have healthy relationships because you won't be projecting the split off and rejected parts of your personality onto the other person. You will be able to accept the other person as they are, because you have accepted yourself as you are.

Increased Self-Esteem and Self-Confidence

When you accept yourself completely, you will have higher self-esteem and you will be more confident about yourself. Other people will not have the power to bring you down when you accept yourself. Your own sense of shame about your "dark side" is what gives others the power to bring you down.

If you self-loath parts of yourself, others will pick up on that and use it to put you down. When you love and accept yourself completely, those put downs will have no power over you. Because if you love and accept yourself, you will know your value as a human being.

You subconsciously choose a costume that represents your Shadow side. This is the side of your personality that you usually keep hidden because you believe it's "bad" or unacceptable.

You subconsciously choose a costume that represents your Shadow side. This is the side of your personality that you usually keep hidden because you believe it's "bad" or unacceptable.

Take Advantage of The Opportunity

Halloween is offering you an opportunity to discover and explore your Shadow side. Take advantage of this opportunity and see it for the gift that it is. Self-discovery is an amazing process. Self-discovery leads to personal and spiritual growth.

Do some research on the costume you choose, and see if you can discover the hidden parts of yourself. This can be a fun process.

Now you have another reason to celebrate Halloween!

References

The Rodie."Expressing Our Shadow Side at Halloween". Source Code Consciousness. November 16, 2019. sourcecodeconsciousness.com Schmelzer,Gretchen. "Halloween: A Chance to Dance with your Shadow". Gretchen Schmelzer. October 30, 2016. gretchenschmelzer.com Wooll,Maggie. "The Benefits of Shadow Work and How to use it in your Journey". BetterUp. June 13, 2022. betterup.com

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Charlotte Allison

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