Dreams and Shadow

Written by Tayria Ward on January 16, 2010

Today, January 15, 2010, I write my first blog post ever. First New Moon of the year and the decade, a new beginning. I am a doctor of depth psychology and have a retreat center, Bridging Worlds, in the remote, gorgeous, ancient mountains of Western North Carolina outside of Asheville. My work and passion is to create an environment where people can feel safe to explore their own psychological and spiritual life, either privately or in groups. Reconnection to the natural world and to the indigenous person, with indigenous ways of sensing and knowing, that lives inside of each human is one of my major concerns. Working with dreams of the night is a favorite, and most valuable method. I am close to completing work on my new website, www.tayriaward.com which explains a lot more. I am thinking a first blog should say who I am, thus this explanation. I’m a woman, age 58, who lives alone in the wilderness with my dog. I have two daughters, Josi and Arlene, who are powerful and awesome women. Enough information for now. See website for more. This is a place to share thoughts, concerns and ideas.

So I start with a concern that I have felt slammed with during the first part of this new year. There is so little understanding in general awareness of how to deal with and think about what Carl Jung and Jungians call the personal shadow — the parts of ourselves which are alive and active in our personality structure but of which we are unaware. Generally this refers to the “dark” side of the personality, but shadow includes all parts — strengths, weaknesses, everything of which we are not conscious. In this writing I refer to the dark side.

We all have this side, and generally, in my belief, it is only because we are unaware. Generally it isn’t intentional evil or hurt that we commit. The heart is in the right place but words or actions reveal other systems of operation going on, or are misunderstood and trigger those other systems going on in others. And people for the most do not know how to deal with it. They bounce off of each other, hurting each other without meaning or wanting to, and don’t know how to deal with that.

Christmas is often an intense time in crowded environments where a lot of this is going on and not being dealt with. I had experiences myself and keep hearing those of others so that this is becoming a fascination of mine at this moment. I don’t know the cure, of course, but if I could write a prescription it would be trust. Trust in ourselves, trust in each other, trust. There’s a subtle panic that seems to go off when shadow material arrives, and I am thinking the medicine for that is trust. It sounds simple, but it is actually a tall order.

And then listen to dreams that come in the wake of the experience because they rarely fail to comment with some of the only intelligence and astuteness that will be found. Learning the dream language takes attention and an open mind, but is very worth the trouble.

I think there is an urgency in the world right now that we become a lot smarter a lot faster about this problem. So I’m committing myself in this new year and decade to work to figure this out in whatever way that I can. To own it and work on it in myself, have trust and compassion for it in others, and do what I can for anyone who wants to work on it as a dreamworker, assistant and guide for people in their psychological and spiritual quests.

Ok, I just wrote my first blog. I’ve been thinking about this for a long time, and now it is begun. Happy new year.