Thanksgiving and Your Shadow

Thanksgiving and Your Shadow:



In Jungian Analytical theory there is a concept called the Shadow. The Shadow is the collection of unacceptable characteristics about ourselves, others, and society that we place in the dark nooks and crannies of our personality. As these characteristics expand, they form their own “shadow” personality. It does not enter the conscious pathway easily. For example: Only through years of repressed anger, will a simple comment by your mother release a venomous slip-of-the-tongue response that could slash her to pieces. It may feel good for a second, but then the shadow bolts back into the eerie subconscious, and you are left holding your guilt. So I wouldn’t advise you curse at your mother in front of everyone this Thanksgiving.

One aspect of our culture, and all cultures throughout the world, is the need for social mores, an important part of the function of the civilized world. As Robert Johnson says in Owning Your Own Shadow, “Some of the pure gold of our personality is relegated to the shadow because it can find no place in that leveling process that is culture.” Part of our culture is imbedded in traditions and holidays. Thanksgiving, a holiday formed from the bringing together of two disparate forces and giving thanks for the union, has changed over the years.

Football, turkeys, family meetings, Macy’s parade of plastic icons, and overeating.

“Every individual needs,” as Jung stated in 1966, “a revolution, inner division, overthrow of the existing order, and renewal, but not by forcing them upon his neighbors under the hypocritical cloak of Christian love or the sense of social responsibility.”

What is it you really want to do on Thursday? What does your shadow whisper in your ear?  Are you being hypocritical by being with someone you don’t like, and feel forced to “be good”?

Why? Really.

The Reluctant Send Off

Well, I did it! I finished my novel, Seniors Inc.  I’m happy. Very, very thrilled, and relieved. Excited. Nervous. Not nail biting. No. A bit scared. Not panicked. No. Will send her off for reviews. Reviewing. Looked at. Studied. Scrutinized. Not anxious. No. Weary. Yes. Keep her home. Yes. Safe. Yes. No. She must go. Go. Yes. Good Bye. Never to return the same.

skull in book


That was my reaction to letting my completed work go to reviewers, a trip it has yet to take.


Priscilla Royal, a fellow mystery author, who writes the Prioress Eleanor / Brother Thomas medieval mystery series from Poisoned Pen Press has graciously allowed me to reprint her blog post, and share author Anne Bradstreet’s poem on this exact subject. The tenth book in Priscilla’s series, “Covenant with Hell” will be released this December. Look for it. Her website is  Here is her post from The LadyKillers Blog.

 I offer the following 17th century poem from Anne Bradstreet, often called the first published American poet. I think she speaks for many of us when we finish a book, send it off to the reviewing wolves, and hope against hope their teeth will not leave scars… 

The Author To Her Book  

Thou ill-formed offspring of my feeble brain,

Who after birth did’st by my side remain,

Till snatcht from thence by friends, less wise than true,

Who thee abroad exposed to public view,

Made thee in rags, halting to th’ press to trudge,

Where errors were not lessened (all may judge).

At thy return my blushing was not small,

My rambling brat (in print) should mother call.

I cast thee by as one unfit for light,

The visage was so irksome in my sight,

Yet being mine own, at length affection would

Thy blemishes amend, if so I could.

I washed thy face, but more defects I saw,

And rubbing off a spot, still made a flaw.

I stretcht thy joints to make thee even feet,

Yet still thou run’st more hobbling than is meet.

In better dress to trim thee was my mind,

But nought save home-spun cloth, i’ th’ house I find.

In this array, ‘mongst vulgars may’st thou roam.

In critic’s hands, beware thou dost not come,

And take thy way where yet thou art not known.

If for thy father askt, say, thou hadst none;

And for thy mother, she alas is poor,

Which caused her thus to send thee out of door.