The Way of the Shadowkind
I'd like to relate an experience I had during a body massage. As Gaye, my bodyworker, reached my heart area, she noticed that the area was very tense. As she massaged, I suddenly found myself mentally transported to a dark, dank cave. Surprised, I got my bearings and told Gaye what was happening. She asked me to describe what I saw.
I realized that the cave was full of emaciated, naked people who were victims of despair and hopelessness. There appeared to be hundreds of them. They all had leg irons on their ankles with long heavy chains attached. Then, I noticed something very interesting. None of the chains were attached to anything! These souls really had all the freedom of movement they wished if they only chose to act on it.
I asked why they were here and they replied because they were captive. They didn't seem to understand why, they had just accepted their fate with fear and resignation. Gaye and I decided to create a column of light in the center of the dark, dismal cave, extending to the heavens and to freedom. We wanted to give them an opportunity to go into the light and leave this dungeon. Being unaccustomed to such brilliance, they shielded their eyes and then withdrew back into apathy, taking no action.
I explained that they were not chained to anything, even went over and pulled on a chain to prove that their confinement was an illusion. I was giving them both permission and opportunity. They were clearly terrified of making a decision and expressed fear of the Keeper/Guardian of the cave. He would be very angry if they left.
I told them that once they left, he could not find them. Besides I saw no sign of him anywhere. Encouraged, some of the souls began to move their heavy leg chains and, finding they were not really trapped at all, they moved cautiously into the golden column. Finally, the entire cave was clear. It was then that the Keeper/Guardian arrived.
He was a huge, black winged gargoyle, so tall he had to bend over to clear the entrance. His appearance was terrifying and I felt myself frozen with fear. Gaye reminded me that I had nothing to be afraid of, but I wondered how this gargoyle would react once he saw that all of his prisoners were gone. Prepared for the worst, I braced myself to call for angelic and spiritual backup.
The column of light temporarily blinded him, but as he shielded his enormous eyes, I sensed no anger or malice.
"Where are they?" he asked, looking at the empty cave.
"They're gone," I replied. "They didn't want to be here anymore."
Apparently confused, he asked, "Why not? I was taking good care of them."
I explained that they were not happy and chose to leave when given the option.
He seemed really puzzled by that. "But I was just doing what I was supposed to do, take care of them."
"They were afraid of you."
"But why? I am the Keeper. This has been my job for generations. I am the last and now I have failed. I no longer have a purpose."
"You can choose to leave as well," I told him.
He looked at me, his eyes filled with despair and pain. "I cannot. I know how I appear to people. I frighten them. It is my destiny to spend my life in the dark. I have been here all my life and this is all I know. I have to stay here and perform my duty."
"Well," I said, looking around, "it looks to me as if there really isn't a job to do any longer. Everyone has left."
He frowned, his mighty wings drooping.
"Listen," I said, "I have to leave but I can tell you that you are just as welcome into the light as everyone else."
"Do you really think so?" he whispered.
I nodded and smiled. Slowly, he began to walk toward the column of light, shielding his eyes against its unfamiliar brilliance. He walked to its edge, took one last look around the cold, dark, empty cave and stepped into the light. Instantly, he was drawn upward and as he ascended, I saw him transform into a brilliant, shimmering angel with wings of gold. I stood in awe, amazed at this instantaneous, miraculous transformation.
To me, this is a story of shadow transformation and how we can take the darkest, ugliest, scariest parts of ourselves and transform them into beautiful lights. Not everyone may choose to step into the light, but all our shadow wants is to be acknowledged and integrated into our beingness. Action must be taken, as well as trust in the outcome, whatever that may be. So many of us have been sitting on our shadow aspects for so long that when we begin to acknowledge their existence and agree to look at them, they come up with such ferocity and velocity that it can be quite frightening and overwhelming. So, often the lid goes right back on.
I believe that we live in a plane of duality and as long as we exist in this three, or even fourth, dimensional reality, duality is a necessary part of existence and survival. Much of our untapped potential power lies lurking beneath the surface just waiting to be recognized and embraced. Without the dark, we cannot comprehend the light.
Sheryl Allen is an artisan. teacher and student of life fascinated with the inner journey into the darkest parts of the soul and "re-membering the dis-membered parts". She says, "I find the symbols and scenarios of dreams, day and night, rich with messages from the sub-conscious and feel empowerment in bringing them forth to be examined in the light for it is often in the depths of darkness where passion and authenticity are discovered. Through this exciting process balance and wholeness are achieved as even the darkest aspects are acknowledged and accepted."