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Envying Lynn

Dreamed before 1985, by a patient of Jungian therapist Peter O'Connor

...the shadow is not necessarily negative. It can in some instances be composed of entirely positive aspects, since the shadow (the dark side of consciousness) is simply a personification... of what is unacceptable to our conscious view of ourselves...

In fact... where spontaneity and generosity and other positive traits have been repressed because they were unacceptable in the family, in such an individual this shadow may well be a positive figure. The following dream I think highlights the positive aspect of the shadow.

The girl concerned was in her late twenties... within this family positive feelings were totally unacceptable... Here, then, is the dream:

I remember visiting an old flatmate of mine who is now married and living in the country. We were in Melbourne at a flat having dinner with her parents. I don't remember having much contact with them on the night, rather I talked with Lynn for most of the time. She used to be untidy and keen to put down the aesthetic side of life. Today though she had a beautiful bright pink dinner setting which sat up on legs and had a Japanese blue-and-white design on it. We talked about this dinner set, I held it and felt very warm with the experience. I accidentally knocked this fragile set and though I wasn't sure, and Lynn said it wasn't me, I think I chipped a plate.

We began talking about what we were each doing. Lynn said she and her mother had been shopping and had bought three or four nice pieces of clothing. Again I thought this was a change as Lynn was never a spender. She showed me the clothes, bright pink and aqua blue. I really loved the colours and was eager to go shopping myself.

I went down to the local shopping centre and I walked around, saw nothing, and ended up in an exclusive restaurant, which had paintings of Napoleon Bonaparte around. There was a brightly coloured statue of Napoleon laid out [that is, dead]. I walked through the restaurant and into the descending lift under the clock tower. There were about six people in the run-down lift with marble flooring. When we reached the ground floor I found that the only way was back the way I had originally walked around; past many hairdressing salons, a tempting coffee shop, up the stairs and into the dress shops again.

I was tired of walking around by this time and thought back to my meal with Lynn; she had found what she was looking for, why couldn't I?

SOURCE: Understanding Jung, Understanding Yourself by Peter O'Connor, 1985, pp.36-7.


O'Connor's chapter on the Shadow has dreams from several clients with positive Shadows. It's nice to see this idea in print, since for decades I've dreamed that the Shadow can be positive: The Shadow of Freud and Shadows Admirable. The latter pointed out that even when positive, you may avoid or actively push a Shadow away--out of false humility, shyness, shame, or sheer conviction it just isn't you, can never be you...

I've also dreamt what my ego looks like from the viewpoint of my Shadow, in Datin' Demon! It sees my conscious as its Shadow--all it isn't. And seen through Shadow eyes, that waking self ain't pretty.

--Chris Wayan

LISTS AND LINKS: Jungian Shadows - Jungian dreams in general - family values - suppression, repression, oppression - play - color - beauty - envy - shops & malls - frustration - Australia: Melbourne - two initiatory dreams by clients of O'Connor: Mom in the Driver's Seat & The Occupation

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