Persona and Shadow

What You Show to the World, What You Hide from the World

Persona and shadow are both complexes and archetypes; as such they are ubiquitous and inevitable. They act like two siblings, one public, one hidden; what is accepted by ego-consciousness falls into Persona, what is rejected falls into Shadow. Persona belongs to consciousness and Shadow to the Unconscious.

Persona is the usually ideal aspect of ourselves that we present to the world. It is a psychological and social construct adopted for a special purpose. In this seminar, we will look at how the persona is built and what purpose it serves, at a personal as well as at a social level. We will look at the positive purpose that persona may serve as well as the dangers of identification with the persona. Is there a way that the socially acceptable can be balanced with the genuine?

Shadow exists both on the subjective level, in the personal unconscious, and on the objective level, in the collective unconscious. On the subjective level, it is everything a person has no wish for: “the hidden or unconscious aspects of oneself, both good and bad, which the ego has either repressed or never recognized.” (D. Sharp, C. G. Jung Lexicon). On the objective level, the archetypal shadow is evil, the archetype of darkness, the absolute counterpart of the absolute light of God.
How does one become aware of shadow? How can one deal with shadow?

The integration of both persona and shadow is essential to the individuation process. How can one deal with those two powerful complexes?

The seminar will offer two parts: first, a lecture and discussion of the different topics and then, some exercises in self-reflection and personal exploration.