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Owning Your Own Shadow by Robert A. Johnson

The psyche is unaware of the difference between an outer act and an interior one.

Our shadow qualities are lived out equally well from the viewpoint to Self  either way.

Culture can only function if we live out the unwanted elements symbolically.

All healthy societies have a rich ceremonial life.

Less healthy ones rely on unconscious expressions: war, violence, psychosomatic illness, neurotic suffering, and accidents are very low grade ways of living out the shadow.

Ceremony and ritual are a far more intelligent means of accomplishing the same thing.

Ceremonies the world over, and from every age, consist mostly of destruction: sacrifice, burning, ritual killing, bloodletting, fasting, and sexual abstention.


These are the ritual languages that safeguard the culture by paying out the shadow in a symbolic way.

It is easy to fall into the error of thinking that we protect the culture by obliterating the destructive elements.

But we will see that there is no way to energize a culture except by an incorporation of them.

That is why a true religious ceremony has to contain as much darkness as light.

Again, look at the Catholic Mass and you will see a perfect balance of destruction and creation, of evil and redemption. ~Robert Johnson, Owning Your Own Shadow, Pages 52-53