January 30, 2020

How can we learn to recognise the shadow within ourselves?

Rachel Bride Ashton

VideoDestroying Desires, 2019

Infidelity, within a western, monogamous, cultural framework, seems to be the norm, not the exception. I demonstrate, through my work, that we are constantly being shaken into frenzied states of desire, hate and revenge, by our shadows. Drawing on my own experience of family betrayal, sexual desire, the loss of my family home to a fire and their interconnectedness, I delve into Jung’s shadow archetype. This is the dark behaviour that lies behind all judgment, racism, homophobia, betrayal, violence etc. All the shameful, and therefore, repressed elements of the self which we wish to hide from the world; we project onto others. I attempt to show that if we don’t learn to recognise this shadow and incorporate it consciously into our personalities, then it can assume control over our behaviour with sometimes devastating consequences. I question our shallow understanding of sexual desire, betrayal and the surrounding shame that prohibits open discussion of this embarrassing and painful subject. Here I play the part of this woman’s sexual shadow, destroying everything around her with her desire, while my words try to make sense of these experiences.