angels and devils

Words are loaded with meaning, light is often a synonym for ‘good’ and dark is a synonym for ‘bad’. We all have elements of the dark and light within ourselves, it is interplay of energy, most exemplified by the ancient symbol of the Yin and Yang. This concept describes that totality is a dynamic flow, formed of opposite and seemingly contradictory forces, however these forces are actually complementary and interdependent to each other. This symbol illustrates that everything contains its opposite and that none can exist without the other. The woodcut ‘Circle Limit IV‘ (aka Angels and Devils) by M.C Escher graphically represents this concept.

Pablo Amaringo in his painting titled Puñusca Muscuna (Quechua language meaning ‘Profound Revelation’) from the book ‘The Ayahuasca Visions of Pablo Amaringo’, relates;

“Ayahuasca has revealed to me that you need both light and darkness to be illuminated. In order to appreciate the spiritual nature of humanity and the prevalent cosmic forces, you must understand that the negative side is there to show you the positive side.”

The co-existence of the ‘dark’, ‘light’, and the ‘shadow’ within us is not the problem per se, but our choice to which of these polarities we embrace and express. This is a classical theme, of which for example, the saga of Darth Vader continues to be the popular, and existentialist parable of our times (for me certainly). His redemption when he makes the ultimate choice and rejects the ‘darkside’ in favour of love is my über favourite scene from the Star Wars movies.

We all have to face and deal with unsavoury negative situations in our everyday lives. There are people who open our wounds, put us down with cutting comments that are very upsetting. In many new-age and shamanic circles, people advocate personal energetic protection strategies, probably the most well known is the shield of white radiant light or placing yourself in a protective ‘plastic’ bubble and visualise negative energy bouncing off these protective barriers. I think that such strategies can benefit many people, and I also add that communication between people is more than just words alone. We receive energy (negative or positive) with our solar plexus, so that is why when dealing with a negative person, it feels that we have been punched in our stomach. So placing your attention on your solar plexus, even covering up your solar plexus with your arms is a good defence against this kind of attack.

However from a personal philosophical perspective, the fly-in-the-ointment so to speak on psychic protection is that ultimately it is a counterproductive practice. In effect it is a ‘pushing away’ or a rejection of reality. It is a shelter to avoid the acceptance of the facts of how things actually are. We live in an imperfect and an unpredictable world and subject to all the vicissitudes that life can throw at us. Nature, despite the attitude and attempts of governments and large corporations is not under our control, nor do we have the ability to protect ourselves from the natural movements and shifts of the Earth. Maybe we can mitigate the impact of natural disasters to some extent but we do not have the capabilities to absolutely safeguard human existence. We need no reminding of the immeasurable and endless amount of human suffering and destruction caused by war. We, as individuals and as a collective are eminently vulnerable, and that we need to accept. Anybody who has been in a serious accident knows very well how frail the human body is.

Although I have referred to a big picture perspective, adverse conditions, setbacks, and upheavals happen in our personal lives. We can neither shape nor construct our personal world to conform to the notion of how things should be. If we followed the way of the Soul Warrior, we would stay present in our difficulty; we would not try to shelter from or avoid experiences that we regard as negative or emotionally challenging, and allow ourselves to experience the pain and sorrow so that we can transcend and release these feelings and move to a state of inner peace and a path to an awakening of compassion.

We develop our spiritual and emotional qualities when we are open to being present in the face of negative circumstances and people rather than avoiding them. This is the challenge faced by the Soul Warrior on his or her path to personal power and transcending the limitations of the defended ego.

Quoting Jung on the concept of the shadow;

“Filling the conscious mind with ideal conceptions is a characteristic of Western theosophy, but not the confrontation with the shadow and the world of darkness. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious”.

I know it’s a silly idea and will never ever take off and fly, but maybe for the fun of it we should turn the notion around, and consider calling those striving to reach an enlightened state of consciousness Dark or Shadow workers?