I came across this post in the “I can’t believe it’s not chaos” chaos magic group on Facebook.

I certainly understand where this woman is coming from, the term “light and love” is thrown around quite a bit by new age adherents, hippies and other generally “positive” people.

As a huge fan of Carl Jung I also quite understand the necessity of knowing your anima or animus and the dangers of ignoring your dark side, rather than moving through it and incorporating it into yourself in the attempt to become whole.

The perspective here paints the shadow with metaphorical darkness. A kind of edgy and perhaps insidious description that we all consider when thinking about the shadow of our own personalities.

I don’t think darkness always presents itself like this, nor does light or love always seem to be either of those things when it arises.

To be fair, I use the term “light and love” a lot. I occasionally use it in place of saying goodbye and also when speaking to someone who is dealing with a hard or trying time in their life.

I do not think the term deserves a beating anymore than the one which the author described happening to the readers dark side in the post linked above…

Now this is not say that the term can not become cliche or overused, it does and in some circles is perhaps, used excessively.

That being said for every love obsessed hippie blind to their own darkness, there is the person who allows their shadow to consume them to some degree or another, becoming the antitheses of the archetypal overly positive type and thus essentially committing the same “thought crime”.

In this respect, I think we can agree that balance and unity of both light and darkness is necessary.

The trouble with that is, darkness is not always presented as some black cave with unseen horrors waiting to scare you out of your wits revealing the worst of you. Nor does light or love always show itself as a white hot literal light illuminating unicorns shitting rainbows…

Often times, true love and light is seen and experienced in the darkest of times in a persons life.

It may show itself as the kindness of stranger at a loved ones funeral, or the helping hand during financial ruin or failure.

In the same way, darkness can sometimes appear to be light itself. The handshake of a person who’s smile you first trust only to find later it was but a form of deception, a lure to intentionally cause you pain or distress.

Internally, we all have light and darkness inside of us and it is not our job, nor is it healthy to completely banish either of these forces entirely. It is our job to learn from them, understand them and ultimately control them.

I think it also does us well to understand the dark side or shadow of a person is not to be mistaken for evil.

Evil is not the presence of dark thoughts. It is the willful manifestation of those thoughts made real through physical action.

An example:

You may want to punch your co-worker in the face for one reason or another, perhaps they are slobs or do not carry their weight of the work load. Perhaps they gossip excessively and push your buttons in subtle ways that cause you to have the thought of physical violence towards them.

That being said…

Thinking of punching someone in the face and actually doing it are two very different things.

I find those of us who are balanced and have taken the time to learn about our own shadow, to move through it, to explore it and to know it WITHOUT acting upon it, are those who truly understand the necessary synthesis of both light and darkness.

Not hitting your co-worker and also not allowing yourself to be trampled by them is where we see this synthesis in action.

Our dark side when tempered with light allows us to interact with other people whom perhaps we do not understand, like or get along with.

It allows us to see the bad in others and ourselves.

Ignore your dark side and eventually it will consume you. Meet it, converse with it, move through it and understand it, and you will learn to control it.

So to each of you I wish your own darkness present and known, tempered by light and love.

So mote it be.