Shadowy Figure

In the example, Gloria is meeting her own feeling of fear. This is obvious because the shadowy thing felt the fear also. In fact it is the feeling of fear. Such shadowy figures are our own rejected emotions or potentials. It is the aspect of ourselves we reject, the secondary side of our personality, its non dominant traits. See: the shadow under archetypes.

Example: ‘A shadow thing came very quickly up the stairs along our corridor and into the bedroom, over to the bed to bend over me. I felt fear as I never felt it before and I started to make a noise. It was also the shadow making the noise and it was frightened, and moved towards the window. I felt sorry it was frightened too, but then it was too late as it had gone. I woke up making a howling noise, my husband said, he felt the fear in the room strongly too.’ Gloria F.

But there are two very different aspects to the Shadow, illustrated by these two dreams.

I am in a very dark, bleak house, with a young boy. It is night outside and the house is isolated. A dark, shadowy, Thing, is trying to get into the house. I am terrified of it, and I am holding the young boy behind me protectively while I try to keep the door closed with my foot, as the Thing batters at it. – James H.

James explored his dream by imagining opening the door and meeting the Thing. When he did this, feelings from childhood arose – the young boy. He felt the fear of the German bombs he had experienced in his youth. He realised that this hidden – shadowy – fear had kept him from taking risks in life. In meeting the Thing he was now free of that fear. Most of the shadowy creatures of our dreams are expressions of similar fears or hurts, and if me, can be just as transformative.

A rather shadowy man gave me a leather pull-string purse or pouch. In the pouch was powder that the man suggested I pour onto my rather stained trousers. Immediately the powder started working like yeast, cleansing and purifying my trousers in a spreading action. I knew that this yeast, or pollen, had also penetrated my body, and was gradually working through me, purifying and healing. – Adrian.

Adrian’s dream shows the very positive side of the shadow figure. In many dreams the shadowy person or animal expresses not only your hidden fears and pains, but also the parts of your personality that through shyness or circumstances, may not be expressed. The shadowy man that Adrian meets gives him a great gift of healing. At the time of the dream Adrian was in a very loving relationship. For the first time in his life he was able to love unconditionally. That is, he loved even if he got no response from his partner. The dream is showing him that this magical outpouring is purifying and healing him. See: the shadow under archetypes.

All dreams are like computer games, it is all virtual reality and even if you are killed in a game or a dream you are never hurt – except pride or by fear. So realising that you can change the whole inner world by standing and challenging what you face, knowing that nothing can hurt you, can change the way you feel about yourself – and the frightening thing.

So go back into the dreams and imagine being eaten or falling or whatever the scary thing is. Nothing will happen except some feelings; and the more often you do it the less it will be felt.

It is different if it was happening to you in waking life – but you are carrying such fears into your inner life, where they do not apply. 


-JH 2017-12-30 15:50:28

My wife had a dream last night that spooked her. In the dream she says there is a male dark figure that keeps walking past her. She says his face is covered and they’re walking towards a lake and on the other side of the lake is something on the bank of the river near a tree covered in a white sheet. She didn’t get much sleep.

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