The name of this blog, Rainbow Juice, is intentional.
The rainbow signifies unity from diversity. It is holistic. The arch suggests the idea of looking at the over-arching concepts: the big picture. To create a rainbow requires air, fire (the sun) and water (raindrops) and us to see it from the earth.
Juice suggests an extract; hence rainbow juice is extracting the elements from the rainbow, translating them and making them accessible to us. Juice also refreshes us and here it symbolises our nutritional quest for understanding, compassion and enlightenment.

Thursday 11 April 2024

Other - Self - Other

The predicament we face today can in large part be traced to three major disconnections in the human sphere: disconnection from nature, disconnection from each other, and disconnection from self. These three disconnections are interlinked and mutually reinforcing.

This blogpiece will briefly explore one of the mechanisms that results in our disconnection from each other. As alluded to above, this mechanism has its own roots within the disconnection from our own selves.

Many psychologists, following on from Carl Jung, have explored the Shadow aspect of our selves. The Shadow in Jung’s understanding is that part of our psyche that, although true of us, we do not know exists. The Shadow is not part of us that we have denied or consciously suppressed.

If we think of our psyche as a room, then our Shadow would be behind a secret panel in the wall: a secret panel that we do not even know is there.

It is tempting to think of our Shadow as being the dark and nasty side of our unconsciousness. However, that would be a mistake. Our Shadow may also include aspects of ourselves that could be claimed to be our higher or more beautiful facets.

More often than not, however, our Shadow is comprised of nasty or brutish facets, that if pointed out to us, we would vehemently deny.

Yet, these facets within our Shadow make themselves known by projecting onto others the nastiness and brutishness. Projection is the process by which we readily label others as stupid, greedy, nasty, or, in the extreme, evil. The ecopsychologist, Bill Plotkin (highly influenced by Jung,) defines projection as the “unconscious transfer of our own emotions, desires, or traits onto another person, or sometimes a whole class of persons.”1

Such projections, especially if it is a projection of nastiness or evil, results in the class of persons upon who those traits are projected being labelled as entirely different from us, to the point where not only do we become disconnected, but where we wish to remain, and enforce, that disconnection.

The circle becomes a vicious one. We are disconnected from a part of our own psyche. That disconnected part (our Shadow) projects onto others, so that we become disconnected from them. Then, because we label others as nasty, we can easily deny any nastiness in ourselves, thus keeping our Shadow unknown to us.

To heal the rift between people, to help us reconnect, we must also heal ourselves. We must find and reconnect with our Shadow.


Carl Jung spent years delving into his (and other people’s) Shadow. He discovered methods by which we might reconnect ourselves with our Shadow and hence, with each other. Jung is reputed to have said the following:

‘Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious. Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.’2

Healing does not appear to be easy, does it? To heal the rift between people we must heal the disconnection within our own selves. However, the encouraging side of this is that as we work to heal ourselves, so we heal the rift with others, and vice versa. We cannot do one without the other.

For any reader wishing to understand and/or work on their Shadow the book by Bill Plotkin (see note 1) is highly recommended. As too are any of the immersive experiences run by Animas Valley Institute (founded by Bill Plotkin) or any of its offshoots located in many parts of the world.


1. Bill Plotkin, Wild Mind: A Field Guide to the Human Psyche, New World Library, Novato, California, 2013

2. This quote appears to be a misattribution, although Jung did make the following comment: ‘The psychological rule says that when an inner situation is not made conscious, it happens outside, as fate. That is to say, when the individual remains undivided and does not become conscious of his (sic) inner opposite, the world must perforce act out the conflict and be torn into opposing halves.’  Carl Jung, Christ: A Symbol of the Self. For myself, I find the misattributed quote easier to understand.

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