We Must Feed the Dark Wolf
This is a really important topic. I was not aware of the alternate endings and expanded versions to this story. Of course the starved wolf is going to be more desperate, begin to act out, and lose its hindrances.
- One day, Billy Bixbee wakes up to find a dragon in his room. (That is, he discovers the presence of the shadow.)
- When he tries to tell his mother about it, she declares that there is no such thing as a dragon. (She denies the shadow and pretends it isn’t really there.)
- The dragon grows day-by-day, obviously impacting life in the Bixbee household, but everyone continues to deny the reality of it.
- Life eventually becomes dysfunctional as the dragon eats Billy’s food, grows so large it takes over the entire house, and eventually runs off with the house itself. (The shadow grows it power and influence.)
- Mr. Bixbee comes home to find his home and family gone and wonders how something like this could have happened. Billy cannot maintain his denial any longer and says it was all because of the dragon.
- Before his mother can deny the existence of the dragon again, Billy insists that there is a dragon and pats it on the head.
- As the dragon is acknowledged and patted on the head, it shrinks down to the size of a kitten. (The shadow is assimilated.)
- Mrs. Bixbee acknowledges that a dragon this size isn’t so bad and wonders why the dragon had to get so big. Billy replies that he thinks its because the dragon only wanted to be noticed. (Bringing awareness to the shadow robbed it of its power.)
So the more the family tried to ignore the shadow in their lives, the more pronounced the shadow became until it consumed their lives. Once they accepted and embraced the shadow, it no longer overwhelmed them and became a manageable part of their lives.
The more you ignore the dragon, the wolf, or the shadow self the more it grows until it takes over your life.
But the wolf, the dragon, the shadow are not necessarily bad. They are often that which just remains unconscious to us. As Robert A. Johnson says, “The ego is what we are and know about consciously. The shadow is that part of us we fail to see or know.”
Since we are often unconscious of our shadow, it can influence us and cause us to act in behavior in ways that we might not intend to. Becoming aware of it, or feeding it, can allow us to assimilate it in a conscious manner so it simply becomes part of our life and holistic sense of self.
Trying to ignore the shadow, or starve it, is a form of repression. Repression will own increase the shadow’s power and create neurosis. Neurosis yields dysfunctional behavior incapable of engaging the world in a healthy manner.
You don’t have to look far to realize that most people are not paying attention to their shadows.