Extract from The Shadow in the Horoscope by Glenn Perry (2012, p. 42-43)

For the next few days of my 460-day challenge, I am going to select words of wisdom from the 100s of books that I own. I have always been an avid reader and I also love to refer to books at random to receive the wisdom of the words that are present on the page. May you receive these words with the same joy that I discover in finding them.

“The shadow constitutes certain negative psychic potentialities that an individual repudiates. By exaggerating traits that are believed to be antithetical to the shadow, the psyche compensates for its dark side. Thus a given archetype can be split into light and dark halves. Once the dark side is banished from consciousness, it tends to be projected onto people that appear to embody it. There is a tendency to attack or attempt to reform people that present one’s shadow.”

While there is no single factor in astrology that signifies the shadow, it has much in common with Pluto. As lord of the underworld, Pluto is naturally associated with things dark and shadowy. Pluto symbolises the wounded-healer, which necessarily has two poles: wounded and healer.

The most important factor in healing one’s shadow is awareness of its existence. Astrology can be an objective aid in this regard. Additionally, individuals are encouraged to notice any extremes of thinking or feeling that might characterise their actions, for extremism is the shadow’s leitmofit. The thing that we most detest points to our shadow. Righteous indignation, shame, power struggles, chronic resentment, hatefulness, malevolent intentions, and vindictiveness are all red flags.

The key to shadow work is to recognise, like the poet Terence, nothing that is human is foreign to me. There is a story about an English judge who looks deeply into a murderer’s eyes and recognises the killing impulse in his own soul. After condemning the man to death, the judge utters the immortal words, “there but for the grace of God go I”.

The solution to the shadow is not putting a white light around everything that is awful in the world. The thing that we abhor may, in fact, be deserving of our enmity. There is authentic evil that needs to be eradicated. people do bad things; there are wrongs that need to be righted. The important thing is to admit, like the English judge, that we have the potential to do what we would not do, and, when we do the wrong thing, to forgive oneself for not measuring up to an ideal, for not being perfect.

Healing our shadow enables us to mend those planetary archetypes that have been torn into opposite halves and tragically pitted against one another.”

As with all truth, healing the shadow lies in the paradox that it is only in humbling ourselves that we become truly powerful and only by admitting our ignorance that we become truly wise.