What would be your reaction if you watched a mainstream movie with friends or family that contained a scene like this? Ostentatious delight or embarrassed chuckles?
Come to think of it, how many people know of your most cherished fantasies? Have you ever felt awkward about keeping them secret?
Here’s a passage that might get you thinking, by the great psychologist Carl Jung:
“I had a dream which both frightened and encouraged me. It was night in some unknown place, and I was making slow and painful headway against a mighty wind. Dense fog was flying along everywhere.
“I had my hands cupped around a tiny light which threatened to go out at any moment. Everything depended on my keeping the little light alive. Suddenly I had the feeling that something was coming up behind me. I looked back, and saw a gigantic black figure following me. But at the same moment I was conscious in spite of my terror, that I must keep my little light going through night and wind, regardless of the dangers.
“When I awoke I realized at once that the figure was my own shadow on the swirling mists, brought into being by the little light I was carrying. I knew too that this little light was my consciousness, the only light I have. Though infinitely small and fragile in comparison with the powers of darkness, it is still a light, my only light.”
— Carl Jung, Memories, Dreams and Reflections
Isn’t that first sentence intriguing? “I had a dream which both frightened and encouraged me.”
Even Jung was frightened and disturbed by his dreams sometimes. But he realised that every light casts a shadow, and we’re biologically wired to perceive shadows as dark. But it’s easy to forget about the beautiful, unique and wondrous light that cast the shadow – that’s You.
The Light is your public persona: the showcase of your personality, everything you want to be, and want to project.
Your Shadow is the opposite, it’s composed of things we keep hidden, the secrets and thoughts we decide to keep to ourselves. We are social creatures, and society functions because we have masks to wear and roles to play. As we grow up we learn to be discreet, deciding what side of ourselves to present in public. But that’s ok, our culture might unravel if everyone was suddenly completely candid with each other, there’s nothing wrong with keeping certain thoughts and desires private.
Jung believed our Shadow self also contains the things that frustrate us, that have wounded us, and scare us: “The shadow personifies everything that the subject refuses to acknowledge about himself.” But Jung also believed there was gold in the Shadow; that it wasn’t a mental dumping ground, some toxic cache of taboos and frustrations, but a vital creative resource, a region to explore, and ultimately embrace – because our Shadow is as much part of us as our hands.
Seen this way, the nature of our Shadows is nothing to be embarrassed about. Your Shadow is not your Dark Side, some evil simulacrum of you, it’s your Private Side. Whatever turns you on, whatever fantasies you harbour, that’s fine. Everyone has a right to mental privacy, to decide what they reveal about themselves, and what they keep secret. Proponents of internet surveillance insist “if you’ve nothing to hide, you’ve nothing to fear”. They are wrong, we all have something to hide, and you have every right to go on hiding it.
The moral of Jung’s dream was it was important not to demonise your Shadow, that we should not be disturbed by it, or recoil from it. That we should seek to understand and accommodate this side of ourselves, rather than repress it.
Happily, I expect most who read this will be comfortable with their own Shadow. Anyone browsing a blog about kink and spanking is likely to be quite accepting of what excites them.
Yet many are still embarrassed by their Shadows. All those thoughts, desires and memories stashed away in some dark, dusty recess of their mind, like the portrait of Dorian Gray, rarely visited or contemplated out of fear of the scars they might find marring their souls.
Perhaps you once thought like that. But now you’re realising there was no reason to recoil from what gives you enjoyment. That just because no one else knows how much spanking excites you, doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with it – or you.
That’s what I like about Jung’s philosophy. He doesn’t view the mind as an engine that occasionally breaks down and needs to be fixed, but as a landscape to explored, accepted and understood. He presents a more positive view of our private realm, a secret playground rather than an loathsome hidden portrait; maybe Wilde thought so too.
So I hope this blog aids your journey of self-exploration, that each story you read adds to the erotic repertoire you curate within your personal Shadow playground. That each story will inspire the extraordinarily powerful facilities of your own imagination.
Be proud, and never ashamed, of your mind’s wonderful adventure playground.
Even if no one else knows it’s there.
Lovely image credit: Thomas Dodd