Copyright (C) 1998 by William Mistele.  All rights reserved. 

The Shadow in Psychology and Magick

The shadow in psychology is often thought of as the part of
ourselves which we deny and find unsavory.  We like to think of
ourselves as being in charge of our lives.  We like to feel that we are
motivated in specific ways in accordance with our ideals and our
beliefs.  And so naturally we are uneasy with those things in
ourselves which do not fit our conscious self-image.  
     But in terms of psychology the shadow is always there.  It exists
as a reflection of or counterpart to our social existence and the roles
we take on in life.  The shadow  is the opposite of who you are not
in the sense of your gender and polar opposite.  Instead, the shadow
is the part of your self you have not integrated into your
consciousness.  Therefore, as a constellation or necessary
component of psychic life, it has an invaluable role to play in
spiritual growth.  
    One way to sense your shadow is to note those moments when
you find yourself disliking or hating someone else.  The very thing
in them which you find obnoxious or evil is your own shadow.  The
other's face acts as a mirror image reflecting back what is hidden in
yourself.  The dislike or animosity you may feel is not identical with
the other's actions or beliefs.  The shadow is more subtle than that.  
    Instead, it may he that what you dislike is that the other person is
giving vent through their life to something you have repressed in
yourself.  It is the other's motivation of hate, fear, greed, arrogance,
lust, malice, cravings, obsessions, etc. which is the voice of your
own shadow calling out to you to recognize and find a form of
expression for what you deny in yourself. 
    If this were not the case, you would be more sympathetic and
understanding of the motivation behind the other's actions. You
would not need to agree with them or accept their agendas. But you
would not be personally repulsed by them.  You would feel more
objective and perhaps even understand what they are going through
and the natural way they will learn through experience. 
      The shadow is a paradox.  If you give into it and surrender to its
demands, you act in gross and unwholesome ways. If you deny or
repress it, you lose your creativity and momentum, for it has the
power to undermine your motivation.  It knows the source of the
instincts which grant you your greatest power and energy.
   Therefore, the shadow requires of us that we invent new ways of
living and being.  The shadow is the precise balancing factor which
appears because we find ourselves restrained and inhibited by our
conventional ways of thinking and living.  
    In this sense, the  shadow is a life long companion, friend, and
guardian spirit.  It saves us from falling into rigid life style and
patterns of thought which deny the free movement of spirit and
natural energy within us.  The shadow does not possess the zest and
light which shines in the faces of those who are fully alive.  But the
shadow is a guardian spirit who appears as a disguised voice of
   The shadow reminds us that we are not yet fully alive.  It asks of
us, therefore, to search out the depths of ourselves and to honor
every aspect of instinctual life within us.  It is not satisfied that we
succeed in life and accomplish much.  It asks, instead, that when we
shine, we shine with a transforming radiance--that innocence be
combined with timeless wisdom, that youth be combined with the
knowledge of the ancestors,  that love be combined with power, that
tenderness be combined with self-mastery, that dream be combined
with material expression, etc.
     The shadow, then, is the darkness cast by the light of
consciousness.  By defining ourselves in a specific way, we
automatically leave out much of what is active within us.  This can
be instinctual cravings, desires, needs, ways of acting and being
which we not only dislike and disown but which we have in some
way managed to convince ourselves do not exist within us.
    In terms of the psychological shadow, the danger for a magician
is that he may be tempted to over rely on his sense of authority. 
That is, he emphasizes his sense of conviction, purpose, and
commitment and then ends up ignoring his personal desires and
needs.  In effect, he may deny those legitimate desires and
instinctual needs within himself which have a genuine claim on his
life and consciousness.  
    Magick is a life long commitment and path of training.  But being
a magician does not mean you are exempt from fulfilling the karmic
tasks belonging to each stage of your life.   A magician seeks to be
completely responsible for all aspects of his life so that he frees up
the time he needs to train and to practice.  
   But in regard to authority, the magician's will is balanced by an
extraordinary sensitivity.  He is always willing to find a way to
process his feelings and emotions.  That is, his commitment to
magical equilibrium makes him completely alert so that he gives his
total attention to his experience.  
    A client works within the atmosphere of trust with a therapist. 
There he discloses and talks about what he feels and his experiences
with the past.  The therapist, if only by listening, offers the client
protection and understanding.  
  But the magician internalizes this process within himself.  The
client may return again and again over years to talk with the
therapist about conflicts which remain unresolved in himself.  But
the magician brings the full force of his magical concentration and
psychic intuition to bear upon whatever aspect of his inner life he
focuses upon.  It may also take the magician many years to resolve
his inner conflicts, but he has the advantage of having an entire
divine hierarchy of spirits to assist him.  They amplify his intuition
and grant him many insights based upon the wisdom they possess. 
   The alchemist starts with the darkest, most impenetrable material. 
This is what he works upon to attain his elixir of life.  And the
individual who becomes enlightened must in the end have a final
encounter with the lord of all demons.  It is the darkest and most
incorrigible which comes forth to certify whether or not you have
attained absolute freedom--whether anything remains which can
obstruct you.  
   Part of the task of developing magical equilibrium, therefore,
involves becoming acquainted with your own shadow.  You get to
know yourself extremely well.  You are always alert to observe your
own behavior, thoughts, and feelings.  One individual I know who
has her own temple and order has appointed an individual in her
lodge to act as an advocate for what she may be denying or
repressing.  She has given the shadow a permanent role to play. 
The other individual's job is to insure that this woman's conscious
mind has taken into consideration all factors which are relevant to
her decisions. 

The Shadow in Magick

Those who undertake inward journeys of exploration will encounter
a darkness within.  They may think that their goal is to ascend into
the light. But the moment they close their eyes and journey within
they are also going downward into the unconscious.  
    This is because the higher light embraces all that exists.  It denies
nothing. It is omniscient and omnipresent.  It knows everything and
it is everywhere and within everything.  It is only a fool who thinks
he can lay hold of and command part of the human spirit at the
expense of shunning other parts.  The inner self is a whole.  It does
not tolerate for long separation or division.   
   Therefore, on an inward journey, the individual will pass
doorways which are locked and gates which are sealed.  He will
move past forms of life which appear dead or dying.  But, like the
conscious self,  these personal, collective, and ancient desires and
longing wish to survive.  The secrets of the ancestors and the hidden
pain and sorrow buried for ages has a claim on those who pass by. 
These things wish be alive again, to flourish and to expand, so that
nothing within them is denied.  They wish to be reborn and to be
transformed, to be healed or to be reunited with the whole so that
they find that place where they rightfully belong. 
   Part of a spiritual process, then, is to be aware that in your
journey you will reawaken your forgotten hopes and dreams.  And
the pain and fear which are buried with you will come forth again
seeking to be healed and to be changed.  Within us there are desires
so stifled and repressed that when they emerge they appear as
demons.  They is no hope or anything positive within them.  They
are so ravenous and in pain that they destroy whatever they touch.  
   As in the story of the apprentice magician who inadvertently
evokes a demon, the spirit appears and then asks, "For what purpose
have you called me?"  We have desires within us which have no
avenue of expression in our world.  Some of the desires within us
are our own.  Some are those which our parents and line of
ancestors have never been able to satisfy for centuries or ages.  And
so they are handed down to us as part of our tradition or culture as
liabilities carried forth from the past into the present.  Some desires
predate the human race by billions of years.  
     If you are receptive and open to what is within you, if you
journey far enough, these desires will appear and you had best be
prepared to give a very good answer when they ask you, "For what
purpose have I been awakened again into life by the echo of your
feet, by the light in your eyes, by the warmth of your body, and by
the touch of your soul as you pass by?"  
    For a magician, it is absolutely essential to develop an
identification with the highest light.  It is the basis for the mage's
authority. It is what defines his acts, his purposes, and his goals in
life.  If you are within an unknown realm on the inner planes, you
never want to give the impression that you are lost or confused. 
This invites whatever you encounter to offer you assistance by
taking over your life and making decisions for you.  
      Whether in trance, contemplation, or meditation, then, a
magician develops an extremely strong tie to Divine Providence in
its power aspect of omnipotence.  The magician seeks to be
sovereign lord over the components of his inner psyche.  He seeks
to direct at will the power they contain.  And he seeks to understand
and penetrate them so completely with his consciousness that they
are more than willing to obey his command.  
    The magician also has a shadow since he has a personality. 
There is no question about it.  But the magician finds it much more
easy to work creatively with his shadow.  The shadow loves being
associated with someone who can hear and respond in new ways to
everything it has to say.
   The magician as a magician, however, has what we could call a
cosmic shadow.  This darkness, which is the opposite of himself, is
the entire hierarchy of demons.  In the Bardon system, for every
positive spirit, there is a negative counterpart.  The auras of negative
beings are darker than the auras of the positive spirits.  Lower astral
entities which possess people and which priests seek to exorcise
through their various rituals are not a particular problem for a
magician.  It is the higher demons he runs into and which show up
on occasion to see what he is doing.
    These negative beings have important jobs in the universe.  From
the point of view of Saturn,  both the positive and negative spirits
serve to assist human growth and development.  To work with the
49 Judges of Saturn, (See my essays on Finding Saturn in Yourself)
you need to have internalized in yourself an absolute commitment to
attaining enlightenment or total cosmic freedom.  The worlds of
form exist as a training field in which we can experience and then
master all aspects of life.  It is wise if we understand that life is
imbued with this purpose.
   The negative spirits tend to tie individuals to the denser planes of
form.  They will offer all manner of gifts, psychic and even spiritual
powers, as long as you do not seek to grow beyond their domain of
authority and power of reach.  To be free of them, you have to do
exactly what you would have needed to do anyway if you wished to
penetrate the sphere of Saturn--make an absolute commitment to
becoming completely enlightened and to embodying cosmic
   The negative spirits will so entrap individuals and tie them into
specific limiting situations through which they are unable to grow
that these individuals will eventually listen to their conscience.  Their
conscience will remind them that life is sacred and holy.  Any price
is worth paying to let the indescribable beauty which is in every
aspect of life to shine within them.  When individuals arrive at this
realization, the negative beings have fulfilled their hidden purpose. 
These negative beings no longer have any significant spiritual
influence over those who turned toward the light from within their
    Bardon does not mention this danger about demonic visitations in
his first book. In his second book, however, The Practice of Magical
Evocation, he refers to the example of a reincarnated magician who
has in a former life worked with negative spirits.  The same negative
entities will with real cunning seek to visit the individual in a new
incarnation if and when he chooses to practice magick.  
    I think there is more going on than this.  I suspect that for many
genuine magicians negative spirits will show up early on in their
practice, even at the very beginning.  This is not inappropriate from
my point of view.  The Bardom system, with its full disclosure of
the means and ways to master divine power, requires, again, an
absolute commitment to serve Divine Providence.  The level of
power is so great that in even minor ways the magician is already
rubbing shoulders and walking with divine purposes in everything he
    I do not mean to scare anyone away from practicing Bardon.  I
would point out, however, that I have met a few individuals who
have felt very powerful dark influences enter their lives soon after
they began working with Bardon's system.  With such a challenging
system of magick, it helps to be a strong individual who is living a
healthy and balanced life.  It also helps to have great courage and
mental clarity.
   The problem is that some individuals feel ok about themselves. 
They are in a mental and emotional space of sufficient promise and
optimism that they are ready and willing to take on a challenging
system of magick.  But as they work with Bardon, as they enter into
profound meditations which are in every chapter of his first book,
they open themselves up to dark forces within their unconscious. 
When you are in deep meditation, you are no longer protected by
the order of the natural world or the traditions of your society and
religion.  And these dark forces are stronger than the insight and will
power some individuals have their disposal.  This can result in
feeling overpowered at times by these negative powers.  The
wounds from such encounters may last a life time unless you
manage to work your way past these dangers. 
    On the other hand, had these individuals not worked with
Bardon, this kind of darkness in many cases would not have entered
their lives.  From my perspective, it is important for a community of
magicians to make available resources which enrich the magical
path.  I think individuals should feel free when they face difficulties
in their practices to stop and take as long as they need to expand
their knowledge at their current level before moving on.  
   For every problem, there is a solution.  For every difficulty, there
is a way of working through it.  For myself, I usually just need to
find the right meditation and then my own personal problem or the
problem I am working with other individuals dissolves.  Some times
it takes me many years to find the right meditation which solves the
problem, but I have a lot of confidence about being able to find
what I am looking for.
      Demons monitor unusual acts of will.  This is their job.  They
want creative will to be tied to the physical world.  Like many
individuals I have known, demons get extremely jealous when they
see someone near them acting with freedom and living with a beauty
which they have not found in themselves.  
   Echotasa, the 16th head of the lunar zone, specializes in magical
authority, magical protection, and shows the magician how to gain
control over negative beings in the lunar sphere.  He pointed out to
me that the best way to ward off negative beings is to unite with
your guardian angel or your inner spirit.  In the end, this is the only
sure way to be free of negative influence.  From this perspective,
negative energies or beings show up as a reminder to you to unite
with the highest light within you.  
   (See my separate essay on Negative Spirits).

A Ritual of Initiation for Bardon Magicians

Eralicarision, 23 degrees Leo of the earthzone, specializes in those
universal forms of initiation which are present to some extent in all
religious systems.  He is very good at articulating the nature of
initiation in terms of the attitudes and turning about of perspective
which spiritual paths entail.  I asked him for his thoughts on the kind
of initiation a Bardon magician might consider at the beginning of
his training.  His response is for the individual to express words and
explore images of the following nature to clarify his spiritual
    Obviously, for each individual the imagery is different.  We are
all of us unique.  What I see or receive from Eralicarision is of an
individual walking into a temple which he imagines on the inner
planes.  This is perhaps the temple of Solomon.  In any case, it is
huge with mammoth stone pillars, stone floors, and stone walls.  It
embodies incredible wealth or else it can be completely bare and
empty.  This is for you to discover according to your own sense of
what represents the sacred.
    As you walk toward the center of the temple, you notice the great
silence which the temple exists to enshrine.  It is the silence which is
sacred and holy.  It is the silence which contains the wisdom of the
ages and all those powers which the master magician is able to
    The silence is the depths of the heart and the Soul of the Earth. 
This silence is not empty.  You sense within it the minds and the
hearts of all enlightened beings, of all the great masters of magick
and cosmic wisdom who have ever existed on our planet.  
   And now, opening yourself to this silence, you make an offering
to it and you receive in turn a gift from it.  What treasure of life and
spirit do you have or can you offer as a commitment to this silence? 
What have you been or done which allows you to feel at home in
this place?  And how will you take this silence and use it to
transform your life?
    Perhaps you will see an individual appear to you who asks you
these questions and to whom you give your response.  Perhaps you
will hear these questions within your own soul and heart.  Perhaps
you will return again at another time or, as a ritual, every so often or
whenever you need to renew your vision and the power of your
quest.  Perhaps one by one you will greet the great teachers who
have walked the earth and each of them in turn will offer you a gift
according to the level of your commitment and the nature of your
   The commitment Eralicarision envisions for Bardon magicians is
summarized in these words which you may wish to speak aloud
within the temple of wisdom: 
"May the work I perform in training to be a magician serve the
highest light of Divine Providence.  May divine justice, fair play,
and harmony shine through and within all that I do.  May the words
I speak, the breath I breathe, the light in my eyes, and the love in my
heart transform the world around me.  May my path be anointed
with Divine beauty. 
    "May all who enter my life see divine peace reflected through me. 
May the truth of the universe, the mystery of creation, the light
which sustains and shines within every created being use me as its
servant.  May my will be so perfected that in the end there is no
distinction between the satisfaction of my desires and the work of
Divine Providence on earth."

(See also my pathworking for a similar vision which I wrote while
working with Alosom, a earthzone spirit in Sagittarius who
specializes in silence).

Negative Conscience

Another interesting difficulty for those who engaged in inner plane
work involves what I call having a negative conscience.  Part of
magick involves opening your heart and mind to your higher
intuition.  That is, you become sensitive to akasha.  You sense what
is wholesome, healing, guiding, inspirational, and wise.  You sense
what the best course of action is and your conscience informs you
of what choices create the most harmony over the long run.
   There are times, however, when an individual may find that his
inner voice is not functioning well.  It is not a good guide. Following
it produces bad results.  It produces discord, undermines your
ideals, and leads you into dangerous and compromising situations. 
It causes you to take advantage of others and to respond not with
wisdom but with agendas which you later on consider to be out of
character and inappropriate.
    A temporary lapse in conscience can result, for example, from
coming under the influence of a powerful thoughtform.  This
thoughtform may belong to an organization such as a religion or
group to which you belong or it even may be produced by another
    In any case, the thoughtform blocks your access to your higher
intuition.  When you look inward, it is the thoughtform which
speaks and not the still voice within your heart.  For this reason, a
magician seeks to master the mental plane so that he screens out
mental vibrations other than the pure source of what he seeks.
   However, there is another more pernicious and forceful kind of
thoughtform or imbalance which occurs for some individuals.  If
they have been engaged in powerful negative actions in past lives,
especially magical ones, then their conscience or higher intuition
may be to some extent damaged.  
   If they seek inner guidance, it is the powerful akashic negative
magical presence which speaks to them.  In effect, it is the magical
authority and purposes developed in a former incarnation which is
active.  This result has been produced by their own karma.  Some
individuals will give into this conscience and follow its negative
suggestions.  Others, however, will resist.  These individuals have
developed their own personalities in this life time and do not wish to
embrace some dark force no matter how central it may seem to their
inner life. 
   In this case, individuals often will completely avoid inner plane
work.  The inner planes are off limit.  They will instead almost
always work through established religions, organizations, or well-
developed systems of philosophy and ethics.  They do this so that
the external environment can guide and assist them in place of
relying upon an inner light.
    Some individuals are so powerful as former black magicians or
power brokers that they are permitted to incarnate only as long as
they place themselves under other individual's authority.  In effect,
they are on probation.  They are not permitted to act freely and
choose their own course of actions in life.  They must stay within
carefully defined circles of influence.  Otherwise, the terms of their
incarnation are suspended and they may die suddenly.
   When we discuss magick, therefore, from time to time we may
encounter individuals who not only prefer but who are obsessed
with working with organizations and magical lodges, etc.  They can
not function without that external support from their environment. 
They in fact require constant feedback from others at all times when
they undertake inner plane work.  When they act outside of the rules
set up by their group or organization or religion, they may become
very malicious.  
   On the other hand, it is indeed a vast enterprise to attempt to
explore the inner planes on your own.  The astral and other planes
are full of vast uncharted domains which have very little to do with
human culture or civilization.  For this reason, even very skilled
magicians often will attach themselves to various aspects of the
physical plane.  They will limit their magical actions and only use a
tiny amount of the spiritual and psychic resources they could in fact
draw upon if they so desired.  Journeys to the inner worlds, if only
to seek guidance and illumination, remain too threatening.  
   Akasha, the realm of pure light, does not stop with the aura of our
planet earth.  Akasha extends to the ends of the universe.  It is a
positive thing to appreciate the vastness of our universe both in its
physical and its spiritual aspects.  And it is helpful to understand our
own limitations, the boundaries which protect us from the unknown
and dangerous.  It is another thing to repress your fear of that
vastness by blindly attaching yourself to beliefs and customs which
are arbitrary and have little real meaning in your life.  
   This kind of fear or negativity again shows up on the mental
plane.  An individual may defend himself from the vast void he
senses within by binding himself to rigid beliefs, doctrines,
philosophies, and thoughts which serve as his signposts and taboos. 
These signposts say, "Do not venture beyond the reaches of correct
doctrine, belief, and interpretation.  Beyond the point of correct
doctrines lies monsters which no man is able to fight."   In other
words, you will discover a blind, irrational fear behind their beliefs. 
Their self-imposed limitations protect them from the unknown. 
    The remedy for this situation of mental attachment and rigidity is,
as with the initiation I suggested, to respect the power of inner
silence.  Develop a mind which can observe, listen, contemplate,
and sense without having to use thoughts as its primary mode of
action.  A truly silent mind is open enough to feel at ease reflecting
the universe within itself.  It is a place where light is free to appear
or disappear.  This is the domain through which flows a love which
has no beginning or end.  For this reason, inspired from this source,
the mind is beyond all fear. 

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