Last night during my usual period of insomnia, I went looking for the “hidden combatant” that I uncovered in my Active Imagination session yesterday afternoon. Of course, I found him very easily hiding behind an internal argument I was having with someone, I won’t say who. This time he was accepting of my discovery, expected it, and we set to work discussing his situation.
He wouldn’t show himself, always hiding behind someone else, and when I questioned him about this. He said that he doesn’t have a form, a face, and that I can’t look upon him directly. I asked if he was my “shadow,” as Jung describes the socially unacceptable part of our ego that we have rejected. In some ways, he is a shadow, he said, because light shines right through him, and in the dark, he blends in with the shadows. But still, he didn’t much care for that interpretation, told me not to get hung up on it, and said he is a shapeshifter, can take on many forms both male and female that only become visible through my imagined images of others. He also told me that he is a contrarian, and seemed proud of the fact. Every positive thought you ever had had, I have an opposing one, he said. And I don’t have a constraint that you operate by. I don’t care what’s write and wrong. Morality, he says and spits. Ethics disgust me. But he told me to not get hung up on this “shadow” and “contrarian” descriptions, he’s proud of his ambiguity, and he claims to be much more than that.
He is as egotistical as anyone I’ve ever met, and when I question him about being “much more,” he tells me that he is an adventurer. [He’s actually coaching me while I write this description of him to make sure I get him right, sort of an Active Imagination session within a description of an Active Imagination session.] He can lead me places, he claims, and now he’s boasting, again, places I should never go. He will lead me astray, take me to places where I’ll see things I should never see. And now he’s goading me on. This is all the stuff you really want to do, but have never allowed yourself. This is where you’ve relegated me all these years. He brings forward a horse, all bridled and saddled. Climb aboard, he says, and I’ll take you there, where you shouldn’t be. I see images of great violence, war, debauchery. I climb aboard the horse, feel the stiff leather saddle, take the reins in my hands, feel the live animal underneath me, between my thighs, and within my control. I feel the power of horse become mine, I feel the lure of what’s hidden in the darkness I see in the distance.
One more thing, he says. I don’t always tell the truth. A sudden fear ripples through me. I know I shouldn’t do this. I shouldn’t go off with this character. I’m beginning to think he’s Dionysus. This could unleash everything within myself that I’ve kept suppressed and hidden from the world. But then this is Carl Jung’s Active Imagination.