Shadow Self in Dreams

C: Hey! I’m Cecilia!

A: And I’m Amelia! This is 1800Dreamzz!

C: And that’s Dreamzz with two zz.

A: Cecilia… IT’S FALL!!!!

C: I’m so excited!!!!

A: Me too! I think we could agree it’s our favorite season? We have so much in store for you guys over the next few weeks! But wait - aren’t we a dream podcast?

C: Here’s the thing. We love fall. Not 100% dream related, but you know what helps give us good dreams?

A: Feeding our souls with things we love!


A: What have we got on tap?

C: All the things! I will start by saying that all of these events we are putting out are free, virtual, and available on our Facebook page. So last week I pulled a Joanna Gaines and decorated for fall, and this week Amelia is sharing her pumpkin carving prowess!

A: Aw thank you! I LOVED your video - it helped give me some ideas for decorating my own space! You’re also leading our free witchy paint night on September 30, and then in October we’ve got a cemetery walk on October 5th, fall/Halloween book recommendations with Milwaukee’s own Barby the Book Fairy on October 14, a pumpkin bake along with Halloween trivia on October 21st, and a virtual Halloween party on October 31st!

C: Free! Virtual! Spooky!

A: My three favorite words!

C: And we’ve got six weeks worth of scary dream topics to celebrate the season!

A: We’ve got magic, nightmares, haunted houses, and today we have…

C: Shadow Selves! Let’s do this!

A: Yess! Okay, what is a shadow self?

C: Buckle in, we’ve got some Psychology 101 coming at you! According to Jungian psychology, the shadow self is just the unknown part of your subconscious that your ego, which is your conscious mind, is not aware of. The J. M. DeBord Dream Interpretation blog describes Shadow as a personal blindspot.

Another of a shadow self description is this: “Inside everyone lurks a shadow. Behind the mask we wear for others, beneath the face we show ourselves, lives a hidden side of our personality. At night, while we lie helpless in our sleep, its image confronts us face to face.” Now we got this from a blog about shadow selves, but we couldn’t google verify that the quote was said by the person identified, but we really liked this quote, and we can say that we read it in Melissa Re Wellness.

A: It is a great quote!

C: If you liked that, wait for this one: The Complete Book of Dreams goes so far as to use a description in Plato’s Republic to describe Jung’s “Shadow” as such: “All of us, even in good men, there is a lawless wild beast nature which peers out in sleep.”

A: Rawr! So everyone has this untamed beast!?

C: If you want to refer to your shadow self as your beast, go right ahead. But yes, everyone has a shadow self! To be clear it’s not like Peter Pan who loses his tangible shadow and Wendy has to sew it back on him, it’s a loose term, literally, that just refers to these parts of you that you may not like, or that you would prefer to hide. That said, they can manifest as people, animals, or things in dreams.

A: Are shadow selves bad?

C: It depends on how you look at it! They’re not like a doppelganger, which is a person who looks just like you but you are not related, and meeting them foretells bad luck, or they may kill you! So again, shadow selves represent the things that you don’t like about yourself and that you feel like you need to hide.

According to Harley Therapy Counselling Blog, “...while for one person their shadow might just contain such classic elements as sadness, rage, laziness, and cruelty, you might also hide your personal power, your independence, or your emotional sensitivity.”

A: So your super power could be something you feel like you need to hide?

C: Or you may not see it as a superpower. What would you consider part of your shadow self?

A: *riff riff* weight, depression, anger, wild desire to perform! What about yourself?

C: *riff riff*

A: So how do shadow selves show up in your dreams?

C: We are often not aware of their presence, or we may see someone and just assume the person is ourselves without thinking twice. Also, it doesn’t just have to be you! Jung said, according to wikipedia, “The shadow's appearance and role depend greatly on the living experience of the individual because much of the shadow develops in the individual's mind rather than simply being inherited in the collective unconscious.” Meaning the shadow self is much more reflective of the dreamer’s personal symbolism as opposed to an objective explanation of universal symbols.

I do quickly want to talk about the collective unconscious because Jung claims that the Shadow is an inherent part of every person. Going back to The Complete Book of Dreams, Jung believed there exists “a part of the mind that contains a store of information common to all humans. This was his explanation for the fact that people from widely different cultures, from opposite ends of the Earth, can have dreams in which specific symbols occur and appear to have the same meaning.”

A: Which is a super cool concept!

C: Yes, and I think there is some real validity to these very human traits and it is interesting how the shadow itself is a part of the collective unconscious, but how the shadow self is represented is subjective to the dreamer.

Now I want to go back to an earlier source, the J.M. DeBord Interpretation blog. The title of this particular article is - “Shadow Dreams: Everyone Has a Dark Side.”

A: Ooooh I’m sensing something problematic afoot.

C: Yes your spidey senses are right. It goes on to describe Shadow as the dark side of the ego, and it usually shows itself in dreams as a shadowy character. There’s more writing like this, and frankly it’s language like this that contributes to racism. Seriously, this is a thing. From an article published by Stanford University, “Anthropologist Samy Alim argues that the relationship between race, language and racism plays such a key role in reflecting and defining the way human societies are structured that it deserves study as a separate field, which he calls raciolinguistics.” (raiseeeohhhh)

A: Oh wow!! Yeah unfortunately, as we have said before, a lot of the dream dictionary sources tend to dial into the collective unconscious practically to the point of colorblindness. Like, yes these are all common dream themes, but it is indeed subjective to the dreamer, and the person’s racial identity will obviously influence their conscious and subconscious mind.

C: This got us thinking about other perspectives on these topics, and we found a lot of incredible sources. Unfortunately for time we cannot go through all of them today, but this gave us some great ideas for future and I want to throw a quick shoutout to Dr. Fanny Brewster. She is a Black woman and a Jungian psychologist, Writer, Rehabilitation Counselor and most recently an Interfaith Minister, according to her website. Her books include: African Americans and Jungian Psychology: Leaving the Shadows from 2017, Archetypal Grief: Slavery's Legacy of Intergenerational Child Loss from 2018, and The Racial Complex: A Jungian Perspective on Culture and Race from 2019.

(Affiliate link? Proceeds go to women's shelter? Love on Black Women?)

A: Wow! I can’t wait to read her work! I was just watching an interview with her on the YouTube discussing Archetypal Grief from 2018 - I really recommend! Okay so all of that said, let’s say we’ve identified a blurred stranger as our shadow selves in a dream - what should we do?

C: Once you’re able to identify this being as your shadow self in a dream, you’re a step ahead in doing some deep, personal, subconscious work. If a shadow self talks to you in a dream or asks a question, do your best to remember it when you wake up because then you can try your best to create a conscious conversation with them.

A: I think my two year old does that - her imaginary friends are Echo and Shadow. But this is great advice. Listeners, let us know if you have this conversation with your shadow self! And I know this isn’t the end of us talking about Shadow Selves and dreams, but it is for at least today.

C: Yes because it’s time for Part 2 of the show: I Had a Dream Once!

Part 2: I had a dream once!

A: Okay this is a shorty: “My dream was this weird marvel universe vs dc universe that was taking place at secret CIA base on the moon. I was just there, I think I was just a lowly technician on the moonbase when all hell broke loose. I don’t think I was scared, but I was trying to find safety and get out of the way. I should say I had been watching ‘The Boys’ on Amazon.”

A & C: *riff riff*

A: Well, that’s all we have for today!

C: We hope you enjoyed learning about shadow selves in dreams!

A: Stay tuned for next week when we talk about being chased in dreams!

C: Oooh yes! That is going to be such a good one because it’s scary AND super common, or part of the collective unconscious one might say!

A: And don’t forget to check out my pumpkin carving video on Wednesday September 23 or Cecilia’s LIVE paint night

C: You can also send your dreams to us at (with two zz’s!) And check us out on instagram and facebook. Sleep tight!