Road to Peace
While there are many roads to peace, we offer an unusual event called ShadowDance.
ShadowDance is a contemporary ritual based on ancient principles.
ShadowDance harnesses the momentum of group movement to bring shifts in energetic fields near and far, in service to individual transformation, with potential effects at the community, national, and planetary levels.
Rather than polarizing on one side of a conflict, we embrace both sides.
As Carl Jung said, "Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves."
Entering the Spirit of ShadowDance
In ShadowDance, we recognize that both sides of a conflict reside within ourselves.
World history has overflowed with disagreements and battles. We can continue along the same path we’ve always followed, each side entrenched in its point of view—“You’re wrong, I’m right, let’s fight.”
Or we can try a new way—we can shift our consciousness to embrace both sides.
In ShadowDance, movers embody the energy of opposites—conservative and progressive, racist and liberal, misogynistic and supportive of womankind. We contain—we own—both the side we agree with, and the side we disagree with.
We begin by dancing energies that are familiar to us, energies that feel as comfortable as old shirts. Then we dance the opposite, the shadow.
Very often we hide strength and power in our shadow.
What is the Shadow?
Qualities that we disagree with, that we condemn in others, comprise our “shadow.” The shadow is the side of us that we think we should never be. It is the extreme opposite of who we think we are. We hide our shadow from others. The shadow is our "disowned self."
The first ShadowDance was in the U.S. in 1994. Since then ShadowDances have been held in Germany, Italy, and Estonia.
Our shadow is carried by those we call “enemy.”
Whatever we judge in another person gives us clues to our shadow: greed, crude behavior, secrecy, to name a few.
The shadow is a natural, integral part of the human psyche. The psyche, like all human existence, is made up of opposites. Opposites are built into our bodies: right hand/left hand, right foot/left foot, right nostril/left nostril. Opposites are built into nature: day/night, summer/winter, mountain/valley. Opposites are built into our spatial orientation: up/down, in/out, backward/forward.
So, too, our psyche is based on opposites. Hence, the shadow is fundamental to our existence. It is not wrong.
Love Is NOT the Answer
Our enemies carry our shadow.
Some people say that the best attitude to take toward the enemy is to love them. But love is NOT the answer…unless we are talking about loving the shadow qualities people carry, and finding those energies within ourselves.
If we become more and more loving, the opposing person or group will become even more polarized.
Whatever we do not claim in our own psyches must play out around us—in our families, our communities, and our world.
Holding opposite energies in ourselves requires a high and challenging level of consciousness.
A Few Shadow Energies
~ both sides have value ~
Concerned for Others
Follow the Rules
Prim and Proper
Concerned for Self
Men are Superior
The Magic of ShadowDance
ShadowDance offers several profound gifts:
First, movement lets us experience the shadow through our bodies. When we’re trying to get in contact with shadow energies, they can be difficult to access. How does a “nice, open-minded” person find the “mean, narrow-minded” energy within? And vice versa.
Rather than do this intellectually, movement makes these challenging shadow energies more accessible. We turn a smiling face into a menacing grimace. We transform pleasant hands into flailing fists. Or morph a gentle walk into a military march. We embody the shadow.
Second, the power of dance magnifies energetic shifts.
While an individual doing their own inner work can shift energies to a certain extent, group movement amplifies these shifts a thousand-fold.
Third, we reach the larger sphere beyond ourselves.
The boundary of the dancing space expands beyond the walls of the room and extends as wide as imagination can carry it—beyond the personal and out into our relationships and our communities. With intention, ShadowDance affects the energies of our neighborhoods, our states or provinces, our world.
As each dancer touches the shadow energies within, it is as if we are reaching an arm up into the larger sphere. We pull a portion of that energy out of the larger sphere and swallow it—in effect, siphoning off a portion of that energy by drawing it into ourselves. By owning the energy in ourselves, we are literally taking that energy out of the larger sphere. Because of the nature of the unified field, with intention we shift energies beyond ourselves.
Distance is Not a Factor
What is fascinating is that this shift of energies can occur over distance.
For example, I (Judith) did inner work with a man who lived in Hawaii. The man was estranged from his son, who lived far away on the mainland.
Father and son had not spoken for a year.
The father was identified with business power; the son, with the artist’s life. Each carried the shadow of the other. They were completely polarized.
In the session, the father discovered within himself the artistic proclivities that his son carried. The father felt these qualities, embodied them, saw their good aspects rather than judging them as he had done before.
That’s all the father did.
Out of the blue, the next day the son phoned his father, wanting to talk and connect for the first time in a long time.
This energetic shift occurred over hundreds of miles. Distance was not a factor.
Dance Is More Powerful
Than We Imagined
Some things we know in our bones.
This I know:
the joy of being in a moving body
gloriously propelled by music,
blaring or lilting.
Dance can also be
beautiful to behold,
moving bodies telling stories
or presenting abstractions.
Or dance can be
waltzes and jitterbugs.
But beyond these, there is a MAGIC of dance
that moves energies
penetrates layers and dimensions of reality,
pulling on the strands of the energetic web
of the quantum world.
Power beyond imagining
Tribal peoples know this as they dance to bring rain.
We can harness the profound power of dance
The Gift of Owning the Shadow
When we own the opposite within ourselves, this shifts the energetic balance. It frees the other side to own their shadow as well, often opening the door to empathy and resolution of disagreements, in surprising ways. If liberals gather together and begin to find within themselves the opposite conservative energy, conservatives will be freed up to carry some of the liberal energy. And vice versa.
If you want to read a bit more:
The Levels We Affect in ShadowDance
One-on-one Relationship Level
Relationships are energy systems, and they seek balance.
In any relationship, the two parties have certain energies in common, and they have other energies that are diametrically opposed, such as: neat versus messy, talkative versus quiet, playful versus serious, rational versus emotional. When one person is neat and the other is messy, they get into arguments, each one thinking they are right and the other is wrong. Stalemate.
Each carries the shadow of the other. Messy (which may actually be a more Relaxed or Carefree energy) is the shadow of the neat person. Neat is the shadow of the messy one. Yes, the shadow can be a very positive thing!
In all relationships, opposing energies are always at play. Yet, rather than follow the usual path of polarization—"I’m right, you’re wrong"—we take a whole new stance: we embrace the opposing qualities within ourselves. This stupendous act frees the other side to own their own shadow as well.
When one member of a relationship decides to own a little bit of the other person’s energy, in a fascinating turn, the other person shifts to their own opposite energy, often opening the door to empathy and resolution.
Let’s say the person who’s very neat says, “Okay, I’m going to find the messy energy within myself.” That doesn’t mean they have to transform their office into a disaster zone. They can “taste” a little of the energy by acknowledging their own capacity for this messy energy.
When they do, their partner, who was previously messy, may all of a sudden start to get neater. It’s not that the messy person decides to be less messy. Rather, the energy shift created by their partner gives them space, energetically, to get neater.
When one person picks up some of the opposing energy, the other person is free to do likewise. No words may have been spoken. It is simply a natural recalibration and rebalancing of the energies within the closed energy system of the relationship.
Expand the idea of relationship from two individuals to two large groups, and you have group shadow. This is the shadow that occurs between cultural entities, religious factions, political parties, and warring nations. Democrats and Republicans hold opposite energies. Urban and rural dwellers hold opposite energies. Even countries hold opposite energies and can be thought of in the same way.
In ShadowDance, instead of reacting against different ideologies, we step into—we embody—the opposing points of view. We hold these alongside our own. We expand our consciousness to embrace both sides.
Rather than turning the “other” into our enemy, we can do something stupendous. We can find their opposing energy within ourselves. The Democrat finds the Republican within, and vice versa. The Urbanite finds the Farmer within, and vice versa. Hard work. But life-changing.
We do not need to become the shadow in our real life. The Liberal does not need to become a Racist, or vice versa. We only need to feel the opposite energy, acknowledge it, get a glimpse of its value. For every energy has value.
Psychoanalyst Carl Jung coined the term “collective unconscious” to refer to the vast psychic territory shared by all of humanity. While we can’t actually see it or physically touch it, the collective is a field of energy that exists, shifting and evolving throughout time as it responds cumulatively to the feelings and actions of all of us.
Group movement in ShadowDance can affect the collective.