Using Shadow-Work in Self-Transformative Creative Practice

Here’s video of Carlos Ruiz Brussain’s presentation at the latest Trans States Conference – it was called Embracing the Dark Twin: Using Shadow-Work in Self-Transformative Creative Practice. It’s YouTube page states:

Embracing the Dark Twin: Using Shadow-Work in Self-Transformative Creative Practice In Jungian psychology, the shadow is the unconscious or unacknowledged part of a person that is excluded by the conscious side. Thus, it could be said that it represents the archetypal forces of darkness and evil; mainly because it is composed of uncivilised drives, repressed wishes, morally inferior impulses, obscure desires, infantile resentments, regressive fantasies, etc. These underdeveloped attitudes that spring from undifferentiated states of consciousness are generally rejected as irrational, immoral, unattractive, antisocial and they are substituted with other thoughts and actions that coincide with collective expectations: socially accepted values and patterns of behaviour, which, in turn, are consistent with the conscious principles that define the ‘persona’ (the mask one wears in social life that condenses the ideal aspects of oneself). However, the shadow should not be refused, as it is a powerful source of creative inspiration, renewal and intrinsic motivation. This paper explores how shadow-work could be utilised in creative practice. Drawing from C.G. Jung’s concept of the transcendent function, my approach basically consists in using negative feelings and memories as the starting point or prima materia that enables me to direct psychic energy from one level of consciousness into another. This flow of psychic energy is achieved by means of images loaded with affect that work as emotional containers, which eventually transform into new symbols. In order to lower defence mechanisms that allow the manifestation of raw psychic material, I employ techniques such as dreamwork, active imagination, shamanic journeying and ludic activities. I mainly use this method in painting, drawing, authorial illustration and creative writing, but I will also discuss how it could be applied to other creative fields.

Carlos Ruiz Brussain is an artist and a lecturer. His practice is in the fields of drawing, illustration, concept art and painting. He lectures in illustration, creative methodologies and creative techniques at ERAM Escola Universitaria-University of Girona (Spain). He is a PhD candidate at the University of Northampton. He holds a Master’s degree in Design from the University of Lincoln (UK) and a Postgraduate Diploma in Art Therapy from the University of Girona. Since 2012 he studies creative writing at Escuela de Escritura Ateneu Barcelonés. He is a member of the following associations: APIC (Associació Professional d’I·lustradors de Catalunya); the Teaching Innovation Network: Play and Learning (University of Girona); the research group Play and New Technologies Applied to Teaching Innovation (ERAM – University of Girona); ARAS (the Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism); and the Drawing Research Network. He is a board member of Monad: Journal of Transformative Practice. He is a practitioner of transcultural shamanism.

Frater Lux Ad Mundi

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