If it weren’t for...

Posed on 02 April 2016

  Everybody adores reading about their sign of the zodiac. There are few things more pleasurable than dwelling on oneself. Well, the good bits. When the astrological profile focuses on issues, shortcomings and lessons, suddenly it becomes less interesting. In fact, many people read only the good parts and ignore the rest. This is too bad, because however pleasant it is to dwell on those admirable character traits, it doesn’t achieve much.       Reading about challenges may not be a pleasant pastime. But there’s so much to be learned, and a huge amount of personal power, to be gained from exploring, understanding and – ultimately – embracing this less admirable, and sometimes more troublesome side.       Each sign has its own particular issue, what the psychologist Jung referred to as the “shadow,” the part that the individual in question will hotly deny as having anything to do with their character. It is, of course, easy to recognise this in others. And a challenge to spot it in oneself.       While each sign has its own strengths – and shadow – (see below), the clues for spotting it in yourself are universal. The clearest is when somebody or something inspires intense, if not just plan irrational, irritation or anger. Thus the title of this blog – “if it weren’t for.” That individual’s – or organisation’s – actions have ruined my day/are upsetting everybody/are just plain wrong. This is usually accompanied by a righteous feeling of personal virtue.       We all feel this way from time to time. This isn’t just about a petty irritation that vanishes as swiftly as it appears. It’s about somebody being seriously annoying. Causing the kind that inspires a good rant. Those feelings of irritation, and sometimes actual hatred, and can last for hours, days – and sometimes even years. The other identifying factor is your own absolute virtue. Total innocence. It is never your fault. Whenever this happens, it constitutes a wonderful opportunity to get to know your own shadow a little better. Initially, acknowledging can be galling. It’s much more fun to paint others as the villains in the piece. But in recognising the mechanism behind your won ire, there is freedom. To laugh at yourself, to learn to love the shadow side, and to allow others to be as they are – which is just as flawed as we are. Each of us.       As you read the list below, you’ll have fun recognising the shadow side of those you know. Recognising your own may not be as amusing. At first. But in doing so, you begin a journey to freedom from the anger, pain and confusion that not embracing this part of your nature causes.       Aries Strength: enterprising, courageous Shadow: lazy, selfish Taurus Strength: practical, generous Shadow: wasteful, greedy Gemini Strength: open-minded, inquisitive Shadow: rigid thinking, prejudiced Cancer Strength: nurturing, understanding Shadow: needy, self-centred Leo Strength: generous, inspiring Shadow: lazy, unbending Virgo Strength: creative, dutiful Shadow: critical, demanding Libra Strength: gracious, thoughtful Shadow: angry, rigid Scorpio Strength: focused, wise Shadow: fixed, blinkered Sagittarius Strength: zest for life, inquisitive Shadow: undependable, excessive Capricorn Strength: enterprising, organised Shadow: calculating, un-compassionate Aquarius Strength: humanitarian, innovative Shadow: selfish, inflexible Pisces Strength: visionary, intuitive Shadow: irresponsible, unreliable       Shelley von Strunckel ©