In the life of every individual there comes a point when they have to face the shadow, the enemy within. This may take the form of a crisis in which the individual can act for better or worse. In the case of a domestic argument they can choose to shout at their partner or worse, or they can choose to seek appeasement between the parties. It is clear which is the better course of action but in the split second a decision is made and a route chosen for the future. It is not greatness which calls for louder voices but rather a sense of threat or fear. Feeling threatened the individual immediately seeks to retaliate against the perceived attack.
In the life of nations too the shadow will come forth. for some this shadow takes the form of the unemployed and the working class. Those who align themselves with the common good are dubbed troublemakers, whistleblowers and socialists. For the disenfranchised the threat is seen in terms of power versus the people. This is as old as Rome and perhaps older than that still. When Dennis Wheatley was writing in the 1950s on Magic and Mayhem he mentioned in one of his novels that Mayday was the day of Devil worship and thus all socialists, who celebrate May Day, were themselves, Devil worshippers and symbols of evil. He was living in a time when the threat of Stalinist Russia, which had already swallowed half of Europe, was a credible threat. However there is no doubt that Wheatley himself was a Freemason and well aware of the double sided interpretation of Pan, the oldest celebratory figure of Divine nature in Europe. On the one hand there is the Pan of chaos and pandemonium that lead the town to panic and destruction. On the other is the misunderstood Father of All who is unable to express the love he feels for with his subjects.
Pan belongs to an older creed than Christianity, older still than Roman times yet it is in Roman times that we find the first association of Pan with destruction and chaos. The celebration of Saturnalia was a time of revelry and celebration when the youths becoming men wanted to use their new found tool to best advantage. This is not the place to trace the history of the God Pan, or Faunus, or Baphomet, for they are synonymous and that must be left to another place. Rather it is to consider the nature of the shadow in society that we must concern ourselves here.
When Margaret Thatcher declared ‘society does not exist’ she defined herself as the shadow figure of society of the day. She was swiftly removed from power shortly thereafter. When those making laws and taking decisions which are inimical to society at large they have to be considered part of the shadow. It is not a political divide but a moral one. Those upholding self-interest and injustice in whatever form it takes are clearly acting from some other prompting than the social good. Justice is associated with Zeus as the Father of the Gods. All injustice is an offence against the very nature of the Soul itself. All of Nature cries out against injustice. The abuse of power, as when the troops from Waterloo were sent against the workers in Manchester, is an outrage against the nation.
In the individual it is the ego which is the shadow that demands its own satisfaction over and above the well-being of others. Yet it is not among the common people that we find the ego of a nation established.
When a government acts to provoke society into reaction and general unrest then we may say that it is acting under the influence of the shadow of the Nation. At such a time that government must be considered as serving as agents provocateur against the good of the nation as a whole. When, during the Civil war, the people in Britain declared their independence from the merchants and began to cultivate the common land, the forces of oppression were so incensed that they sent the troops to break up the peaceful holdings. Simply because individuals hold power does not mean they are the light and the ‘good’ of the Nation, nor even that they have the good of the nation at their heart. The likelihood is that they have used ambition and duplicity to work their way into positions of power from which they consider themselves to be immune to opinion and become heedless to the duties of the respectful and worthy leaders of society.
Among many indigenous people the path of spiritual awakening is recognised as an individual path, and one that the individual may choose or not. The basic tenets of ‘learn your lessons well and from all around you’ bite home to the individual as he or she walks their way. In the words of Ian Anderson ‘Question each man where he comes from, learn the lessons that they hold’. The distinction between the man and woman of the village and the spiritual warrior is not clearly defined among many indigenous people in the way that regalia and cultic practices display the social prestige of the individual following the masonic and similar paths in the West. Thus the arrogance that sometimes goes with holding a mace and wearing a chain of office is absent among those who follow a spiritual path that finds no need to declare itself publicly.
In the Tarot the figure of the Magician holds a wand. It is not impressive or large rather it is a baton, not a mace. Yet it is with this wand that the magician is able to measure the world. He uses it to guide himself, not to enforce his will upon the world. It is the symbol of his integrity, not of rank, status or authority.
Sadly the shadow is all too rife among those who progress along what they consider to be ‘the spiritual path’ but never learn that the spiritual journey begins with the self in relationship with all others, not merely those who tread the boards with oneself. Thus when Churchill discovered the underground during the Second World War, he would travel on it to test the waters of popular opinion regarding the war and his efforts within it. By reference to the common people he was able the better to guide this nation through its troubled times.
Those who consider themselves the Sun become blind to all the other lights in the sky and seeing only their small coterie of planets about them believe they see the universe. Such lights cast the greatest shadow, and often leave a legacy of calamity and destruction in their wake.