This December finds us in a very strange liminal moment amidst the ongoing inflection point surrounding the US presidential election. That the election process remains unresolved is just one of the major challenges and tensions between polarized political, ideological and cultural fields, both locally and globally. Meanwhile, the holiday season is upon us and the traditional patterns of connection and celebration are in flux because of the global pandemic.
After so many months of social isolation and heightened cultural polarization, the holiday season has the potential to create many more stresses and traumatic experiences than what is normally experienced during this time. For many of us the past four years have already been very traumatizing, and much of the world has shared a collective trauma around the pandemic for most of the past year. These traumas can be seen as our individual and collective shadows, because they get buried in the darkness of our unconscious and then profoundly affect our behavior as individuals, groups, cultures and societies.
This process can be likened to the way the tides beneath the surface of the ocean can remain unseen but nevertheless affect the entire oceanic environment in profoundly powerful ways.
Many of us feel called to work with not only our own personal traumas, but also those of the culture and society as well. Media has a critical role to play in helping us to process these traumas because media acts as a mirror for our consciousness. Our individual and collective shadows are reflected in the shadows of the cinema, the shadows of the internet, and the shadows of the entire mediasphere. All of these combined make up the collective shadow of our collective self.
The mediasphere is deeply intertwined with this whole process as our source of collective information and expression. Through all our various media streams we receive, share and create information between each other, within and between our reality bubbles. Every new tweet, post, video and podcast has the potential to trigger new awarenesses -- or reinforce old biases. They can affirm our constructs of self, others and the world -- or challenge them. Overall, they reflect our individual and collective shadows, all at breakneck pace across multiple domains of our everyday existence.
Old norms are collapsing all around us, as polarization separates us from each other and distorts our perceptions. For many of us the world has become unstable and our sense of security and safety has been profoundly undermined.
For this month's Media Shaman Studio we will be exploring how we can use media to work with both our own personal shadow and the collective shadow, and how to understand and address the collective shadow that’s reflected in the mediasphere. This will include how to discern our individual and collective shadow material using individual media works and the collective mediasphere as mirrors for discernment. We will also explore some media-assisted shadow work practices in the creation, reception and sharing of media processes. Finally, we will try to identify various types of media content that can help us at this moment in our lives.
And, of course, for this holiday season we will be exploring how Christmas films can often put shadow work into the frame of a modern fairy tale, which enables them to tackle difficult themes with a certain detachment and a sense of optimism and hope.
Be sure to join us for our live discussion on Sunday December 20th at 12pm PT
Media Shaman Studio is a monthly in-depth public lecture and discussion series on the relationship between consciousness and media with host and facilitator, Mark Allan Kaplan, Ph.D and Jonathan Steigman. This series is offered for free and is open to all members of the Conscious Good Creators Network, the general public, and participants in our Media Shaman courses.