Take Off Your Mask

Last night was Halloween, and kids and grownups alike were in costume in search of the most delicious tricks and treats they could find. IMG00315

Halloween has its roots in a variety of spiritual traditions, but has become a largely secular holiday in the U.S.; it also is a season that invites people to let their trickster persona reveal itself. 

Carl Jung described the trickster as a shadow archetype, whose devilish charisma has the power to deceive, persuade, or seduce others. Some sources say the trickster has the ability to change genders, and during Halloween, the vampire is often seen as an expression of the trickster archetype.

Halloween gives us permission to don masks and costumes, to let our shadow personas come out and play. It is one thing to wear a mask in the spirit of play and magic; it is another thing entirely to live one's life wearing a mask, keeping your true self hidden from others for your own protection or selfish purposes. Jungian devotees would argue that everyone has a full repertoire of archetypes inside us that reflect both healthy and shadow qualities. 

Take some time to think about the various masks you might be wearing right now in your life. Perhaps you have cut yourself off from some of those archetypes that might be perceived as scary, threatening or unfamiliar. Think about the trickster, the hero, the fool, the healer, the mother, or other archetypes. How might you pay more attention to these internal archetypes in order to learn more about yourself? What mask do you wear in your everyday life that you might let go of in the spirit of greater authenticity?