Sewing our shadows back on

In my article for Beltane, I explained the star story that underpins the play about Peter Pan. In it, I show the connection between Tinkerbell and Jupiter, who governs the metal tin, and the sign of Sagittarius. (This is all explained much more fully in Stories in the Summerlands).

But in brief, J. M Barrie’s Peter Pan represents the mythological hero at the stage of his journey around the Wheel when he tumbles down into the Underworld (the Never Never Land) of Sagittarius. The ticking clock inside the crocodile that is always pursuing him is Old Father Time, Saturn, who is the Alpha and Omega of the cosmic ouroboros serpent.

There, he has to meet and face his shadow side, or he will never be able to grow up into adulthood – in other words, ascend up the rungs of the alchemical Ladder of the Wise. So his spirit guide, the “tinker’s belle fairy”, encourages the human, Wendy Darling, to sew Peter’s shadow back on him again.

This is something I’ve been experiencing in recent weeks. It feels like my shadow side is somehow being “sewn back on again”. It’s like welcoming back an old friend, with the same emotions of relief and gratitude as when a lost child returns home – like one of Peter Pan’s Lost Boys.

I feel much more freed from the social pressures that caused me to gradually lose my shadow – or deny it – from an early age. I feel much more whole.

Interestingly, Peter Pan originally loses his shadow when a window slams shut on it, trapping him on one side and his shadow on the other. Surely that is a metaphor for the doors of perception being slammed shut by social conditioning?

The idea of the human being needing their shadow side in place if they are to function as a whole is also found in the notion of the Devil, who doesn’t cast a shadow or a reflection. The Devil is in the detail, as they say! Thank goodness for the wisdom of the ancestors, found in ancient myths, and thank goodness for the playwrights who keep the ancient, timeless Mystery Teachings alive.