Find your inner gold

What if the best of yourself was still hidden waiting to be discovered?  Our survival programming can keep us from living our true potential. These are the times when we had to play small and bury our gold. Unable to see our positive potential we devalue ourselves. Robert Johnson, Jungian psychotherapist and author of Inner Gold, describes gold as ‘the highest value in the human psyche. It isn’t created but it does have to be discovered.’  In other words, our true nature, our divine spark and the gifts we are born with cannot be erased or dimmed. We lose touch with it. The good news is we can find our gold and allow it to shine in our lives in a way that benefits us and others.

What does your inner gold mean to you? Perhaps it means your creativity, sensuality, vulnerability or even your sexuality. What do you need to grow into now? What do you need to leave behind?

Often, we identify with our negative qualities or our dark side and repress our gifts, our gold. We all have a dual nature light and shade, and we all have an inner saboteur. We need to become aware of what part of ourselves might want to bury our true worth and gifts. Sometimes we bury our treasure so as not to make others uncomfortable or we were taught to be afraid of it. We then limit or resist our gifts and talents because it doesn’t feel safe to share them. Perhaps you’ve been resisting for so long, part of you doesn’t even believe it’s there.

Thankfully the psyche has ways of showing us the lost depths of our soul. Our dreams are a major source of information on our buried treasure. I’ve already talked at length about the importance of working with our dreams for personal development and releasing more of our true self in podcast number 6/7/8. Another way the psyche helps us see what we hide from is what Carl Jung called our shadow. Shadow is our alter ego, the Hyde to our Jekyll. It is basically everything we are unconscious of in ourselves. All the things we don’t want to see about ourselves. Projection is a psychological defence mechanism which keeps us from knowing the truth about ourselves by putting the issue out there onto someone else. It keeps the ego safe from knowing about our shadow side. We can only face in others what we can face in ourselves. So, ‘know thyself’ as Socrates so wisely said. When we react intensely to a quality in someone such as laziness or stupidity, sensuality or even spirituality and our reaction seems overwhelming with either loathing or admiration, that’s projection of our shadow. Again, I’ve talked about projection and shadow in my previous podcasts, particularly episode 1. A right relationship with our shadow offers us a great gift; it leads us back to our buried potential. And to a deeper connection with our soul.

Our undeveloped talents and gifts are hidden from us until we meet someone we look up to. Who do you admire? Why do you admire them? What qualities do you admire about them? This is your gold.

When I run retreats and workshops, most people think that doing the shadow work of owning their negative traits is tough, until they try reclaiming the opposite, their positive gold qualities. I regularly see people, particularly men, struggle to accept their capacity for vulnerability, kindness, compassion, or generosity. This is where the tears really flow as they acknowledge qualities in themselves that they haven’t allowed themselves to see. It is beautiful to witness.

We need to make these energy exchanges conscious. It is difficult and the ego resists. Again, as Robert Johnson says, ‘our gold has godlike qualities which is why we put it onto other people. We can’t handle its power.’ Owning our gold takes courage. The exchange of gold goes both ways when we fall in-love for example. This is mutual projection and of course at some stage, the rose-tinted lenses clear and we are faced with learning how to love the real person not a projection. There is a wise saying, if we don’t develop it, we’ll marry it. If we don’t integrate our sensitivity, anger or intellectual capacity out of fear, we will be drawn to people who compensate for our weaknesses or undeveloped traits.

To give a personal example, I learned to repress the gold of my femininity. As a father’s daughter, I identified with male strength and power. My sexuality and creativity were buried. This dream showed the root cause of the issue and how much I had healed.

Dream: Friday April 16 2021

Dreamt that I’m talking to my mum and dad. I want a serious conversation with them this evening. My dad slit the wrists of a baby girl. She has bandages around her wrists. She died. A woman is with me. I tell her that I now have this precious baby
girl and I am taking care of her. She says the baby girl is beautiful.


You can imagine how I felt waking up from that dream. For so long, I overvalued the masculine and undervalued the feminine. All of this was unconscious of course. I needed to reclaim my natural worth as a woman (cue Aretha Franklin!) and my sexuality. And, I needed to deconstruct the toxic masculine in my psyche and create a healthy creative masculine that supported rather than abused the feminine. This has been an ongoing process of healing for many years. Each cycle of healing reaching more deeply.

I projected my spiritual attributes onto male ‘gurus’ - priests, meditation teachers and therapists. My trust in them was often misplaced. I have raged against the Roman Catholic church’s refusal to ordain women for as long as I can remember. My rage of course held the solution. I was angry at myself for relegating the divine feminine, my spiritual authority as a woman to the dungeon, and elevating a male deity.

In my dreams, I was shown how to redirect the energy of my psyche towards greater freedom and creativity. In Singing Over the Bones, Clarissa Pinkola Estes says if you are too clean the beloved or divine, can’t find a way in. Reclaiming the divine feminine continued for many years. I was taught mainly through my dreams how to value the earthy feminine as divine, not the clean patriarchal sky path which dominates much of our spiritual teaching even today. When our feet are on the ground, we feel connected to the energy of the world, our vitality. When we connect with the lower part of ourselves, our base chakras, we can be in real relationship with others as well our humanity.

I have met too many ungrounded so called ‘spiritual ‘teachers where their body and soul are disconnected. They haven’t worked out their negativities, their ego defences and resistances and are bypassing emotionally and spiritually. Having lived for so much of my life disconnected from my body, I am only too aware of the dangers of spiritual bypassing. Our spiritual practice is rooted in real-life experiences not theology and abstract principles. Nor is our spiritual life divorced from our daily activities. Living separated from the world can be dangerous as we pursue a spiritual path. The world is our mirror. We need reality.

As a sign of how far I had come in recovering my feminine, I had a dream on  Saturday, 26th October this year where I found my thousand-year-old dress at the bottom of a well in the cathedral.

The symbolism of this dream fragment is significant. As I searched for symbolic information on both images, knowing it was clearly about the divine feminine, I discovered a book by Ira Progoff, called The Well and The Cathedral. He was an author that I already knew and respected yet, I hadn’t come across this book and here was my dream showing me those very same images.

Our inner work of course proceeds in cycles and is never linear. In twenty years of serious commitment to personal growth, I have healed and reclaimed many aspects of myself, particularly the feminine. Each time, a new level emerges, a more mature spirituality. But much had to be burned away, many false layers, a lot of very negative conditioning before I was able to reclaim a substantial amount of my gold. But as the saying goes, only those things that are fireproof are worth keeping. What can burn should burn.

When we reclaim our gold, we enrich ourselves but we also enrich the world. The world is in desperate need of a renewed humanity. What do you need to reclaim? What will you create as you uncover and develop your buried gifts?

Be brave and take back what rightfully belongs to you. Live your fullest life not a pale imitation. And remember, we are just passing through so take your inner work seriously but yourself lightly.

As Robert Frost captures so well in his poem: Nothing Gold Can Stay

Nature’s first green is gold
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down today.
Nothing gold can stay.

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