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Shadow Vows in Marriage and Friendship with Elizabeth Èowyn Nelson, PhD

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Shadow Vows in Marriage and Friendship with Elizabeth Èowyn Nelson, PhD

Friday, March 12, 2021 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Zoom teleconference
Seattle, WA
Sponsored by: 
C. G. Jung Society, Seattle

The word “vow” conjures images of two adults promising to love and cherish each other for better and for worse. Yet accompanying every spoken vow is an unspoken shadow vow that arises out of partly-conscious assumptions and needs, desires and fantasies. Both vows and shadow vows actively shape the persons’ lives because profound relationship is where activated complexes come home and individuation gets real.

Vows are sacred and demanding expressions of the Self. They are the basis for, and the enactment of, one’s deep-rooted ethical stance in the world. This lecture explores love, power, and the commitments we make in marriage and friendship. When conflict arises, which it inevitably does, how will we respond? Will we remember Jung’s words that “conflict is proof of the rightness of your life” and have the courage to be a worthy, loving opponent? As Jungians know, confrontation with the shadow is never-ending, and how we treat our most intimate others reveals who we are, not who we think we are.

This lecture invites participants to pause and look at where they are investing time and energy, which commitments they strive to keep every day, and how their vows to one relationship often live uneasily with their vows to another. Articulating vows and shadow vows can help us understand ourselves, the people we hold most dear, and the journey toward individuation.

2 CEUs available for $20. Go to separate Event listing 'NASW CEUs ONLY' to purchase.

Learning objectives

1. To learn Jungian theories of marriage and individuation.
2. To apply Jung’s theory of the Shadow to profound relationship.
3. To introduce the theory of Shadow Vows and their origin in personal and cultural complexes.

Speaker: Elizabeth Èowyn Nelson, Ph.D., faculty at Pacifica Graduate Institute since 2003, has been a professional writer and editor for more than 30 years. Dr. Nelson’s books include Psyche’s Knife: Archetypal Explorations of Love and Power (Chiron, 2012) and The Art of Inquiry: A Depth Psychological Perspective (Spring Publications, 2017), coauthored with Joseph Coppin. In addition to teaching and speaking internationally, she coaches aspiring authors across a variety of genres and styles. Visit her website at

Contact Person: 
Shirley McNeil
Phone Number: 
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