Meeting the Shadow on the Spiritual Path with Connie Zweig, Ph.D.

In every tradition, saints and poets speak of the soul’s search for the beloved, the seeker’s yearning for the divine, for the Self beyond ego. This holy longing is a secret feeling with many disguises, leading us to pursue a higher union in spiritual practice, religious discipleship, even romantic embrace. It guides us to timeless wisdom and transcendent experiences.

But it also can go awry when we project the divine onto a therapist, teacher, priest, guru, rabbi, or roshi who is all too human – who has unhealed wounds, undeveloped empathy, or authoritarian tendencies. In effect, a woman or man who has a shadow. If he or she abuses power– sexual, financial, or emotional coercion — we feel the shock of betrayal, our innocence lost, our faith destroyed.

Today, we have witnessed many contemporary teachers of Buddhist, Hindu Hasidic, Muslim, Catholic, and Protestant groups act out their shadows in destructive ways, leaving their followers traumatized and lost. But we may not have had the tools of depth psychology and spiritual shadow-work to help us recover and rekindle the flame of longing in our souls.

This presentation explores personal projection and archetypal transference, which can be applied in both the spiritual and clinical arenas. Based on Connie Zweig’s book Meeting the Shadow on the Spiritual Path, it explains why we are drawn to charismatic leaders, what we unconsciously give away to them, and how to reclaim it for our own treasury.

It extends the #MeToo movement into the spiritual arena.

Connie Zweig, Ph.D. is a retired therapist and coauthor of Meeting the Shadow and Romancing the Shadow. Her award-winning book, The Inner Work of Age: Shifting from Role to Soul, extends her work on the Shadow into midlife and beyond and explores aging as a spiritual practice. It won the 2022 Gold COVR Award, the 2022 Gold Nautilus Award, the 2021 American Book Fest Award, and the 2021 Best Indie Book Award for best inspirational non- fiction. Her new book, Meeting the Shadow on the Spiritual Path: The Dance of Darkness and Light in Our Search for Awakening, is available now. Connie has been doing contemplative practices for more than 50 years. She is a wife,
stepmother, and grandmother. After all these roles, she’s practicing the shift from role to soul.

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