090: Integrating Shadow Desires with Dr. Carolyn Elliot

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Welcome back to Tuff Love, with your host, Rob Kandell. The guest today is Dr. Carolyn Elliott who is a 6-figure online business strategist and witch, with a bodhisattva vow. She founded Witch Magazine to give voice and prominence to the subtle witching in the world that’s not confined to tradition and convention. She uses it to teach Influence, the life-altering course on mastering practical magic. She runs a multi-6 figure online business specializing in helping people achieve dramatic positive change in their lives through shadow integration practices and applied occult philosophy. She’s also the author of cult favorite creativity book, Awaken Your Genius, which is based on the dissertation she wrote while getting her PhD in critical and cultural studies at the University of Pittsburgh. She also co-hosts the Grit and Grace podcast, with her partner Taia Kepher.

Rob and Carolyn have a fascinating discussion about practical magic, shadow desires and accepting yourself deeply:

  • A witch is somebody who actively cultivates a relationship with the unconscious—the world of dreams, symbols, desires that we’re usually not aware of—and uses that relationship to make things happen in the world.
  • Carolyn really struggled the first decade of adult life being poor, really low wages. She had to realize that she had an unconscious desire for scarcity and when worked on that unconscious desire using methods, situation changed very dramatically, as if by magic, and indeed that’s what magic is.
  • The Ancient Greeks called it thaumaturgy, which is all about aligning your conscious will with your unconscious will. Most people have divided wills. We say we want one thing but actually we want another. When your whole being only wants one thing it’s easy to make that thing appear.
  • It did take Carolyn some months of concentrated focus but she’d say on balance that isn’t a lot of work compared to living her whole life with those scarcity limitations.
  • We often have a viewpoint that we have to work hard to change something, which is part of the scarcity mindset. It’s a trick of the mind. You can change your viewpoint in a millisecond if you have the desire.
  • Carolyn began this journey in a OneTaste workshop and somebody said ‘having is evidence of wanting.’ It really resonated with all of stuff Carolyn had read while getting her PhD, like Jungian and Freudian psychology etc.
  • At first she was resistant to the idea. She was broke and on the surface didn’t want that. But as she sat with the idea, she could clearly see there was an underground part of her that really loved the drama of not having money, and being a ball of emotional trouble.
  • Carolyn recognized that if she gave herself permission to feel the pleasure of what she was creating, that frees her to create something different.
  • The proper viewpoint was written by Vic/Rick Baronko Moore University : true intention is demonstrated by attainment. What that means is, if you want to see what you want, look at what you have.
  • The main practice Carolyn uses and teaches is existential kink. It’s based on the idea that there are lots of painful things in life, like being broke, and we can give ourselves permission to get off on those things instead of hating and shaming ourselves for having those painful things be present. Just like in BDSM, in sexual scenarios, they give themselves permission to take pleasure in things like being chained, flogged and things that ordinarily one doesn’t want to happen.
  • The reason people are more easily able to enjoy that in BDSM is that they’ve set up a container and made a choice. But in life, many times we don’t have a choice. Things happen to us and we feel the victim.
  • Existential kink is not only a meditative practice but a strong invitation to step into the imagination that we have that maybe this is a game that we’re playing, even the most painful things that we’re experiencing.
  • Pain, pleasure, it’s all sensation. It’s our interpretation of it that decides whether a sensation is painful or pleasurable.
  • Start by using the principle of ‘true intention is demonstrated by attainment.’ Use that statement and have a look at your life, and ask, ‘What’s happening here that I don’t want?’
  • Carolyn believes our partners always fulfill our unconscious desires and our true intentions, but they don’t necessarily fulfill our conscious desires, i.e. they always respond to the underlying thing that you are desiring.
  • The next thing you have to do is give permission to the fact that you have this desire. Pour honor onto that desire that has been pushed into your unconscious by your denial of it.
  • The interesting thing about the unconscious is that it’s the creative, generative part of us. So anything that’s pushed into the unconscious will actually create results in our lives much more intensely than our conscious mind will.
  • The third step is to enjoy the fulfillment of these forbidden, taboo desires. By giving permission to these desires and enjoying their fulfillment, we’re making these unconscious desires conscious.
  • What Rob is hearing is, take responsibility. It’s a big jump and Carolyn says the way to get there is to practice it every day. She recommends setting aside 30 minutes every day to look at something you think you don’t want in your life and gently, humorously, find the part of you that likes that.
  • When you approve of and enjoy your shadow desires, they lose their ability to create. Shine the line and let it dissipate.
  • The shadow desires in intimate relationships are a little more complex because they involve two people’s stuff, but once you really do give yourself full permission, it lifts.
  • For Carolyn, in her journey, after she found some lightness and permission of her scarcity desire, inspiration came to her very easily of tangible things that she could do that would change her financial situation.
  • The main thing that magic does is change your perception so that we see possibilities and opportunities that were always in front of us, but that we were blind to previously.
  • This process is part of shadow integration. Jung said that the shadow is all of the desires that we have that we don’t want to admit to having. When we’re doing this excavation work and being willing to see what we really do want, we can own that and accept that as part of our being instead of being victimized by it.
  • When we can see that we’re having our desires meticulously fulfilled, and we’re blessed, our identity changes. We become more whole, we have a united will and we can be more effective in the world.
  • The term witch has a bad connotation. For Carolyn, it’s a huge feminist issue. Hundreds of thousands of women were burnt at the stake in the middle ages as witches. Men too, but mostly women. Calling women witches, it’s basically a name for a powerful woman that you don’t like and want to destroy because she’s more powerful than you are in some regard.
  • The word witch can apply to somebody of any gender who is magically empowered, working with their unconscious or shadow.
  • For Carolyn, all powerful people who do the shadow work and are in touch with their feminine sides are witches, whether or not the practice wiccan or cast spells.
  • To influence people, have presence and charisma that changes hearts and minds, is witchcraft.
  • Any term that’s been used to denigrate women, it’s really important to insist on reclaiming it.
  • Rob says sometimes it’s scary being with a powerful woman but once he can get off his male high horse, life gets better.

Rob and Carolyn coach Jessica regarding her pattern in relationships, romantic and otherwise.

  • Jessica says her predominant pattern is that she always runs to the other side of the bridge to meet the person, and never waits for them to come to her or meet somewhere in the middle.
  • When Jessica does this, it has strengthened the enduring relationships in her life, but there are a lot of others where people get scared off by it.
  • She believes it’s an anxiety piece, trying to take control of the situation. The unsatisfying part is that it often leads to hurt, disappointment and resentment on her end if people aren’t receptive to it or putting in the same effort. For Jessica, it feels heavy and tight in her chest.
  • Identifying with this feeling reinforces negative beliefs for Jessica. Carolyn asks what is the benefit of having those beliefs reinforced? Can there be any pleasure in those sensations?
  • Jessica has a bit of shame around the idea that she would enjoy being disappointed. Carolyn nudges her gently to give herself permission to allow that desire and enjoy it.
  • When you’re giving yourself permission, others can sense it and it invites them in much more than if you’re shaming some parts of yourself.
  • Rob asks how comfortable Jessica is with shame and disappointment, around relationships. Jessica says she’s uncomfortable but it’s familiar.
  • We tend to go with what we know, and we follow the patterns, sometimes consciously and sometimes unconsciously. Accept the part of you that is following those patterns.
  • Own it and accept it for what it is, is the way forward.
  • There’s a tendency for us, even Carolyn, to talk about this in a way that is about changing something or making it go away. But it’s about really being turned on with what’s already present.
  • In the allowing, maybe it dissipates or maybe it doesn’t, but something shifts.

Where to find Carolyn

Go to www.badwitch.es and check out the magazine, join the email list and find out more about Influence or you can find her at www.carolyngraceelliott.com

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