Experience is a brutal teacher…




“Experience is a brutal teacher, but you learn fast.” ― William Nicholson



What is shadow?

Is it the contrast of light or is light the contrast of it?

And what about the shades of grey which exist between shadow and light?


What is… shadowed?

Is it the same as shadow… or something else entirely?


For me personally (in my opinion and perspective), shadow is something natural, an essential, whereas shadowed… is very different from shadow. Perhaps it too is natural and essential, but shadowed does not necessarily have an actual shadow, it is more of a figment, an abstract, a concept which resembles shadow. It may feel like a real shadow but it doesn’t always look that way.

A person, or some thing like a memory, can shadow you without shadow. It can be bright, suffused with light, and you are a shadow of it… something which got in the way of the path of its light. A harsh light, perhaps, not a friendly one. One which casts no shadow, yet shadows.

Sort of along the lines of questioning whether someone who is presenting themselves a certain way is truly who they are appearing to be.


I’ve been exploring the notion of ‘two-faced’ recently.

Part of this is due to this time of year – January, the month named after a two-faced god. I was born during this month, and we are in this month now… a time which often feels like a limbo between what went on last year and what is slowly gearing up this year. Those gears sometimes take a while to get in motion. A time between faces, a time with two-faces… maybe more than two.

Part of this is also due to my catching up on the second season of a TV series – Catfish. I loved the film and have enjoyed the spin-off MTV series. Mostly because Nev Schulman and Max Joseph are very personable, considerate and understanding. They get the grey areas of being, doing and living, online and offline, and the land in between offline and online.

In a black and white world this series would be very different… I’m glad it exists in a multi-hued and umbral place.


Are we ever who we say that we are?

Aren’t we all a little bit two-faced? Not in a necessarily negative interpretation of the meaning of two-faced (our choice of interpretation may reflect our own two-faced-ness rather than that of others), but in a more open view of it.

A private self versus a public self. A personal experience of ourselves versus how others experience us.


“I am as I am. The world is as it is. Whether I am content with that has very little to do with it.”

― William Nicholson


Can anyone else other than ourselves ever know us as we are?

Can we know ourselves as we are?

Can we know ourselves as others do?


Does who others experience you as being shadow who you experience yourself as being… do you feel the need to live up to how others perceive you, perhaps sacrificing your own view of yourself?

Is who you are… who you are or who others believe you are?

Can the twain meet and find a sweet spot?


“Today begins my walk with you. Where you go, I go. Where you stay, I stay. When you sleep, I will sleep. When you rise, I will rise. I will pass my days within the sound of your voice, and my nights within the reach of your hand. And none shall come between us.” ― William Nicholson





8 thoughts on “Experience is a brutal teacher…

  1. Birthday #46. Congratulations. 🙂 Another milepost. Happy Birthday. 🙂

    Using carefully selected adjectives is like leading the witness. Thus, the word “brutal” creates a prejudicial nuance. There is experience. Period. Is the experience of orgasm a “brutal teacher?” Is the experience of playing video games with your friends a “brutal teacher?”

    As for the shadow, how do you know that there is such a thing? Jung coined the term shadow, and because Jung is one of the gods of the modern era, many accept his words as holy gospel. “Thou shalt bow before thy shadow, and ignore thy light.” The Gospel of Jung 11:11.

    There must be shadows because that is what god said? Like, “Dad said it is true, therefore, it must be true.” Authoritarian Saturn ruling Capricorn?

    Are there really shadows, or is that term just a substanceless brain-twinkie?

    Astrologically, look to the 7th House and 12th House for “the enemy.” Open enemies are in the 7th, hidden enemies in the 12th (and former enemies, now called “friends” are in the 11th).

    As for the two faces of Janus/Jana … with Capricorn Sun, the second face is Cancer. A lenghty study of Cancer may reveal that which may be hidden because it is unexplored. The same process applies to all the placements of objects in the horoscope. Thus, Virgo Ascendant is inseparable from Pisces Descendant; Aquarius Mercury has a reflection point in Leo; Pisces Venus includes Virgo Venus; and the Janus/Jana for Scorpio Mars is Taurus Mars. Look to both for a fuller picture for the “shadow” may merely represent that which is ignored.

    Janus/Jana: complements. Two are always conjoined: the One is in the two; the two are in the One.

    May wellness and well-being bless you and all whom you love.


    1. Thank you 🙂

      You went to a place I hadn’t considered with this, which is always insightful. I can hear your Taurus Mercury talking and thinking through your words, maybe even a bit of the opposition with your Scorpio Moon going on there.

      The quote which you mention and which caught your attention – “Experience is a brutal teacher, but you learn fast.” – comes from Shadowlands. Funnily enough I hadn’t realised that William Nicholson is a Capricorn. I hadn’t even considered the astrological side of things for this post. I started with shadow, as in natural shadow which is something I love in photography, and then just Merc in Aqua’d my way along tangents from that.

      Carl Jung didn’t even cross my mind. I like his work, it’s interesting. I don’t quite see it the way that you seem to see it. To me he is sort of the happy, slightly more carefree side of Freud 😉 Their relationship was fascinating, particularly from a psychological point of view.

      You seem slightly annoyed with Jung – what’s the story?

      As for Janus, I love mythology and this is an intriguing myth. But my delving into it is rather shallow (typical of Merc in Aqua). January is named after Janus and Janus has two faces, that’s kind of it. It takes me a while to take my tangents a bit more seriously, delve a bit deeper, and now isn’t the time for that since t-Merc is in Aqua – my distracted side is emphasised. It’s more everything and nothing, than focused on something until every part of it is detailed – that’s more Merc in an Earth sign or perhaps Scorpio.

      Thanks for sharing, food for thought as always!


      1. Jung: actually I admire Jung … studied him muchly when getting BA in Psych, His NDE and description of “box system universe” corresponds with my experience of NDE in 1999. Like going from containerless being to bound-feet smallness.

        The comment was more directed to pedestalizing: creating idols & icons from people who go thru the same challenges of dailiness. Put Jung or Freud or Nocholson or whomever in an 8-5, a spouse and three kids, an over-flowing toilet and toxic testosterone, and a pending tax audit … will you be smelling lilacs or swamp gas?

        As always 🙂 Your blogs light my day.


        1. Thank you 🙂

          I love the smell of swamp gas in the mornings 😉 Lilacs make me sneeze!

          I agree that putting anyone or anything on a pedestal is just waiting for the whole thing to come tumbling down like Humpty-Dumpty, probably on top of you. Never meet your heroes and such. Try to see the real person in the hero and realise that everyone is human, and humans are what humans are in their myriad forms and facets.

          Enjoy the idea and what it inspires, but don’t expect the writing in the sand to be there after the tide has come in and gone out. The stone on which it was written can erode and turn the word malady into marmalade.

          Go with the flow of you, however the flow flows.


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