Latest from BTS: Soul, Shadow, and Black Swan


BTS released the video to accompany their song “Black Swan” last week to rave reviews.  The video, the second from their latest album “Map of the Soul:7”, features shots of the members of the band dancing on a dimly lit stage juxtaposed with film of the band in more static poses, all set against the backdrop of Los Angeles Theatre.  The song and video continue the development of the theme of soul work that characterize the band’s recent releases.

My connection with BTS began when they turned their artistic attention to matters of the soul. I cannot pretend to fully understand the details of the BTS experience, although I appreciate the beauty of their work.  Everyone experiences the journey of the soul differently, and works of art like “Black Swan” are perhaps the best way to capture both the individual and collective nature of that journey. 

While each of us takes an individual path to deeper knowledge, we often travel similar territory along our journey.  The shadow, or part of our personality that is concealed from the world and, often, even from ourselves, is a common feature of this inner landscape.  Frequently the shadow forms itself in opposition to another element of our psychic landscape, the persona, which is the part of our self that we display for others.  In “Black Swan”, Suga, Jungkook, and Jimin dance in the foreground while their shadows dance different movements along the walls of the Los Angeles Theatre, emphasizing the opposition between shadow and persona.  Lyrics like “Do your thang with me now, What’s my thang, tell me now?”, make explicit the tension between the self that is known and the shadow self.

The genius of BTS is to present these elements and the tension between them in vibrant, living form.  “Black Swan” isn’t beautiful because it explains the landscape of the soul; it’s beautiful because it shows the landscape of the soul.  It presents the universal elements of that landscape in a way that demands identification from the audience, which provides the viewer with the opportunity to exclaim, “Yes, that’s the way it is for me!” Perhaps most importantly, BTS is dedicated to using the experience of their art to improve the lives of those who listen, encouraging their fans to do their own soul work, to become their own advocates. 

We here at Chiron Publications are grateful to BTS for bringing the ideas of Jungian psychology to a new generation.  We believe that the process of making the world a better place begins with the soul work we each can do to become more whole human beings.  This work is unique to the individual, however, when exploring the soul, it is often helpful to have a map.  Dr. Murray Stein, who wrote the book who inspired the BTS album “Map of the Soul”, has been drawing such maps for years.  His latest, “Map of the Soul: Shadow”, is now available at Chiron Books.  Click the link below to access free samples of “Map of the Soul: Persona”, “Map of the Soul: Shadow”, along with the Korean version of “Map of the Soul:Persona”:

Map of the Soul Samples!     

Full books available here in both English and Korean!  

Don’t miss Dr. Murray Stein’s discussion of the latest album on Speaking of Jung:

Episode 53: Shadow Interlude

Episode 54: The Ego

Episode 55: Seven