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At a seminar I recently attended, one of the speakers (apparently an American with a native English American accent) frequently used the expression, "to cast light on the shadow". I am sorry that I cannot quote exactly how she used it, but it seemed to mean something like, after she described a negative situation, she was going to highlight a positive aspect; or perhaps she meant that she gave an unclear teaser of something to come, and then she was about to explain it more clearly.

I have never heard that expression before and cannot find it from searching the Web (other than in some song lyrics, where the meaning is not clear from the context). Could someone please help clarify its meaning?

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    Not everything can be found with Google. Echar luz en/sobre la sombra. Also, this has nothing to do with the variety of English. It is simply English. It is not "an expression". It is just a phrase the speaker used. Also, you might want to look up: cast light on [something].
    – Lambie
    May 12 at 15:24
  • @Lambie, could you please formalize your comment into an answer so that I can vote on it?
    – Tripartio
    May 14 at 6:19
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Not everything can be found with Google.

Echar luz en/sobre la sombra. Also, this has nothing to do with the variety of English. It is simply English. It is not "an expression". In English, you will also see: to shed light on something, which means to clarify.

It is just a phrase the speaker used. Also, you might want to look up: cast light on [something]. To cast means to put here.

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"Cast light on the shadow" or perhaps "cast light on the darkness" might be used in either of the two ways you suggest.

If you interpret shadow or darkness as something bad, casting light there would be a way to mitigate the badness.

If you interpret shadow or darkness as ignorance, casting light there would be a way to provide knowledge.

From Handel's Messiah:

The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light.

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  • Thanks, but I already understand what "cast light on the darkness" means. My question is specifically about "cast light on the shadow".
    – Tripartio
    May 14 at 6:11
  • It's not a phrase I've ever read or herd, but if I did it would make sense. May 14 at 10:55
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Shadows and darkness are used to symbolize a lack of knowledge about something. Light on the other hand is illuminating and eliminates shadows and darkness. When you say you are in the dark about a topic, you are saying that you don't understand it well. The reverse of being in the dark can be to cast light.

You might hear: "Your suggestion really cast a light on this issue".

Cast/shed/throw light on something:

to help to explain (something) : to make it possible to understand or know more about (something)

[Merriam-Webster]

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