‘Shadow work’ seems to be the word on everyone’s lips right now and the internet is rife with talk of its incredible healing results, but since Carl Jung came up with the term, there’s been little in the way of step by step instruction, in fact, it’s been kinda, well, shadowy in definition.
But you’ll be pleased to know that there’s no esoteric initiation needed to do successful shadow work, and you might even be doing it already…
1. You’re digging up past trauma
While this one’s not much fun, it’s a vital part of shadow work – how the hell are you gonna become whole if you’re not willing to look at the icky parts?
For you, however, you’re already halfway there. You’ve dug up a whole host of creepy corpse-like experiences and while you’re not exactly sure what to do with them, you’ve uncovered them, and that’s almost all of it anyway.
Give yourself a pat on the back friend, that takes balls, not everyone can say that they’re ready and willing to face their demons.
2. You can’t stop questioning yourself, or can you?
The process of transforming your mind from a minefield of synapses firing AK47s of useless info around the murk and muddle, to a zen-like state of enlightenment takes a lot of self-reflection, and I for one can’t think of any other way of finding out more about something, than to ask questions.
Unlike many of your peers, you’ve been at this game for a long time. Every time you think, feel, even glimpse a tiny whisper of something going on upstairs, you question it.
Thinking about that time you missed the bus again – why is it important? What happened after? How did you feel?
Can’t stop stalking an ex? You’re there with your magnifying glass, identifying every remaining wisp of a feeling to see why you’re stuck in this particular thought pattern right now.
This is it folks. You’re already far up the winding garden path of enlightenment and you’ve got your detective hat on ready (fyi: it looks great on you).
In the wise words of Euripides: QUESTION EVERYTHING.
3. You can’t get enough of your dark side
Just like yin can’t exist without yang, black without white, peanut butter without chocolate, we can’t be fully functioning humans without also recognising our dark side.
With so much fluff on the internet telling us to “just be POSITIVE”, “love yourself”, and “manifest your dreams” or whatever the new love and light motto is right now, it’s a wonder we don’t all just implode into a vortex of repressed dark and kinky shit. (Sounds exciting right? I knew you’d like it.)
You, however, like to flirt with the darkness, and that’s super badass.
Keep on celebrating your breakdowns and your fed ups, get in touch with the side of you that loves to be miserable or powerless or powerful or whatever it is that society has taught you not to be.
4. You recognize projection a mile off
When Carl Jung theorized ‘the shadow’, he also coined a term you’ve probably heard before: projecting.
If you’re projecting, you’re basically slamming someone else with your own repressed qualities, like saying someone is rude for interrupting when you do it all the time, or hating on some random chick for having brightly coloured hair when, really, you’d love to be that confident.
It’s insane how often people project at others, and as someone who’s started to reign in their own projection, it can be hard to let it slide.
Just remember that some people have suffered massive blows to their ego over the years and are probably projecting to protect.
Still, it doesn’t mean that you can’t feel great about the fact that you’re taking responsibility for your own BS.
5. You’re less of a crackpot than you used to be
I’ll hold my hand up to this one – I used to be pretty bonkers. I couldn’t tell if I was coming or going through all the noise and rubbish of my brain.
I constantly compared, ruminated bad thoughts round and round and ticked the boxes of several mental illnesses…
…but not so much now.
Don’t get me wrong, I still have a ton of work to do, but I am more aligned with my true Self than before, and less working from a place of fear.
My unconscious is starting to get on board with my conscious and a lot of the time I could be described as “happy” (I know, right?!).
Congrats if you’re resonating with this, it means you’ve done some hella heavy mental and spiritual work, and you’re all the better for it.
When you start feeling like everything’s crap again (I get you babes, it happens), gently remind yourself of how far you’ve come, and give yourself a big fuzzy love hug. You’re not crazy, you’re temporarily off-course.
6. You’ve started to get what you want
What’s that? You’ve noticed that things you want are coming to you more easily? You might even be described as lucky (to other non-magical folk who can’t see how much work you’ve done, of course).
But how the heck did you get here?
While getting what you want is equally titillating and terrifying, it’s a result of having an ‘Undivided Will’ (thanks grandpa Crowley for that one).
Basically, this means that your true Will (with a capital W) is finally starting to listen to your conscious will after, you guessed it, successful shadow work.
By paying attention to what you don’t want, not beating yourself up about it and giving it all the approval it needs to, well, go away, you’ve finally got to a point where stuff ain’t so hard no more.
Incredible. Keep this one up and you’ll be opening the floodgates to satisfaction, cold hard riches and hot sexy sex stuff in no time.
So, now who doesn’t really get shadow work? You’re pretty much the grandmaster, and you didn’t even know it… 😉
Shadow work for all. Spread the word.
About the Author: Ellie Pierpoint is a writer, astrologer and wisecracking alchemist. You can find her at Dismystic, where she rants about planetary wisdom, enlightenment and how the hell we’re all going to survive the nightmare that is existence (hint: it’s not nearly as hard as we think).