Spiritual Wellness: The Benefits of Ongoing Shadow Work
If you’ve ever gotten the sense that you have a dark side, you’re not alone. As humans, we contain multitudes, and that includes “darker” aspects of our personalities, ones we often take pains to keep hidden. In reality, these are aspects of ourselves that we may have been taught to feel shame towards, parts of ourselves we don’t want to acknowledge, and, thus, keep “exiled” or repressed.
The “shadow” side of your personality may include certain insecurities, suppressed anger or rage, or those particular “flaws” you would prefer to improve but may have a difficult time dealing with. When you do active shadow work, you can begin to heal your inner child, feel more whole, undo generational trauma, relieve stress, become a better communicator, and even improve your relationships.
Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Carl Jung was the first to introduce the concept of shadow work to a Western audience. Shadow work is essentially a method of gaining more expansive self-awareness, which can help you become a more well-rounded person. When you become aware of your faults, you can actively work to mitigate them, softening their rough edges over time. Shadow work tends to be ongoing work, in the sense that you won’t be able to do it once and declare it complete. It’s a lot like therapy (and you can also do shadow work with a trusted therapist if you so choose) and entails vigilant progress towards your goal that may not always be linear.
Before you start engaging in shadow work, you must determine whether it’s something you want to do. Ask yourself questions like, “What are some self-defeating patterns that I am repeatedly reproducing in my life?” “What are some emotions/behaviors I had as a child that were often punished by the adults around me?” “Are there people in my life that I feel envy or judgment towards, and are these feelings warranted?” “Which situations tend to bring out my messiest emotions?” “Which negative emotions are the ones I tend to try to avoid the most?” “Have I ever been guilty of self sabotage? If so, why and how often does it occur?”
These probing questions are a great way to begin your shadow work journey. If answering them makes you uncomfortable, it might be a sign that you are not yet ready to do shadow work. Otherwise, consider keeping a personal “shadow journal” and using it to answer these questions at length. You can also use it to write down both light and dark thoughts that you don’t have to share with anyone else unless you want to.
Our Goddess Collection features powerful and dark female deities who can help you access your shadow side, which is the first step in beginning your shadow work.
Hel - The Norse Goddess of the underworld, Hel represents the darkness of death but also its more peaceful side. She can help remind you to notice the darkness inside you without getting overwhelmed by it.
Hecate - The Goddess of witchcraft in Greek mythology, Hecate will give you the courage to access your “witchy” side and determine whether you want this aspect of your character to shrink or grow.
Circe - Circe was definitely a Goddess who was happily in touch with her shadow side. She may have even reveled in it! Wear her pendant on those days when you want to revel in your own darkness.
Durga - Equal parts nurturing and destructive, Durga is a Goddess who goes after what she wants. She will give you the strength to continue on your shadow work journey even when you’d rather give up.
Cleopatra - A queen like no other, Cleopatra knew that both the light and dark sides of her character had merit. She can serve as a reminder that it’s ok to unleash your shadow side in certain situations.
The Morrigan - A warrior Goddess to both fear and respect, The Morrigan can help you acknowledge your shadow side and answer some of the more difficult questions that arise in your shadow work.
Medusa - Medusa was cursed and then found the strength to make the most of the terrible cards she was dealt. When doing shadow work, it can be beneficial to look at your inner shadow as something that can teach you more about yourself and help you emerge better than ever before.
Snake Amulet Necklace - When someone is called a “snake,” it’s usually meant in a negative way. However, snakes are actually symbols of transformation. The Snake Necklace can help you shed the darker aspects of your personality as you continue your shadow work.
Diamond Skull Necklace - Skulls have different meanings in different cultures, including as representations of death and the transitory nature of life. This amulet can be paired with Goddesses like Hel or The Morrigan to boost their energetic vibrations.
Diamond Sword Necklace - Use the Diamond Sword Necklace to “slay” your darker emotions and thoughts when you’re doing your shadow work.
Mirror Necklace - One way to make progress in shadow work is by using the mirror technique. This is when you pay special attention to the thoughts and feelings that arise during interactions with others. Every time a negative thought or emotion arises, ask yourself if you might be projecting. The Mirror Necklace can serve as a reminder to use the mirror technique often.
Black Aura Ring - The Black Aura Ring will help you stay in touch with your shadow side so that you will never forget to continue your shadow work, even when it gets difficult.