Intimidated by starting shadow work? Most of us have spent a lifetime hearing phrases like, “be positive” and “look on the bright side,” so it’s no surprise that you might be a little freaked out about shadow work. While these sentiments are always shared in love, they can also cause us to repress the darker sides of ourselves. This constant repression will usually backfire, causing your fears and judgments to erupt out onto others later.
It’s no wonder most of us are hesitant to jump into shadow work, we’ve been told our whole lives to ignore it.
There are three fundamental steps to doing shadow work and they are to identify your shadow aspects, acknowledge and allow space for them, and, finally, to integrate them. By integrating your shadow side you become whole.
Here are four simple steps to help you get started with shadow work.
I mentioned in my last post that much of shadow work is becoming aware of how you’re projecting your shadow onto others and being triggered. Imagine your triggers as little notes from your shadow self.
The most effective way to bring more awareness into your daily life and catch those projections and triggers is through mindfulness. I’m not saying you need to commit to 30 minutes of silent meditation a day, a simple 5 minutes can really go a long way. If you need some pointers on how to start meditating, check out this earlier blog post on 8 quick tips to “be here now.”
Connect with Dark Goddesses
One of my favorite ways to connect with my shadow side is through the dark goddesses. First, find a dark goddess that you resonate with. Here are a few of the more prominent ones, but by no means all of them:
Kali is the wild and intense-looking Hindu Goddess of time, death, destruction, and rebirth. She is often shown with skulls around her neck and one in her hand. Morbid as it may seem, these skulls actually represent the death of the ego. Even though the image of Kali may be jarring or even scary, she is the personification of shadow and can help you get in touch with darker aspects of your ego that you may be avoiding.
The Goddess Lilith has roots in several cultures and religions including ancient Sumeria and Christianity. She’s referred to as both a demon and a seductive sex Goddess. Lilith is in touch with her sexuality which has caused men to fear her. She represents equality between men and women. Connect with Lilith to explore any sexual shadows you may have hidden.
Hecate is a Greek Goddess of witchcraft and magic, she’s closely related to ghosts and death. Hecate is often shown standing at a fork in the road, as a reminder to examine our motives clearly before making a decision. She offers protection and wisdom. Hecate is perfect to work with if you’re going through transitions. Ask for her guidance to shed light on the shadow side of changes you are going through.
Once you’ve found a dark goddess that you connect with place a card, picture or statue of her on your altar or in a place you’ll see it regularly to offer inspiration while doing shadow work. Try calling upon her during shadow work to help guide you through the process, or invite her into your meditation practice.
One of my favorite ways to connect with the dark goddesses is through The Goddess Oracle card deck. It doesn’t shy away from the dark goddesses, and my readings are always so powerful when they show up!
There are several crystals that can be used for helping you with shadow work, but these are my favorites. We even sell some hand crafted necklaces using a few of them! Here are my top 3 picks for crystals to recruit for starting shadow work:
This grounding stone is my top pick for shadow work. It can help open the door to your shadow side by bringing emotions, patterns, and fears to the surface. Black obsidian is also good for shadow work but the balancing flecks of white in the snowflake version softens and balances its energy nicely.
This stone is the softer, subtle version of snowflake obsidian. If you’re looking for a very gentle introduction to shadow work kyanite is your stone, or you can just add it to your shadow work crystal collection! Kyanite comes with a host of other benefits but is helpful for recalling old memories and working through obstacles.
Shadow work will most likely bring up strong emotions for you. It’s important to bring in some soothing self-love energy while diving into shadow work, and rose quartz is the mother of loving vibes!
This quote really says it all.
“If darkness is the absence of Love, then the most effective tonic to use in healing internal shadow is self-love. The more love we flow into our deepest wounds and darkest emotions, the quicker we are able to clear and raise our vibration.” – Jennifer Diamond
Place your shadow work crystal on your altar or in a place you’ll see them regularly. Another good alternative is to wear these stones for a beautiful and powerful reminder of your intention to do shadow work. You can shop our snowflake obsidian and rose quartz point crystal necklaces here.
Draw, Paint, Write & Journal
You may find that tapping into your shadow side is more difficult than you thought. If you find yourself stuck in positivity mode, grab a pen or paintbrush and spend some time journaling and creating. Allow yourself time to create and/or journal without any outcomes in mind and let your subconscious flow. You might be surprised what naturally comes up when you commit yourself to some no expectation creative time.
This is the perfect time to keep some snowflake obsidian or kyanite nearby to help bring your darker side to the surface.
I also created an infographic for those who like visuals and I added more ways to process shadow work.
Hopefully, you feel like you have the tools you need to get started with shadow work. It’s worth the effort and remember, if you understand your darkness and you’ll be consumed by your light.
Cassie Uhl is the founder and owner of Zenned Out, a jewelry company that handcrafts jewelry with meaning and provides a community that inspires a mindful and spiritual lifestyle. Cassie grew up with a open minded, astrology obsessed grandmother and a father that would take her and her sister star gazing in the wee hours of the night. These experiences shaped Cassie and Zenned Out into what they are today by bringing spirituality and astrology into the forefront. Cassie hopes to give spiritual souls a place to feel at home on the Zenned Out blog and offers handcrafted jewelry with meaningful symbols, powerful gemstones, and mindful quotes to enable people to wear jewelry that aligns with their souls purpose.