Laurali
Hi, I'm Laurali! I live in a tiny, seaside fishing village in Florida where I nurture my plants, go hiking in the woodland, and wear flowers in my hair.

Shadow Work and Getting in Touch With Your Dark Self

Everyday Laurali Star Waxing Full Moon Cycle Real Moon Picture + New Moon Rituals
Lately, I've really been trying to face my fears and doubts, as well as to do some deep internal work on my shadow self, my dark half.  In fact, I recommend every green nature witch to do the legwork that's involved in shadow work and getting in touch with your dark self.  As humans, we all have a light half and a dark half and we have to learn how to integrate them in order to understand ourselves better.

For me, I've been afraid of something, something within myself.  I have a tendency to get dark fast due to mind-numbing depression and anxiety that goes through the roof.  You can read my article about how nature helps with depression and anxiety here.  Maybe you have similar issues.  Maybe you tend to see the glass as half empty.  That's part of shadow work, but there's so much more to it then embracing our inner pain and childhood trauma.

What is shadow work?  Let's start here.  Shadow work is feeling what you feel and not allowing yourself to numb the pain through pills, weed, or whatever.  To get to the root of the problem, you have to feel it and you have to acknowledge that it exists in the first place.

I've been miserable for a long time and instead of facing those issues head-on, I've been pushing them deep down inside of myself.  I put them in a dark place, an empty drawer so I didn't have to deal with them.  Shadow work is opening that drawer and exposing the parts of ourselves we've been afraid to see.

The more you push down something, the more it surfaces.  It will keep you at night.  It will haunt you.  Shadow work is understanding what is causing your fears, worries, doubts, and anxieties.  The more you try to run away from something, the more likely it is to be exposed, until finally, you're forced to deal with it.

What is the dark self?  The dark self is the villainous version of you.  It's the parts about yourself that you don't like and need to work on.  However, there's a certain kind of beauty to the darkest parts of ourselves too.  Those are the parts that unabashedly call people out on their metaphorical bullshit.  It's the part that might create an elaborate lie in order to survive a situation as a coping mechanism.  It's the part of us that might use jealousy to create competition and improve ourselves.  See?  It's not all bad.

The bad part comes when we're out of balance.  There has to be an integration of both worlds to create a gray area to our higher self.  That's where shadow work comes into play, like an old friend that wants you to embrace your darker self like a costume on Halloween.
Moon Lore and Full Moon Rituals and Practices for the Darker Self

Shadow Work and Getting In Touch With Your Dark Self

How does one begin to do shadow work?  Before we begin, I need to put up a disclaimer.  Doing shadow work can be triggering.  Remember, you are literally bringing your deepest, darkest secrets and parts of yourself to the surface.  This is not the kind of work you do lightly.

To begin doing soulwork, I recommend finding a quiet place with your notebook and pen.  You are going to use the following headers and labels so that you can slowly make your way through your psychological workbook.  When you finally make your way through every category, that's when you can begin to do the next step in the process, which is integration.

Until then, you'll have to ask yourself a lot of hard questions.  I highly recommend all witches do shadow work during the new moon when it's darkest or during the full moon when everything inside of us is brought to the surface by this moon phase.  This way, you are shown to be dealing with your problems and releasing them to the moon.

Below, I'm also going to list some moon goddesses and archangels that you can work with in order to heal your shadow self and the darkness she encompasses.  Healing your darker self doesn't mean getting rid of her.  Your dark self is integral to who you are.  It means your moon goddess will help you find the courage to face her and embrace here, which is important for the integration process.

You also might be surprised how difficult some of these questions are.  They may seem so simple and elegant on the surface, but they will really help you dig deeper into your psyche.  Knowing who you are and acknowledging your faults is the first step in any recovery program, including therapy.  After all, how can you fix something if you don't know it exists in the first place?

Headers and Labels for Shadow Workbook:

What Am I Afraid of?

Who Am I Really?

What Am I Doing Here?

What is my deepest, darkest secret that no one else knows?

What part of my life is broken that I refuse to acknowledge?

Why do I act the way that I do?

What do I want people to know about me?

What do I "not" want people to know about me?

What is my childhood trauma?  Have I dealt with it?

What is a pattern in my life that I keep repeating?

What part of my life do I keep spinning my wheels in?

What do I hate about myself and why?

Do I suffer from depression?  Why?  No really, why?

What villainous thing do I do in my life that I'm okay with doing?  (It could be a lying, cheating, whatever?)

Do I like being bad?  If so, why?

Do I think I'm a bad person?  If so, why?

What do you really want to do with your life and why?  (List all the reasons.)

You can also add more questions to your shadow workbook as you go along.  There are no right or wrong answers here.  This is just about getting to the bottom of things.  After you're done, you should have a pretty good picture of what you'd like to keep and integrate.  So, what do you do with the rest?  

Nothing.  You embrace it, just like you would the things you like about yourself.  What happens when you merge the shadow self with the higher self is that you marry the villain and the protagonist.  They become one.  The voice in your head, which are your ego-based thoughts and feelings, will begin to die down.  

In the meantime, as promised, here's a list of goddesses and archangels that live by the moon.  They can help you with all the shadow work your heart desires.  Afterward, when it is all said and done, they can help you heal and release it into the winds.  You can do this by burying or burning your notebook.  

This is symbolic of saying it is done and good enough for now until you feel ready to do more shadowing at a later time.  I suggest doing shadow work at least once a year, but really once a month during the moon cycles is even better.  It should be an ongoing process.  But, it's okay to walk away and say what I did was good enough for the time being.

Moon Goddesses, Archangels, and Ascended Masters:

Havely Moon - Butterfly Fairy Queen and Moon Goddess

Goddess Isis - Egyptian Moon Goddess

Selene and Luna - Moon Goddesses of the Sea

Archangel Haniel  - Archangel of the Moon

Goddess Diana - Moon Goddess 

Moon Fairies (Yes, they exist!)

Goddess Kali - Goddess of Destruction and Darkness (Do not call on lightly!)

Archangel Nathaniel - The archangel of transformation and dramatic change (Do not call on lightly!)

Now that you've done the work, how do you integrate the two parts of your self?  The dark self plus the light self.  Find good in the dark parts of yourself.  Own it.  Make it part of you.  For example, maybe your lies can be transformed into a fictional book series for teens.  

Maybe your cursing and swearing can be used for the comedy show you always wanted to do.  Perhaps your greed can be used to start a savings account, then you can donate part of the proceeds to a cause you care about.  See the pattern here?

You go down the list and combat it with good.  For example, you don't know who you are and your shadow self has made that clear.  You can take on the identity of a whimsical wanderer until you do find your life's purpose.  No harm in that.

If you're too blunt when you talk to people, you'd be a great friend to have when someone needs total honesty.  Be that friend.  If you're too critical of others, find what is good in them and compliment them.  Too much?  Maybe just leave a good review instead.  These are positive impacts we can make when we do shadow work on the rise.  

Keep a shadow work diary if you find that voice starts creeping back in.  The point of this is not to beat yourself up, but to find the balance of light and dark, yin and yang.  By integrating the two, you'll begin to see your true self (as a whole) emerge from the darkness and into the light!

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