Shadow Work: Befriending The Dark

As the wheel of the year turns and the days get shorter, darker, it is a witch's natural instinct to turn inward and cocoon. In these depths are shadows, and so starts the dance of navigating The Shadow. Working with your shadow offers a beautiful opportunity to embrace yourself in all of your entirety, in all of the beauty of your existence. How would it feel to befriend the dark, to sit in your own presence with complete comfort and adoration for the magical human that you are? Consider these darker months an invitation to begin witnessing yourself and connecting to the parts of you that are hard to see when there's so much light flooding in. Let this be an open door to seeing yourself entirely.

if the darkest aspects of yourself feel like they should be hidden, and kept far away to never be seen- you're not alone with these feelings. Feelings of shame, guilt, and even disgust can come up when a light is shed on parts usually found in the shadows. Every aspect of your being deserves love, babe. Especially the parts of you that you may keep at arms length. Working with the shadow may feel like losing your way in a dark forest. What if instead of seeking a light to guide you, you took the time to be familiar with the shapes and textures of the dark and allowed it to hold you for a minute? What if you curiously examined the shadows cast by the dim light in the distance? Shadow work isn't just a never ending winding road. You are allowed to take pauses, to stop and touch the leaves, nourish your body, rest, and continue your journey when you are ready. Every step you take, no matter how small, furthers your relationship between you and your shadow.

These parts of you are the puzzle pieces that you've likely been seeking to complete the beautiful art piece that is you. The pieces that are jagged or sharp are just as important to complete the remarkable being that is you, and are just as necessary as the pieces that were the simplest and most pleasing to find. Often times these jagged pieces are connected to a part of you that is actually your favorite trait. It is easy to view your shadow as an enemy, a part of you that is holding you back, but what if all they wanted was for you to be safe and happy? Think of your shadow as a friend that wants to keep you safe above all else. Their approach might be something you're not expecting, but their intention is always to protect your heart. Approach your shadow with empathy.

Think of moments when your shadow is making themself known. Asking your shadow questions to better understand them rather than expressing anger or disappointment will help to build a relationship of trust between you two- when there is trust and comfort there is space for joyful collaboration. Notice if there is a pattern when this shadow arises in your life, such as entering new relationships or moments of conflict. Consider if moments in the present are reminiscent of past experiences. Often times the present is linked to moments from the past- posibly your shadow is offering you protection. Your shadow just wants you to be safe, so how can you reassure them that you are safe in this environment? In what ways can you help them learn that they can trust you?


A Meditative Ritual to Meet Your Shadow Self

You will need:

  • Incense or a candle

  • Grounding scents

  • A cozy surface to sit or lay on

  • A journal and pen


Start this meditation by acknowledging your presence within your body. However you show up today is more than enough, you are more than enough. Take a deep breath in, focusing on the the way the air fills your chest and belly. Breathe out and release this tension. As you continue to breathe, place one hand on your heart, and the other over your stomach. Focus on the rise and fall of your chest. Use this rhythm to pace yourself and to come back to center if your emotions start to overwhelm you. One breath in, and one breath out.

Notice the warmth radiating from your hands over your heart and your belly. Imagine this warmth radiating out and spreading over your body like a blanket, a hug. Settle into these sensations, and hug this warmth back for as long as feels good. When you are feeling safe and comfortable, invite your shadow to join you under this blanket of safety.

Say: I invite you to join me. I am ready to know you. I am ready to see you. I am ready to hold you.

Imagine your shadow in your mind. Consider what they look like, what their age is, how they're feeling. How does it feel making space for their presence? What do you feel this being needs? Allow your shadow the space to introduce themselves and answer these questions.

As you commune with your shadow take mental notes of thoughts or feelings that may arise. Even physical feelings. Whenever you are ready to end the meditation say: "Thank you for making yourself known to me, I honor you."


Breathe in, and out. How are you feeling? As you bring yourself back to center through your breath, whether you are sitting up or lying down, give yourself a hug. Take a moment just for yourself to tend to any feelings you may be having. Allow yourself forgiveness, allow yourself space to grieve, laugh, smile. Whatever feelings you are feeling are representative of your humanity and deserve to be tended to. If you find discomfort in making space for your feelings, this essence could be a helpful tool to help you embrace the more sticky feelings that may come up.


Take some time to journal about the feelings or thoughts that came up as you shared space with your Shadow. What have you learned from your Shadow, and how will you make space for them in your life? What tending do you need in the present after sharing space with them? If you found that coming up with questions was difficult, feel free to use an oracle deck related to shadow work to provide more structure.


Remember, healing has no time limit, babe. Allow yourself to embrace the humanity in learning. You are on an incredible path of self discovery, and it is normal to experience moments of frustration, confusion, and even sadness. These feelings, as much as we may not want to experience them, are proof of your incredible life. Fall in love with the story of your life. Your journey is incredibly unique and deserves to be recognized. As you are on this path, celebrate your highest peaks and lowest lows. Celebrate every time you've woken up in the morning , every time you've cried, every time you've laughed. Celebrate your humanity time and time again. Every inhale and exhale, no matter how shaky, is a testament to your amazing existence.

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