What is Shadow Work? – Metaphysical and Occult Terms 101

The Shadow Self

“…is an archetype that forms part of the unconscious mind and is composed of repressed ideas, instincts, impulses, weaknesses, desires, perversions, and embarrassing fears. This archetype is often described as the darker side of the psyche, representing wildness, chaos, and the unknown.” – Loner Wolf

The shadow is an archetype formed in the unconscious or subconscious coined by clinical psychologist and mystic Carl G. Jung. Working with your shadow requires confronting and embracing repressed feelings. Confronting one’s shadow can be done through divination, meditation, creative projects, journaling, therapy/counseling, and many other ways. If you find that you’re able to honestly express yourself through writing and journaling, you will love the Shadow Work Journal on Loner Wolf, a spiritual mentorship site run by Mateo Sol and Aletheia Luna. This year, I’ve decided to combine divination techniques with their shadow journaling prompts and have found it to be a very thoughtful collection of prompts that help you address what needs confronting and what self-care needs require more attention. My previous shadow work sessions focused on confrontation and I rarely gave myself self-care time. I wanted to give the journal a try because I was very impressed by Loner Wolf’s breakdown of the shadow self and all its potential.

So What’s The Point?

The point of shadow work is to work on the part of yourself that you have labeled as “evil” or “shameful” and instead of turning away from it, you see the shadow for what it is, starting with the fact that you are the shadow. Rejecting any part of yourself often develops into subconscious defense mechanisms, losing your sense of self, robbing yourself of autonomy, and even losing touch with reality. Psychologically, the repression of an aspect of the self creates a dissonance between one’s personal reality and reality as it is. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. Repression in itself is a defense mechanism and defending ourselves is innate. However, defense mechanisms can build into unhealthy and unwanted habits.

Those of us who need to work with our shadow see ourselves pushing our loved ones away, having trouble connecting with others, struggling to see ourselves in a realistic light, believing negative and inaccurate perceptions without challenging them, hurting ourselves and others more than we meant to… the list goes on. The point of shadow work is to take that step towards understanding ourselves. Additionally, don’t believe that this is just for the “spiritual” person. The aspects of shadow work has appeared through works of art, philosophical discussions, scientific studies on humanity, and even in our particular day-to-day events where we have these epiphanies about ourselves. Shadow work in itself is a reflective process and I strongly recommend reading Loner Wolf’s article on the Shadow Self and take that step towards self-actualization.


More on Metaphysics, Occult, and Spirituality

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6 Ways To Cleanse and Empower Yourself

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