What’s inside this article: Nine ways you can do shadow work. Everyone is unique and the process of doing shadow work looks different for everyone. This article is a guide to help you find the right path in your healing journey.
What is Shadow Work?
I’m sure most of us have heard this term thrown around, especially if you’re involved in any spirituality or new age communities.
But, just in case you haven’t; shadow work is the process of working all the rejected or “dark” parts of yourself. This includes traumas or anything else you’ve stuffed down and not dealt with. This is your shadow self, and it needs to be worked.
If you are a grown person and you have no trauma or emotional wounds, I’d love to say congratulations but I really don’t believe you.
We all have a shadow. Whether it was some weird quirk that made you happy as a kid and you got bullied for it, or the classic generational trauma – Your parents were raised messed up and whatever they learned from their experience got handed down to you.
How to do Shadow Work
I like to think in today’s day and age we’re all just a Google search away from what NOT to do. There’s so much information (and misinformation) at our fingertips.
However, every person and experience is so unique and different, all I can do is offer some ways to get you started on your own journey.
The following list covers nine ways you can do shadow work. Please use your inner discernment as you choose the path that’s best for you.
What did you think I was going to suggest first? Some crystals and essential oil? (kidding, I will later though.)
If you can get into therapy, despite waitlists and costs, I HIGHLY recommend this! Therapy is absolutely good for everyone.
There are things you might not even realize that have affected you. Some may be buried deep and there’s no one better than a therapist to help you dig up all that painful, terrible stuff.
I never said shadow work would be fun.
2. Talking It Out With Someone You Trust
Before you begin, make sure you ask your trusted person if they are in a healthy space to listen to you.
No one owes us this.
Then from here, you can express what weighs your soul down.
There are probably parts of you that you keep hidden, for me being vulnerable and allowing someone to see me upset was a HUGE issue.
Finding a safe person (even a friend you’ve made online) can really help you alleviate that pain in your heart. If you don’t have a safe person to talk to, online communities are only a google search away!
Take some time to write down what upsets you, or write long descriptive letters to people who have hurt you and never sending them, or even burning them can be very therapeutic.
You can say anything you want in your personal writing without fear of judgment or repercussion. A journal is a very safe space.
Speaking of safe spaces – Do you have one?
Not everyone does. Kids raised in homes with unsupportive parents or people who have faced injustice/harm from society may have physical or non-physical (online) places they can go and feel love and support. Safe spaces are of great value and can be a wonderful place to heal and grow in.
4. Meditative visualization
This method of shadow work has probably helped me the most.
I was a person who didn’t really have a safe space and didn’t feel comfortable sharing their feelings. I didn’t have a healthy person to talk to anyway, as the trauma allowed me to keep toxic people.
However, I spent time visualizing myself, holding myself at whatever time I faced the most pain and felt the most victimized. I imagined what would I say to her if I was there? What would I do?
Another way to practice meditative visualization is by picturing all your negative traits, and imagining how scary/bad/ugly that part of you would look.
Then, hold them. Embrace them. Picture yourself filling that demon up with white light, or love or whatever weird hippie stuff you’re into, and BLAST that monster until they’re nice and healed.
Repeat often and whenever needed.
The darkest parts of ourselves need the most love. Put the light on them. (Can I also just slide psychedelics as medicine in here? No? ok. But google it)
5. Be honest with yourself
Too many people exist in this world without self-realization.
Take a good hard look at yourself. Where are you an asshole? Be honest.
How does your energy affect other people?
Do you complain all the time but take no action to fix anything?
These are the hard questions we need to ask ourselves. Once you find out your asshole traits that were born from trauma, then you can work on healing those parts.
6. Knowing your worth/ Setting boundaries
Ugh, gag me right? I used to roll my eyes at this one.
“kNoW uR wOrTh bAbE”
But now, I’m SO serious about this one. “Know your worth and demand tax” if you haven’t heard it yet, well here it is.
If you don’t allow yourself to believe that you are worthy of good treatment, good love, basic respect. You’re going to continue to accept shitty situations.
Once you start saying “no” to stuff that DEPLETES your energy, oh man. That is a good feeling and you’ll get addicted to it quick.
In case you need to hear it – Don’t feel bad for saying no to stuff, and let other people know you respect their space and situations when they say no, too. Say thank you for telling me, let’s make this normal.
Alright, now we’re really into the obscure spiritual stuff that you came here for.
H’oponopono is a Hawaiian practice. It means “I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you”. say this to yourself!
I’m sorry for not knowing better, I forgive me, thank me, I love me.
You absolutely do not ever need to forgive any of the people who caused you pain. But, if you want to try it out in meditation to help release it from your spirit, do it then too.
I always say this, but gratitude is the most powerful magic. After all, these wild happenings that have affected you, being grateful to yourself can make the world of a difference.
Finding a good Reiki practitioner can change your life and I mean that.
Learning about chakras and where someone’s got you messed up can help you identify other issues as well. Root chakras can be messed up from not having a stable home life and causing you to feel like your life can be ripped out from underneath you at any moment.
Just having someone remind you that you’re safe now, those people can’t hurt you anymore can help so much.
Crystals usually go hand in hand with this practice. Unakite for my overprotected heart chakra helped soften me up a bit. Only a bit though, I’m still working through this day-to-day and that’s ok too!
Shadow work is not a one-time heal deal.
This can look different for everyone.
Sitting still and trying to keep my brain quiet? Ugh.
If you need to, sway, rock, walk even.
My favorite way to meditate is during a nice hot bath, using salts to cleanse my aura and certain crystals. (
Note: Research before you bath with crystals, not all are safe in water and can actually be corrosive to the skin / mucous membranes).
I like to use orgonite pyramids as they are already set and sealed in resin. I feel like a good hot salt bath soaks up all my yucky vibes and I like to visualize it going down the drain when I’m done.
So, from one messed-up human just doing their best to another, I hope this helped and you find the right way for you to do shadow work.
I am just one person, one perspective, and I wish you all the very best on your healing journeys.