Origins, Meaning, and Utility
The Structure of the Mind
Carl Jung theorized the existence of three levels/spheres in the human psyche: the Ego, representing the conscious mind, the Personal Unconscious where memories are contained, and the Collective Unconscious, where all knowledge and experiences of the species are shared.
Each Sphere has in it a certain number of Archetypes, used to better describe the components of those structures, and the Shadow is one of them.
What is the Shadow
The shadow can be seen as an instinctual or primitive part of ourselves, it exists as part of the unconscious mind and is composed of repressed ideas, weaknesses, desires, instincts, and shortcomings.
It is this archetype that contains all of the things that are unacceptable not only to society but also to one's own personal morals and values, normally going against social norms and rules as well as what we personally consider right.
The Shadow is often described as the darker side of the psyche, representing wildness, chaos, and the unknown, and it is common for people to deny this element of their own psyche and instead project it on to others.
The Shadow in Witchcraft and Benefits of Shadow Work
The Shadow, in witchcraft, can represent The Unknown, hidden depth of ourselves. Speaking in terms of energy, this is an area that can be a deep source of energetic issues, because it’s locked up in the dark and always striving to reach the light.
To not work with one’s Shadow is to make it greedy and aggressive, as well as denying a big part of oneself, making everything half of a whole.
Through that brief explanation, we can already establish the importance and role of the Shadow in witchcraft, and with that in mind, comes the concept of Shadow Work.
Shadow Work can be seen in a number of practices, meditation, trances, inner journeys, lucid dreaming, astral travels, spells, and divination.
The method can change, but the principle is simple: Centering your intent to self-discovery, self-knowledge, and self-acceptance.
Working with one’s Shadow is not only beneficial to one’s craft, as it allows one to get in touch with their intuition as well as allows for easier connection with one’s guide/guides, but it also allows for healing and acceptance of one’s feelings and needs.
Think of all aspects of life as a wheel. If there is one part bent, the wheel can turn, but with more effort. If the owner spends time fixing that bent part, the wheel will turn in a much more smooth manner.
That is what happens when you take the time to do Shadow Work, you have to put in the effort, and most of the time it’s not easy, but once done, all other components on the wheel of your life will be relieved to move on without that obstacle that makes their job harder.
The Shadow is not evil, as evil is just the moral compass invented by humans. It is a part of one’s nature, and to deny it is to suppress a connection with yourself.
Take the time to know and accept your shadow, and you’ll see that life will be a little easier.
Join our Shadow work Course to learn how to work with your shadow instead of against it! Check our Events page
A Natureza da psique (Structure & Dynamics of the Psyche) by C.G. Jung
The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious by C.G. Jung