Shadow Work & Self-Care, and how on Earth does that tie in with Planetary Energies??

Two sides of the same coin, and for me, the more I explore shadow work, the more I realise it’s a vital part of my ongoing self-care.

This is a hot topic right now and one that is never ending. If we want to keep on top of our spiritual growth then working on our shadow selves has got to be priority.

My friend Rebecca of Silver Birch Healing and I have a witchy podcast – we are The Rebel Witches, and we chose shadow work as our latest thing to dive into – and wow, we could have gone on for ages – especially poignant at the moment with all the planetary energies happening right now. You can access that podcast here, and we also have an Instagram page, and an email, so if there is anything you would like us to cover, or chat to us about you can do it via them.

As for what they have to do with all the energetic stuff that’s going on right now, well read on (I have written about all this in my latest newsletter, so apologies if you’ve read that, you might want to skip to the next paragraph, while I recap here.)

This has been such a heavy end to April and start to May energetically, with so much going on that I felt it warranted a little deeper dive into it all.

So, what exactly do I mean? Well, if you are in the Green Witch group, or follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you will see I have been posting a lot about solar flares, which have been bombarding the earth right now, along with something called Coronal Mass Ejections. Now I actually don’t know the difference really, but you can learn more about space weather here if you want to. All I do know is that this activity affects us on a cellular and energetic level. We are beings made of star dust! When this solar activity occurs Earth is bombarded with radiation from the sun that is strong enough to knock out radio signal and satellites and create amazing auroras that can be seen much more far south than normal, so it stands to reason that our energies are also affected.

Solar Flare

As you may know, the Earth and ourselves are both going through a massive vibrational upgrade right now, linked to the dawning of the new Golden Age – the Age of Aquarius, heralding a time of peace and abundance on Earth. Now this may still take several hundred years to manifest, we don’t really know, but we know that we are at a time of great change and unrest on the Earth right now. There is so much information out there about this, it would be difficult to point you in a direction, so I’d recommend a quick Google search to see what comes up if your interest is tweaked. How the sun’s activity affects us during these bursts is to accelerate our vibrational upgrades and ascension so that it matches the Earths frequency. You might also want to Google the Schumann Resonance to learn more about this too!

How we may feel this in our minds and bodies differs enormously, but some of the things you may be experiencing are headaches, nausea, ear ringing, sleeplessness, extreme fatigue, muscle aches, deja-vu, strange dreams, and so many other symptoms, and if you live with a chronic health condition such as fibromyalgia, or depression, you may be experiencing these symptoms ten fold! Sound or feel familiar? There is a great article here that really goes into much more detail.

Northern Lights

Heavy stuff right?? But that’s not all!… this weekend, the 1st and 2nd of May, we entered Eclipse Season, which is notorious for huge shifts and shake ups! Once again, far too much to go into in this newsletter, so there is a great article here where you can read more about that. Eclipses bring radical change into our lives, depending on whether they are solar or lunar eclipses, what your sign is and where they occur in that sign, but one thing you can be sure of, change is coming!

Oh, and we have all that on top of the energy of Beltane!!!! One of the Pagan fire festivals and linked not only with fairy energies, but also a time where traditionally we say “the veil is thin” – this means that the connection between our world and other dimensions is easier to access, the world of spirit and our world are linked and the veil that separates them is but a whisper at these times. You may feel more connection to those ethereal realms, angels, spirit, your guides and ancestors, or other paranormal realms at these times. Dreams may take on a different quality, and other parallel universes may encroach on our own, or visa versa!!

Fantasy Image

So, what on Earth can we do with all of this? Other than run for cover and hide under the duvet!…. well, this is a great time for self exploration, working on our inner and outer selves, developing our spiritual practices and strengthening our energy. Rather than being afraid of all this, we know that fear is the lowest of vibrations, and at these times we need to be raising our vibe, embrace it, use these times wisely. The article I attached above has loads of useful tips, grounding, being out in nature and keeping up to date with your meditation and contemplation practices being vital, and this video link from the astrologer Pam Gregory also has some really helpful insights.

Working on our shadow side is something that can be really useful for us to do at this time to clear any negative attachments and unwanted behaviours that no longer serve us, and thus helping us to raise our vibrations, and is useful to start when we feel ourselves going into an inward downward emotional spiral or repeated negative patterns of behaviour.

Lady In Nature

Warning;

Although working on the shadow self is a really useful thing to do, it can bring up painful memories, past secrets, hidden trauma and intense emotions – if you are not ready to deal with these do not begin it. Shadow work is a life long process, there are always new layers to unpeel, so be prepared to seek out the support of a trusted friend or professional therapist if the going gets tough.

Shadow work is not a replacement for medical treatment.

Having said that, it can be really rewarding and empowering, knowing that you have worked on and cleared old patterns and behaviour that has been holding you back.

So, what is it?

The way I see it, and this is only how I view it – shadow work is facing the parts of ourselves that we don’t like, or the habits and behaviours that are harmful to us – some examples of these would be settling for harmful situations or relationships, lying, being secretive, self-harming – with drugs, alcohol, food, toxic relationships. Some of these behaviours are learned but unproductive behaviours or beliefs that we once used for survival, maybe from childhood or even from beyond, karmic behaviours we are carrying with us from our ancestors and we need to break the cycle for they no longer serve us – we need to let them go for our souls to grow.

Sometimes we are carrying guilt or shame about past behaviour – parts of ourselves we have hidden away because we are afraid of other peoples reactions to us, for examples repressing our true natures, our sexuality or gender. Bottled up emotions from trauma.

It is important to note that this is not about blaming anyone, least of all ourselves – working with and healing the shadow is about compassion, forgiveness – naming, identifying the shame/behaviour/fear/repressed emotion and then letting it go.

All of us will have different traumas to heal, some wounds will be deeper and harder to heal than others, and there are many different ways of healing them.

Finding Inner Self

Ways of Healing the Shadow Self

Journaling is one way of healing – free writing, just allowing words to flow from you. Or just put a Google search in for shadow work prompts and see what you are drawn to. There are some useful ones here, but there are loads out there, take your time in looking, it becomes easier the more you do it. Start with some easy ones, such as “who or what am I jealous of?”, “friendships, which ones make me feel safe and nurtured, which ones make me feel isolated and insecure?”, “do I have healthy boundaries?”, “do I repeat the patterns that my parents and their parents did?”, “when have I been self destructive or self sabotaging in my life?”, “what does my inner child need?”

For me, I feel that shadow work is private. We live our lives on social media, sharing all sorts of personal things, but I feel this work has a sacredness to it – it’s one thing to talk things over with a trusted friend or professional, but something completely other to share our darkest and innermost private thoughts over social media – once it’s out there it can’t be taken back.

Journaling

A Scrying Ritual for Shadow Work to See What Needs to be Uncovered

Create a special time to sit and do the work, light a candle, some incense, use a beautiful journal to write in, create a safe, nurturing and beautiful space for yourself. Have a large piece of dark crystal, such a black obsidian, or a black bowl filled with water, a black mirror. Ground, centre and protect yourself – call in your guides to help you. Write down the question or prompts you wish to work with – read them aloud then gaze into the mirror / scrying bowl / crystal and wait….. it may take time, 5, 10, 20 minutes, for images of words to form in your mind – there is no set time or right or wrong way to do this – you may get nothing, but by speaking aloud you are already initiating the healing. You might want to speak aloud a healing phrase, something like “I did the best I could at the time and I forgive myself”.

Meditation With Crystals

Working with the Tarot

If you work with tarot or oracle cards they can be really useful in opening up pathways in our subconscious and allowing is to look deeper or clarify situations that we are working with.

As before, set the scene with candles and incense, maybe some relaxing music. Set your intentions of what you want to achieve, choose your cards and begin to ask your questions. Again there are many resources on Google that will help you, here is one, but get creative, trust your own intuition – if you get stuck draw a card for insight or clarification – create a spread based on your questions.

Tarot Cards

 

Shadow work and Self-Care

Remember, shadow work is a lifelong process, revisit it often to see what has changed or shifted. and this is where the self-care comes in – for me, uncovering these things, working on the shadow self is so healing it is vital to my self-care, one and the same thing. We are all familiar with Instagrams version of self-care, bubble baths and candles, stylised images. Wikipedia defines self-care as “Self-care has been defined as the process of taking care of oneself with behaviours that promote health and active management of illness when it occurs. Individuals engage in some form of self-care daily with food choices, exercise, sleep, and dental care”. All ancient cultures have some evidence that self-care was important, even as far back as the first peoples, and on a practical level, it made sense, keeping healthy and looking after each other and the self kept disease at bay – good hygiene is at the foundation.

Heart In Sunset

Self-care can nowadays be seen as anything that we do that gives us pleasure and promotes a healthy mind, body and spirit. As a pagan, I practice seasonal self-care – working with the seasons and cycles of nature, creating rituals that then make something special rather than just a routine.

  • Spring – putting plans into motion
  • Summer – living and experiencing fully
  • Autumn – reflection
  • Winter – looking within (shadow work) planning and repeat (the cycle of life, death and rebirth)

Bathing, good sleep, food choices, exercise, breathwork and meditation, reading, disconnecting from social media are all obvious choices for self-care. Less obvious choices for self-care and where we walk into the shadow work is setting boundaries, learning how to say no, walking away from toxic situations and people, turning the phone off, unfollowing and unliking people on social media, making time for a massage, or going to therapy, grounding, learning how to say yes despite anxiety, getting unstuck, letting go, getting out of our routines and negative patterns.

Can you see how they are now morphing into one? Being an active participant in your wellbeing can mean doing things you don’t necessarily want to do, stepping outside of your comfort zone, for example leaving a job / career / relationship that makes you unhappy, getting out of situations that make you sad and uncomfortable…now that is true self-care and shadow work!!!! and as I said earlier, it’s an ongoing process, but one that is so worthwhile and will feed your soul in so many rewarding ways.

Self-care will be an upcoming topic of our Rebel Witches podcast and one I hope you will join us for.

May your healing be gentle, much love,

Sam xxx

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