I've been in the dark a lot lately. Not physically, but spiritually. Emotionally.
If you've heard the term "shadow work," you know where I am. A term originally coined by Carl Jung, it's one that's been commandeered by the self-development industry.
What Is Your Shadow Self?
The best explanation I've heard for your shadow self is: the crap that you don't like about yourself.
For me, it's my need to control. For you, it might be anger issues...
...unresolved childhood trauma...
...avoiding conflict at all costs...
...attracting abusive partners.
The list could really go on and on. But probably right now you're thinking of those things you don't like, so you get the point.
We can continue to struggle with those issues in this lifetime and the next...or we can go deep into the shadows to work to resolve them so that we free ourselves up to live happier lives today.
I don't know about you, but I choose the latter.
Meet the Shadow Goddesses
Because I find everything more fun to do with Goddesses by my side, I'm working with Them to process my issues during this shadow work.
Kali is a constant for me. She's here to take what no longer serves me. So those lingering feelings of resentment from my divorce? Hand it over. Beliefs that I don't make a good romantic partner? Hand it over.
What's interesting is: there's always something to give Kali! The beliefs I might have needed yesterday may have an expiration date of today, so She helps me take note of whether something is still serving me or not.
Inanna is another great shadow Goddess to work with. She goes on a journey to the Underworld and is forced to give up the trappings of ego and the things that block her from her own potential (PS I've created an awesome meditation with Inanna that I'll be debuting in my in-depth Manifest with Goddess course soon!).
This journey is really useful for us, as it forces us to see what's blocking us from being creative, from loving, from manifesting what we want in life.
Then there's Persephone of Greek mythology. She spends half of the year in the Underworld and half on Earth. When I went through my divorce years ago, I went underground to heal and grieve. It's important that we give ourselves the gift of time and space. It's being in the feminine energy of being rather than in the masculine energy of doing.
I remember thinking, why can't I be over this already? This is taking too long! Of course, now I hear Persephone laughing at that. You can't rush grief. You just have to accept where you are.
How to Work with the Goddesses
Whether one of these shadow Goddesses resonates or you find another (Lilith, Ereshkigal, and Morrigan are a few more), let Her guide you to opening up to your shadow side. A journal can help you have a place to record your thoughts and meditations.
It starts by being aware. What is that "thing" that you don't like? The thing that you know is holding you back from happiness? For me, it's wanting to control the outcome. I can be easy-breezy...until I'm not.
How does that thing negatively impact your life?
How would your life be better if this shadow was brought to light?
Now, I invite you to sit in meditation with the Goddess you've chosen. Visualize that you're sitting down with her, having a conversation about your shadow self. Listen, because she's got wisdom for you. Ask any questions you have, and listen for her advice. Then write it down before the memory fades!
Shadow work is work that never ends. Your shadows may come up differently over time. Pay attention to where you're getting snagged in life and be open to shining the light in dark corners.