Shadow Work – First Steps

Kintsugi is the Japanese tradition of repairing broken ceramics and pottery with a lacquer made from precious metals such as gold, silver, or platinum. Instead of fixing something to hide the flaw, they honor the history of the object by making the flaw its most beautiful and valuable part.

This is the essence of Shadow Work. We seek not to make our flaws go away, but instead to see them and make them the most beautiful and valuable parts of ourselves.

At the core of shadow work is the simple injunction “Know thyself”. It is only when we face ourselves unflinchingly but with love and compassion that we can truly know ourselves and heal the parts of us that need healing.

The Waning moon and the new moon are the best times to do Shadow Work because they are the releasing phase and the ending (and beginning) of the cycle. But honestly, you can do it whenever you feel called to. You don’t have to wait for a certain day or moon phase.

Pick a time when you will be uninterrupted for an hour or so, turn off your phone and lock the doors. You want to minimize the chance of being disturbed. If you would like to light some incense and candles then now would be a good time to do so. A black candle for drawing negativity to itself and a white candle for releasing positivity is a good pairing. Have your journal and pen handy,

Take a few deep breaths and give yourself permission to be sitting here, right now. Don’t let thoughts of what you ‘should’ be doing distract you. There is nothing more important than learning you and what you need.

Start with a simple exercise in journaling to get an idea of who you are right now. Take a few deep breaths and relax into your heart center. When you are more relaxed, write at the top of the page “Who am I?”. Write down everything that comes to mind, positive and negative. Don’t censor yourself, no one else is going to be reading this. If you feel stupid then write that down!

Describe yourself as you see you right now. Describe the person you want to be, your perfect self, your job, your ideal partner. Talk about your dreams. What talents do you have? What music do you love? What do you think some of your shadows are? Can you see any purpose to your shadows? Why do you want to do this shadow work?

Date this work and save it.

This is your baseline, where you are at right now. When you look back at this exercise you’ll be able to see where you have grown and changed and what you have learned about you over the intervening time.

Take as long as you need to do this exercise then put it aside and simply let it sit.

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