Shadow Work: Through the Amateur’s Eyes

This is going to be my fourteenth entry which makes it two weeks since I began again. I’m feeling both excited and little bit like a recovering smoker. Seeing what I have done so far is making me more aware of what I still to come and I can’t help but relish what the future holds, particularly if I continue the way that I am.

So, something that I have come across a few times now is the concept of Shadow Work. Sometimes this is described as Dark Witchcraft, among other descriptions. I’ve mentioned it once before here, and now I’m going to explore the idea of it a little more. The practice or theory is based around the idea that each person has a shadow self, a being comprised of all the things we repress or deny.

The idea of exploring this darker aspect is one which fascinates me because its something that I feel is still considered to be taboo by most people. Understandably, darkness has always been one of those primal things that mankind has shied away from and in many regards for very good reason. The dark and a majority of the things it deals with/is associated with and reside in it are downright dangerous. However, this does not meant that we should ignore it. Unfortunately there seems to be a causal link between this dangerous quality and making the dark taboo.

A good example of this is in a book series that I was reading some time back. As I recall, the book itself was called “Taliesein” (though I forget who it was by). In this novel the eponymous protagonist comes across a dilapidated and abandoned site of worship devoted to Cernunnos. The character describes how he felt drawn to the shrine. He ignored the draw to the shrine because of its dark nature (shameless paraphrasing from memory). I’ve always thought that this was an unfortunate act on the part of the main character.

The more I learn about Shadow Work, the more I come to see it not just as a development of personal practice but potentially as a way to ‘reclaim the dark’ so to speak. By confronting out dark selves and embracing them, it seems only natural to me that other lost things of the dark can also be embraced.

Naturally, there are several arguments that could be raised against this particular view, one big one being that dark is evil. I’m going to look at that tomorrow.


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