The Shadow & Shadow Work
Carl Jung introduced the concept of The Shadow as an element of human psyche. He taught that The Shadow consists of those parts of ourselves we subconsciously choose to repress or hide. We begin this process of stashing them under our metaphorical bed in childhood but they aren’t gone, only condemned to an internal netherworld where they shapeshift and become what I call our inner demons. Adversarial to our wellness, our inner demons- when left unacknowledged and untempered- surreptitiously turn us into own worst enemy. I will be writing a lot more about inner demons and how to successfully temper them throughout 2021.
Shadow Work is a collection of psychoteric techniques to temper The Shadow into a form where all those inner demons are discovered and slowly infused into a more sustainable, authentic, realistic self-perception and personality.
One of the popular Shadow Work techniques is using self-analyzing writing prompts to write in a daily journal. One of the people that I enjoy following on Twitter, Ashley N. Jackson @iamshwee published her own Shadow Work 31 Day Journal last month. I told her that I would use it myself (I’m now at Day 120 of keeping an active Tarot Journal- my longest success at that) for all 31 days, starting on Sunday the 17th. My weeks start on Sundays, end on Saturdays for completely personalized reasons 🙂
The 31 Days of Shadow Work Calendar
While the work itself is private, I’m going to list the Thoth tarot cards I drew each day in association with each of those prompts 🙂
Day One: Am I in love with illusions and fantasies or truths & realities? The High Priestess (Upright)
Day Two: Have I forgiven myself for my flaws, failures, and limitations? The Tower
Day Three: Do I live mostly in the past, present or future? Page of Swords (Reversed)
|Day Four: Am I afraid of being alone? If so, what am I avoiding in myself? 8 of Swords Interference|
Day Five: Do I easily allow myself to be happy or does it take a lot to make me happy? The Magus
Day Six: When I make a mistake, do I accept it or do I heavily judge and criticize myself? Knight of Wands
Day Seven: Do I tend to overload myself with other people’s burdens/pain? Queen of Swords
Thoughts So Far
Incorporating a daily Shadow Work prompt into my morning journaling fit in smoothly. I liked the way it provided a topic for me to write about. It was a perfect format for me to incorporate my personal card for the day into (which is separate from the one I do on Twitter for the Twitch streamer community).
I found the choice of topics (Love, Self-Love, Mindful, Solitude, Happiness, etc.,) to be interesting. If/when I make a calendar of my own, I would probably create just seven that would be in association with the classic planets + days of the week. This is just the occultist geek in me; there’s nothing wrong with the broader range of them that Ashley picked.
The questions themselves were well-scripted to be useful for a wide audience. I think they’d be perfect for someone who was just getting their first taste in doing shadow work journaling. I found myself on certain days using them as a launch pad for a deeper, harder question. For example, I absolutely let myself be happy and it doesn’t take a lot to put me there- and if that was true in 2020 despite the pandemic and everything else? Then I expect 2021 to be even more so (it is so far). But I was able to take that question and write about my gratitude to the life circumstances and special people that have brought above average happiness into my life over the last 2-3 years.
So I can say that so far? This 31 Day Shadow Work Calendar has been a rewarding experience. Best of all, it gave me the opportunity to delve a little into something psychoteric and blissfully apolitical for this blog, which I’m thrilled about. The days since the Inauguration have been so wonderfully normalizing. I want this trend to continue.