Lessons in Magick: The Key to Shadow Work

Lessons in Magick: The Key to Shadow Work

As society begins to move further and further away from religion we are seeing an increase in Witches coming out of the broom closet, Seekers beginning to ask important questions, and a yearning to get back to our wild, authentic roots; a place where we were one with nature, and our deities—we didn’t need holy men, or holy books to tell us how to worship and commune with powers greater than ourselves; we knew those powers lived inside of us.

In all areas of life there are those who take advantage of other’s and proclaim to be gurus of this or that; the new age movement has had equal pros and cons.

Not only have there been false gurus, teachers and healers there seems to be too many trends to count; not that trends are necessarily a dreadful thing, but do they have a place in the Craft?

Do trends make outsiders take us less seriously?

Do trends perpetuate negative stereotypes?

I don’t think the answer to any of these questions is clear, nor do I think the answers are simply black and white; the truth always falls into a liminal space. A gray area.

One of the prominent trends I have been seeing is Shadow Work.

From my observations the definition of Shadow Work itself differs from tradition to tradition and even practitioner to practitioner.

There are some people who simply skim the surface of their Shadow, refusing to dive deep; others who dive too deep and become consumed. Then there the few who find balance dwelling within the Shadowy part of their Psyche and Soul.

I have never been one to do anything half way, and just like my emotions, my love affair with my Shadow is extreme, and intense. I don’t quite know what balance is for myself, but I sure can teach it to others.

Oh, the poetic irony.

The term itself is most notably associated with famed psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Carl Jung. He described the Shadow Self as a characteristic (personality trait) that every person has and the more they ignore it, the more sinister and toxic it becomes; it was Jung who said that he must also have a dark side to be whole.

The denial of darkness, and Shadow is one of the biggest problems with the New Age and “Lightworker” movement: everyone is denying their Shadow because they fear the dark or think the light is the only way.

I happen to believe the light can only be found through the darkness; understanding can only come through suffering.

There are so many misconceptions about the darkness, and Shadow Work so people just avoid it altogether, only to have the Shadow manifest in volatile ways in other areas of life.

If there is one thing I have learned in my years of practice and study, it’s that our Shadow will not be denied.

I have a lot of trauma in my childhood (life in general) and I believe (matter of fact, I know) that it plays a huge role in the amount of Shadow Work I have; I also have Neptune in the 12th house which makes me crave all things hidden, mysterious and unknown.

So, when I started my Shadow journey almost 5 years ago, I kinda never stopped; the lessons didn’t stop coming, the pain of my past didn’t stop bleeding, and I made myself at home in the darkness.

Even with my level of comfort, there are times I must pull myself back to the surface to catch some air, and much needed light.

jaclyn cherie shadow work the house of twigs THOY Nephilim Rising

Taking a break from Shadow Work is essential for all Witches, Mystics and Occultists because it helps to not just balance us, but ground us back to reality—to the present moment.

Here are some ways that I balance out the heaviness of Shadow Work:

Dance: Dancing is something that not only cleanses our Chakras, helping to re-align them but it also raises our vibrations. There is nothing like a good sweaty dance session to bring you back to center and help reconnect you to the present space and time.

Orgasm: Whether this is with a partner, or self-induced, nothing really shows us how Divine, and how human we are as the act of orgasm. This serves a few purposes, too: it feels good (duh), it cleanses our Root and Sacral Chakras, and it gives a much-needed boost of “happy hormones” which in turn raise our vibrations. Honoring our womb space (a shadowy void of its own) is great for connecting to the physical realm.

Nature: Spending time in Nature is something that should be practiced often but not all of us are afforded the time, or opportunity to get out there. So, whether it is a hike in the mountains, a camping trip, gardening (keeping house plants counts too!) or just sitting in your backyard with your feet in the grass (or as we enter fall/winter, walking outside to listen to the stillness)—we must find our rhythm with Mother, among Mother.

Baths: Water is cleansing, not just literally but Spiritually too. I was once told by a teacher that all water is connected, so even if I am sitting in my bath tub in the middle of the city, it’s as if I am sitting in flowing stream out in the middle of the woods. I like to add salt and herbs (my mood determines which ones I use) to my bath’s—it makes it a mini ritual, and one that is super easy. In true Taurus Moon fashion, I light candles, incense and indulge in chocolate while I let the water heal me.

You see the key to Shadow Work isn’t about how far you are willing to go, it’s about finding balance and making time for ourselves amidst the chaos; self-care is paramount when walking the Shadows.

jaclyn cherie the house of twigs THOT shadow work Nephilim Rising

As healing and full of lessons Shadow Work is, it is not easy, it is not for the faint of heart, it is not for the weak minded; it’s a path that once you step foot on there is no going back.

And, honestly, why would you want to?

The Shadow is the key to everything.

“The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.” -Carl Jung

Jaclyn Cherie

Jaclyn Cherie has her roots in Upstate New York. She is an Author, Word Alchemist, Hedge Witch, Feminist, and Luciferian. Finding her Muses in the most unusual places and people, she strives to tell raw, real stories of Magick, the human condition, Sacred Sex, Women’s Issues and, her favorite topic, rebellion.