Shadow work is popular in both the spiritual and witchcraft communities, but it can be intense for many people, or seem like the only option is journaling and self-reflection. If you’ve decided to start shadow work, here are a list of activities and practices that I think go hand-in-hand with shadow work.
As a friendly reminder, despite its popularity in the community, you do not have to do shadow work, and if your mental health or physical body is not in a state to do so, then that’s perfectly okay.
This one is probably self-explanatory, and not everyone has access to affordable therapy services, so I’ll be quick. I have found that working with a therapist that understands my interest in the spiritual has been vital to my shadow work. There are some parts of the shadow that need professional help, and that’s okay. It can help to have a professional help guide you if you start to feel stuck, or to give you tools to recognize, work with, handle, and be compassionate towards your body and emotions through the process.
It is proven that emotions and memories are stored in the body. Yoga is a beautiful practice that helps get those emotions and energy flowing, helping them move through and out of you. My personal favorite is Yin Yoga, a slower based practice. There have been many times I’ve cried in a yoga session, or felt other emotions rise to the surface, all in different poses. Keywords to search are “somantic yoga” or “somantic therapy.”
Flow work – whatever it means to you
Sometimes the best grounding and best medicine after a tough week or session of shadow work is to get completely out of your head. Engross yourself in something that is gentle but takes all your focus, and hop into “flow state,” which is the state where you lose track of time, and the only thing on your mind is the task at hand.
Activities can include – drawing, writing, painting, coloring, video games, running, playing with younger family members, bird watching, surfing, yoga, cleaning and household work, organizing in-person spaces or digital, reading, researching, and many others.
Keeping a common place journal is something new to me too, but I’ve found very helpful. Essentially, a commonplace journal is a journal where you keep quotes, articles, and other information you hear or read in one place. You can do it on your phone, a digital journal, or a physical one, and you can keep whatever information you want.
I find that the collection of quotes I gather tells me a lot about myself and what I’m feeling on a deeper level, when I am feeling more mentally ready for reflection. Or, when I need comfort, I know exactly where to go.