The Magic of Shadow Work
Hey friends! It’s Erin from TBH Magic back again.
Ritual Shoppe owner Angela Monaco and I spoke in length last month about October’s astrology and the shifting tides of our collective reality.
The days are getting shorter. Darkness is greeting us earlier each night. Scorpio season and Halloween are looming...and not to mention the U.S. Presidential Election (scary!).
These energetics had us visiting some dark thoughts and discussing the idea of shadow work.
If you run in any mystical circles, or frankly just have an Instagram in 2020, you’ve probably seen this term making its rounds. But what exactly is shadow work?
Funny enough, like a bunch of other “witchy” concepts, shadow work can trace its roots back to psychology. Carl Jung, viewed by many as the father of psychology, was the first to conceive the concept of the shadow self. He referred to the word “shadow” when describing the hidden parts of our being. He likened the shadow to parts of ourselves that we repress because they make us feel sad or wounded in some way. According to Jung, “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”
Now, Jung was no astrologer, but he was keenly aware of human behavior, so that we have in common! His ideas about shadow work deeply inform my own views and I share his belief that firstly acknowledging, then integrating (the work part) our shadow side is the best way to live a balanced and truly fulfilling life.
Your first reaction might be to simply cut out any shadow you find! If you eradicate the problem, it ceases to exist, right? WRONG. Your shadow self is not something to try and remove entirely, or to disassociate from. It’s intrinsically part of you and once it’s mastered, it makes you a fuller, more beautiful version of yourself.
So...where do you begin? Especially if your shadow self is still fully living in the unconscious realm (where many people’s shadow sadly lives forever) shadow work can feel like a momentous task. How do you address the tricky parts of yourself that you want to work on...but that are hidden from view?!
Of course astrology is here to help.
Angela was kind enough to offer up her own birth information to use for an example, so I pulled up her birth chart to look for a few specific placements that help when you’re looking for that infamous shadow side of your personality.
There are several astrological placements that can aid in uncovering the shadow work you need to do, but I generally like to start with locating the Sun and Chiron within the birth chart.
Now, why would I be looking for the SUN when we’re talking about something so...dark? Because often where the sun shines the brightest it also casts the largest shadow. We can look to the opposite sign (known as the polarity in astrology) and the house of the sun in the birth chart to find opportunities for shadow, or polarity, integration.
Chiron is a more straight-forward option, as it’s frequently referred to as the “wounded healer” in astrology and the sign, and particularly the house it resides in the birth chart, will reveal the area of life where inherited pain, and frequently self-sabotage, could live. AKA: lots of opportunity for work!
The magic of shadow work is revealed when you realize the deepest wounds can transmute into the greatest gifts.
So let’s get back to Angela’s birth chart. Her Sun is in Taurus in the 12th house and her Chiron is in Gemini in the 1st house.
Immediately I can extrapolate that Angela is a deep, spiritual person who is very familiar with her shadow. A Sun in the 12th house person (hi, my Cancer Sun is also in the 12th house!) typically is faced with needing to integrate their shadow earlier in life than others, because their ego self (the Sun) is already inhabiting a very shadowy, hidden place (the 12th house).
In simple terms, that means that Angela is naturally gifted with a strong intuition, yet may have suffered from identifying her shadow self as her ACTUAL self before finding an important balance.
Her sun sign’s polarity, or opposite, is her Scorpio 6th house.
The 6th house represents health. It’s the things we do, or don’t do, on a day-to-day basis that contribute, or detract, from our overall well-being. This includes the work we do from 9-5 and our general daily habits (think: doing the dishes, caring for pets, a meditation practice, etc.).
With Scorpio ruling the 6th house, and one area of Angela’s shadow, we can deduce that her shadow work will involve mastering her day-to-day life. One big challenge here is mastering her health, but not doing so obsessively, which is a hallmark trait of Scorpio.
Now let’s look at Chiron. Angela has Chiron in Gemini in her 1st house. Straight away, we know that there’s a wound surrounding her physical body (first house) and the ability to confidently bring her thoughts (Gemini) into the world.
There’s also a theory that the degree of Chiron in the birth chart indicates the age at which this wound might have surfaced, thus creating a clear before-and-after sort of moment. Angela’s Chiron is at 6 degrees, so it’s possible that when she was a very young child she was confronted with being uncomfortable in her physical being in some way.
As you can see, while “shadow work” might initially seem like an elusive term, a study of the birth chart offers multiple routes for integration, and in Angela’s case, even provides a cohesive theme!
Angela’s birth chart clearly shows us that her shadow work in this lifetime involves her physical well-being on a day-to-day basis. She is endowed with many gifts in accessing the spiritual realm, but integrating the physical, 3D world is where her shadow work will be done. She might find that helping to heal others will in turn help her to heal herself. Spoiler alert: SHE CREATED RITUAL SHOPPE!
2020 has been such a challenging year for so many. Arguably, it has been a challenging year for literally everyone! So with the days waning and darkness enveloping us (in many senses of the word) this fall...why not confront your shadow? It can be challenging, and it will definitely be uncomfortable, but there is so much waiting for you on the other side.
The products you use (or don't use) to support you in your shadow work journey are an entirely personal choice. However, I love the yin yang symbol as a recognition of the integration of both light and dark. Here are a few of my favorites from the shop: