Shadow work is the most challenging magick work for any witch or enlightened being to focus on because it looks at the darker parts of the self straight in the mirror and brings them into the light. Digging up all the harmful or unfair elements that no longer serve us can make a witch feel vulnerable and weak, but it does the opposite in the end. Focusing the power on building the psyche into a more vital being and looking at the shadow side, the darkest side of the human mind is healthy for growth. Seeing what factors need work and what components need to abolish makes a witch channel the highest potential magick.
Shadow work is difficult for all witches because it's looking at the darkest side of the self and the parts that usually get pushed down deep into the psyche. Every person has a shadow side, and it just depends on the person what it encompasses. Those who do not work on the shadow side of themselves are likely to have it come out in negative ways. Lack of work can affect the magick, and it can hold back prosperity spells and any time of life-enhancing rituals because the shadow side can jeopardize any real growth until addressed.
Shadow work happens through realizing what part of your thoughts are holding back the magick and approach it with compassionate resolution in mind. A witch must acknowledge and accept the hidden parts of their personality for those aspects to no longer bother them in day-to-day life. Shadow magick can throw off many people who are not familiar with this form of magick and can misconstrue it as dark magick, but it is the most valid form of light magick. Shadow work shines a light upon the shadow self and no longer allows it to hide deep within the mind.
The way to find out what is triggering the shadow self is to understand what bothers us on a core level. Maybe it's a friend who always seems to attract men's attention, and you think in your head think she is too loose, but she is just enjoying the attention. That is the shadow self wishing it could achieve that attention. If it weren't the core of what you wanted in your life, it wouldn't even let it bother you, and you'd go on with just letting your friend smile and be happy by getting. These are dark thoughts or parts of the personality hidden away by knowing they're wrong but thinking them anyway and not checking ourselves or trying to stop these thoughts.
The shadow side is an ingrained but hidden part of our personality, and we hide it away because we know the thinking it produces is wrong. Shadow magick is the process of acknowledging it, accepting it, and trying to rectify these parts of our personality. Shadow work has been around since ancient times, and Shamans have been working on shadow magick for longer than we can even document. The idea of modern shadow work came to a larger audience because Carl Jung identified these hiding places from ourselves by bringing light to the shadow self’s darkness. The underlying theme of the shadow work Jung promoted was to be compassionate with the self since this is a long process of self-work as it took many years to program, it will take many years to reprogram. Jung's ideas are a good focus because the way he laid them out can easily help all types of beings and not just those who work with shamanism.
Shadow work can be difficult because it faces the dark and gritty parts of the self that may look ugly and become hard to face. It is smart to prepare for the shadow work, and the first preparation would be to make sure the will is there to work and meet your darker personality without anger or depression. Mental and physical preparation is vital before working with the shadow self and done through meditation and positive thoughts. The best way to fully prepare for the shadow work is to look back on the things in life that you are grateful for about yourself. If the shadow work becomes too intense, reflect on these aspects to not let the dark side bring the process down. Being compassionate about yourself is a huge priority since this shadow work focuses on improving your life, not making things harmful, or bringing you down about yourself.
The steps of shadow work are first to work on recurring themes. These are patterns in daily thinking or arguments that keep occurring in your life with loved ones or the self. Also, analyze what pushes your buttons or what others can do to get under your skin. The parts that may irritate your psyche about others may be something you still need to acknowledge and work on yourself. The shadow self feeds on these patterns and justifies negative thinking as protecting oneself and magick from those who may question the darkness within. The shadow does not want light shined upon it and will fight to show just why it keeps fighting against these recurring themes.
The second step is to analyze emotional reactions to others and life struggles. These are emotional triggers of things that make you cringe and feel very strongly about in daily life. Usually, something that may highlight insecurities you built at a young age might not even realize you are doing from feeling lacking in confidence. Maybe you do not like when people flaunt their wealth because you grew up with very little money and possibly bullied about dressing in poor clothes or not having nice things. Emotional reactions can be towards many aspects of life but are usually things that promote a strong physical response.
The next step is on identifying patterns that the emotional reactions and reoccurring themes have set up in your life. With the patterns identified, they can be acknowledged when falling into and then eventually discarded. Patterns can be subtle, like talking bad about a particular person every time they come up in conversation when they have not done anything significantly harming but maybe causes jealousy in the shadow self. The way to break this would be to next time this person comes up to see the positives in this person or acknowledge the shortfall in yourself that causes you to dislike this person.
The last step in the shadow magick is to write all of this effort into a shadow journal. It would make sense to have this as the first step, but it is good to get this all into the mind first since that is where it needs to link up with and then write down later. This journal can also track how the process is going with the shadow self and what other patterns get discovered. Writing down new triggers and patterns can make the shadow work comes to light, and soon every aspect will be laid out to shine bright eventually.
Working on the shadow will make any witch stronger in their own power since it stops the inner light from being dulled and allows the magick to be from a pure source. Just working on shadow work will begin manifestations of prosperity and guidance without even doing spells or rituals. Every witch will see their practice improve by working on the shadow side and letting go of all the darkness that can hold us back as emotional beings.