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Embrace Your Shadows: 3 Shadow Work Prompts to Explore Today

Shadow work is difficult and necessary to personal growth. Almost everyone in this world has some shadows hidden in their past, or even their present! I like to think of shadow work as self-psychology, so to speak. You’re asking yourself the hard questions and trying to set your spirit free from possible traps and confinements.

The concept of shadow work, first developed by the psychoanalyst Carl Jung, is a journey that delves into the hidden parts of ourselves—those aspects we might shy away from or suppress. It’s about acknowledging and understanding these facets to achieve personal growth and wholeness.

For individuals on a spiritual path, especially those drawn to witchcraft, shadow work can be a powerful tool for self-discovery and transformation. Here are three shadow work prompts to guide you through this process, including an exploration of the reluctance to share one’s witchcraft practice with friends and family.

Shadow Work Prompt 1: Judgement From Others

Confronting the Fear of Judgment for Practicing Witchcraft

One of the most historical depictions of judgement for witchcraft is none other than the Salem Witch Trials.

You’d be stretched to attempt to find a person who went to school in the United States who has no clue of the Salem witch trials.

The fear of judgement for witchcraft may be ingrained into our very souls because of reactions like this.

Today we have much less to fear than those poor souls did 300 years ago, but some fear is still there.

I was having a conversation recently that made me realize that this is a very prevalent topic to some people. Unfortunately, some people in this world think witch’s or those who enjoy spiritual practices are ‘strange’ or ‘weird’ or ‘crazy’. It’s important to remember that this is just a stereotype, and those exist everywhere, and they’re sadly not going to go away any time soon.

My daughter is being raised to feel free and spiritual, to choose her own path, to practice when she wants and how she wants. If she wants to make a sachet to have sweet dreams, then we do that. If she wants to create a simmer pot to bring blessings to our home, we do that. I will not raise her to fear judgement, much like some of us do. Where does this judgement come from? From family, from peers, and from work acquaintances.

We can start by reflecting on why you might feel hesitant or fearful about expressing your interest in witchcraft or identifying yourself as a witch to friends and family.

Are you afraid of specific outcomes?

Do you think you’ll be judged negatively?

Does it feel embarrassing to think about having these conversations with people around you?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, ask yourself the most important question of all: why?

It might surprise you to dig deep into yourself and find the answer, I personally feel like a lot of people I’ve met who are afraid to show their true selves or every version of themselves is because they fear the rejection they might face from someone who’s close to them, or who’s opinion we believe matters.

Delve into your past experiences with judgment or misunderstanding—how have these shaped your willingness to share this part of your identity?

This prompt encourages you to examine the roots of your apprehension. Often, fear of judgment stems from broader societal misconceptions about witchcraft, past experiences of not being accepted, or a deep-seated desire to belong. By confronting these fears, you can begin to understand the power you give them and how they may limit your expression of your true self. Consider how secrecy affects your practice and whether there are ways to integrate your spiritual path into your public identity that feel safe and authentic to you.

Shadow Work Prompt 2: Fear of Oneself

Identifying the Shadows in Your Craft

Shadow work is a way to identify the shadows within us and within our lives. There are shadows in your craft, whether you’ve realized it or not. Is there anything you’re afraid of? Did you have bad experiences before? For some people this can be as silly as you played with a Ouija board as a young child, and someone pranked you so that it felt all too real. As a result, you may fear any communication or interpretation of spirits like deities reaching out to you.

Some people feel demonology and necromancy is a shadow in the craft, they’ll never touch it, never experience it, never do it, and that’s fine! These are parts of witchcraft that are not for everyone. Me? I educate myself on it, but that’s only because I desire to learn more every day, educating and actively practicing are two very different things. A silly way I like to compare this is that I am afraid of spiders, but I still educate myself about them, because if anything were to happen to me and I were to get bit, I’d rather be educated and know if I’m in immediate danger or not.

You can apply the same thought to the ‘ugly’ side of witchcraft. Do some shadow work and ask yourself why you’re afraid of certain parts of your craft. If your answer is because there’s too much you don’t know about it, well that’s an easy fix. Let’s say you meet someone who also practices, and they happen to practice parts of witchcraft that you’re afraid of or don’t agree with, you may not even notice what they’re doing if you’re not well educated on the different aspects of everything.

Think about aspects of your witchcraft practice that you might avoid or neglect and ask yourself the important questions.

Are there certain practices, beliefs, or areas of study that make you uncomfortable?

Why do you think that is?

Is the resistance you feel stemming from fear?

Are you biased to feel a certain type of way because of your upbringing?

This aims to shed light on the parts of your practice (and, by extension, yourself) that you might not fully accept. It’s an opportunity to confront any internalized prejudices against certain practices or beliefs within the craft or to address why you might distance yourself from exploring deeper, perhaps darker, aspects of witchcraft.

Acknowledging and understanding these resistances can lead to a more inclusive and empowered practice that embraces the full spectrum of witchcraft and its transformative potential.

Shadow Work Prompt 3: Defining Yourself

The Role of Witchcraft in Your Personal Empowerment

How long have you been on this journey? Perhaps you’ve been learning and practicing for years, decades even? Or maybe you’ve only recently thought about the witchy aesthetic or picked up a spell book for the first time at the bookstore yesterday, either way, let’s talk about defining yourself.

Reflecting on how this has contributed to your sense of personal empowerment is the equivalent of embracing the witch within you.

How has this changed your perception of yourself?

Have your interactions with the world around you changed?

Do you use your practice as a way to shield yourself, or a way to escape when confronted with personal issues or challenges?

I invite you to assess the role witchcraft plays in your journey towards self-empowerment and healing.

Encourage yourself to take an honest look at whether your practice genuinely supports your growth or if there are instances where it might serve as a distraction from deeper self-work. Understanding this balance can help you align your craft more closely with your path of healing and self-discovery, ensuring that it remains a source of strength and transformation.

Shadow work is a deeply personal and sometimes challenging process, but it’s also incredibly rewarding. By exploring these prompts, you engage in a dialogue with your inner self that can illuminate your path, deepen your practice, and enhance your understanding of who you are as both an individual and a practitioner of witchcraft. Remember, the journey into shadow work is not about judgment but about bringing light to the hidden parts of ourselves, fostering growth, acceptance, wholeness, and embracing your shadows.