Monday Insight : Shadow Work - 5 Tangible Tools

The Journal as a container

Having a container to purge, reflect and process what is coming up from your unconscious and subconscious mind [spirit] is important when doing any form of Shadow work. This is where a Journal can become a tool and an ally in supporting you through getting the all the brain dumps, and information simmering and sifting to the surface, to give all the content swirling around in your mind a place to be, in a cohesive or incohesive way.

The way in which you use the Journal as a container will be of course reflective of your style, the nature of the content and your intention. Some days when I am going into my own Shadow work I am using a conversation to spark a stream of conscious splurge that I can later go back and work with on an ever deeper level. Other times I use more structure and a firmer systematical approach. I may use for example: bullet points and quick notes. It varies what I bring to the practice. The sensation and connection to my Shadow issue becoming clearer the further I go with my bullet points.

Books as a lifelong Resource

Some days the issues that will arise will be full of heat, and will be easier to sift through and work with.  It is pragmatic to be aware that on the days that there is smoke or fog in your consciousness that you allow the space to welcome resources that can offer fresh perspectives, and a starting point, or reference point to leap from. 

Books, magazines and other materials; such resources can hold a wealth of juicy goodness that you can work with inside and outside your Shadow work to encourage it in your sessions, and to feed the fuel, and to tempt it to the surface to give you something to explore when you finally make the time to get into it. 

Books such as Creative writing, Journal healing, Meditation or quote books as well as Wellbeing and interest magazines all contain prompts, passages, usually pictures and exercises that call all be incorporated into the practice.

Some I have used in the past: 

  • The Right to Write by Julia Cameron
  • Writing down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg
  •  The Dark side of the Light Chasers – Debbie Ford
  • Fruit flesh by Gayle Brandeis [Fantastic for creative divine women]
  •  The New Diary by Tristine Rainer - Preface by Anais Nin 

It is worth mentioning that these are books that I pick up and use when I feel guided and inspired and not ones that I would read right through. Although if you feel motivated to follow a book from start to finish as a form of Shadow Practice let that be your shining beacon.


I love the Tarot. It has been a guiding part of my own practice into Shadow work long before I even knew the term Shadow work.  It is always the first tool that I go to alongside my Journaling, and used together it can create powerful shifts in awareness, as well as intent, direction and progression. 

A few basic ways you can do this is by using spreads already made by others to break down what works and what does not work for you , or you can create your own by focusing on the area you want to work with.

For example: My Client’s apparent work is relating to the attachment they have to an old job, partner, passion or experience. I would work with them using the Letting go spread which is comprised of a three card draw: 

  • What the resistance is there around the issue?
  • What can be learned from the experience, or already has been?
  • Where can they go from there using the experience and the lessons from the cards in unity with whatever comes up in the session or private practice?

When I am doing Shadow Work, the ultimate take from it is clarity, specificity and action that I can take into my life, and the world as a healer and mentor. The knowledge, 
experience, reflection and connection to the cards and their energy and outcome is mine to begin with, though my belief is that when I use the cards to connect with myself I am tapping into the collective consciousness, the universal juice and divine and when I do I also glean wisdom that I can then take into my work with my Clients and fellow Sacred Journeyers. 

 It is important to embody what I teach, and the techniques I use in my sessions.

Brainstorming and Dumps

Lists, charts, diagrams, vision boards, collage, artwork, poetry or mind mapping, whatever form you decide to use, one or many of these tools can be a platform for expression. The integration of your light and shadow side is a nourishing, cathartic and engaging way to open the three elements of your psyche and to work with your Shadow.

If you feel you aren’t creative, or as creative as you want to be take some time to investigate the area of your brain that you are drawn to the most. For some the left brain method of making lists, drawing up graphs or using spread sheets really gets them going, for other Right brain creators using paint, mixed media, writing poetry or film making can aid them in connecting with their self in all its forms. 

The aim here is to address what is coming up for you through a different practice or perspective. I encourage you to experiment with both sides of your brain, even if you favor one. Both have fantastic qualities and you will always be using one side more, or less in unity with the self and the Divine.

Tap into your Network Tree

Whether it be your mentor, your partner, best-friend or a fellow spiritual entrepreneur, building a network tree for engaging in the Shadow work is essential. You don’t have to share the entire process if you want to keep it intimate between yourself and the Divine, though I do recommend having at least one to two people who you trust who you can be with whether that is to support you with a hug, a cuppa tea, or to bounce ideas off when you are having a rough day. There will be days when we need that extra bit of encouragement and a shoulder to cry on when it all comes to the surface.

I would recommend only sharing this experience with someone you know would offer the same to you in a healthy manner. Honoring each other for your resources and time is essential to get a great synergy of energy, an exchange where both people feel nurtured, nourished and can learn from one another. 

I do believe Shadow work is an independent and individual exploration of the self and it is important to know where you are embodying responsibility and power for your practice. Be aware of when you are seeking validation or confirmation from others, when you really need it from yourself, this is something Shadow work helps to build on and expand, confidence in your direction, opinions and choices.

Questions to Consider

What tools do you currently use to process the often intense or dark side of your psyche?

What are three ways you can explore one or more of these tools in your practice?

Do you have a Shadow work process or practice at all, and if you did what would it look like, smell like, sound like? Really delve into the sensory and visionary power of your mind and body.

Do you have a network tree, and if so who would you call upon to support you during your Shadow Work practice?


Blair Mirth

Blair is a Pagan Loving, Earth magic maverick with a love for Tarot, poetry, Herbs, Creative Writing and Learning. Here you will find all manner of magical tips, techniques, interviews and sharings

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