Are you wondering if you can do shadow work alone? I have all your answers here.
Can you do shadow work alone?
Yes, you can do shadow work alone. After you learn what shadow work is and how to do it, you might want to do it anytime you have solitude.
Before I show you how to do it alone, let's make sure you get the basics:
What is the shadow and what is shadow work?
The shadow is the side of yourself that's disconnected and unfelt. It's the part of yourself that's been rejected since childhood and you have no awareness of.
Shadow Work is integrating the entire spectrum of your being. It's the intentional process of admitting the parts of yourself you've ignored and repressed.
Why does everyone have a shadow self?
When you were born, you were a whole, complete being.
But as you grow, your family and your culture encourage some parts of your personality, while punishing other parts.
So as a child, you learn that you're supposed to be one way and not the other. This other side of yourself is the shadow self.
Even though you don't identify with it, it's still a part of who you are. And you cannot eliminate who you are.
Instead, you can only repress it to the point that you're no longer connected or aware that it's a part of you.
It's in the process of building up your proper persona that you indirectly create your shadow persona.
Everyone gets split into two, and it is completely necessary for human beings to get along.
How to do shadow work alone
There are many ways to perform shadow work. But I will tell you the ways I perform shadow work personally.
Otherwise known as the "Transcendent Function".
Go somewhere alone where you won't be disturbed. Make sure it's quiet, you're comfortable, and you have privacy.
You almost want to treat this like a meditation. Except you can choose whether or not to close your eyes.
If you are a visual thinker, meaning your imagination produces images, I think you'll do better with your eyes closed.
I struggle to bring images to mind.
So if you're like me and you think in words, maybe an "inner voice", you should be fine doing this with your eyes open.
All you have to do is simply ask a question that has to do with your life.
Within all of us, there is a "higher self" that knows what's best for us.
Performing Active Imagination gets us in touch with our archetypes, such as your shadow, inner child, etc.
Each of these archetypes connects us to our higher self.
In plain speak, you are consulting with your intuition.
People who are naturally very logical will have trouble with this. However, people who are intuitive or spiritually inclined will do well with Active Imagination.
I ask a question and wait a while. Usually, I get a "response" in the form of an "inner voice". A gut feeling or intuition.
Make sure you have privacy if you're speaking aloud. Otherwise, you'll seem like a crazy person who is talking to yourself.
After you're able to tell the difference between your ego and your shadow/inner child/archetypal figure, you can have conversations with it.
(It's all you, but it's the part of you that's "too far gone" in your unconscious. Where you need to perform meditations like Active Imagination to get in touch with it.)
If you're a visual thinker, you will let your imagination work on its own. This fantasy material is your unconscious being given form.
Eventually, your mind's eye will manifest a person or something you can speak with.
If it's a child, it can be your inner child. Or if it's the opposite sex as you, it can be your anima/animus. If you demanded to speak with your shadow, it can be your shadow.
What's important is that you consciously ask questions, then you let go of control and let the fantasy speak back to you.
The unconscious always knows something that you don't. Most people will never get in touch with their unconscious. So they won't have this resource to draw upon.
You can tell if it's your unconscious is speaking to you by the sensations you feel during the conversation. Especially if you experience emotional confession and catharsis.
You can read this guest article on Active Imagination here.
There are many other ways to perform shadow work: dancing, sandplay, music, etc. I find Active Imagination to be my go-to.
Shadow Work Prompts
Shadow work prompts are intended to get you in touch with your raw vulnerability.
This is what I recommend most people start with.
I've already listed several shadow work prompts you can try out here.
Here are other articles I think you should check out:
- Active Imagination Help Guide
- Shadow Work Exercises & Techniques for Beginners
- 9 Hidden Benefits of Shadow Work
- Inner Child Healing: Emotional Maturity Using Inner Child Work
But if you're serious about learning shadow work, then check out my Complete Shadow Work Course.
Check out the Shadow Work Course here.