The Shadow knows… “While a ruler desires power over his (or her) subjects, a Master desires only power over himself (or herself).”
Shadow Work, simply put, is the process of self-discovery or the recovery of the darker, more hidden aspects of one’s psyche. Some aspects of which many would prefer to continue to adamantly deny. The act of denying any part of one’s self drains off life force energy. The point of connecting with one’s shadow through shadow work is to establish and develop right relationship with it. Through courage, persistence and humor one is better able to elevate the shadow aspect of self. Honor the shadow for it will expose one’s fears; help one in recognizing how to overcome them; and assist one with conquering irrationality thus leaving one with increased creativity, and in a more enlivened and sane state of being!
The shadow is the culmination of all of man’s/woman’s denied irrational, and instinctual, aspects of “self.” One’s shadow’s role and appearance is mostly representative of the individual’s life experience rather than being born solely from the collective unconscious. It is thought to develop in the more hidden, indiscriminate aspects of the individual’s mind.
Jungians believe that the shadow, while containing one’s personal shadow, additionally contains the shadow of the totality of society, which feeds off the ignored, neglected, and repressed values of the collective. The individual self is made up of both the Conscious (ego) and the Unconscious mind (psyche). The term psyche refers to both the individual mind and the Universal mind. In Jungian thought, the Unconscious includes a “collective” unconscious that is composed of trace engrams (i.e. racial, cultural and biological memories). It is thought that these memories are possibly contained in a “DNA-based” carrier.
Through dream work one has better access to the shadow self and archetypes. This is one of the reasons why Jungian work places importance on dream analysis. The shadow self frequently presents in one’s visions or dreams appearing in a variety of forms, but it will often appear as a person of the same sex as the dreamer.
One’s “Shadow” may hold important clues to one’s more impulsive acts, instinctual reactions, likes and dislikes, perceived short comings, and oftentimes to one’s more aberrant behaviors. The shadow self is the ultimate “projectionist” pointing a finger elsewhere while denying undesirable attributes and behaviors within oneself. When unrecognized or denied it will find ways to “realize” itself by creating an “object” or situation characteristic of whichever projection with which it is most resonant. The Shadow may appear when one least expects it, catching one off guard, and causing one to overreact or act out. As the saying goes, whatever one resists will persist! Not unlike the ego, the Shadow loves attention. The more acknowledgements it gets the more helpful it will become. Embrace your shadow and learn what it has to teach you.
Facing one’s shadow requires valor. Resistance to change may create psychological stress. Fear, anger, and guilt are signs of resistance and indicators of the shadow’s presence. Unchecked, they may trigger imbalances in the physical, mental, and emotional bodies. It is widely accepted that accumulation of such stressors can be expressed in the body and mind as disease. Less apparent, and often unacknowledged, are the effects that these disruptions may have on the more subtle energy systems or spiritual bodies.
Crystals and Stones carry electromagnetic frequencies that vibrate in resonance with the Earth’s electromagnetic field. These same frequencies may be used to attempt to restore balance to the human system via resonance. In this way a wide range of chemical compositions, frequencies ranging from very low to very high are made available for purposes of restoration. All frequencies are useful and serve a purpose in one way or another. It is because of this that there are no good or bad frequencies or “negative energies.” Crystal and Stones can be useful tools for working with various aspects of the human system and some may be especially useful when applied for working with the psyche during shadow work.
A few stones that I have found to be exceptionally useful for shadow work are:
- Black Tourmaline (especially *w/mica inclusions): Earth Element Previous to this mineral actually being recognized as a Tourmaline type it was known simply as Schorl. *Black Tourmalines with mica inclusions are reputed to bounce any negative thought pattern (or psychic attack) back to whence it originated, but not without first grounding and transmuting the energy into the vibration of pure love. This shielding from psychic attack, and, also from “entity attachment,” is considered part of its strong “protective” properties. It is also thought to serve to protect one’s Aura from electromagnetic pollution by acting like a “psychic shield” which all Tourmalines are said to generate when held within a person’s Aura. Additionally the purifying properties of Black Tourmaline serve to elevate one’s consciousness.
- Dravite (Brown Tourmaline): Earth Element, Dravite is considered a premier stone for bringing the shadow self into consciousness. It promotes self-healing, self-love and self-acceptance. Dravite is thought to carry very calming and relaxing energy. It allows one to perceive that which one has previously kept hidden from self; bringing it forth for calm review and clearing of the originating, disruptive patterns. Dravite promotes the integration of the shadow self by bringing it to light, transforming and transmuting its shadowy aspects through compassion, acceptance and self-love.
- Jet (Lignite/coal): Earth Element, Jet is a form of fossilized wood (coal), and is black in color. It is often applied for its gentle nurturing, purifying, grounding, stabilizing, and protective qualities. It is also thought to be stimulating to the Kundalini (Shakti) energy as it is most resonant with the 1st, Root, chakra. It is also considered to have transmuting properties. Jet facilitates deep explorations of both the personal and collective unconscious. For this purpose jet combines especially well with black tourmaline, black obsidian, and smoky quartz. Jet is purifying to the Aura as it is able to absorb and transmute undesirable energies thus leaving the Aura cleansed and refreshed. Jet acts like a mirror by allowing one to see and “own” both one’s abilities and one’s shortcomings.
- Black Obsidian (SiO2 w/impurities): Earth Element Black Obsidian is a very grounding and psychically protective stone which is said to be cleansing and useful for removing not only negativity in one’s environment, but for clearing one’s own self-generated negative emotions (i.e. greed, jealousy, anger, and resentment). In healing work it is considered a powerful stone to use for clearing blockages as it allows issues to surface quickly for resolution. As it is an intense ally one must be ready to bravely confront their issues once this stone is called into action. Black obsidian may be helpful in exposing power imbalances or abuses of self or others, and for dealings with issues of self-control (lack thereof). It is often applied to assist one with any unwillingness to let go of the past (i.e. grief, grudges, old traumas and the like). Black obsidian is thought to be an aid for quickly resolving any emotionally based, physical illnesses as it offers a direct route to the discovery of the root cause, but one must be willing and ready for the illness to be healed. As a powerful ally for grounding spiritual energies into the physical world, it is amazingly effective for shadow work because it helps one to acknowledge one’s shadow and to allow any negative memories, experiences or projections to surface so that can be resolved at the conscious level.
- Smoky Quartz (SiO2 with impurities): Earth Element, Smoky Quartz is a favored metaphysical stone. It has a powerful but gentle energy that works slowly and steadily. Its grounding properties can be called upon to help facilitate the manifestation of one’s goals and dreams. Smoky Quartz helps to ground one through its strong Earth energies and is considered by some to be good for relieving depression. It assists with integrating the energies of the higher chakras into the lower chakras thus helping to anchor expanded consciousness into the physical body. Smoky Quartz is also thought to attract resonant entities from the spiritual realm. It may be helpful in tethering those who are feeling disengaged from life by encouraging them to rejoin the physical realm and participate in it more fully. Enlist smoky quartz to enhance one’s ability to focus and bring mental clarity.
- Black Onyx: Earth Element Black onyx is used for working with the Root Chakra, for grounding, and to help realize material goals. Black onyx is a powerful, protective stone. It absorbs and transforms “discordant energy” and shields against the draining of one’s personal energy. It can be especially supportive during times of stress as it promotes the development of both physical and emotional strength. By fostering wise decision making it provides support for those lacking self-discipline. Black onyx may also be useful in healing old wounds or past/alternate life issues.
- Specular Hematite (Iron Oxide): Earth Element Specular Hematite is said to help with facilitating the integration of higher spiritual energies into the physical plane. In general Hematite is thought to be a very grounding stone, and is suggested to be carried on one’s person to help one to stay grounded in many situations; (i.e. for balance and equilibrium; or for help focusing one’s energies). Specular Hematite may help one to find their own gifts and develop hidden talents; release self-imposed limitations; become more confident; and is considered good for connecting and working with the Root/Base Chakra. Hematite is also used to protect against geopathic stress and electromagnetic smog (miasma), and is said to be a great detoxifying stone.
- Vesuvianite (Idocrase): Earth Element Vesuvianite’s gentle, calming properties act quickly to clear emotional turmoil. It is useful for releasing pent up anger and frustration. Inner security is created through the process of dissolving anger and fear. Vesuvianite can be useful for stabilizing the mental and emotional bodies (via clearing compulsive/repetitive thought patterns). On a psychological level, it’s believed to release feelings of duress. Vesuvianite connects the Heart Chakra with the spiritual realms thus allowing the Higher Self access to Source energy. Vesuvianite is also said to stimulate inventiveness, discovery and creativity.
- Covellite: Storm Element Covelitte is another stone noted to be useful for clearing, transmuting, and integrating shadow energies. Covellite is known as a stone of intention. It also is known for its ability to bridge the upper and lower worlds! It is a high-energy stone that’s excellent for psychic and intuitive work. It assists with reflection, offering new perspectives on past events, which may offer insights to present challenges. It teaches a more constructive approach to general problem solving. Believed to stimulate a more positive outlook on life, covellite also enhances one’s ability to articulately communicate and increases one’s creative abilities.
All of the above stones are considered to be useful tools for working with the Shadow Self. Each of these stones offers its unique frequencies but they all are generally grounding, and have protective, transforming and transmuting properties.
For beginners it is best to work with only one stone at a time. To apply these stones for shadow work it is suggested to meditate with any one of these stones, individually, with at least 24 hours between each meditation. One may wish to work with any one stone for a few days before moving on to another. This allows one time to realize one’s response to any given stone and to integrate the stone’s unique frequencies with one’s energy field. Working with stones for any purpose requires patience and attentiveness. The rewards of working in this way are well worth the efforts. The format of the meditation need not be complicated or over ritualized. Sometimes the simplest form of meditation is the best. It is helpful to clear your stones both before and after use in order to return them to their base resonance frequencies. This is particularly important when applying them for Shadow Work, general meditations, and journeying.
Although the crystalline energies begin to affect the human electromagnetic energy field as soon as they are placed within this field (ideally within about 4 feet), once they are removed from one’s field their effect is no longer felt. However the chemical changes that have been initiated by the presence of the stones will continue the chain reaction of attempting to bring the human system back into balance. The most impact will be noticed during the 24 hours following resonating with the stones. It is for this reason that one may find it helpful to keep a journal for at least a couple of days following this type of shamanic work.
References: The Book of Stones (Who They Are & What They Teach)
co-authored by Robert Simmons & Naisha Ahsian with contributions by Hazel Raven ©2005, 2007;
The Crystal Ally Cards (The Crystal Path to Self Knowledge) by Naisha Ahsian © 1995; and The Portable Jung, Edited by Joseph Campbell © 1971.
This information is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. The author does not advocate the use of stones as a substitute for medical or psychological care. Appropriate use of the following information is the express responsibility of the reader.