We often see small children discovering their shadows and being frightened by them. Their tiny minds can’t understand why this dark figure is connected to them and following their every move. Even the groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, gets frightened and scurries back to his little hole in the ground if he sees his shadow at Imbolc.
Being afraid of one’s own shadow has been used as a hyperbole to indicate a person is frightened easily over small or imaginary things. Our imaginations can go wild when we’re tired or our tension level is on overdrive. Even our ancestors fears brought on wild imaginations which wreaked havoc on many women during the Salem Trials. When we don’t see things clearly (being in shadows), then our imaginations take over. It’s our mind’s way of trying to figure things out.
Many people will often reject our imaginations as evil and insist we ignore our imaginations. Then we have those who inspire us to use our imaginations to create wondrous magic in the world, as Walt Disney has done. His legacy reaches out to those with a youthful outlook and inspires us to tap into our creativity. Disney even has a unique program for Imagineers.
So as you can see, our imaginations can be quite powerful, it all depends on how you use it. We can hide from our shadows like the groundhog, or use our imaginations to find out how to create! We can create health!
photo credit: http://www.wallums.com/imagination-wall-quote-decal.html
Our inner shadow is very similar to these analogies. When we hide from our shadow we allow fear to control our imaginations. This can lead to all kinds of sinister consequences. That is where the true evil waits for us. It waits in the fear, not in the shadow itself. Look at Disney’s Elsa as an example. Elsa has a beautiful gift, but the accident involving her sister caused her and her parents to fear her gift instead of embracing it. Their fear took them to a place of neglect. They hid from the truth about Elsa and that fear is what caused Elsa to grow out of control with her powers. Their imaginations ran wild and in turn, it hindered Elsa’s growth as a young woman. That fear robbed Elsa and Anna of their childhood and brought destruction when it came time for Elsa to be crowned Queen.
Our shadow represents the unknown. The often misunderstood aspects of ourselves. When we neglect it and hide it from the world, we’re actually hiding it from ourselves.
Lets take a look at the shadow from a different perspective. After all, seeing your shadow from differing angles and with different light can make all the difference.
You may have heard the phrase “being taken under her wing”. Being under a wing is a metaphor for protection, guidance, and apprenticeship. Those wings can provide shade (shadow) in extreme situations that require us to rest and be safe. Our shadow, or shade, is there for us. It can be of assistance when we need to protect ourselves or learn something intuitively. It’s that inner knowing like ‘Mother’s Intuition’ or that feeling you get when you feel danger is near. That’s when your ‘fight or flight’ response kicks in! What a great gift that shadow can be!
Your shade can be viewed as the heart of your soul. The place where your empathy grows. It can make you feel emotions to the fullest or (when traumatized) create great agony, as in the television series The Magicians. When your shade (shadow) has been traumatized, it needs to be nurtured and healed. Crystal therapy can do wonders to guide your shade to a place of healing. Modern therapies would include psychological support from a licensed professional. In some cases, medication may be required. It all depends on the depth of the trauma and the strength a person has to overcome.
When we listen to our shadows, they will whisper their secrets. It’s not always easy for them to speak up. It requires we be in a place of stillness in our spirits. We need a safe place to meet with our shade and hear what he/she communicates to us.
My recommendation for crystal support for communicating with your shadow are as follows:
Apache Tear Obsidian: This type of Obsidian is a beautiful element to work with as tears can be quite therapeutic for us. Dr. Judith Orloff gives us a simple example from her article at Psychology Today:
“Like the ocean, tears are salt water. Protectively they lubricate your eyes, remove irritants, reduce stress hormones, and they contain antibodies that fight pathogenic microbes. Our bodies produce three kinds of tears: reflex, continuous, and emotional. Each kind has different healing roles.”
How often do you hear people say, “Don’t cry” as a method of consoling someone? When in fact, crying can be the most beneficial thing we can do to release those bottled up emotions.
Apache Tear Obsidian has that “smoky quartz” kind of color and transparency, which is often the quality that helps us to transmute negative energy. Transmuting negative energy is a method of metamorphosis to move from one existence into a more beautiful existence.
When I work with Apache Tear Obsidian, I like to pair them with Selenite.
Selenite, the crystal named after the Moon Goddess (Selene), offers a gentle glowing ‘light’ to guide us when healing our shadow. You may even wish to keep a Selenite Castle with you when you’re in therapy or keep it by your bedside. When we’re tired, especially at night, our minds protective barrier lowers to aid us in sleeping. However, when your shadow is in need of healing, it can often be the time when your imagination ‘falls of a cliff’and negative thoughts can come flooding to the surface. This can make it very difficult to get a good night’s sleep.
Selenite can be that ‘night light’ for the soul and help put your mind at ease. When hidden things have gentle illumination, it can make it easier and more gentle to understand. You can even get a lit base to place your Selenite Castle on to provide actual light in your space. (Note: this Amazon link is in conjunction with Smile.Amazon.com so a percentage of the sale goes to support The Pacific Whale Foundation).
I hope this has been useful and helpful for you in understanding what shadow is and the importance in accepting your shadow as a gift and to inspire you toward healing.