Blocks to Practicing Shadow Work


By Sarah Elkhaldy, Wake Up World

Shadow work is the single most important spiritual practice. Without it we recycle our life experiences, underlying patterns we operate from remain unknown to us, and we can’t help but be victimized by the world around us without really understanding it, or ourselves, intimately.

What is the Shadow?

The shadow is a composite character of everything that we are not aware of inside ourselves as well as needs, desires, and parts of ourselves that we reject, conceal, are ashamed of or fear. This can also include the pieces of ourselves that we don’t want to acknowledge or innocently enough–don’t know how to integrate.

It’s important to know that our shadow has vital and positive aspects of us hidden inside it as well. It’s not all negative.

Becoming aware of the overarching theme in our life, psychic and emotional wounds, triggers, invisible needs, archetypal equivalents, buried trauma, and negative attitudes and patterns is no easy feat. There’s a reason it was referred to in alchemical terminology as “The Great Work”, and it’s due to the amount of effort, willingness, and sincerity that it demands. It’s a lifetime endeavor and its through shadow work that it’s achieved.

In order to start making the unconscious conscious, we can take an indirect approach and place our attention on the defense mechanisms we use in order to protect us from our shadow. By becoming conscious of the ways we block ourselves off to self-awareness we already set the process in motion and begin to disarm those pathways–provided we have a willing heart.

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