Shadow Work is Active

Bloodroot emergence horse knob

Shadow work is light work. The two have always gone hand in hand. You cannot walk into illumination without activating the shadow. It is impossible to stand, in daylight or moon-remembrance, and not cast a darkness at your own feet. Having a shadow is part of the bargain of being here on this planet. It is as integral to being a human being as the marrow that runs through the canyons of our bones.

Shadow work means digging up oil. Hard, crude stuff that feels like poison to the upperworld. And though we demonize it, and the damage it brings to our above-ground selves, the darkness is natural. It is the organic accumulation of so many ancient wounds. The sediment of death untended.

Our shadow moves beneath us. And when it rises to the surface it is then that we know— it is time. Time to listen, to heal, to open our eyes, to get creative, to act.

There is no longer any doubt. Our country has entered a shadow time.

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You know you are dealing with the shadow when domination, misinformation, diminishment and division reign. When you are made to feel small in the presence of something larger, rather than expanded by the reality of such magnificent bigness. Shadow work is hard work, and dredges up the least refined, and most raw, aspects of humanity— depression, bitterness, anxiety, blame.

Like ducks wading in a spill so grand it coats all living beings, when we stay still in shadow work we become drenched in something toxic. But when we move, when we transform, when we respond to the upwelling with passionate action, true miracles can happen.

We are in the midst of an unbelievable opportunity right now in the U.S. Unbelievable being the operative word. It seems that everything we hold dear, the basic tenants of what our country was purported to be built on— equality, refuge, opportunity, inalienable rights, democracy—are crumbling.

The upside down is right side up, and the highest office in the land is ruled by a circle of shades. Half-people so haunted by their own wounds that they come bearing the only gifts they can carry— the ability to illuminate our nation’s darkest places. The trading of life for personal gain. Crudeness, bullying, the swallow-dark of greed. Everything that has happened on a national level in the past week was done to make way for profit and the consolidation of power and attempts, in no uncertain terms, to cut off our hearts from connecting with one another.

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Isolation is the biggest tool of the shadow.  And so shadow work is often done alone. In the deep of night, under the milk of stars or wrapped in blankets on dark thresholds. Such personal work is solitary by nature because the ultimate goal of the journey is to integrate all aspects of our individual selves.

But when shadow work is attempted in the greater body of humanity it inspires, not division, but history-altering reunion. It brings us together, perhaps for the first time. It ignites unprecedented integration and collective revolution. It makes us stronger. In the heart of our country we have a unique opportunity to realize the kind of union the U.S has never quite upheld. To move, not alone, but together.

This blog, my work, is not normally political. But this is not political.

What is happening on a national scale in our country is no longer political.

It is human.

And it is about healing on the deepest level.

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Cross-culturally there are many different concepts to describe this moment of confronting the shadow. In the archetypal myth of the hero’s journey, Joseph Campbell calls this time the belly of the whale. In shamanic traditions is it the arrival of the near-death experience, a moment when we are dismembered so we may be put back together. In herbal circles we call it the healing crisis, when things fall apart so utterly that the next step, the only step you can take, is towards wholeness.

These are important initiation experiences. To be swallowed in darkness. To stew in the belly of something unknowable. To be locked in fear, grief and sorrow. But this is just the beginning of a revolution known as deep reunion, as re-creation.

Throughout the world, myths of darkness and dismemberment abound. Of all the variances, however, there is one common theme. You must be willing to work. You must be willing to travel. You must walk fearlessly to the edge of the abyss. You must dig through mud. You must ride on the back of dragons. You must be buried lower than you ever thought possible. You must find steel in the earth.

You must find your power. And use it. You must re-devote yourself to what is the natural goodness of the world: togetherness, wholism, compassion.

And we must work together.

Read on for a ritual of both action and support. And know that I am with you.

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<< 15 Minute Ritual for Daily Action >>

When you make something a ritual and it becomes a sacred part of your every day medicine. This is my own 15 minute ritual to enact compassion + bring my love into action.

1. Spend Five minutes catching up on the headlines.

There is a fresh batch of overwhelm every day, but staying aware of what is going on is important. Don’t dwell, but stay informed with at least five minutes catching up with a reputable news source.

2. Make Five phone calls to your representatives

Calling is the most powerful way to make your voice heard. I’m an introvert by nature and have always been shy of the phone (I remember having a near-panic attack every time I had to call a friend for a play date when I was little) but when I came to the realization that it is my representative’s job to represent me, and it is my job to tell them what I care about, so much of my anxiety shifted.

5 calls is an awesome website that makes calling super simple. I love it. And if my socially-anxious self ever needs any extra support I always feel soothed by this great cartoon.

3. Take Five minutes to breathe + anchor the light

Your dreams, your envisioning is important. And so is the strength of staying in your light. Take five minutes after your calls to simply breathe and reconnect to your source. Envision the best possible scenario and imagine sending light to everyone who is in need of loving support, beginning with your own self.

11 Comments

  • this is one of the most useful things i’ve read lately about our current situation. it does feel like a dismemberment, because it is! i hope, oh i hope, that you are right, and that the outcome will be a clearer vision of what we should be, and a stronger, kinder nation moving forward.

    • I check in with the BBC, Reuters, The New York Times, The Washington Post + NPR. (And I consider anything coming out of ABC, the Wallstreet Journal or CNN to be fairly decent as well)

  • The singular positive thing about that-which-has-occurred recently is the Great Unmasking it has provided as a rallying point for Resistance to that which has been allowed to occur over the past three or four decades.

  • Thanks Asia for your personal stories of your courage to follow your own inner guidance. I am at a point in my life where I am leaving all that is known and am on the edge of the abyss. Facing all my fears and limitations alone. All I will take with me is what I can fit in my car. I will travel to another state and try to find people who are more on my wave length, ie those that have an interest in art, reiki, working with the Nature Spirits, Crystals, etc. I need to find a patch of land where I can heal my soul. The adventure begins.

    I love the photos that you take and would love it if you could share with all of us what type of camera you have. We are blessed to see the world through your eyes from those glorious images of Nature that you choose to focus on. Kind regards, Crystal Heart

    • Big blessings + much luck on this new move Crystal. It is always the biggest leaps that bring the biggest gifts. Sending you great boughs of belief and wings for your journey.

      Honestly, most of my photos are taken with an Iphone 6! But I also have a Cannon rebel T2i for wildflower photos 🙂

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