Shadow Work Series: Identifying Your Shadow
How to identify your shadow, the common ways it manifests and its usual defense mechanisms.
Recognizing your shadow requires a willingness to look within yourself and examine your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors honestly.
Not only is this work uncomfortable (and therefore oftentimes avoided), but it’s not as easy you’d think.
As we learned in previous posts, our shadow is formed through repression. This tells us that the shadow is already constructed by things we’d rather not acknowledge or are not consciously aware of.
Your brain works incredibly hard to maintain whatever structure it has in place, even if that framework is unhealthy for you. The ego loves what is familiar, because that repetition offers a sense of control which can feel safe.
This is also why the ego struggles with the unknown, spirituality and faith, and will have to undergo a death of sorts (perhaps many times) in order to make room for the inevitable mysteries of life.
Again, this isn’t to shit on the ego. It serves an important function, but sometimes it can become similar to that overbearing parent that claims they’re just trying to protect you when in fact, they’re holding you back and projecting their fears onto you.
If you want to better understand the brain, look at Gemini and Virgo, who are both ruled by Mercury. These signs value logic, repetition, order, organization, compartmentalization and analysis more than anything—even if these very things are holding them back from the truth (which is what they claim to want).
There are times when this approach is great, but it’s not always going to be the most useful, especially when it comes to matters of the heart, spirituality, emotions and the uncertainty of life.
Your brain does the same thing with the shadow, which means it’s going to take extra effort and energy on your part to pattern-break whatever has been running on autopilot for a really long time.
So, roll up your sleeves and let’s dig…