Back in ancient Egypt, there was an underlying belief that the soul consisted of different parts and in different layers. The Ka (prana/life force/chi/ki), the Ba, the Ib (your physical heart), the Ren (your name) and the Sheut (Shadow). There was also the Akh (the unification of Ka and Ba in the afterlife), which I will go into more in another blog.
The Sheut is something that the Egyptians seemed to know more about than we currently do. They believed the actual shadow you cast carried all the ‘darker’ energies you found it hard to accept. It is probably a little harder to imagine if you live in a country that is often more wet and windy. That said, us Brits do get a fair old amount of sunshine peeking through the clouds. it just doesn’t always feel that way.
The shadow reflects the darker side of us, the parts that we don’t always wish to accept about us. From birth, we are programmed to accept things in a certain way. To conform. To not fully embrace who we are.
How many times were you told you were a naughty child?
How many times were you being told you are selfish?
Where is the line between naughty and creative/expressive?
Who decides exactly what is right and wrong?
Just because someone else has decided you shouldn’t skip up or down the stairs, or must be quiet because they are wanting quiet – doesn’t mean that you are naughty. Why are they needing to suppress your own character or awareness of your own needs. What makes their needs more important than yours?
Learning to love it does not mean you have to like it, or that there is no need to change it. Loving it means that you are embracing yourself fully. By accepting and loving the shadow, you can find out many things about this so-called dark stuff that we all contend with. For example, some of the shadow things when loved, reveal themselves to be;
- Covering up for something that you are lacking. Addiction is normally created by missing something, having a certain need or want unfulfilled. To conform, one mustn’t ask for [this of that] because it is socially frowned upon. So to fill a void we cling on to something else.
- Fear. Promoted by the media, we are bombarded with images of the perfect body, the perfect woman, the perfect man, the perfect lifestyle, etc. We are kept in a place of fear to keep us from fulfilling our destiny.
We are divine, our bodies are perfect the way they are. Make changes if you want to, because you love yourself and you want to change– not because fear tells you that you should do.
- Not actually dark in the first place. Maybe seen as a taboo in ‘normal’ society. Say, consensual acts of love in a BDSM setting, causing no harm and based on love and trust. Not something the Church would promote, or a tabloid like the the Daily Mail would necessarily portray in a positive light. However, to people expressing their love, it is not a dark thing, it is a thing of beauty. Loud Angry or sad music can also be such a positive influence, or give a life-saving empathy we are crying out for. A musical arm around the shoulder, not a rope to hang yourself with.
- Ego/Self/Worth battles- The shadow can feed the ego to either extreme. It can make you feel you are so important, that no one else matters, or that everybody else matters so much more than you do. The shadow is a tricky thing! Yes, you are important. So is everyone else. Your thoughts and beliefs are important, so are everyone else’s.
- Not understanding the value in alone time. The shadow can present a huge challenge in being on our own- being lonely. In a time where social media surrounds and at times invades our lives, we can forget the need to be alone and value who we are, without validation, communication and energy of other people. Alternatively, we can also become too dependent on being alone and find socialising difficult and tiring. Getting the mix between too little and too much alone time right is always going to be an individual thing.
For me, the shadow also reflects back to me the lessons that you are always learning, the evolution and revolution, internal and external are never truly complete in this lifetime. You most likely will never truly deal with and accept all of the shadow issues in your life. It is a life-long lesson. If you think you have dealt with it all, be prepared to have the walls come crashing down again in the future. Another lesson, not to be fearful of, but a lesson that can set you freer and higher still.
I accept and love the darkness,
That sits inside and aside to me,
The creative, passionate, the rebel
That doesn’t want conformity
I want to follow my heart’s desires
And not to follow yours
For when I love every part of myself
My cup of love, so freely pours