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Shadow Work: Subconscious or Spiritual?

Shadow Work has become more and more popular over the last year, and with popularity comes a lot of misconceptions to what Shadow Work really is, what it isn’t, and what it can or can’t do for you.

In this article, we will answer those questions and more, so that you can see if Shadow Work is right for your personal development journey.

What is Shadow Work?

Shadow Work is a concept created by psychoanalyst Carl Jung. Shadow Work is subconscious work. It’s the process of making the subconscious, conscious. So that you can see what’s really going on “behind the scenes” of your thoughts, emotions, and even life as you’re experiencing it.

Shadow Work is bringing what was once unknown, or in the “shadows”, to light. So that you can see what’s been holding you back and finally be able to work on it.

Why do Shadow Work?

The subconscious mind is responsible for the vast majority of your experience. Not only does it regulate bodily functions, but it also dictates your mental, emotional, and even your external experience.

So often we look to “fix” or change things on a conscious level. For example, work harder to make more money, look for certain qualities in a person to find a romantic partner, etc.

But so much of why we aren’t experiencing the things we want is because of our subconscious behaviors. And the problem is, those subconscious behaviors tend to live “in the shadows” (simply meaning we are not aware of them).

Shadow Work brings subconscious programming to light, and allows people to work with their subconscious and change it to align with what they actually want.

Although this tends to be thought of solely as inner work, there is actually a lot of outer change to implement with Shadow Work—and the results are not limited to the internal either.

Is Shadow Work evil, demonic, a sin, a part of the occult, etc.?

No. Shadow Work in itself is not actually a spiritual or witchy practice. There’s a lot of misunderstanding connecting Shadow Work with the spiritual world, which leads to placing the misconceptions of the spiritual world onto Shadow Work. The two can be completely independent of each other.

Shadow Work is subconscious work, which can be done through a variety of methods, and these methods can be practices related to the spiritual world or not at all.

It’s important to note that Shadow Work itself is at its core a self-reflective process.

Shadow Work and Spirituality

If you do want to explore the connection between Shadow Work and your spiritual practices, a good place to start is with the understanding that the deeply subconscious mind is actually a human’s clearest access point to the spiritual realm.

Things like intuition, channeling, connecting with guides, divination, etc. are able to permeate our conscious awareness from our subconscious. This is why when we get caught up in stress, fear, overbearing thoughts, other people, external factors, etc. it’s hard to sense what our intuition is trying to tell us, to feel that our guides are there supporting and protecting us, and that we have a soul that is wise and stable in the midst of all we’re going through.

Since the subconscious and spirituality are connected, diving into Shadow Work not only improves your mental health, relationships, and more “human” or “earthly” qualities, but it also heightens intuition, catalyzes manifestation, activates soul purpose, opens us up to spiritual awakening, and more!

Ways to do Shadow Work

Some processes that can facilitate or support Shadow Work are:

  1. Hypnotherapy / Hypnosis

  2. Meditation

  3. Energy work

  4. Journaling

  5. Dream interpretation

  6. Inner Child work

  7. Internal Family Systems (IFS or “parts work”)

As these are all great ways to connect with your subconscious.

Who to Work with?

Most practitioners who specialize in Shadow Work will list themselves as such. You can also ask practitioners who work with the modalities listed under “Ways to do Shadow Work” if they include Shadow Work in their practice.

If you prefer a Shadow Work coach who incorporates hypnosis, energy work, inner child work, “parts work”, intuition development, and psychic channeling into their 1:1 practice, I recommend you check out my page:

My name is Alexandria Travis, I go by Alex The Good Witch. I am a professional psychic, healer, and coach. I use my degree in biochemistry, experience as a mental health provider, and spiritual gifts to facilitate the work I do with clients as I help them create their happiest, most fulfilling life that’s truly meant for them.


Shadow Work is self-reflective work that allows you to change both your internal and external lived experience through the process of bringing your subconscious behaviors to light and working through them.

It often gets misunderstood as solely a spiritual practice, but Shadow Work can be delved into with or without spiritual modalities/connections.

If you’re ready to stop working against yourself, and instead work with yourself to change what’s affecting your experience on a more impactful level, then Shadow Work is for you.

Resource to Learn More:

Want to learn more about Shadow Work? Check out Episode 10 of my Sunny Daze Podcast, “Deep Dive into Shadow Work”, where I talk with fellow Shadow Work coach and witch Nikki Vergakes about the ins and outs of Shadow Work.

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