Shadow Work is no walk in the park.
It’s a powerful healing method that involves diving deep into the least welcoming parts of the self, which lie deep in the unconscious. These the fragmented pieces that each of us packed away long ago, were deemed too dangerous or too damaging to stick around.
The Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung first introduced the concept of the Shadow, in the early 20th century. And since then, his beliefs and theories have helped countless people on their healing journeys.
If you’re committed to your personal and spiritual development (and having landed here, it’s likely you are), then you’ll be constantly peeling back the layers of your shadow. Because the truth is, you can’t truly evolve without doing this kind of deep, introspective, healing work.
Shadow Work is hard.
It’s really hard! And a lot of the time when you’re in the middle of a deep dive, you’re doing it on your own. Or so it seems…
Mother Nature provides
She always gives us what we need! And in the case of Shadow Work, Mother Nature has provided a whole host of extraordinary helpers – supportive, compassionate, self-adjusting allies on this path to spiritual enlightenment. And they’re a lot closer and more available than you may imagine!
Herbs are growing all around us, and some of them you probably have sitting in your kitchen cupboards at home. Many of these natural, conscious plant allies are so unassuming that you probably wouldn’t think to enlist their help in shadow work. But, they can be incredibly helpful, offering the specific vibrational frequencies that you need when you’re on a powerful (and difficult) journey of healing.
So here are a few common herbs to aid your healing journey through the shadow, plus tips on how to use them:
Sage (Salvia officinalis)
Sage isn’t just useful, it’s an essential healing herb when it comes to shadow work!
Burning sage in your environment will clear your aura, ridding you from heaviness, negativity and fear-based emotions. So if you’ve been working your way through some nasty emotional triggers, and backtracking through childhood memories you’d really rather leave them in your unconscious thank you very much, Sage is the ideal herbal remedy to clear the decks.
Interestingly, science has recently joined the Sage-loving-bandwagon, with research finding that burning medicinal smoke actually removes over 94% of bacteria in the air.
This serves to strengthen this herb’s reputation overall.
Yet this powerful healing herb also has the quality of bringing clarity and spiritual wisdom. Working with shadow can be murky work. It’s not always easy to find your way to the hidden aspects of self, and bring them lovingly them from the unconscious to the conscious realms. Sage is a herb that really helps.
Sage can be made into a tea, and don’t forget it’s other culinary uses in the kitchen as a herbal flavoring – ingesting just a little of it can be powerfully medicinal.
It is really important to note that white sage is a sacred herb to the Indigenous Peoples of America. Yet in some regions, it’s being over-harvested. So please ensure if you’re using this plant medicine, that it’s come from a sustainable source. Otherwise, burning garden sage – so long as it’s well dried – works extremely well.
Another beautiful healing herb ideal for shadow work is Lavender.
The flowers or an essential oil made from this versatile plant can be used to lower blood pressure, soothe the nervous system, and uplift the mood.
Try adding dried flowers to a shortbread recipe, or even making a hot lavender and rose tea to sip on as you journal into your shadow.
As a mild sedative, this is also a handy medicinal plant for using at bedtime, especially if emotions are running high, or you find it difficult to switch off.
- Put a few drops of the essential oil into a carrier and use it as a massage oil.
- Make or buy a pouch of dried lavender flowers and place it beside your pillow.
Another soothing herb for nervous and emotional tension is chamomile (Matricaria camomilla). Maybe you enjoy sipping a herbal infusion of chamomile flowers at bedtime? When diving deep into the work of healing the shadow consider pouring yourself a Chamomile tea at any time of day – it’s a potent plant with medicine that’s often underrated!
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
Rosemary has been celebrated and used as a medicinal herb since ancient times.
It’s a potent neurological protector, helping to actually slow down aging in the brain.
Because shadow work involves delving into unconscious memories, and effectively learning to re-write them, keeping the brain supple is vital. Rosemary contains an ingredient called carnosic acid, which has been proven to prevent damage by free radicals in the brain. Re-wiring the neural pathways will happen much more quickly if the brain is healthy and receptive to cellular change. Rosemary is a natural aid for this.
It’s also plant that also enhances memory and concentration. This means that using this herb as you journey into your shadow can greatly help you to actually stay with the work when it gets tricky.
Be aware that in excess, rosemary can cause some serious (though uncommon) side effects. Herbal supplements are also contraindicated in pregnancy.
Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus)
Usually used to treat inflammation, and for coughs, colds, and flu, eucalyptus is also an incredibly strengthening and empowering herbal medicine.
Use the essential oil as an anointing oil before you make the dive into a session of shadow work. Dab a drop onto your forehead and/or pulse points on your wrists to bring clarity and a sense of exactitude.
With such a strong and distinctive scent, eucalyptus can really hone the mind and bring a natural sense of purpose and presence.
Drops of eucalyptus oil can also be used in a ritual bath, to cleans and reinvigorate.
Clary Sage (Salvia sclarea)
Although the same genus as white sage, clary sage has noticeably different properties which can also be of great help in shadow work.
It’s primarily a women’s botanical, helping to regulate hormones and blood flow in the female cycle. This also means that when facing sexual shadows (as so many women are being called to do in these modern times) clary sage can be a truly comforting and powerful herbal ally.
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Used in a ritual bath, the essential oil of clary sage will support and nurture. In an oil burner, it will create an atmosphere of calm and reduce feelings of stress helping you move through difficulties on your healing path with more grace and ease.
*Disclaimer: If you’re pregnant, breastfeeding or taking medication, consult your doctor and your intuition before using essential oils, or embarking upon a practice of drinking herbal infusions.
Now, share with us your experiences with shadow work and healing herbs. Do you use any of the medicines mentioned above? Do you have any other suggestions for out community here at Numerologist? Let us know in the comments below!