What is Shadow Work?

Shadow Work. Some of the media creators may have made you believe that this is a scary thing. It doesn’t have to be though.

Shadow Work. Some of the media creators may have made you believe that this is a scary thing. It doesn’t have to be though.

Now, don’t get me wrong, it can be deep. It’s a way of unlocking even the deepest parts of you. Obviously, if you have past experience of trauma, it may be tricky and i wouldn’t recommend diving straight in, but it can be one of the most useful parts of beginner witchcraft as it can help you truly know yourself, your energies and your triggers. 

I use Shadow work sporadically, mostly because I have a silly grown-up job and I don’t always have the time, but every time I do it, even if I’m not 100% happy, I feel a weight lift off myself. Sometimes, you really just need to write things down to get them off your mind and understand what is truly going on with you. 

The TLDR definition of Shadow Work is basically journaling. Which doesn’t sound nearly as scary, does it? Also, you don’t need to be an excellent writer reeling off paragraph after paragraph, bullet points will do! Never base yourself on what another can do, only do what works for you

Some basic Shadow Work prompts

Witchcraft / Your path

  • Why does this matter to me?
  • How will this change me? (what will i think of myself if i pursue this)
  • What beliefs would I like to centre on?
  • What practices would I like to learn and harness?
  • What guidance do I need?
  • Where can I find this?

Things that make you happy

  • What qualities do i have that i am most proud of?
  • What part of my day brought me the most joy?
  • What made me smile today?
  • What am I grateful for? 
  • When was the last time I felt energised?
  • In what parts of my life do I find strength?

Your fears

  • Am I more scared of trying and failing, or not trying at all?
  • In what ways do I alarm myself?
  • What am I scared of?
  • Which parts of my journey frighten me?

Personal Growth

  • How would I like the next chapter to go?
  • What progress would I like to see?
  • Why am I trying this?
  • What would I like to discover about myself? 
  • How am I strong? 
  • How can I slow down? 
  • What do I need to let go of?

Now, these are all just starters for 10 and you can adapt them as you wish. The most important thing is that you focus on you. You are the most important thing in this world so you need to discover all of the above and more. If you ever feel like it’s getting a bit much, just put the pen down, pop the kettle on and come back to it later. It’s not something you’re being graded on and you can do it all in your own time. 

If you’d like more tips on how to get started with witchcraft or would like more Shadow Work prompts, you can follow me at @NorthLondonWitch on TikTok and Instagram. 

Creative comms – main image https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/370737a4-5633-4cc0-8608-ec21295d60df

North London Witch: Beginners guide to Witchcraft #babywitch101

Digtal Coven contributor the fabulous ‘North London Witch’ shares her insights for baby witches who are just starting out ❤

Well, Hello there my Darlings! 

I hope that you are doing well and are coping with the eclipse season..ekkk! 2020 huh? What a rollercoaster!

I have a little treat for you as my good Friend, AJ AKA North London Witch over on Instagram and TikTok is doing a guest post today for ya’ll baby witches. Make sure to let us know your thoughts below in the comments or to continue the conversation over on our social channels. Take it away, AJ! 

North London Witch : 

So you found yourself on ‘witchtok’. It’s beautiful, it’s satisfying, it’s full of badass Queens and you want to join them…

Well, first of all, welcome! Second of all, slow down a smidge…

A lot of what you have seen may be heavily romanticised, under researched and just done for the aesthetic and the views. Sometimes you really have to scroll for hours before you find accurate info. Only today I had a DM from someone who had done a Hoodoo Honey Jar spell and needed help reversing it because, spoiler alert, everything comes with consequences. 

I mean… that poor person. More on that another day.

Now, we’re not here to gatekeep so please don’t think that. If anything, we just want you to grow into the fabulous witches we know you can be. It just takes a bit of time. 

I know, the spell jars look easy enough and what’s the harm in lighting a black candle during an eclipse… right?

*laughs in tired*

Closed and open practices

Hoodoo, Voodoo, Brujeria, smudging with white sage… I could go on.

They sound fucking cool, i know but unless you were born into that practice or have been invited into that practice by an Elder, it doens’t belong to you.

I am a white half English, half Scottish witch. I wouldn’t dare to start practicing Voodoo as it’s not my culture.  Just as I wouldn’t use white sage in cleansing but I can use Garden sage as it grows locally and is open to me. 

Basically, there is far too much to unpack here so take a look at yourself and speak to elders where you can and find out what is open to you. In short:

  • Crystals
  • Working with the moon
  • Celtic Craft
  • Paganism
  • Wicca 

All open practices and many with lots of available resources for you to learn.

All that energy

Before you even think about doing any spell work it’s important you *know* yourself. Know your energies, your emotions, how to ground yourself when you feel like you’re losing control. Spell work is drawn from your power so you need to control that power. If you don’t, spells can backfire, bounce around or come with consequences you couldn’t possibly imagine.

Examples of ways I ground myself and balance my energies:

  • Watering my plants
  • Yoga practice
  • Salt /ritual baths
  • Morning meditation
  • ‘Pottering’ around my house (doing the dishes, sweeping the floors)
  • Take grounding walks in nature
  • Breathe

Let’s notice how none of those things even need supplies… Sure you can introduce crystals and candles later down the line but, for now, there is no need. If you really want to be a witch, you will legit enjoy all of the above without all the pomp and circumstance. 

Moon Work

This is one of my favourite things about my witchy ways and is also an excellent way to work out if this path is really for you. You can use the cycle of the moon to set intentions and goals each month and work with each different phase of the moon to achieve them. Many witches just use the Full moon or the eclips to make their moon water or to do spell work but they forget about the rest of the phases. The moon is always there and is there to guide us beyond when it’s full so the other phases really shouldn’t be forgotten. 

As a little intro, here are the upcoming moon phases for the rest of November (and some December) so you know when is the peak time for certain activities:

14th December:  New Moon In Saggitarius and Total Solar Eclipse

A new beginning

Think of the New Moon as the beginning of a new chapter. Start to think of what your intention can be for this cycle. It can be something as simple as ‘i will get to the bottom of the laundry basket’ or ‘I will learn the magical properties of at least 3 herbs’. OR you can go bigger like, ‘i will let go of stress’ or even ‘I will step up at work. These things don’t have to be life changing when you first start out so don’t put too much pressure on yourself.

I also use this time to cleanse my home for the new cycle (more on that below).

15th December: Waxing first Crescent Moon

The Planning Phase

This is the time to work out whether your intention is right for you right now. Spend this time to really think about it. Meditate. Write a list of every action you can take to achieve your intention, but also a list of everything you shouldn’t do.

21st December:  Waxing first quarter moon AND the Winter Solstice 

The Action Phase

And here we are at the ACTION moon. Start putting all your energies into working towards your intention / goal. Work through your lists, manifest. Basically, Do the Thing. 

25th December: Waxing Gibbous Moon

The Review Phase

This is where you check in with yourself. How is it going, are there any obstacles between you and your intention / goal, is there anything you’re doing that needs refining a bit more? Is there something completely not working that you can just let go of so it doesn’t take your energy away when you could be putting it towards something else? 

30th December: Full Moon in Cancer


The Party Phase

And then we celebrate… if you have achieved your intention for the cycle, it’s party time. If you haven’t, it’s OK! You can simply just thank the universe for giving you the time and energy to try. You may have succeeded but you can always try later, clearly *this* period was just not the right time for that intention. 

Work on your gratitude list, everything that brought your joy during this cycle (even simple things like Festive Coffees are now available) 

You can also use this time for ritual baths, simple spell work, charge your crystals in the moonlight, make your moon water, honour your ancestors, drink wine, make a banging dinner. It’s basically an opportunity to have your own little party every month and who wouldn’t want that? 

2nd January: Waning Gibbous moon

What comes next

The waning gibbous reminds us all that although we may have made progress in some areas, there is always still more work to be done. Identify one area of your life that needs more of your attention  and let go of anything that is getting in your way.

6th January: Last Quarter Moon

The let go and release phase

Ah, the ‘let go’ moon. Always a nice one. This is a good time to purge. Get rid of anything that isn’t giving you purpose. I always use this moon phase to start getting ready for my intention phase and use three days to do a deep clean of my house so i have no other energies affecting mine. But also so you have space in yourself to receive something new. Think about what your intention for the next cycle would be and use this time to make the physical and mental space for it.

If your goal would be to ‘keep on top of the laundry basket’, maybe use this time to purge your wardrobe and donate any clothes you don’t wear. It’ll be much more manageable with fewer things. 

13th January: New Moon in Capricorn

And we start the cycle again. 

Cleansing

All of the above requires a cleansed and safe space. No, I don’t just mean cracking open the Zoflora (although that totally counts) as there is a difference between clean and cleansed.

When you’re entering the path, it’s all about how you work with energy so surely the energies around you need to be balanced. 

Cleansing your space (and your tools) essentially gives you a blank yet charged slate. You can remove negativity, heavy energies, discourage spirits and more by simply cleansing. 

Simple ways to cleanse:

  • burn dried garden or blue sage (basically any variety that grows locally to you, not white sage)
  • Burn dried rosemary 
  • Burn incense – sandalwood is my favourite 
  • Create a cleansing spray (shall share a recipe another day) 
  • Make your zoflora concoction with moon water

Aaand *breathes*

This post was meant to be short but it really wasn’t! It may seem like a lot, but a lot of it is very simple, it just requires dedication. And remember, we are all still learning, regardless of how long we have been practicing. Buy some books (or use google, witchipedia is excellent and free) and start researching. 

If you’d like more tips on how to get started with witchcraft, you can follow me at @NorthLondonWitch on TikTok and Instagram. 

Image creative comms:

 “Smudging” by Cornelia Kopp is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

 “Moon Phase Collage” by StephenGA is marked with CC0 1.0

“creativecommons | incense burner” by *AndrewYoungPhoto* (writing_with_glass) is licensed under CC BY 2.0