Embracing the Shadow Self

Embracing the Shadow Self

By Zane Curfman

Deep within the recesses of the self, right beyond the boundaries of consciousness, it lays brooding, scheming, influencing our lives in myriad ways. More real then any Hollywood-demon, this entity knows our deepest fears and desires -playing upon them to wreak havoc in our lives. It  can not be cast out in anyone’s name and is immune to holy water and crucifixes. No medication can quiet it’s whisper. The more you fight it, the stronger it becomes. The more you give into it’s impulsive influence, the more it can take from you.

This “It” is, of course, none other then a part of the self, inseparable and immutable from the whole. It is a reservoir of our insecurities, compulsions, and denials -as well as our intuition, ancestral memories, and unclaimed potentials. The trick, of course, is how do we work with, and align this aspect into the self.

Much of the work we do in the Andean mystical (shamanic) tradition has to do with developing the personal power, wisdom and compassion necessary to responsibly confront these darker parts of our self. Learning to accept and blend these aspects allows us to perceive the whole world with a renewed perspective. By making allies with our darker impulses, new potentials are available to us along with some of the greatest powers to transform our lives.

Though, it is not a path without perils, there is a very real chance of being possessed by our darker impulses. History is littered with names of people who had the capacity to create great and positive change in the world. Names Such as Hitler, Napoleon, and Charlemagne serve as warnings of being seduced by our darker impulses and projecting our insecurities, fears and arrogance onto the objective world. That being said, without becoming allies with your darker self wholeness is not possible, self love is not possible. This keeps us from the final development of compassion “impartial love”. Without impartial love it is not possible to act in an authentic way free of bias.

To start the process of blending with our darker side, we must first understand where it lives.

The road map to the shadow is found by discovering “it’s” projections, and learning how these projections are working to manifest the reality we experience. The truth; is the reality is the same for us all, but how we experience it is unique to each of us.

One of the most powerful practices with the shadow, involves learning to work with the, “Seven Energies of the Unconscious”. These seven energies are: fear, anger, envy, shame, deceit, arrogance, and greed. This involves learning how to harmonize these discordant energies into fuel to empower our self and our dreams.

We accomplish this, firstly, by learning to see the world from a “Mystical” perspective.  In other words, we develop the ability to see the world as waves of energy. This perspective was known by the Inka as the “Kausay Pacha”-the universe of living energies. The Inka were so engrossed in this “energy world”, that they were able to track how the qualities of energetic flows influenced “real-life” events.


By developing the skill to switch channels from “ordinary” to “mystical”, we learn to view our lives from a greater “cosmic meta-position”.  From this new meta-position, we learn to view discordant energies as parts of our energetic environment. Once we have learned to accept these discordant energies, we can then start the work of transforming, or reorganizing. the energy it to apply to our goals and dreams.