Thursday, December 13, 2012

Yule Fires and Shadow Work

During the dark time of the year, our schedules are filled with delightful, festive events, socializing and parties. Then in our private, quiet moments, we have time to engage in some shadow work. Shadow work is involved with reflections on deeper changes that we want to make, giving rise to New Year's resolutions for many people.

In between going to parties with family and friends, during the cold, dark evenings while we have quiet time, we might turn our thoughts to those aspects of our shadow which have served us well and those which we need to tame or eliminate.

For example, if we have a stubborn streak, when does that serve us well? Maybe when we are strongly resolved to forge ahead with plans to create our own business, even in the face of great adversity. Or maybe standing our ground on matters of doing what is correct. Or maybe fulfilling our obligations even if it is inconvenient. So you see, sometimes our shadow side can be a tool for progress.

Yet that same stubborn streak might be a hindrance if our stubbornness gets us into arguments with others which do nothing but cause frustration and anger. Or being obstinate just for the sake of blocking someone else.

So how would shadow work apply in an instance like this? Perhaps we would reorganize our thoughts so  that we resolve not to get into arguments with others that cause tempers and blood pressure to flair, only to have respectful disagreements when important matters are at stake. Perhaps we affirm to ourselves to be silent rather than engage in unnecessary arguments. Perhaps we decide to say yes more often and agree with others and help get things done and if others are doing something we do not agree with or want to participate in, we simply do not get involved.

Some people like to think that if we are doing good things for others and involved in healing and so on, that we are always working in the light. However, in order to do these things, sometimes we have to work in the dark. Our shadows can help create more light.

Think of the yin/yang symbol. There is always a seed of darkness in the light and a seed of light in the darkness.

As we light our Yule logs and candles, what are the things we want to burn away? This fuel for our fires is what gives warmth and light.