Friday, 15 January 2016

Shadows at the Altar: A Sacred Combination of Spiritual Practice and Self-Development

I often use my altar as a hub for shadow work processes which are in the midst of playing out. Shadow work is the lifeblood of my business, but it is not just something I teach to others.. It is the glue which holds my own self-development together. It strengthens my relationship with myself and I see it as the linchpin of my self-love journey. When I am trying to wade through a swamp in the shadowscape, my altar often bears evidence of the trial that I am going through. I use objects, words and gestures to express my intentions for the ongoing process, bringing all of my power, strength and positive energy to the proceedings. I use symbols of the experiences I am having in shadow work in order to remind me of my pure intentions and help me to stay the course. My altar punctuates my personal development as it unfolds. It highlights and underlines my realisations, and brings inspiration to me in my dark hours when I feel like walking away from the whole thing and just giving up.

Any altar, shrine, reflection space or sacred set-up can be a testament to your shadow work. It can act as a way for you to hash out your emotional responses to the things you have been through and the memories you are processing. Releasing, receiving, surrendering and reaching a final, peaceful understanding of what you have been through - all of that stuff is worthy of the altar. You can use symbolism of any kind to represent the places you have been, the place you inhabit now and all the joys, fears and deep yearnings which fill you. Your altar can be a physical exploration of what is internal and intangible. How exciting is that?!

I fully encourage you to create an altar set-up which at least partially speaks to the myth of yourself which you are seeking to unfold. Even if you are not actively working on shadow stuff at the moment but would like to begin, you can represent your intention to make a start - just write a statement of intention to place on your altar, or use a flower or leaf, a piece of fruit, a painting you have created or a found object which seems to symbolise your willingness to look deep within.. Be inventive. Keep it personal. Make it count. Your altar is not something which exists to impress or please others. It is an ever-evolving, shifting and complexly dynamic representation of the multitudes which are contained within you, and the voyage which you are taking to explore those multitudes.

If you haven't already checked out my recent video about shadow work at the altar, now's your chance!

Do you like the featured pictures of my altar? You can check out more personal images from my life over on my Instagram account.