Founder of The Priestess Path, Lineages of Light

Shadow Work and Healthy Boundaries

At this time, astrologically, we are sandwiched in between two eclipses, and the shadow is up!

The shadow must first be enlightened in order to be loved into the totality of our being.

There are two major aspects of shadow – a light side of shadow and a dark side. On the light side of shadow, it is a tender part of yourself that needs and longs to be seen and embraced.

When we bear witness and become fully present to this aspect of shadow, it often dissipates. When we ask to hear her voice and listen to her wounds, offering the balm of our own compassion, the need of the shadow to get our attention can dissipate.

Shadows love the light. In fact, they need the light to exist.

There is another aspect of shadow requires us to have enough self love to say, “no!” It happens sometimes that other people project their shadows onto us to one degree or another. When we feel this happening, we may ask yourself: What feels appropriate for me to do now? Sometimes, you will get the answer that you need to do or say something.

One of my grand masters, Swiftdeer Nagual elder of the Deer Tribe, always said that “confrontation is an act of self love.” This is because it takes self love to say no to someone or to confront someone when we feel a shadow has been projected onto us. There is a mindful art to shadow-boxing with others that to this day, I am still “perfecting” which involves a method of questioning one’s own understanding. This way is part of a larger body of teachings from our Taoist martial art lineage that has to do with honorable interactions between teacher and student in the dojo.

Asking questions about your understanding of what a person has said or done first, before you make accusations, is the best way to disarm a shadow situation and gives the best chances for resolution IF the other decides to participate in a respectful way.

The martial art, Akido, teaches that the softest way you can interact with shadows is to absorb their power, and set them down softly to the ground. Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of Akido, was unbeatable and could defeat multiple opponents attacking him at once. He nearly remained in one place, allowing the attack to come to him, then he met it with just enough energy to redirect the force of the opponent. The opponents feel to the ground like butter. He called this fighting style, “The Way of Peace” and he stands out as one of the most famous and successful grand masters of history.

The teaching that I received in my martial lineage about dealing with shadow is called “Meet the Teacher” and it is only given to those who are deeply committed to training and being a protective and upstanding member of the dojo. Being a master instructor and lineage holder of our Shaolin and Taoist martial art tradition, I now am in the role of handing these teachings down and I had the honor of recently sharing it with the Priestess Path initiates. It is a truly life changing teaching for those who’s dharma bring it about and I am honored to be carrying it on.

So, when is it appropriate for us to say no to someone else’s shadowy projections and to confront them with a self-loving boundary? Here is a list that comes to mind:

It is appropriate to have a boundary and to say “no!” when:

  •     violence is sent your way
  •     another would like to violate you
  •     someone is trying to steal your light
  •     someone is attempting to sexually harass or harm you
  •     someone is betraying you
  •     someone is extorting you
  •     someone is yelling at you
  •     someone is attacking you

And the list goes on..

During these times, when another is acting upon us in a less than loving way, we are faced with a choice:

To do or not to do, that is the question!

Do we say something? Do we do something? What if what I say makes it worse? This is usually why we do not say anything, because we are afraid of making “things” worse… and so the shadow builds and builds….

This is where prayer and meditation comes in. When you are in shadow and you do not know what to do or say, I have found the best thing to do is to get quiet and go inward. We must do this in order to hear our intuition — that faint voice inside of us that is always right, but that is so quiet that we often override it with our mind.

Depending on your spirituality, you may ask God/Great Spirit/your angels for guidance on what to say or do. If you have a spiritual practice like shamanism, you can journey to your spirit guide or power animal and ask them what is the best course of action.

I recently brought a difficult situation to my spirit guide only for him to tell me not to do anything! He had to wrestle the situation out of my hands telling me to “let go!”. I let it go with a lingering desire to continue to obsess and pick at it and then, to my pleasant surprise, just as he said the situation was resolved within the week!

Our spirit guides are very wise and 30 years of journeying has taught me to listen them even when my lower self would like to hold on to pain and sufferings.

In summary, from decades of doing shadow work I have found two aspects of shadow that are important to identify. One aspect being a part of our self or another that is seeking understanding and embrace into the totality of our light being. Another aspect of shadow is when another (which can also include our self) is inflicting harm upon us. While all aspects of shadow have, by nature, suffering encapsulated in thier complex, all shadows are not the same in degree or intent. There are times when it is appropriate to say no and have a boundary to shadows. Again, the art of saying no and having boundaries is always something we can work on to add nobility and dignity to our character.

When we say no, it does not have to be said to the persons face or even out loud. It can be an internal stance that you take to, for example, not answer the phone when they call or text for the 100th time phone-stalking you. It could be to not say anything as a response on Facebook or Twitter and just let their shadow project onto you and pass you by…

The important thing to keep in mind is that each shadow is it’s own being. Each one has a personality, needs and desires and it is important that you listen to your inner guidance on how to dance with the shadow.

Sometimes the best dance is the one not taken.

Be kind to yourself during these eclipses and if you want to do some loving shadow work, you can check out the 40 min video clarification and meditation I made to bring the shadows into the loving light.


ElizaBeth, Temple Holder and Initiator on The Priestess Path