Shadows & Nightmares

“A dream within a nightmare” by Ana Cruz

As some of my other posts mention, I am in the process of studying shamanic witchcraft.  This entails shadow work; a fairly new concept to me.  For those of you who don’t know what shadow work is; It is essentially the process of looking at the ‘shadows’ cast behind the light within you, admitting that they are there, and healing them.  It seems common for us, as humans, to ignore what we do not want to deal with.  Instead of dealing with all of our unpleasant emotions as they occur by letting them flow their course, we try to lock them away in a mental safe deposit box.   We also try to lock away aspects of ourselves we are ashamed or afraid of.  Those ignored unpleasant emotions and unwanted personal aspects stir within us to create our inner shadows.  A time eventually comes when that safe deposit box is full.  That is when we have personal crises.  Shadow work, as far as I can tell, is a chore that needs to be done in order to achieve inner peace.  Not only does it need to be done, it needs to be done periodically.

Now I will share the thing I most recently learned about shadow work, or at least about preparing for shadow work.  Our western culture has a major flaw in its wording in regard to emotions; We take on our emotions as a part of our identity.  This can be beneficial if we are saying “I am happy,” “I am amused,” or “I am loving.”  However, it can also be a detriment when we say we are an unpleasant emotion.  Notice the difference between “I am sad” and ” I am feeling sad.”  The first statement traps sadness in the identity.  The second statement recognizes sadness as a feeling, a changeable thing.  I should be aware of that distinction from now on when I verbally express my emotions.  Hopefully my readers also benefit from learning that distinction.  Moving on to a related topic, I shall discuss nightmares some.

Nightmares were a rather common occurrence for me when I was growing up.  Puberty is a shadow’s playground, and nightmares are the shadow’s way into your dream worlds.  I am thankful that nightmares are not so regular for me anymore.  I have picked up some preventative and coping mechanisms that likely have helped me.  I hope these tips help some others:

  1. Probably the biggest help for me has been to pray at bedtime for a protective Divine light to surround me as a sleep. If praying for the light in itself does not ease your bedtime anxiety enough, you can also pray for a guardian angel or totem to stay with you as you sleep.
  2. A ritual cleansing bath or shower may help you feel at ease.  If you feel bogged down with a negative emotion, that emotion could cross over into your dreamscape if not dealt with before bed time.  If you prefer a bath, you can add essential oils to the water.  Pray for and/or visualize the water washing away your negative emotion and transmuting it.  Imagine the negativity as a color that you associate to it.  The water can wash it off of you and down the drain or the water can turn it clear as it washes over you.
  3. If you wake up especially scared by a nightmare, don’t immediately try going back to sleep.  Give yourself five minutes or longer to shake off that fear.  Get up and get a glass of water, pet your cat or dog, or watch a funny YouTube video.
  4. If you are lucid enough to realize you are dreaming while you are having a nightmare, try saying “I direct my astral body back into my physical body now.”  You can change the wording as long as the message remains the same. This is a method to help you wake up.
  5. Although I haven’t really used this method, you might also want to try hanging a dream catcher over your bed after praying that it be blessed for its intended purpose.

That is all for this post.  Blessed be.

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One thought on “Shadows & Nightmares

  1. That point about reframing the emotion in defused language is a good one. The brain takes everything we say literally and puts the most emphasis on the last thing that comes out of our mouths. It also does not process “not” so, for instance, even if you were to say, “I am not feeling sad,” all the brain really hears is “sad” and pretty much disregards the rest. As you point out, being conscious of the way we have been taught to use language and the possible negative impacts is extremely important.

    Liked by 1 person

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