What is the Golden Shadow?

Here’s why embracing golden shadow work could be the key to unlocking a more fulfilling and purposeful life…

The Golden Shadow is the hidden potential that’s buried within your unconscious. Maybe you’ve already heard the psychological term: shadow, or even dabbled in a bit of shadow work?

Well, the golden shadow is a big part of this. And it refers to the gleaming jewel of your brightest light, the greatest potential that you don’t even realize you have…

The brightest.. and the darkest part of you

Do you ever feel like there’s another “you” hidden somewhere inside?

A brighter you, that is confident, capable, gifted, aligned, and empowered to live FULLY in every single moment…?

Well, that hidden aspect isn’t just a figment of your imagination….That YOU is real! 

S/he IS there, just below the surface of your consciousness… contained inside something called the “golden shadow”.

Read on, and you’ll discover exactly how to track that source of golden juju down…

What is the shadow?

The term shadow self was created by Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Jung. It refers to the part of your psyche that contains all the unconscious aspects of your personality that you reject or deny.

When most people talk about the shadow, they primarily associate it with traits, aspects, and qualities that are perceived by our society as “negative”. In popular culture, the term shadow or shadow side usually refers to the ‘darkness within’, ie. to parts that are dark, dangerous, ugly, unwanted, and forbidden, such as anger, jealousy, or greed.

It’s important to realise that this repressed darkness doesn’t disappear. It lives in the subconscious mind, as shadow forms that escape through our projections, assumptions, judgements and unconscious habits and behaviours.

But that’s not all! According to Jung, there’s another side of the shadow, a side that actually contains the keys to our potential…

What is the golden shadow?

The concept of the golden shadow refers to the positive qualities and potential that individuals unconsciously project onto others. It represents aspects of yourself that you admire but may not recognize within yourself.

Embracing the golden shadow involves acknowledging and integrating these positive traits into your own identity, and it can lead to profound personal growth and self-awareness.

By embracing our golden shadow, we can access into untapped potential and become more whole individuals.

Why does the golden shadow form?

The golden shadow usually forms during childhood, when societal and familial conditioning has a huge impact on the developing child.

Regardless of whether they’re “positive” or “negative”, if a child grows up in an environment where certain traits aren’t valued (or are actively discouraged), they will internalize the belief that these traits are undesirable or unattainable.

The real problem occurs when the qualities criticized in a child’s early life are actually pretty darn amazing.

… When they traits you learned to hide from the world were actually full of beauty and power and pulsing life force energy! BUT because of the conditioning required to grow up in a world that doesn’t always value beauty and power and the certain talents that YOU possessed, you decided these pieces of inner light were negative, unwanted, and even shameful.

It’s a tragedy, isn’t it, and one that most people won’t ever be aware of?

What’s also tragic is that very often, a child’s raw creative potential isn’t embraced or accepted, so that is what ends up buried in deep in the shadow. Again, it was Carl Jung who identified the golden shadow as FULL of submerged creative potential.

Why does creativity end up in the golden shadow?

Creativity is one of our greatest gifts. An endless supply of creative potential is our birthright! And its wild, unpredictable, expressive, loud, colourful, and free! But this is exactly the kind of energy that larger society tends NOT to favour.

**Think that’s not true? Where do governments always make their first funding cuts?

***Think Instagram is choc full of “creatives? How genuinely do you express creativity when your parameters are a three-inch digital square..?

Most creativity isn’t real, unrestricted human expansion. It’s not self-actualization in its real form. It’s distorted creativity.

Look around with fresh eyes, and you’ll see that for many people, their RAW creativity was probably suppressed in the first place. Their potential has been stuck in the golden shadow for years and years.

(And if you’re sitting there thinking, “Well, I’m not creative so this doesn’t apply to me…. Think again. You could be EXACTLY the kind of person with submerged potential. Maybe your dark shadow is brimming with untapped creative talent!)

What other amazing qualities end up in the golden shadow?

Many other incredible qualities also end up in the dark side of the psyche, taking the form of golden shadows. Here are a few:

  • Confidence
  • Assertiveness
  • Compassion
  • Intelligence
  • Leadership abilities
  • Emotional resilience
  • Adaptability
  • Various talents or skills

The thing ALL traits of the golden shadow have in common is that at some point, in some way, they were perceived to threaten the power and authority of someone else.

If your inner light shines too brightly, other people may want to put it out. There’s a fine line for some, between intense admiration and envy.

We can also be scared by our own potential.

I love this famous Marianne Williamson quote:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us”.

It speaks SO clearly of golden shadows

So we self-sabotage, to protect ourselves from the perceived threat of our own success…

Golden Shadow Quote

3 Ways to do golden shadow work

Like ALL shadow work, tracking your golden shadows begins with a practice of self-awareness. Here are 3 pathways in…

Golden shadow work method 1: Track external judgments

Notice the situations when you judgs and criticise others. Track exactly what triggers you.

For example, are you ever triggered by people who seem happy, joyful, and at ease in their own skin? Or maybe you can’t stand to be around ambitious people, people who set huge goals, or talk about money?

The next time this happens, notice when you criticize, find fault, or shame others. Even if you don’t say any words out loud, track your inner dialogue.  Get curious about what leads you to accuse other people of being “wrong”.

Take extra careful notice of the qualities in them that you’re most triggered by.

Golden shadow work method 2: Track internal judgments

Notice when you cast criticism and judgment inwards, paying particular attention to the personal triggers that activate you.

As before, become conscious of people or situations that trigger self-doubt or self-criticism. When does your self-esteem plummet? When does your body recoil and self doubt take over?

For example, are there certain people who cause you to question yourself?

Who makes you feel less than?

 Who makes you doubt your capabilities?

Again, take careful note of the qualities that you’re most triggered by. 

Golden shadow work method 3: Explore positive projections

Often manifesting through the teacher/student relationship, the relationship you have with a mentor, guide, or even spiritual teacher or guru can be a mirror for your golden shadow.

Your positive projections may be obvious to you, but if not, ask yourself…

  • Who do you admire?

  • Who do you envy?

  • Who do you idolize?

When you’ve become aware of someone, write down the qualities they have that stand out to you.

  • What quality does this person express, that draws you in?

  • What do you admire/envy/idolize especially?

  • What is it about them, that activates you?

Try to hone in on their specific gifts and talents, and write those down…

The more active the feelings in your body when you do this, the more likely it is, that those traits are held inside your golden shadow.

Yep – that’s right. The gold that you SO desire is actually within YOU!

The only difference is that you’ve got used to denying yourself access to them… but that’s about to change!

How to reclaim (+ integrate) your golden shadow

Shadow integration is a gentle process. It’s also something you need to begin carefully. This is because when fragments of self have been in the unconscious landscape for a big part of your life, they become distorted. So you want to ensure you straighten them out before integration.

This usually happens over time. It requires a whole lot of honesty, self-awareness, courage, and humility to call that piece of gold back. It takes work to reach into the darkness, to first discover and make conscious, then accept, embrace, appreciate, and eventually love and nurture that gold, back to beauty and power.

When you can SEE the part of your shadow fully, it’s no longer shadow.

It becomes conscious.

It can go from unfulfilled potential, to part of your soul path.

This is what emotional healing is, and it’s how more and more people are expanding themselves, and what they’re capable of in the world.

Want to try this for yourself? Grab the shadow work guide and playbook below 👇🏼  

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