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 The Spiritual Journey: The Shadow as Divine 

Here is one guided imagery experience that will enable You to access your shadow more concretely. You may have a surprise in store if you think you already know who it is or what it looks like. Most people are quite surprised at who is there. Your shadow is part of your emotional life and defies analysis. You can't know your shadow intellectually; it can only be known through experience.

You can put this guided imagery on tape, if you wish, and play it back. Or you could have a friend guide you through it. Either way, be sure to use enough pauses to give your psyche a chance to do the imagery. (The dots represent brief pauses.) You can also use evocative music (with. Out words) in the background for this experience. Music activates the emotions and makes the process more of a sacred ritual, and hence, more powerful. Guided imagery is effective when you allow time for it to activate in your mind. Be sure that you accept whatever images spontaneously appear, without struggling to change them in any way. The more spontaneous, the better.

If some image should frighten you, instead of running from it, command the scary image to take off its mask and show you who it really is! Be firm. You are the one in control.

A Guided Imagery: Making Your Shadow's Acquaintance
Close your eyes, and take a little time to relax. Feel your body settling down, and open your mind so you can use your active imagination for a while. Take a little time to do this before you begin.

Then, using your imagination...see yourself sitting in a room, looking at a trap door in the comer across from you.... You know that if you open that door, your shadow will come out, for it lives down in the basement of your house.

As you look at the closed trap door, something underneath it begins to stir, and you know your shadow is there. You get up. . .walk toward the door (notice how you are feeling) . . .taking a lit candle in your hand, and putting on a violet cape (to protect you if you need it) the door ...and wait Now, accept what comes out. (Take a long pause while the music plays and the shadow reveals itself.)

Notice what happens now, as the two of you relate.... Note the quality of your relationship.... Ask it what it needs from you. . .and tell it what you need from it if it is to be a part of your life.... Now, take some time to just be with your shadow, and see if the two of you can embrace.... Notice what happens as the two of you merge.... If you could not come together, notice what does happen, and make a contract to meet with it again at some later time.... See what it does or says....

Find a way to end your contact with your shadow for now.... And gradually, within your consciousness, everything turns into a fine gray mist, and the scene begins to fade.... Now, you are sitting on the couch again, in that same room, alone once more. With your eyes still closed, take a moment to reflect on what just occurred....

Now, come gradually back from this experience.... Feel yourself to be fully back in your body. You may want to move a few muscles, to come more fully back.... And when you feel ready, open your eyes and take some time to look around the room and ground yourself.

Once you are back, you may want to write down what happened. This is similar to dream work. If you do not write it down, draw a picture or otherwise externalize this experience, or it could fade into a sense of irrelevance. Now, just sit quietly for a while and reflect on what you learned from this experience.

(Excerpted from Embodying Spirit: Coming Alive with Meaning and Purpose ISBN: 0062552783)
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