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Shadow Work

“I am Half Sick of Shadows,” said the Lady of Shallot.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson

 The deepest shadow is cast by the strongest light is not just a metaphor; it is literal truth. In darkness, contrastingly, we look for birth, transformation, and new beginnings.

The Journey to the Dark Goddess, Jane Meredith

It has been a long time coming… A promise made. A gift received… Shadow puppets.

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But then the darkness descended.

The lights went out.

Real life too full of shadows to be conjuring up more of our own for fun.

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A shadow of the Bad Mother loomed large. Projecting despair.

Ill. Tired. Irritable. Sad. Overwhelmed by the responsibility for keeping the light shining for three little souls.

Words dried to a trickle. Journeys in silence.

Burning throat. Blocked ears.

No energy or desire for play.

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Guilt. It’s the Summer Holidays.

Cue expectations – inner and outer – for sunshine and laughter and beaches and ice creams and endless days to fill with creative, memorable pursuits.

What memories am I making?

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All I wanted was to be in bed. Alone.

One day. Finally. We opened the untouched package that had sat there for two months. Wrapped in guilt and shame.

We took out the gifts inside.

And smiled.

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Happy voices. Shaking hands as more and more delights were discovered. Crafted with care.

All there.

Just add light.

And imagination.

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And so we shut the curtains and made our own magic.

With light and dark. Setting stories free from within us that we didn’t even know were there.

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Just as the moon has her light and dark times.

So do we all.

Our shadows just as true and real and needed as the light which illuminates us.

We can get stuck in shadow.

Longing for the light, unsure how to get back to it.

The moral of this story is

Open your gifts.

The one’s that you’ve hidden away on the top shelf.

Out of reach.

Wrapped up with guilt and shame.

Worried that it’s been too long.

It’s never too long, too late.

Shine a light with a wish, a prayer, a vision, a dream, a story…

Play with your shadows.

With thanks to Swinton for the puppets.

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