#ShadowWorkOctober: Cycles of the Self

Cycles of the Self is a themed shadow work experience, designed to dive deep into the shadows but also strengths we inherited from our ancestry and carry with us perhaps for generations. It's not news that the conditions and environment we grow up in have a tremendous influence on who we become. With Cycles of the Self, let's take it a step further and look at the bigger picture: from our ancestry, through childhood and adulthood, to death and what we believe to await us beyod the veil.



Alright, prepare for a long read!

We start with last year's Hero's Journey Spread to see what we can expect from this month-long experience.

Then, each week we reflect upon:
1. Roots: our ancestry, why we became who we are, what "runs in our blood".

2. Childhood: early stages of our Self taking shape, patterns of behavior and the forms of attachment we experienced, how our idols and inspiring figures as well as the scary monsters helped us grow into who we are. 
3. Individuation: how we grew our Self into its adult version, the deepest and toughest truths of our heart, self-parenting and self-sufficiency. 
4. Death / Fate: the legacy we expect to leave behind, fear of loss and the unknown, our approach to death and fate and the fears associated with it. 


WEEK 1: ROOTS


In some cultures, including the slavic culture I grew up in, it is believed that our ancestry plays a major role in our lives. Ancestors are our teachers, protectors and deliverers of old wisdom that waits to be explored. Our forefathers and foremothers both gave us packages of experiences, traits and possible fates for us to continue and prolong into future generations. Keep it in mind while exploring prompts 2. and 3.




1. Family Shadow: immediate family's burden of shadow we carry.
2. Family Core: upbringing, tradition.
3. Family Light: immediate family's strengths and valuable traits we carry.
4. Elders Shadow: grandparents' and elders' of the family burden of shadow we carry.
5. Elders Core: lineage / family wisdom.
6. Elders Light: grandparents' and elders' of the family strengths and valuable traits we carry.
7. Ancestors Shadow: the burden of shadow we carry from our ancestry for generations.
8. Ancestors Core: collective wisdom of our ancestry / tribe of origin.
9. Ancestors Light: strengths and valuable traits we carry from our ancestry for generations.
10. The Outcome: who we are as a result of our Roots.



WEEK 2: CHILDHOOD


Second week's prompts in the form of spreads might potentially be quite difficult - painful, triggering, poignant.
Please make sure to take extra care of yourself while working with these spreads, especially after journaling sessions.


As kids, we all had our idols who inspired us and were our super heroes - it might have been a person you knew, a historical figure, a mythological hero, a god or goddess, a figure from legends, stories or movies etc. 
Before you start with this spread, think of your idol - it has to be specific. Then try to think of a motto, a keynote, something that represents the core of your idol's being.

1. Core desire: The things that drive my idol.
2. Strategy: My idol's ways of achieving goals.
3. Greatest fear of my idol.
4. Weakness.
5. Strength / Talent.
6. Me as a result: Summary of how my idol influenced who I am today.


Monster Spread

When we were kids, we all had at least one scary monster that left us terrified and unable to sleep unless we were covered and tucked under our blanket from toes to nose. We have seen them in movies, heard a scary legend or met them in person. Now it's time to take a closer look at these scary beings and hopefully learn a lesson about our fears and ourselves thanks to it. 
Think of the monster that used to scare you the most when you were a child. Then try to think of a motto, a keynote that represents the core of your monster's being.

1. Core desire: The things that drive the monster.
2. Strategy: My monster's ways of achieving goals.
3. Greatest fear of my monster.
4. Weakness.
5. Strength / Talent.
6. Me as a result: Summary of how my monster influenced who I am today.



Our Inner Child is an internal sub-personality that often carries and takes upon itself the feelings of hurt, abandonment, humiliation, inferiority and much more deeply disheartening experiences. With this spread we can take a closer look at our Inner Child's feelings.

1. Fear: What is my Inner Child afraid of?
2. Neglect: When does my Inner Child feel neglected?
3. Hurt: When does my Inner Child feel hurt?
4. Anger: What makes my Inner Child angry?

Once you're done with the spread I highly recommend to take it a step further and help yourself heal with a guided meditation. If you're experienced, you can create one for yourself. If not, I recommend a guided meditation by TheHonestGuys "Heal Your Inner Child - Healing Love". It will definitely make you feel better and help release some old dirt.



WEEK 3: INDIVIDUATION


In jungian psychology, individuation is a process of integrating all parts of ourselves (both conscious and subconscious) to become a fully grown, mature individual.

For "Reflection" prompts I would like you to just sit with them and think. You can use tarot if you want to, but it might not be necessary - allowing our mind to stretch its muscles, go places and come up with its own answers is just as important as exercising our intuition.
Take this week as an opportunity to be real and present with yourself - no fluffy, comforting bullishit - just you and your Self.


1. Truth of the Heart.
2. What patterns of behavior should I let go of to let the Truth of the Heart flourish.
3. Deep rooted bullishit / beliefs that are no longer serving me.
4. Shame and regret that I carry.
5. Ways in which I betray my own trust.



WEEK 4: DEATH / FATE


With this week's contemplation we're closing the circle of the Cycles of the Self. We started this journey by exploring our roots and it ends with the thought of us becoming the roots for the generations to come. 



This spread was designed to be used either with cards or with runes. If you choose to work with runes, it is also suitable for skjebne divination circles (casting).
There are many representations of the Three Fates across cultures. I chose The Norns because the Germanic view of destiny is quite different (and close to my heart) - it stresses that all beings who are subject to destiny can shape it - both passively (free will) and actively (magick).

URD: Past. What once was
I-III: Past actions that nourish me and influence my growth.

VERDANDI: Present. What is coming into being
I-III: That which is being actualized here and now.

SKULD: Necessity. What shall be
I-III: Responsibility to shape my destiny through reshaping the past and present.



First edition of Shadow Work October: here.


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