Shadow Masks in Spirituality and Witchcraft
Image – Obscurity – Natalia Drepina
Witches wear many masks.
There are those masks we wear to elevate ourselves through our magick; placing void fabric against our bare skin in order to peer into the in-between spaces, seeking to understand the lessons of our ‘Other eyes.’
Then there are the masks we wear built from our own shadows; carved from our fear, jealousy, and resentment. Adorned in our weakness, we project outwardly from a place of spiritual insufficiency; projecting falsehood out into the world so as to detract from our own inadequacy, to hide our unworthy machinations that are often fuelled by a drive of coveting and envy, hostility to others, or even a place of shame.
With masks being concealment by nature, we can cleverly disguise our motivations as self-righteous reasoning, or even care or concern about others, but ultimately the root is corrupted; we are drawing venom up through our veins, poisoning ourselves. Instead we should be cutting ourselves open in order to examine and better understand our wounding.
Slipping into a shadow mask is one of the simplest forms of self-deception.
To know ourselves is to resonate from a place of personal power; to ignore and justify our seemingly less desirable qualities or reactions, blaming others for our own shadows, is to make ourselves lesser.
This is highlighted where so ever there is personal disagreement; when one person solely blames another without acknowledging any self-responsibility; that is wearing a shadow. When someone attacks another from a place of jealousy, that is wearing a shadow. When someone competes with another to boost their self-esteem rather than pushing themselves from a place of elevation, that is wearing a shadow.
Image – Natalia Dreprina
Emotional responses to situations and even people are never solely negative however; in fact they are all opportunities for spiritual advancement; if we acknowledge these impulses then we see our wounds; it highlights where we are lacking, and to know this means we can address it and begin a process of healing and making ourselves stronger.
We have to utterly destroy the concept of “I deserve” in regard to spiritual exercise and indeed within life.
There is no “deserve.” There is hard work, passion, and determination, and even then, sometimes we are denied whatsoever it is we think we want. These so-called failures are often lessons of self and opening doors to future success.
“You either get bitter or you get better. It’s that simple. You either take what has been dealt to you and allow it to make you a better person, or you allow it to tear you down. The choice does not belong to fate, it belongs to you..” – Josh Shipp
The problem with the human ego is that failed opportunity is often taken as a personal attack, rather than a lesson that needs to be learnt. The shadow mask makes us groan with embarrassment or shame, and encourages us to lash out at those who we perceive as being more advanced or successful than ourselves.
Failed opportunity tends to have a synchronistic element to it; if life tears us down it is because we require that death cycle. Many cannot fully overcome the mourning process of this death within life, and choose to fixate on the loss, living in the poison that can come from their infected wounding. The resentment that can breed from such loss is a driving force behind those wearing their shadow.
This analysis however is not to excuse the behaviour of those lashing out from a place of wounding; empathy and understanding are not the same thing, and whilst we can recognise the motivations of others, we do not have to accept behaviour which violates our personal boundaries.
Ultimately, we can only take full responsibility for our own person, our thoughts, emotions and behaviours. The premise that power over the self is the complete control over reaction and emotion though, should be utterly rejected.
Emotional states do not exist solely to be controlled or repressed.
tribally-infused.tumblr.com – image
Instead it is better to be mindful – when strong emotional responses burst forth (whatever these emotions might be) there is a reason for that to be so.
The choice on when to speak out and when to remain silent is a skill that has to be learned; not every vicious barb or challenge to your sense of self merits the opening of your emotional self.
Sometimes when confronted by a shadow mask of another, resilience and silence are the most powerful methods of response.
On the occasion that a situation threatens your emotional, mental, physical, or spiritual well-being however, then drawing a line in the sand is necessary.
Mindfulness is also a key to understanding our own shadow masks; when we react to harm another individual because they are (usually unwittingly) poking our shadow; their words or actions reminds us on some level of an unhealed part of ourselves. They show us the way, whether we like it or not.
Many blessings Starlets,
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