top of page
  • Writer's pictureBryan Stafford

First experience of Shadow Self

Updated: May 31, 2023

Submitted question covered in this blog:

"How did you start doing shadow work?"

Due to the personal and sensitive nature of getting to know the parts of ourselves that we keep hidden from others (as shadow work is), it's important to start small and work your way up to more in-depth or intense inner self interactions.

There is so much information on shadow work that can be found online, in books, or across social media in which there are so many ways in which many say that it can be accomplished. With all the different sources and impressions being shared, it can be difficult to discern what is the best way that will work for you. Thank you for submitting this question!

Personally, my first lite-experience of shadow work growing up was amongst plants and trees when I was a young child and developing green witch.

Sitting amongst the different plants and trees, being drawn to certain flowers and learning how the different types of plants and herbs effected me - what they meant to me, how they resonated with me - also taught me about myself and my own inner workings. The ways in which i would think that would lead to my associations with each plant also lead me to know myself better, be more confident and to trust myself more, and my intuition. Quite literally I was projecting aspects of myself onto the plants in which i was learning about, and how I could relate to them and their properties, and magickal value, etc. The better I knew the flowers and herbs around me the better I got to know myself on a very deep and personal level.

When I was about ten or so years old, I started analysing my shadow self by staring at myself within the reflection of what I could see in windows and in mirrors, or in the reflection of water. It was this that I unintentionally learned to do from my grade five teacher who made me read the book, "Anne of Green Gables" written by L. M. Montgomery. Too make the book more interesting to read for myself as a preteen boy, I applied my own perspective of magick to the plot of the story. Within the first few chapters the orphaned young girl of the story creates an imaginary friend she would talk to in the glass of the window panes near her bed that would keep her company when lonely. I saw this as magickal and began analysing myself for subtle responses and queues while taking to reflections of myself for a moment to ask a quick question, or reconfirm my process of thinking at the time, etc.

Along the way and as I got older learning more about myself even more intently. It wasn't until I was a teenager that I began written shadow work exercises in a journal style book of shadows. Many shadow work written exercise examples are available at:

Occasionally, i do revisit these old ways of reconnecting with myself while I'm going for a walk in a forest and finding a quiet peaceful place to sit, perhaps near a stream and just ponder myself and my thoughts sitting at the base of a tree. Observing the surroundings and noticing which plants in the foliage that I am drawn, the sounds that catch my attention, what animals retain my focus, etc. all can help to recognize the internal processes of my own mind. Why am I drawn to such plants? Which symbolisms from the sight or sound of animals stand out to me? What properties of the plant may help or serve me? There may be associations or memories connected with or tied to such plants, scents, colours, textures, sounds, etc. Understanding this can define the under workings of your shadow self.

Quite simply, something that seems as common as gardening can be made into an experience of enlightenment and development on an inner shadow level. The underlying processed during can help to sort out intellectually heavy thoughts in a similar way to meditation.

More in depth about shadow work is available in and connected to this previous blog post:

It is in hopes that the above shared is informative and clear.

If I can clarify anything here or if I can try to expand further on this topic, please do not hesitate to let me know.

Thank you for visiting and for reading my blog.

16 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page