If you’re someone interested in crystals, tarot, and other witchy concepts, it’s pretty likely you’ve come across the phrase “shadow work” at some point. As someone who’s taken a few courses in magical concepts, I’ve encountered a few different definnitions of this practice over the years. Yet though I came away from these courses with a better understanding of tarot, the elements, astrology, etc, I never quite felt like I understood this whole shadow work business.
So, when Danielle Massi reached out to ask if I would be interested in a review copy of her upcoming book, Shadow Work: Face Hidden Fears, Heal Trauma, Awaken Your Dream Life, my answer was a resounding yes.
Shadow Work blends science and spirituality to explain the shadow work process. With her background in psychology and mental health, Massi grounds this somewhat mystical practice with science in a way that makes the topic feel more apporachable. The book not only defines shadow work and explains why it is an essential ingredient in healing and manifestation, but offers plenty of exercises and guidance on how to do shadow work.
What I Liked
For all the times I’ve brought a crystal to work with me in my pocket, there’s also a time I’ve rolled my eyes at someone going a bit “too out there” with the spirtual stuff. This skepticism about the unseen and unproven means I can sometimes be resistant to concepts like spirit guides or the quantum realm. Shadow Work begins with a section called “The Overlap of Science and the Soul” that really helped explain what shadow work actually is and how it relates to what we do know about the brain and trauma. I can truly say this section of the book helped me finally get a grasp on the understanding of shadow work that previously eluded me.
This grounding in science and research carries through the book even into the more challenging (for me) concepts, which I really appreciated. For instance, Massi writes about how generational trauma shows up in gene expression across generations as she speaks about healing ancestral wounds. In a book full of concepts that I personally still struggle to buy into, this approach was essential in keeping me invested in the reading experience and learning more about these ideas.
The book’s emphasis on healing in order to step into your best and fullest self was another key factor I enjoyed. This is not the kind of self-help book that pumps you up without being real. Shadow work is deep, heavy stuff that forces you to confront what’s holding you back, which gives the book an inspirational but realistic vibe I appreciated.
Massi uses just the right amount of personal narrative to show the reader how the practices she teaches in the book have worked for her personally and shown up in her life. You know I love a book that blends research and teaching with personal narrative, but it is a difficult balance to strike. In Shadow Work, it is done effectively and helps to illustrate concepts that might otherwise feel difficult to grasp.
What I Didn’t Like
I don’t know that I can say I didn’t like anything in particular about this book, per say. I found it interesting throughout, even though there were some concepts I felt resistance to because they felt a bit too “out there.” I wouldn’t call this a negative point of the book, but more something to be aware of as a reader. For all the grounding in science, this is a book about the spiritual and intangible which includes and embraces concepts like the quantum realm and past lives.
Personally, I’m still pretty skepetical about these ideas, so I found myself reading this sections with a bit of an eyebrow raise. They are explained well and linked back to how they can help you grow and step into your fullest self, which I really appreciated and which kept me reading where I might have otherwise set a different book aside.
All that to say, reading this book will ask you to suspend disbelief and trust in intuition. Not something I didn’t like, but more something to take into consideration for yourself as a reader.
In all, I enjoyed and was challenged (in a good way) by Shadow Work. I’ve read a lot of witchy self help titles in the last few years and had reached a point where many of them didn’t teach me much I didn’t already know on some level. This book definitely introduced me to new concepts and tools for working through my baggage and taking the next steps to achieving my goals.
Shadow Work comes out September 20th, 2022 and is available for pre-order now. Thank you again to the author for the opportunity to read an advanced review copy!
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