Shadow Work vs Light Work: This Is The Difference

by Alexandra Tiodar

“Shadow work is the greatest form of Lightwork”

If you usually read spirituality articles or you’re on a path of spiritual development, you most likely heard about both Shadow Work and Light Work. 

I noticed these terms created a lot of confusion on the internet, so I’ve decided to explain what both of them are, what are the main similarities and differences between them.

The confusion around these two terms may come from the polarity of their names:

One is called Light Work, which makes people think about something good, and the other one is called Shadow Work and can be confused for something dark and dangerous. 

The truth is, that Shadow Work and Light Work are two methods of healing yourself as well as healing others and that there is nothing dangerous about shadow work.

In this article, I am going to explain what each of these methods encompasses, what are the similarities and differences between light work and shadow work, and the benefits of each. 

Shadow Work Vs Light Work

Shadow Work Vs Light Work

What Light Work is

The term “Light Work” is said to have been first mentioned by the American spiritual healer and teacher, Michael Mirdad. Michael Mirdad was teaching and practicing intuitive healings, based on the example of Jesus.

He used the term “Light Work” to describe the type of healing that he was doing, as well as other similar methods.

Further on, other authors who were working with energy, intuition, or angels used this term to describe what they were doing, probably in the absence of a more suitable term. 

Thus, “Light Work” has become an umbrella term that is used nowadays to describe a wide array of energy healing methods.

What these healing methods have in common is that all of them are using Divine Energy for healing, either by channeling it, or by working with the angels, or with higher intuition. 

The word “Light” usually describes the Divine Energy, which is often mentioned in certain religions, under names such as chi or qi in Chinese Medicine, prana in Hinduism and Buddhism, or the Holy Spirit in Christianity.

Thus, “Light Work” is any sort of work that uses this Divine Energy.

Examples of Light Work could include intuitive healings, Bio-energy healings, Reiki, ThetaHealing, Pranic Healing, and Prananadi, Angelic healings, and the list goes on. 

What Shadow Work is

Shadow work is a term coined by psychologist Carl Jung, to describe a variety of healing methods based on his psychotherapeutic approach.

Carl Jung is a pioneer of Psychotherapy, and his early work in this field has shaped a lot the direction in which Psychotherapy as a science has evolved.

Jung believed that the human psyche is made of 4 parts: the self, the persona, the anima/animus, and the shadow. 

He described the anima/animus, as the real side of our personality, which also includes the feminine side of a man or the masculine side of a woman.

The persona he said is the side we choose to show to others to protect ourselves and our most vulnerable aspects, which can be considered to be “a mask”, as he put it.

The Persona is the side of us we kind of “makeup”, to fit society’s expectations of how we should be, rather than how we are. 

The shadow, as the name suggests, is the slightly darker side of our personality, which contains all the reprimanded needs and wants, as well as less desirable personality traits and behavioral tendencies.

Jung believed that these traits and tendencies stem from painful emotions inflicted on us by other people or by situations, or even from trauma and emotional shock. 

Thus, he also associated the shadow with the subconscious mind, and then the self is the part that plays the mediator role, and make all these very different parts of the human psyche work and co-exist together. 

Thus, as Jung mentioned the shadow as an important part of the human psyche, he also suggested a few methods of working with the shadow and healing those reprimanded needs and wants undesirable traits and behaviors.

These methods were then named “Shadow work”, as they are simply a few methods of working with the shadow, bringing it from the subconscious in the conscious mind and then healing it. 

How are Shadow Work and Light Work Similar?

The similarity of shadow work and light work

Shadow Work and Light Work are similar when it comes to their purpose.

They have the common goal of helping you attain healing and guiding you to become a better version of yourself.

Both Shadow Work and Light Work heal physical and mental issues, contribute towards your personal development and help you grow and evolve spiritually. 

Also, another thing that Shadow Work and Light Work do have in common is that they both use energy.

As explained before, the term Light Work usually refers to healing methods that involve the use of Divine Energy, but occasionally, some Shadow Work techniques can involve that as well, especially if you use crystals to help you with it.

What makes Shadow Work and Light Work different?

If we are talking about the differences between Shadow Work and Light Work, the first difference worth mentioning is the origin of these methods. 

Shadow Work stems from Psychology, more specifically from Psychoanalysis, as Carl Jung developed his Psychotherapeutic approach based on Sigmund Freud’s work. 

Sigmund Freud is known as the “father of Psychoanalysis” because he was the founder of this method. 

As Carl Jung studied together with Freud for a while, until he managed to coin his own psychotherapeutic method, Shadow Work was definitely born from psychoanalysis, thus being a psychotherapeutic technique. 

In contrast, Light Work is derived from the field of Spirituality. In the past, people who were gifted with spiritual abilities were a bit confused, because they didn’t see other people having the same gifts. Also, they were not quite sure what are they doing.

Then, when they kept practicing their methods and putting their abilities to use, they noticed they can heal and help others. 

Then, many other forms of healing with the Divine Energy started appearing, which were different but at the same similar. 

Thus, the term “Light Work” was coined, to cover the types of healing methods that cannot be explained by science or by religion. 

The second difference between Light Work and Shadow Work is the approach. 

Even though they both target healing, shadow work’s approach to healing involves focusing on the dark aspects of the psyche.

In contrast, Light Work focuses on sending Divine Energy, or “Good Vibes” on a problem, person, or situation. 

Thus, Shadow Work and Light Work are different in their approach, but similar when it comes to their purpose – they both target the ultimate spiritual healing of a human being. 

The types of healings involved in Shadow Work and Light Work are different, which is why further on I will speak about whether they should be used together or separately, and when to use each of them. 

Can Shadow Work and Light Work be used together?

using shadow work and light work together

As Shadow Work and Light Work are both two very powerful healing techniques but have different benefits, my opinion is that each person should try both at least once in their lifetime. 

If Shadow Work and Light Work can be used together, that depends on the person.

For Light Work to be effective, the person needs to have acquired a certain level of consciousness and spiritual awareness. 

Shadow Work, as a psychotherapeutic approach that helps you discover all the hidden aspects of yourself and acknowledge yourself as a complex, spiritual being, and help you achieve exactly that level of consciousness and spiritual awareness that is necessary for your Light Work to be effective. 

Thus, if you are a beginner in both Shadow Work and Light Work, I suggest starting with Shadow Work, and when you feel that you have solved quite a lot of your problems with it, you are ready to try Light Work as well. 

If you’ve been practicing Shadow Work for a while and you feel it has helped a great deal, and see a solid improvement after practicing it, you could start practicing Light Work as well. 

The reason I suggest starting with Shadow Work is that I strongly suggest clearing a little bit of the darkness in your psyche, before adding light into it.

Most Light Work techniques involve energetically cleansing your body, mind, and soul. 

If you view your body as a recipient, you can understand why it wouldn’t work to add light to it until it’s still full of darkness.

It’s like you would try to fill a bottle with water, which is already filled with another liquid. 

Also, some Light Work techniques, such as Reiki, can bring a lot of karma into your present life, for it to be paid and resolved.

This is because when you get a Reiki attunement, your energy field is filled with light.

But as the Universal principles show, where there is light, there is darkness as well. You cannot get one without the other. 

As I am using Reiki as an example now, please understand that this can apply to any other sort of light work. 

Thus, if you’ve done Shadow Work before and healed a bit of your darker side, not only will your karma be lighter, but also you will have a greater understanding of yourself as a person and thus be more empowered and secure when life puts you in tricky situations. 

Like mentioned before, “Shadow Work is the greater form of Light Work”, because even though it’s not a conventional form of Light Work, it is very beneficial to your spiritual ascension and healing. 

Shadow Work targets the darker side of your personality, and it helps you use acceptance and unconditional love to heal it.

Not only does shadow work help you release exactly what’s weighing you down the most, but it also prepares you for being an effective Light Worker, therefore, that is why I believe Shadow Work is the greatest form of Light Work. 

A solid example of how Shadow Work can help you become a better Lightworker is when you want to use Light Work to heal other people.

It is said that each patient finds their healer when they are ready to heal. 

What is also true is that the healer needs to be ready to do the healing as well.

The more personal problems you have resolved for yourself, the more problems from the outside you can resolve. 

This means that the more healed you are as a person, the more people you can help with Light Work. Thus, doing Shadow Work can help you become a more effective healer. 

How to use Shadow Work and Light Work together

shadow work and light work used simultaneously

Using Shadow Work and Light Work together can be beneficial when you’ve already done a bit of Shadow Work and you’re prepared to start with the Light Work to improve the results of your spiritual practice. 

If you want to use Shadow Work and Light Work together, I suggest that you use the following method: 

#1. Step 1 – Choose the problem you want to work on – could be anything such as health problems, trauma, money issues, or relationship difficulties.

#2. Step 2- Find the right Shadow Work technique for it and apply it – depending on the problem, you can use prompts or any other Shadow Work practice. This will help you bring to the surface all the causes of your problem, and resolve it and get rid of it.

#. Step 3- Work on the issue with Light Work – after clearing the negative thought and emotions that were causing your problem using Shadow Work, send some Divine Energy on your problem and watch it resolve. 

Can I use Light Work without Shadow Work or vice versa?

Even though in this article I presented the benefits of using Light Work after using Shadow Work or of using them together, it is not mandatory to do it this way. 

If your intuition draws more towards one of these healing methods and doesn’t draw you towards the other one at all, just choose the one that you resonate with. 

When it comes to spiritual healing there are no strict rules, but rather, most of the time you should do what feels right for you. 

If you’re only attracted to Light Work, maybe you’ve come to Earth from a higher dimension and did heal your shadow in a previous life, even if you healed it using another method. 

If you’re only attracted to Shadow Work, maybe you’re just not ready for Light Work yet.

When you start your journey of spiritual healing, make sure you choose what feels good for you

To summarize, Shadow Work and Light Work are not opposites, and Shadow Work for sure does not represent something negative.

They usually bring the best results if used together or in a certain order, but if you’re only drawn to one of them, you should practice the one that you are drawn to. 

If you’re at the beginning of your spiritual journey and you are trying to understand how to best use Shadow or Light Work, I suggest reading my article on how crystals can help you with Shadow Work.

In the article I explain how to charge crystals with Divine Energy and have them guide you through Shadow Work. 

If you have any questions about using Light Work and Shadow Work in order to attain the most effective healing possible, leave your question in the comments section below, and I will be more than happy to provide further guidance. 

Shadow Work vs Light Work: This Is The DifferenceShadow Work vs Light Work: This Is The Difference

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