It’s no secret: Working with psychedelic medicine often invites us to meet parts of ourselves that we rejected and buried into our shadow for the sake of achieving or maintaining connection. These parts show up in our life whether we want them to or not. Many times they show up as triggering beahaviour in others. 

The word “invite” may feel too gentle for those of us who have had uncomfortable, disturbing, painful, or distressing ceremonies. Indeed, facing our shadow aspects can be a challenging process – but not all shadow work is dark. Psychedelic medicine can also lead us to meet rejected parts of ourselves that are truly beautiful. This is a journey into our golden shadow.

Carl Jung describes our golden shadow as our suppressed creative potential and greatness. In our golden shadow are undiscovered strengths, and there is powerful healing to be found in reclaiming these parts and integrating our unique gifts. If you are someone who struggles to find a sense of self-worth, I encourage you to explore golden shadow work. A beautiful discovery awaits you. 

Just as your dark shadow parts can be found through what triggers you in others, so can your golden shadow be found through what you deeply admire or perhaps envy in others. Shadow work is rich and rewarding. What I’ve observed in myself and many others is an eagerness to dig out all the dark and scary parts, being quick to find things we feel we need to “fix” in ourselves. It’s less common to hear about golden shadow work and in my opinion it should be the first step. 

Many of us are carrying a burden of internalized shame, shame that is not helpful and only serves to weigh us down and create distress in our lives and in our relationships. Shadow work carries the risk of triggering and adding to this shame if it is not held in a safe and loving container. Reclaiming the golden shadow, finding secure footing in one’s self-worth, and resolving shame can provide a foundation from which we can dive deep into the dark and scary.