The Alchemy of Life: Incorporating Light with the Dark

Baiba Ladiga

Image: Baiba Ladiga

“The brightest flame casts the darkest shadow.”

George R.R. Martin

Lately I have seen a plethora of articles about the Shadow Self and how we must incorporate our Shadow into the whole; probably one of the most important lessons on the Magickal Path. Far too many people deny their Shadow, their Darkness, only to become consumed by it in the end.

Don’t get me wrong I am ecstatic to see so many fellow writers willing to take on this topic and teach the masses that our Shadow is not our enemy, though it most certainly can be if we ignore it for too long. I have a how to (of sorts) blog in the works about the ways to bring forth your Shadow, and methods of integrating it into your everyday life.

This blog however is going to be about a group of us who I believe to be seriously underrepresented and even chastized; thrown to the side, not taken seriously, feared, mocked, and utterly misunderstood.

I am talking about those of us who were born of the dark, we are the dark, we exist in the dark, and we move most freely amidst the density of the Void.

It is important to understand that in order for balance to be maintained on a grand scale or collectively we need practitioners who do Dark Magick, just as we need those who do White Magick. Now, I know, I know, Magick itself is not Dark and it is not White; it is everything and nothing, but without those of us who solely do “Dark Magick” the balance would be tipped; just as it would be tipped if there were not practitioners who solely do “White Magick”.

I think, ideally, the end goal should be a balance of the two, or what I call a Gray mentality, but that’s not always attainable and that’s okay.

Do you hear me, Dark Ones?

That is okay.

I personally have always been attracted to dark things, even as a child, and that of course made me different. I didn’t want to be like everyone else anyways but when you aren’t given the choice to be rebellious and people just expect it or push you to become that way, it gives a certain type of power but also a certain type of pain.

I have felt both deeply and I believe my love affair with the dark has made me who I am today. My power comes from that pain, as most power does. People think that our pain or our wounds make us weak, that we cannot be “good enough” unless we heal these traumas.

Just as some wounds are not meant to be healed which is why there is such a thing as the wounded healer; some people are not meant to be balanced.

Anger, rage, a hot temper, emotional outbursts are all part of my being; they lie so close to the surface that it is sometimes next to impossible to move passed them without first going directly through them. I denied these parts of myself for so long because Women are taught not to have a voice as loud as mine, an opinion as strong, or a will that moves the stars.

I suppressed these aspects and was acting out in other ways; I was getting my fix of the darkness by living dangerously, I mean truly, truly dangerously. There are more times than I can count at this point in my life where I should have been killed because of the people I was hanging out with and the decisions I made, but here I am, and here I remain.

As much as I have a quick reaction time, and the ability to spit venom on a whim, I have love in me that knows no bounds, and a thirst for justice that cannot be quenched.

I can’t hold on to the happy/lighter emotions for very long before I slip back into the shadows, begin to analyze the world and vibrations around me, as if I know of nothing else to do. I am a worst case scenario thinker, too, but wouldn’t consider myself a pessimist. I see the good in people, it just so happens I see the really bad, too.

So, how do those of us who love this place of solitude and seclusion incorporate the light into our lives?

I am the first to admit that I fear the light and all that comes with it. I fear being happy for too long because I don’t want it taken away as it always has been, I fear being in love but I am the most hopeless romantic you will ever meet, I fear being vulnerable because I know I have a wrath that is insatiable and uncontrollable if I am hurt.

And, so, I sit in the dark alone.

Those of you like myself have to make the conscious choice every single day to raise our vibrations, we are not like other people; we are not like other practitioners.

We are the ones who love death more than life, we are the ones who choose the Daemons over the Angels, we are the ones who prefer the Moonlight to the Sun’s rays. We are the bumps in the night.

These are just some tips that I have picked up along the way, and I want to share them with you, especially because I see a few struggling to get out of the darkness just as I have been doing.

First, you have to find your truth and live in it. This is probably the hardest thing to do because usually finding your truth means destroying another’s illusion. We lose our old life when we shed our old mentality and this can be a hard transition.

When we find our truth we become unshackled from all the chains that society has put on us; we are finally free. There is a pure happiness, a pure joy that comes from knowing we are being true to no one, and nothing but our very own Soul. Through finding my truth I have learned that happiness does not mean always having a smile on my face, the path I walk simply does allow for smiles all the time, but happiness means that I am creating my own destiny by fully being present, and making my own choices.

That should make anyone happy.

Second thing we need to do is go out in nature. This is probably a no brainer to some people, but to others they may not even think about it. Just like humans there are parts of nature that are not balanced, there are parts of nature that are dark, just as there are parts that are light and of course several shades of gray. Think of an apex predator out for blood, then think of a delicate flower in bloom and you will understand what I mean.

The polarity of nature is the polarity of man.

Nature is a gift to us, by whom does not really matter, but we are meant to enjoy this gift. Walking outside and getting some sunlight for even 15 minutes can greatly raise your vibrations, while cleansing your Aura and Chakras. Walking barefoot will ground you to the Earth’s energy while forming a connection and possibly relaying messages with the Elementals and other Spirits where you walk. Walking in water, or even next to water will calm the mind, and soothe the nerves; also walking near water will cleanse any negative emotions from strong Empaths like myself.

Third thing to do is laugh. Some of you may think this is silly advice but it is so important to fucking laugh! Don’t take yourself so seriously all the time, and for me this is my biggest struggle. I don’t only take myself too seriously, I take others and life too seriously as well. It doesn’t matter what it is that makes you laugh, I mean don’t be a douchebag and laugh at another’s expense, just laugh.

I find that when I laugh I am brought back to a child-like place in my mind and heart. I find this intriguing because my childhood had plenty of struggles and there were many, many times where joy was not present but when I hear my own belly laugh I can’t help but think of the little girl I once was; the little girl that never got to fully live.

In those moments where tears are streaming down my face from a funny cat video or a baby laughing, I live for that little girl lost inside of me.

The fourth and final piece of advice I can give to incorporate light into our darkness is to love. I’m not just talking about loving other people, I mean love yourself, too. Loving someone and accepting love are probably two of the hardest things for anyone to do because love makes us vulnerable, love means forgiveness, love means sacrifice– love means a lot. I personally think we have forgotten what true love is really like, some people will live their whole lives without ever experiencing it, which is why self-love is paramount.

Give yourself the love you never had, give yourself the love you deserve, give yourself the love you so generously give to your passions; take some of it, and give it back to yourself. And don’t be scared to show your love, either. I believe regret can be worse than rejection, so say it, even if you know they won’t say it back. Sometimes those three words can make all the difference.

I have accepted myself as being a creature of the dark and I wouldn’t have it any other way but the Shadow can only be cast when the light is shone upon it.

Lesson from the Light



“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”

Brené Brown

I had taken yesterday off mostly because the group kept me really busy, and rather entertained, but also because I needed to do some things for myself; those things included stopping at my local Witch shop to get some supplies and crystals; I don’t often go up to the shop (it is about 30 minutes from me) but yesterday I had a calling to go, and so by myself I went.

That was a huge deal for me, to go by myself, and then to add to the hugeness of it all, I stopped at the craft store on my way home to get some jewelry supplies. It was a day for me, a day doing things that make me and my Soul happy, who cares if wire, glass viles, herbs and rocks are what make me content.

I even broke two toes on my way out the door yesterday, I taped them together, put closed toed ballet flats on, and made myself go. Obviously not the wisest decision I ever made, but man was I so proud of myself for this little accomplishment. I often get so caught up focusing on the big accomplishments and goals that I completely miss the everyday small milestones I hit.

Before I had left there were a few comments going back and forth in the group about the Shadow self (which influenced my Jung post on NR last night) and how one needs to face it, accept it, and incorporate it into the whole, or we lose out on a big part of this experience.

It was also mentioned how the shadow self can become violent, and can endanger your wellbeing, and sometimes others if not addressed. If you try to repress it, and it is ready to rise there will be a major internal conflict that is sure to boil over at some point.

In the car ride, which besides the shower is where I do some of my best thinking, I started pondering my own journey with my shadow self, and it hit me, it hit me hard…I have always had my shadow, but never my light.

I push the light away like the plague. It is almost like kryptonite to me, it makes me feel weak to be happy and carefree. I wonder what Jung would say? I wonder what Freud would say? What trigger, or moment in life caused such a fucked up mentality?

I have always been like this, looking back at childhood pictures (and there aren’t many) I notice I was always scowling; now at such a young age, with my flawless alabaster skin have a deep set crease line directly in the center of my eyebrows. I am proud of that “scowl line”—I prefer to call it my thinking line.

I am always lost in thought, always have been.

No matter what the cause though, no matter the trigger and if it is from this life or previous ones, a collection of all even, this is my current reality. I am not some miserable person though, I laugh, and crack jokes; people often say to me, “I didn’t expect you to be so funny.” I don’t know how to take that, so I smile and say thank you.

I admit I am moody, I change day to day, hour to hour, a ticking bomb most times but to know that about me is to love me because that IS me. I feel that being me, and my authentic Self, shouldn’t affect my happiness, and at times the lack of light does. Obviously.

I mean this quite literally, too, I push the light of love, joy, happiness, peace, spontaneity, lighthearted fun– I don’t ever let myself have fun! I take the world so seriously, too seriously, and I always, always have.

I blame some of it on the fact that I am awake and aware, so it is hard to see “glitter and rainbows” but the fact is, no matter how dark life gets (and mine has been very, very dark at times) there is always beauty, joy, fulfillment etc. in SOME aspect, it may not be perfect, it may not be a smooth ride, but if you look close enough the light is always there, waiting to be acknowledged. Once you tap into the light it multiplies, it grows, it’s an all-consuming presence, which is probably why it scares me so much.

I sometimes equate my darkness, my shadow to my badassery, a hang up I have, I guess.

I fear the light, to be honest, and when I find myself getting caught up or lost in those “light moments in life” I switch it off, put my defenses up, and reject the feeling. If the situation involves someone else, I will pick a fight so that they can’t love me, so that they can’t give me that feeling of (insert emotion here).

Major fucking self-realization.

I can’t change who I am, but I can become more aware and be mindful of those moments when they come because they are ever fleeting. I have to let the light in, or I am an unbalanced, incomplete being.

My mind, heart and soul heavy with shadow remind me daily that this mortal coil dies every second, so it is of the utmost importance to live every moment.

A lesson I need to put into practice.