Most of the aspects are negative, but some are positive. Positive aspects would be the practice of Shamanism, paganism, healing, magick and religious beliefs, which we keep hidden to avoid ostracism or criticism. In some family circles showing compassion, empathy or any emotions would be considered a weakness.
However, the shadow self is mainly composed of all of your suppressed negative emotions, desires and feelings which we experience. It holds outdated social ideas, gender based, sexual, racial stereotypes and prejudices. It feeds on discouragement, depression, fears and doubts.
The shadow self begins building the day we are born, it will exist until the day we die. It grows each time we dwell on negative feelings. It is our opposite and becomes an opposition. It will gain power when we deny its existence, and will attempt to dominate to control our lives. The shadow self wants you to fail in every aspect of your life, including the practice of shamanism.
The part of the shadow self which contains positive aspects is good, not evil, even if there are traits which you have denied. You cannot approach the shadow self with the idea of destroying it, as it is an important part of yourself, which is of value on your journeys. By confronting the sahow self you will learn to channel its energies into a shamanic ritual. In order to be balanced a shaman must have both positive and negative aspects, which is where the shadow self plays an important role. A good example which requires the negative side would be to keep you from being overly compassionate which will allow you to be deceived by every person who tells you a sob story.
In order to gain the cooperation of the shadow self you must learn how to recognize it, which must be done during jorneys or through a depp meditation. It may take you more than just one journey to find the shadow self as it may avoid you and any confrontations because it is motivated by fear.
In order to confront the shadow self you must undertake special preparations before you go on your journey. Avoid eating meat for at least 24 hours. You may have chicken broth and vegetables. During the last four to six hours you should only have fruit juices, sodas or water. Always consult your doctor before you undertake this fast, especially if you have a health condition which may be aggrivated by this type of fasting.
Take the staff in the hand which you you most, and the Silver Branch in the other, then go to the East. Tap the staff three times on the floor, calling your intention for this journey. Do this at each of the four quarters, then lie or sit with the staff on one side of you and the sword on the other. Put on a drumming tape or shake the silver Branch until you feel yourself slipping into your altered state of consciousness. As always relax your body and dump your problems into the water.
You will find yourself standing at the edge of the sidhe mound. You will feel your sword in one hand and the staff in the other. Go inside the dark tunnel until you reach a door which opens to the Underworld. You Animal Allies and other helpers will come to your aid as you step through the Underworld door.
Tell them why you are making this journey. They will have suggestions as to where you should go and how you should proceed to find your shadow self. They will also accompany you on your journey.
You journey through the underworld will be long and tedious. Your shadow self will do its best to avoid you. As always listen to everything your spirit guides tell you, use your senses, be aware of the scenery, symbols, and creatures you encounter.
If you cannot find your shadow self in the Underworld, then you must journey to the Upperworld. Use the Rainbow bridge to get there or by exiting the sidhe mound and climbing up through the cave or the World Tree.
As before be aware of any symbols, or creatures you encounter. Speak with any deities you encounter and listen to their advice. Your shadow self may also avoid you by fleeing back to the underworld. You should follow it until you Allies and helpers help you find it or advise you to try again another time.
When you finally confront your shadow self you should approach it with respect and confidence. Salute it with your sword, and ask it to join you in a conference. Some shadow selves may attack you, at which point you will need to hold your sword in front of you or protection, others will flee in fear making it necessary for you to track them down again.
You must convince the shadow self to sit down in front of you, to speak with you as if you were speaking with a troubled friend. Make certain that you affirm your right to control your life, yet acknowledge your shadow self's strengths, as well as the power it con contribute to your work as a shaman.
When you and your shadow self are finished with your conversation, ask it to help you with your future journeys. Then bid it farewell returning to the white light that borders the physical world.