Thursday, September 1, 2022

Book Review: Shadow Work by Danielle Massi

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Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Going back to work has certainly slowed my reading down quite a bit, but that hasn't stopped me from picking up some upcoming books to review for you. This week I finished Shadow Work: Face Hidden Fears, Heal Trauma, Awaken Your Dream Life by Danielle Massi. The title and description immediately piqued my interest and knew that it would be one many of you would have questions about. Shadow work is growing in popularity, so it's no surprise new books are coming out on the subject. Before I jump into the review, let's take a look at what shadow work actually is. Shadow work is accessing the unconscious mind to reveal hidden truths and traumas that need healing or attention so that you can live your fullest life. Sometimes these traumas are from this life, while other times they come from past lives or our ancestors. Massi does a fantastic job exploring the different facets of shadow work, combing science, spirituality, and personal experience in the process.

First and foremost, Massi is a woman of science. She holds a degree in Psychology and practiced as a counselor and therapist for many years before becoming a shadow work practitioner, eventually opening her own holistic healing practice, The Wellness Collective. I mention this because Massi's book is full of the science of the mind and how this science helps support shadow work. Current therapy methods are limited and by expanding our practices to include shadow work, we can treat the whole person and break patterns and cycles, not just for ourselves but for our descendants as well. As a fellow scientist, I loved these sections of the book, highlighting many sections on my Kindle as I read. Massi combines science with her personal experiences. I have said it before, and I will say it again, I love reading about people's lives and personal experiences. This provides me and others with examples of what practices look like in real life, providing a blueprint to work with. I never give my students a project without an exemplar and I always appreciate it when authors do the same. Massi has definitely survived some traumatic events and has been able to successfully overcome this trauma through shadow work and manifestation. While this technique might not work for everyone, it has certainly worked for her.

Within each chapter, Massi not only provides background information and her personal experience but exercises you can practice to get started on shadow work. These exercises include such things as meditating to meet with your spirit guides and explore what needs to be healed, journaling to rewire your neural pathways, journaling and meditating to manifest your dreams, and a short guide to connecting to your past lives. These exercises were comprehensive and foundational to a successful shadow work practice. However, they are not the end-all-be-all. Shadow work takes continuous work, as mentioned in the book, and often requires a partner or therapist to help guide you through the work. That isn't to say you can't shadow work alone, but having someone help you navigate your journey is helpful.

While I enjoyed this book, I was disappointed in its length and depth. Shadow Work is definitely an introductory guide that will have to be followed up with more in-depth reading and work. There is also some cultural appropriation and whitewashing throughout the book (and her business). Massi discusses karma and chakras throughout, especially in the sections regarding past lives and womb work. These practices belong to Hinduism and are much more complex than the whitewashed, Westernized version popularized in modern spiritual and neo-pagan circles. I would tread these sections carefully and find alternative views and practices. Despite this, Massi does create an inclusive practice open to all. She makes it clear that all facets of shadow work are open to everyone, including womb work. Her inclusivity of non-binary and transgender peoples in wellness is wonderful and something we need to see more of in the future.

If you are interested in learning more about shadow work and the science behind it all, I encourage you to pre-order your copy of  Shadow Work: Face Hidden Fears, Heal Trauma, Awaken Your Dream Life by Danielle Massi now. Shadow Work will be available on September 20, 2022.

I have several more book reviews coming up, including such titles as Hearth & Home Witchcraft, Gemstone & Crystal Magic, and The Path of the Hedge Witch (I am very excited to dive into this one). Until then!

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