5 Ways to Dance with the Dark and Transform Your Life


Even here in sunny Southern California, we feel the autumn changes in the air, and that means Shadow Season for all of us who practice metaphysics and follow the Wheel of the Year. The “dark side” is always calling us, but Samhain and Scorpio season open that portal wide. To be very clear, this is not a bad or evil thing. The darkness we’re talking about here is everything we metaphorically hide under our beds and in our closets. These parts of us want to be seen and loved properly. They hold some of our greatest gifts and strengths, and denying them drains our power and life force. It’s worth opening those doors because the integration of light and dark is the key to your overall healing and wholeness. This time of year is an invitation to go dark – to embrace the darkness that surrounds us, and perhaps most challenging, the darkness that exists within us. As I prepare for the deepest shadow work, for myself and my students, I’m called to share 5 ways to dance with the dark and transform your life – so here they are!

1) Accept that you ARE doing what you want

It’s easy to talk and think about where you want to be or the things you did in the past that you’re proud of, but what about where you are right now? When we say we wish we were working somewhere else, want to eat healthier, or to be with a new partner, it’s not fully true. A part of us may desire those different things, but what we ARE choosing is proof of what we really want. Ease and release of tension come about the moment we recognize and accept what we are doing. Whatever it is, we’re getting something from it, even if it’s simply the “safety” in doing what we’ve always done. 

People in unhealthy situations and patterns are not just making “bad” choices. They’re recreating a story they know they can survive, even if it appears damaging or traumatic to others. Doing something new and different is always a risk, no matter what it is – even super positive things. When you get real about what you’re choosing and doing now, you’re in a strong position to make healthy, conscious changes. When you live in the projected future, you limit your power in the present.

2) Acknowledge what you don’t like about yourself

We all have things about ourselves that we don’t like, perhaps even hate – our appearance, personality quirks, attractions, and addictions. While some of them feel all-too-exposed in our daily lives, we’re able to hide the rest from others, and often, even ourselves. In these dark, shameful corners of our psyche, they can morph into negative thought patterns, self-destructive behaviors, and unstable emotional swings. A crucial step in learning how to even begin dealing with all of this is to simply identify what you think these so-called “problems” are. Try to be as objective as you can about this – imagine you are a field researcher gathering data. You’re just noticing and naming them, nothing more. Once you do, you can then decide how you want to work with them, heal them, or perhaps just accept them as is. 

Cultivating a deeper sense of awareness about yourself is a total game-changer! After all, how can you make a significant shift when you don’t have all the information needed? This is not about making judgments or punishing yourself for what you think is wrong with you, it’s about being unafraid to really look at yourself and notice what’s there. If you desperately want to be seen, SEE YOURSELF FIRST. 

3) Be OK with having a “bad day”

As human beings living and moving through a sometimes chaotic world, we inevitably have experiences that are upsetting and disruptive. It might be fairly small, like a snarky comment from a colleague, or more significant, like our car breaking down in the middle of a busy highway during rush hour. Either way, we have the chance to “meet” these situations from different mental and emotional perspectives. You can’t always control what happens to you, but you absolutely can decide how to respond. No one loves a busted car and costly repairs, but it doesn’t have to derail you for the week. Cruelty or dismissal from someone you know hurts, but it doesn’t necessarily say anything meaningful about your character. 

You may find, as you actively engage in shadow work, that it seems to encourage conflicts, triggers, and challenging situations. This isn’t bad.  It simply means that you’re shifting your experience of life and it’s disrupting your normal patterns and relationship dynamics. It may feel a bit scary, but it gives you the chance to view everything from a different angle and choose how you want to respond, creating new paths of opportunity and growth for yourself. What you might once have called a “bad” day is now just a day, and you can do with it what you want.

4) Channel Scorpio energy

Everyone has Scorpio somewhere in their natal chart – yes, it’s 100% true! Wherever it shows up in yours reveals where you need to go deep, get the truth, and transform. Nothing about Scorpio is simple. We joke about Leo being a drama queen, but compared to Scorpio, Leo’s just putting on a show. Scorpio isn’t playing around and it plays for keeps. Guess which sign makes one of the best detectives, psychologists, or shamans? Scorpio, of course. It can’t rest until it gets to the bottom of things AND understands the motive, or “why.” Scorpio’s an agent for change and even spending time with a Scorpio will push your evolution forward. When you’re ready to engage your shadow – a process of a lifetime(s) – you need to bring out this part of you; the part that won’t let anything stand in the way of your growth. 

Even when it’s scary, messy, or intense, the Scorpio energy inside you knows how to stay in the fire until obstacles are burned away. This is your Phoenix Rising. You may have to crawl around on your belly like a scorpion first, learning how quick you can be to sting others in self-protection, but that’s just one stage in the metamorphosis. You can’t change something you aren’t intimate with, so step one is getting to know yourself, as much as you can and without censorship. Embrace your perceived weaknesses and recognize that doing so is part of what makes you so powerful.       

5) Embody your dark goddess

As you develop a deeper awareness of your shadowy nooks and crannies, you may want to play with the idea of your dark goddess identity. Your dark goddess is like an avatar or persona that you can take on to help you connect with parts of yourself that are uncomfortable or scary, but REAL. The truth is that most of us don’t always feel nice, loving, peaceful, or happy. Sometimes we have storms brewing inside – colossal rage, overwhelming despair, wicked bitchiness, or terrifying vengefulness. While you don’t want to externally engage in these energy streams, being able to tap into them internally is a powerful way to see and accept the aspects of yourself that are hard to love. Shadow work is less about becoming an idealized version of yourself than about becoming WHOLE. 

So think about it – what’s your dark goddess identity? Avenging angel, weeping Ophelia, tyrannical queen, aggressive warrior, private escort? Feeling into the vibrations of some of the more complex deities can be a great way in as well, like Hecate, Kali, Durga, Morrigan, Lilith, and Black Tara. They all embody a more complicated, prickly and powerful version of femininity that can act as a mirror for you. It’s not about “becoming” this alter-ego, but understanding that it’s part of your messy, magnificent inner landscape. Learning to recognize and make peace with your shadows is part of integration, as well as choosing how to transmute them into something that serves the greater good.

Your Monthly Cosmic Forecast ✨🌚✨

October transitions us from Libra to Scorpio. As “romancer of the deep and dark,” Scorpio seduces us to look beneath the surface and get to the truth. What we find isn’t always pretty, but vulnerability has a beauty all its own. So many of us say we want to be seen, but then we don’t show up as our real selves. We want to look beautiful, capable, smart, or whatever we think is attractive, and we hide the rest. Scorpio doesn’t want the pretty picture – it wants to dig into the what and why underneath appearances. This energy is our ally in shadow work, so if you’re ready to get a little more “naked,” the universe has your back.     

Want to learn more about astrology and how to incorporate it into your spiritual practice? Click here to get started.

October 2 – Pluto Direct: It’s not fun dinner table conversation, but Pluto rules elimination, literally and metaphorically. When it turns direct – like now – there can be a release. If you’ve been holding onto something that’s backing you up, let that sh*t go!

October 3 – Mercury Enters Scorpio: We all have dark thoughts, but Mercury in Scorpio takes it to a new level. It’s no coincidence we do our most intense shadow work this time of year. Mercury, or Hermes, is the only god in Greek mythology capable of going between Earth and the Underworld. When transiting Scorpio, Mercury opens our minds to hidden, forbidden, and soul-revealing knowledge. Be available and willing and you’ll be amazed at what shows up.

October 3 – Mars Enters Libra: How often do we talk about peace and love? It’s easy over social media, where you don’t have to sit next to someone you can’t stand or get caught in your own fit of frustration. Mars is an action planet and in Libra, that peace and love don’t mean much until you’re doing it in those spontaneous, vulnerable moments. 

October 8 – Venus Enters Scorpio: Is there anything sexier than a Scorpio? Lots of signs are attractive, gorgeous, and stylish, but when it comes to sexy, Scorpio rules. So, when Venus transits the sign of seduction, let your temptress out of the closet and work that magic!

October 13 – Full Moon in Aries: The Hunter’s Full Moon will be in Aries, the sign of the Warrior. Full Moons illuminate, helping us see what’s right in front of us. In Aries, we can become more aware of ourselves and our actions. What have you been fighting for? Here’s a hint: It’s where the majority of your energy goes. Name it and claim it… even if you plan to change it.

October 23 – Sun enters Scorpio: Happy Birthday, Scorpio! Your time of day is the hour before sunset when the light is intensely blinding. If you’re driving, it’s when your visor and sunglasses aren’t enough to block the glare. If there’s something you need to face or a truth that’s been hiding, use this laser energy to get to the bottom of it.

October 27 – New Moon in Scorpio: Scorpio’s a badass! If you’ve been afraid to confront things head-on or dancing around what you know needs to be done, this new moon’s for you. Don’t wait for someone else to do it. And don’t give your power away or let others hold theirs over you. 

October 31 – Mercury Retrograde in Scorpio: Mercury Retrograde: Trick or treat? For all of you hoping to connect with the spirit realms on Samhain, this is way better than a bag of candy. We normally complain about Mercury Retrograde interfering with forward motion, but that’s exactly what we want when it comes to crossing the Veil. If you want to do anything backward or on an alternate frequency, get ready to fly!

My Favorites for October

Chakra: Earth Star. The Earth Star Chakra is about twelve inches below your feet and connects you with Mother Earth, the ancestors, earth spirits, and the collective consciousness of humanity. When this energy center is aligned, you feel supported, anchored, and united with the planet. You also find it easier to receive the wisdom of your lineage and communicate with the spirits in crystals and plants, the faerie realm, and guides and power animals in the Lower World.   

Tarot: Death XIII. This card is about TRANSFORMATION! It’s not an omen or prediction of death as the permanent end of anything, it’s about the transition from one form or phase to another. Death XIII in the Tarot corresponds with Scorpio, the sign of regeneration and rebirth. By the time this card shows up in a reading, change is underway or fast approaching. To change and evolve, you have to give up something, which can feel like a death. Usually, the thing you give up is already dead, but you’ve been continuing to drag it around. Death has come to claim its property and it’s best to let it go – you can’t get to where you’re going with it, anyway.   

Spirit Animal: Snake. Snakes represent transformation. Before shedding their skin, they temporarily can’t see (their eyes cloud over) giving them a trance-like appearance. This represents the ability to move between the living and dead. Once the skin starts shedding, their eyes clear. This teaches us that clarity and new perspectives come through releasing the old and willingly submitting to the temporary period of not knowing or seeing what will come next. Snakes have no eyelids, so they can’t blink. They teach us to look more closely and unflinchingly into the heart and soul. Snakes have a keen sense of smell – they smell with their tongues. Smelling is linked with higher discrimination and sensitivity. Those with snake as a spirit animal usually can sniff things out (a Scorpio trait, as well). Aromatherapy is a powerful healing method associated with snake medicine. Working with snake medicine can also help awaken kundalini energy and the arising of consciousness.  

Gems: Snowflake obsidian, golden sheen obsidian, snakeskin jasper, serpentine, smoky quartz, amber, red aragonite, black obsidian

Oils: Cypress, vetiver, frankincense, cedar, patchouli, dragon’s blood, benzoin, opoponax

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Are you a perfume lover like I am? Do you know the healing magic of the oils that are used to make all of our perfumes? Join my Perfumery community on Facebook where you can learn about the properties of certain essences, how to work with certain blends to manifest your intentions, and engage in lively, wild conversations with like-minded people.

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