In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order.
The darkness of winter is the perfect time to reflect on the beauty of shadow. When there’s more night than day, and darkness saturates our hours, here we can let the shadows shine. Yes, the days are growing longer now that we’ve crossed the threshold of the solstice, but this time of year is still ruled by the night.
And though we might complain about the lack of daylight, perhaps that’s because our culture validates, glorifies and romanticizes the activity and forcefulness encouraged by the power of the sun, and refuses to look at the beauty and importance of what the darkness of night invites.
Quiet. Reflection. Restoration. Shadow is about the inner-world, rather than the outer one.
And in the darkness there is a private kind of intimacy. Truth reveals itself, even if only to you. And even then, only if you dare to look at it. And while in the darkness, our eyes might not be able to see, that same darkness invites us to see with a different part of ourselves. It invites us to look within, and to reflect upon that which is unseen and unseeable. The hidden world of our hearts and our minds.
In the shadows, we unearth what is hidden; what we keep secret and buried. Shadow beauty is beauty in the dark. It is beauty in its most whole form. Beauty in its completeness.
It is an act of bravery to look at, then claim, and ultimately to love the shadows. To confront and accept our own shadows is to embrace the wholeness of ourselves. Holistic self-acceptance requires shadow beauty, and the willingness to look at the parts of ourselves we might be frightened and ashamed of.
That wholeness is beautiful. And the radical practice of true and authentic holistic self-acceptance is transformative. The unconditional love you cultivate for yourself by engaging in this practice is one of the most important things you can experience in this life.
Want to begin your own journey into the depths of Shadow Beauty?
Wabi Sabi — the beauty of imperfection — falls under the broader umbrella of Shadow Beauty. It is a slightly more focused approach to looking at the beauty in the world, the magic that dwells in the incomparable uniqueness that infuses everything. Looking at the world through the lens of Wabi Sabi is a wonderful practice to those interested in exploring Shadow Beauty.
Another wonderful way to begin your journey and exploration of Shadow Beauty is to engage in a simple new moon self-care ritual. The new moon is one of the best times to celebrate Shadow Beauty, as darkness created by the new moon is a perfect representation of the darkness that Shadow Beauty is birthed from.