Depth in Darkness: 33 Winter Solstice Shadow Work Journal Questions

Depth in Darkness: 33 Winter Solstice Shadow Work Journal Questions

by Andrea Pacini December 20, 2020

I’ve always been fascinated by the concept of chiaroscuro, or the contrast of shadow and light in a painting, drawing or photo.

Finding that striking balance of contrast makes the entire image POP, and it’s something I aspire to when editing my photos. It’s quite amazing how turning up the shadow tones can add so much drama and depth to an image or piece of art. This is the metaphor I keep coming back to for the Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year.

From a psychological and environmental perspective, the cold, dark weather, changing seasons and transition into the Gregorian new year create the perfect backdrop to integrate our shadow self and use it to make our whole life POP.

               A perfectly nice (albeit plain and basic) photo of the beach 

         The introduction of shadow tones and contrast creates so much more interest, depth and WOW! 

This long, dark night beckons us to get acquainted with the shadows we keep hidden away - getting to know them can add so much DEPTH to our lives. I liken this to a lesson taken from a quintessential Christmas movie, Home Alone. Little Kevin was terrified of his older, ‘spooky’ neighbor. He had never met him but had heard stories and rumors so every action the neighbor took was filtered through Kevin’s limited perspective of fear. Fate would have it that Kevin eventually had to face his fears and meet this neighbor, turns out he wasn’t that scary at all and the two developed a very rich and meaningful friendship. Think of your shadows as this neighbor – they’re only frightening and intimidating because you don’t yet know them!

Create a cozy, nurturing space for yourself – bring in blankets, bolsters, pillows, cushions and candles. Maybe you’d like to cleanse your space by burning a stick of pine, rosemary, palo santo, sage, cedar or mugwort. Light (or turn on) your candles. If working with crystals, arrange those around you and anoint yourself and your candles with ritual oil if desired. And as always, please take only what resonates with you, make these prompts your own however you are led.


  1. What was the overall theme of this year?
  2. What is my biggest fear? What is its source? How can I release it?
  3. What is one belief, habit or pattern I can release that would transform my life?
  4. What can I do to heal myself during this season of rest?
  5. What makes darkness alluring?
  6. Do I feel safe in this world? Do I feel safe in my body?
  7. What do I need to forgive myself for?
  8. What can I not accept about myself?
  9. What areas of my life need to be released from external influence?
  10. What am I running away from/avoiding?
  11. How can I balance my feminine (receptive, intuitive, rest) and masculine (action-oriented, assertive, passionate) energies?
  12. How judged do I feel on a daily basis? What am I being judged for? Are these judgments real or imaginary projections?
  13. How much do I judge others on a daily basis? What do I judge them for? What are the judged traits and behaviors mirroring back to me?
  14. What is something I would never tell anyone else?
  15. Write a few words, sentences or pages to someone who has hurt you. How has that hurt contributed to where I am now?
  16. What are my “worst” (self-sabotaging, unhelpful) traits?
  17. How can these traits help me identify with and support others?
  18. How can I use these darker aspects to become more whole and integrated within myself?
  19. Who was I before I was born?
  20. Who have I been pretending to be?
  21. What masks do I wear for the world, for my partner, kids, parents etc?
  22. What is my most profound failure?
  23. What is my definition of success?
  24. What is the biggest obstacle I’ve overcome?
  25. What is my proudest achievement?
  26. What are my greatest gifts/talents? How am I cultivating them in my life and the lives of others?
  27. How would I like to feel? How can I experience more of that feeling in daily life?
  28. What is my full potential?
  29. Who is my future self?
  30. What can I do to embody more of this future self in daily life?
  31. What does my no feel like?
  32. What does my yes feel like?
  33. Darkness and Light (free write)

Feel free to perform a cord cutting ceremony with one, a few, several or all of these pages. To do: tear out the page(s) you'd like to release and burn in a fireproof container thanking them for the lessons and opportunity for growth. If you don't want to work with fire, you can cut or rip these pages up to your heart's content.

    This is my latest go-to blend - I also like to add cedar and vanilla for a warmer, more sensuous vibe

Suggested Winter Solstice Crystals:

From top L to R:

🌙 Selenite for cleansing & balancing

💔 Nuummite to identify and release ancestral patterns

🩸 Bloodstone for healing & purification

🧹 Black kyanite to sweep out stagnant energy

❄️ Snowflake obsidian to balance shadow and light

🔮 Larvikite to release what’s not longer needed

🖤 Black Tourmaline for protection

Labradorite to enhance intuition

🤍 Clear quartz for clarity

🧼 Jet for deep energetic cleaning

💭 Black Sardonyx to improve perception

🪵Petrified wood to assist transformation and alignment with highest self

As I wrote about in previous posts about the summer solstice and autumn equinox, I love ritual work because it serves as a tangible touchstone that connects me more deeply to myself, to Spirit and to nature. By acknowledging and working with nature’s rhythms, I find a stronger sense of peace, integration and comfort in each phase of the year as well as my life. Clearing this energy and making friends with your shadow in the coming days will bring more clarity to the experiences you'd like to call in for the New Year Sweetness Ritual!

I will be sending out a recorded Future Self New Year Meditation to everyone on my email list to help you track your highest self - make sure you join the list so you don't miss out on this very special offering! My intention is that it will help bring clarity so that you can align with your highest self and timeline and more easily channel that energy in present time.

Many Blessings, xx Andi

Andrea Pacini
Andrea Pacini


Leave a comment

Also in Self-Care Sunday Blog Posts

Summer Solstice Sweetness: A Ritual to Light Up the Second Half of Your Year
Summer Solstice Sweetness: A Ritual to Light Up the Second Half of Your Year

by Andrea Pacini June 21, 2022

Happy Summer Solstice! The longest & brightest day of the year has been observed across all societies and cultures from Egyptian to English to Aztec as a a celebration of light, joy and illumination.

With so much darkness and heaviness in the world lately, now seems like a perfect time to Lighten Up!

Read More

How to Manifest with the New Moon
How to Manifest with the New Moon

by Andrea Pacini May 29, 2022

Working with the moon phases is an accessible way to deepen our connection both to nature and to ourselves. I find that honoring these rhythms of nature can make it easier to identify, recognize and honor our own natural ebbs and flows.

During the new moon cycle, the sun and moon align with each other, merging  yang energy - the heating, masculine, assertive energy of the sun, with yin energy - the cooling, feminine, receptive energy of the moon. The balancing of these two polar opposite energies in the dark sky creates a powerful invitation to both let go and start new - it's the perfect canvas for a fresh start.

Read More

Working with the Earth Element: How to Enhance Stability, Balance and Deep Healing in Your Life
Working with the Earth Element: How to Enhance Stability, Balance and Deep Healing in Your Life

by Andrea Pacini April 24, 2022

Intentionally connecting with the Earth and its qualities allows us to increase feelings of safety and abundance within our own physical body as well as in our surrounding environment. If you're feeling distracted, scattered, fearful, unstable or find it difficult to gain clarity - let Earth guide you to safety.

Read More