Posing For the Dark Mirror: On Selfies and Shadow Work

Let’s talk about selfies real quick here.

So, I spend a lot of time on Instagram (follow me!). I’m a highly visual person, and communicating through pictures really speaks to how I like to interact. The #365feministselfie and #capturewhatcapturesyou hashtags have introduced me to some incredible people and some beautiful images, and reinforce my belief in the importance of finding the sacred in the mundane.

If you look at the little Instagram widget on the sidebar of this here blog, you’ll notice there’s an awful lot of my pretty face there (and also pictures of my food, because I’m That Guy).

Edit: one of my readers informs me that the Instagram widget is not playing nicely with all browser/OS combinations. I’m working on troubleshooting this!

I’m a big fan of selfies (although the word “selfie” makes me cringe a little for reasons I can’t pin down; it feels… dismissive?). I think they’re great. They can be fun and silly, and it lights up my day to see my friends near and far show up on my various social media feeds.

Selfies can also be a powerful act of magic.

They can help us reclaim our pride, our power, our identities.
By taking the camera into our own hands, it puts us back in control.
Selfies allow us an opportunity to confront the parts of ourselves we hide away.

Selfies let us be seen.

I have more to say on the topic, including some thoughts on how selfies helped me start to explore my non-binary gender identity, but this is starting to get rambly enough as it is. As a way to bring this to a close, I offer you the following little bit of spellwork to try; this is easiest if you have access to a forward-facing camera of some sort, like a smartphone or a webcam, but any picture-taking device will do:

I am a big fan of not just mirth and reverence, but mirth as reverence. A while back, my dear friend (and Initiate sister!) Laurel told me about how she would sometimes try to sneak up on herself in the mirror, and surprise herself with a particularly hilarious or grotesque facial expression. This gave me an idea for the following: in succession, take a picture of yourself doing these three things:

  1. Making a goofy face
  2. Laughing at your own silliness
  3. Relaxing after laughing

Don’t think too hard about these, or worry about camera angles or lighting or anything; that’s not the point of this. Take a good look at all three of those pictures, especially that last one. Do you see that spark of you-ness somewhere in there? Look at those photos and say aloud to each one, “I see you. I see you. I see you.”. Then, do with them as you wish. Delete them, keep them for yourself, share them with the world (if you do this third option, I would love to see them!).

Happy selfie-taking!

In Joyful Service,
Kitsune

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