The Universe deals in duality. Light versus dark, good versus evil, on versus off. And for every saintly and loving past life we’ve inhabited, we’ve equally walked the opposite path. How else would we know true kindness and compassion if we have not withheld it, scorned those less fortunate, or been a ruthless agent of misery upon the undeserving? How would we cherish the light if we haven’t experienced the dark?

Indeed it’s a hard concept to wrap the mind around, but to deny our shadow and our shadow lives is to deny the totality of our soul’s journey through duality. Embracing the shadow is to find a powerful path to healing and transformation. Just ask any Scorpio.

Speaking of Scorpio, now that Saturn is in a two year residency, we’re literally working on our shadows. Think about all the darker aspects of yourself. Think about the things you deny and cast off. Think about the mirror self that whispers all the horrible things that you’d never permit yourself to consciously think. This is your shadow and it is ever present.

In addition we may have soul fragments lurking in our shadow body, which is when an aspect of the multidimensional soul gets stuck and hasn’t crossed over. The physical body may be dead, but the emotional and energetic imprint hasn’t returned to Source. Yes, it’s like you’re a ghost in one lifetime, but very much alive in this one. As you can imagine, the soul in that lifetime must have experienced a great trauma to have fragmented. It deserves your compassion and healing so that it may finally return to the oversoul.

I recently had an experience where a soul fragment and shadow life presented itself for healing. And through this process I realized just how powerful it is to heal and integrate shadow material. Take this as an example.

Something has been gnawing at me in my personal life. Those who are close to me know that there are some major loose ends I need to tie up with a former romantic relationship. Even though my ex and I have been separated for almost a year and a half, I’ve stalled, put off, and avoided a small list of what needed to be resolved ages ago. Yes, it took me forever to separate the cell phone accounts and change the names on the utility bills, but there were a couple of final final things that needed to be wrapped up. So why was I stalling?

Well, when I would think about the last step I needed to take to formally end the relationship, I would get nauseous and a wave of terror would wash over me. Yes, terror. I know myself pretty well and I know the intensity of feelings was out of place for something that should have been easy. There was something behind that ball of emotions and if I dug at it, I would uncover something rather remarkable about myself.

I used a recent psychotherapy session to start digging. We started out by using my natal chart as an entry point and even though my therapist is not familiar with astrology, he gamely listened as I talked about Mercury — my 7th House ruler — conjunct Neptune in the 12th. He highlighted some of the words I used to describe that placement in its lower form — sacrifice, loss, martyrdom — and how I need to move towards the higher form — compassion, unconditional love. I added that I had Venus in Scorpio retrograde and that my soul was working on aspects of the shadow feminine in this lifetime.

As we got deeper into my natal astrology, my intuitive faculties starting to switch on. I could feel the energies starting to pass through me, running from my crown chakra and into my heart like a current of electricity. It was as if our conversation caused the veil to thin and as it did so, a shadow past life suddenly presented itself. I did my best to explain to my therapist what I was strongly seeing and hearing on an etheric level.

In this life I was a woman and not a very nice woman at that. The only way she knew how to love was to lie, manipulate, and deceive. The terror I felt about ending a relationship in my own life was the terror she felt about being left by her husband. She would rather salt the earth and bind him to her through malice then release him. As I relayed this information, I felt every piece of it with a deep sense of certainty.

At first I connected with her rage and spite; It was palpable. But then I sensed other emotions in a layer behind the anger. There was that familiar sense of terror and the nausea. And behind that layer of emotion was a deep deep ache and grief — a soul level trauma that I immediately understood as the root of her wickedness. Something had happened in that life with her parents, something so dark and Dickensian, that it twisted any hope of loving someone. I’m not sure of the details nor do I really want to know, but it feels like there was a cruel act of abandonment that seeded her terror of being left by her husband.

When I connected to the root trauma, I immediately felt empathy and a deep sense of love for this lifetime. I then imagined bringing this woman close into my arms and soothing her as I would a child. I silently told her that everything was alright and she was safe.

At that moment I felt a rush through my body as the soul fragment and shadow lifetime prepared to transition. I heard her say that she was afraid of crossing over because she had been so wicked and didn’t want to face judgement. I laughed out loud when I heard this because there is no judgement in the light, only love. When I felt her presence shift shortly thereafter, it was my signal that she had crossed.

I share this not only for myself, but to show how there are so many layers to existence. Our goal in each lifetime, in addition to learning and evolving, is to clear up old energy and balance karma. The only thing that releases this energy is to bring it into our consciousness and our heart for forgiveness. I’ve noticed that since I experienced this shadow lifetime I have greater compassion for those who are perhaps not, shall we say, all love and light.

If you’re ready to heed the call of Saturn in Scorpio and dig deep, so much healing can happen right now.