Shadow work would best be done outside, but it isn't necessary. You can do this work inside just as well.
The object here is to draw out the left side during wakefulness. Get a comfortable spot with the lights off, or only one soft one, on somewhere that will create shadows, deep shadows that run all the way to blackness in the room.
It's such a simple thing, but through it I have seen time, worlds, creatures I can't even describe.
Outside, I have found plain old shrubbery to work well. Sit comfortably and concentrate at first on the penumbra. Now, as you concentrate, allow your vision to see. Before long, you will begin to see movement within the depth of the shadow, or you may hear sound. If it is visual, watch. If it is sound, listen. Important safety tip here: DON'T FALL IN - the pressure to do so may be great, don't do that. It would be the Big Twinkie. You are looking here to draw out, not go in.
If you do fall in, well, take notes. :)
How do you keep from falling in, if you feel that you are going to?
If you have to - if you really feel like you can't help yourself - and this sounds crazy, but take something and tie yourself to something solid. Literally, but only if you try it and you feel an attraction you don't think you can overcome. Now, I realize this sounds like a doofy exercise in a way, but if you work at it, it will draw out the left side of yourself and you will begin to see with the left half of your brain instead of the right. That's the only part of you that can really look into that. It's such a simple thing, but through it I have seen time, worlds, creatures I can't even describe.
You only have to let go, because once you get used to the change in perception and move your awareness, you can understand the world from a totally different perspective - and, since you're a part of the world, yourself along with it.
Why did the old traditions do this particular technique?
The old traditions used this practice because if you follow it strongly enough with your intent and will, you can move out of this world altogether. Or you could try using an eye fringe. Use a hat with a fringe attached that hangs down to about mid eye level, then as you walk, you allow the fringe to alter your view of the world. You go into trance, or you can dance while wearing it too. They usually hang tiny beads at the end of the fringe to make it livelier too, by the way.
The Shadow lands exist as a separate world, but also one of the most easy to reach outside this one. Use the sunset; it will open a crack, which will take you there. Look for the crack, at just one instant there will be an opening between this world and the next as light gives way to dark, extend yourself through it. It's rather like being sucked through a soda straw
So, the crack I'm looking for is like a thin black line in the sunset?
Yes and no. You will see it but not 'see' it. Takes some practice, but you can do it. Unfortunately you tend to age more there than here, so don't stay too long. :)
It ages you here when you come back?
It ages you there; it tends to drain your energy faster than here.
Then how do I get back?
Same way you got there, but you have to look for the hole from the other side, so it would be - light.
About this time, several odd things will begin to happen: the sound you are listening to will seem to start coming from the shadow itself, and the shadow will seem to grow in your field of vision.
When I'm there, what do I do? Just look around?
Yes, just look around. Observe the creatures there, but don't try to touch them - just observe. You can learn a great deal that way
Are shadows bad?
No, shadows aren't bad. This is moving out of this world bodily and into another.
Shadow Walking I
Start out at twilight; make sure you have about 45 minutes of time left before darkness settles in. Find a place where you can walk without an obstruction of any kind. You can use a mall parking lot as far as that's concerned, with no cars there, of course. Find a view of the sunset. Now focus on that edge just at the line of darkness as it swallows the light and squint your eyes until you can only see the light and the darkness. Loosen your hands and start walking towards it swinging your arms forward and back. Empty your mind as much as possible and try to push the earth away from you as you walk through your feet. Watch both the internal and external landscape, you will find that as your mind empties into the energy of the edge of twilight, your position in awareness changes. Follow that change, you will find the shadows and be walking with them.
Before long, you will begin to see movement within the depth of the shadow, or you may hear sound.
What do you mean by 'push the earth away as you walk through your feet'?
Away, as in down.
Is it important to have really dark shadows?
Really dark shadows would be the best. Let's go for broke. Try the shadows under trees cast by streetlights.
Would this be good to do at the beach?
Yes, beaches are excellent. You only have to let go, because once you get used to the change in perception and move your awareness, you can understand the world from a totally different perspective - and, since you're a part of the world, yourself along with it.
When you sense the shadow has grown to almost completely fill your vision, push yourself from the top of your head off into the shadow, following the sound.
Shadow Walking II
This is called shadow walking. One of the first things I did as a kid. The technique is simple and only requires you to be outdoors for a little, or it could be done inside, but the energy is different. Find a quiet place in the yard, or wherever you won't be bothered for a bit. You can sit in a chair, but I prefer the ground. This should be done as twilight approaches. When you are seated and quieted down start noticing the shadows, under trees, under bushes etc. Listen to the insect noises as well - try to hone your listening in on one sound, continue looking into a shadow area that looks odd or comfortable. Concentrate on the sound of a cricket, whatever you have chosen. Now let your awareness begin to move. Concentrate on yourself; try to get your awareness focused in one spot.
Once you have it focused, start to move it, play with it, all the while listening intently to the one sound you have isolated. Move it (the sound) gradually up your back to the top of your head, let it sit there a bit; get to know the top of your head. Listen to the sound, stare into the shadow. About this time, several odd things will begin to happen: the sound you are listening to will seem to start coming from the shadow itself, and the shadow will seem to grow in your field of vision. When you sense the shadow has grown to almost completely fill your vision, push yourself from the top of your head off into the shadow, following the sound. See where it all ends up. The Shadow exercise sounds simple, it is simple, but it can take you places you can't even dream of.
Now for a word from our sponsor - Fear. The biggest problem you will confront with these practices at first is fear, that's natural, so don't let it discourage you.