Syntropy and Shadow

Calling our shadows back to ourselves must be an act of love

Rev. Ganga Devi Braun
5 min readOct 3, 2023

This is what I believe–

When we are born, we are souls without obstruction — complete, whole, and brimming with wisdom that is uniquely ours. But as we navigate through childhood, then adolescence, then adulthood, we lose touch with parts of our true selves. Today I’m exploring some of the ways I see the beauty and potential of the complex dance between our shadows and our growth, and how sacred time can support us in calling those parts back to ourselves.

The Making of Shadows

As we grow from infants into children, a mental filter is constantly at work: What parts of me are safe, welcome, and affirmed? What parts are not? Based on the feedback and responses we receive from our caretakers, parts of us get sidelined, shunned, or turned away. These parts become our shadows.

This creation of shadows is a natural process — one that I see as a function of what in physics is called entropy. Time passes and things fall apart. Patterns change, passions are left fallow, creative urges are left on the shelf, powers and gifts we hold are unexpressed and even forgotten.

The Play of Entropy and Syntropy

I don’t see this as an entirely bad thing. I think that in the absence of our innate gifts, we develop other qualities. We develop skills and discernments and passions, and all of these things contribute to our growth. All of these become who we are.

I also believe that a part of the work of adulthood is calling our shadows back to ourselves. This is a process of syntropy. Syntropy is the inverse correlate of entropy, they are each other’s dancing partners.

If entropy is cosmic heat-death, then syntropy is gravity. And if love is a metaphysical gravity, well then, the act of calling our shadows back to ourselves must be an act of love.

Rediscovering the Golden Shadow

For much of 2020, I explored the concept of the Golden Shadow — the brighter, more vibrant aspects of ourselves that we’ve overlooked. Unlike the dark shadows, which may consist of traits we consider negative, the Golden Shadow is filled with untapped potentials and unexpressed talents. In a previous project, I developed a comprehensive 60-page workbook that explored the idea of the Golden Shadow with ritual guidance and a lot of deep inner work. A byproduct of that project was the development of my own framework for how to operate with Spiritual Integrity. In retrospect, this was my first big project after being ordained after two years in Interspiritual Seminary, and that work laid some groundwork of fertile soil for me to return to.

This year, my guiding phrase is “simplicity.” It took me three years to distill my thoughts, but a simplified approach to working with the Golden Shadow finally emerged, quite effortlessly, on October 1st. Something about the magic of this season has brought a clarity and aliveness to this Golden Shadow work, and I’m excited to see what emerges in the month to come.

Honoring our Golden Shadows this Halloween

Halloween, or Samhain, is a mystical time when the veil between our world and others is thin. It’s a sacred time to touch these distant parts of ourselves, to connect with our ancestors, and to craft new patterns on our own terms. For me, Halloween offers a chance to fully embody archetypes that resonate with my Golden Shadow.

An example, a memory:

Nine years ago, as Halloween approached, I was living in a new town while I was painfully extricating myself from a codependent and profoundly unhealthy partnership that I’d left behind. In that partnership, I felt my own care and love and kindness used as a weapon to harm me again and again. Parts of hardened, and other parts of me were banished out of self-protection.

That was the year I learned about my rising sign, Cancer. In my process of healing and releasing the traumatic relationship I’d left, connecting with the Cancer archetype of mother, moon, water, expression, care, on my own terms was profoundly healing. Taking the care I’d poured into someone who betrayed me deeply and turning it toward myself, claiming it as something sacred for me was powerful.

So, for Halloween that year, I dressed as a sort of lunar goddess. I asked a friend to paint the symbol for Cancer in between my shoulder blades. I wore a large lunar lapis necklace that had belonged to my grandmother. I painted my face with silver and gold and I created a gown for myself out of scarves and a skirt I bought for $10 at Buffalo Exchange. I used bobby pins to weave a string of costume pearls in my hair.

I felt magnificent.

That night was full of powerful magic. I went with a new friend to a private party where I knew next to no one, and discovered parts of myself through this archetypal expression I hadn’t known before.

I was gifted a selenite egg.
I said things to women I met in the bathroom that they said changed their lives.
I became a part of myself that I hadn’t touched consciously my whole life.

The next day, I spoke to someone who was surprised to meet me in daylight because he thought he’d hallucinated me. The reason? My kindness.

That simple reflection, which still makes me laugh, was helpful for me integrating that archetype and knowing deeply that yes, that is me. I can trust my love, my care, my devotion, my kindness. It is safe to be who I am in this way.

The Dance of Cosmic Regeneration

That experience changed my life. It’s one of many Halloweens that have been powerful portals of transformation and return.

The season gives us permission to shed our old identities like autumn leaves and allow them to nurture the soil for the seeds of ourselves which have scattered and lay dormant to sprout new life.

This is the cycle of entropy and syntropy in action:

  • Leaves fall, entropy
  • They nurture new life, syntropy
  • We reject ourselves to protect ourselves, entropy
  • We creatively play, discovering freshly who we are, syntropy
  • Dreams wander in the cosmos, entropy
  • We call them back, refreshed and more dynamic, syntropy

This is the dance of cosmic regeneration applied to our own lives, which are not separate from the cosmos (in case you need the reminder, as I often do).

Your Own Journey

If the idea of consciously and lovingly reclaiming your Golden Shadows resonates with you, I welcome you to join The Gold in Our Shadows. It’s affordably priced, and the lessons are brief yet impactful, offering dynamic rituals and creative applications that can adapt to your life’s circumstances. There won’t be live calls, however a shared space for reflection and discussion will be available. I’m excited to see the beauty that will emerge from this shared journey.

Click here to learn more or join the process.



Rev. Ganga Devi Braun

Regenerative counselor, in continual process of devotion to the integrity of all living systems. Constant student of love, death, and chaos.