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By Cliff Barry

Shadow Work Founder Coach Facilitator Trainer Mentor Cliff Barry Boulder Colorado For many years the Shadow Work® Model has basically divided all things into four buckets. We have sorted all the psychological and spiritual things we can find into the four archetypes, called Sovereign, Magician, Lover and Warrior. Along with all the problems we can find, we have sorted all the solutions we can find into the same four buckets, to make it easier for people to find a solution that fits their problem. If the problem and the solution are in the same bucket, they probably belong together.

But lately we have split each of the four buckets into three smaller buckets so that we can match solutions to problems in a more accurate way. That means there are now 12 buckets, because there are three in each archetype.

I'm writing now to give you an idea of where this has led us so far, and where it appears to be leading us in the future.


First of all, I want to tell you that this new level of detail (and complexity) in the Shadow Work® Model seems to keep unfolding itself into different and dazzling ways to see things in a new light. So while I would like to claim credit for "creating" this new model, it now seems rather like the Model has taken on a life of its own, and I am now watching it grow before my eyes.

And I'm not the only one developing the Model any more. I've been working with my colleagues Joe and Julie Mandarino, who have been seeing new aspects. I've lately been having the experience of playing "catch up" with someone else's insight. Go figure.

So I'd like to invite you to take this little tour of where things are going, and, if you are interested in learning more, you can sign up at the end of this article to be notified of opportunities.


I have come to the following new realization about the Shadow Work® Model through all of this.

Because we work with people at a deep emotional level, and because we have adopted the policy that we should all keep doing our own work at that same depth, the Shadow Work® Model is able to see things that other kinds of work cannot see. And those things seem to concentrate themselves particularly in the Lover archetype.

I think we can see more deeply and clearly into the waters of human emotion than most other models can because we work at those depths often, and we send ourselves to those depths regularly as well.

What we find at those depths are the most basic human things: love, emotion, relationship and the desire to heal what is wounded.


This new level of detail and complexity in the Shadow Work® Model has had a surprising effect: the Model has become more easily translatable into different areas of life.

For example, it seems that the Shadow Work® Model works quite well across the divides between different cultures. Although the names for the archetypes may need to change in a different culture, the basic model seems to work as well for Russian culture as it does for American culture. It seems to work as well for African-American culture as it works for First Nation Aboriginal culture. I call that "the Lover effect." Because the Model was born in the depths of the Lover, and because the Lover is all about connection, the Model can quite easily connect with many different cultures.

But another translation has appeared as well. It seems that the Model works not only on individual problems that people carry but as a whole Personality Typing System, too. Joe and Julie Mandarino have developed a brilliant test that can evaluate your personality and tell you how full (or how empty) each of your 12 personal buckets might be.

Once again, the Shadow Work® Model seems to have no trouble adapting itself across the shift from viewing personal issues to identifying whole personalities. (Joe and Julie's test will become available on the Web soon. For now, it is a part of both our Shadow Types Training for facilitators and our new Shadow Types Weekend for people who want to get a first exposure to the 12 buckets. At the end of this article you can sign up to be notified about upcoming Shadow Types events.)


But here's another arena into which the Shadow Work® Model seems to have adapted itself with little effort. Suppose that you wanted to diagnose the problem in a whole organization, or in a team within that organization? Suppose that you wanted to sort the problems and solutions for your business, your church, your family, or your relationship into the 12 buckets? What if you wanted to view the politics in your country through the Shadow Work® Model?

All of these possibilities seem to be falling into place quite easily. And I think that's due to the Lover effect. Since we have plumbed the depths of the Lover, and since the Lover is, like water, a kind of "universal solvent," it seems that almost anything can be submerged in the Shadow Work® Model and fall into the same categories, where the same solutions will work for the same problems.

That has been a wonderful thing for me to see. I have always seen myself as someone who needed to work hard to get into my Lover energy, and now it looks like the Model is steeped well enough in Lover to be able to adapt itself across lots of divides. It now looks like learning the Shadow Work® Model can help people see not only their personal issues in a more loving, connecting light but the issues that occupy their outer lives as well.

That is one dimension in which the Shadow Work® Model has been expanding lately: into different areas of life. We have been working with businesses and other organizations, as well as with other cultures. The Model seems to be well received in all these areas.


There is another dimension. Once we started working with 12 buckets instead of four, more patterns emerged. Lots more patterns.

For example, we can sort the 12 buckets into six pairs that illustrate the most basic polarizations that are likely to occur in any relationship or organization. These "six most basic fights" show us how we are likely to react to someone else's shadow by polarizing in a certain direction against them. (Of course, the list of basic fights also outlines how others might polarize against our own particular personality and its shadows.) This means that we now have a systemized way of predicting how others might react to us, if we know where our strengths and weaknesses lie relative to the 12 buckets.

Here's an example of such a polarization.

One of the 12 buckets is call Optionalizing. This bucket contains the part of us that can generate lots of different options. This bucket is usually activated when we have to make a choice but are unsure of ourselves, so we start to look for different alternatives.

The Optionalizing bucket is opposed by the Contesting bucket. The Contesting bucket contains the part of us that wants to charge into action and be decisive. This bucket is often activated when we are surrounded by so many options that we get unsure of ourselves, so we want to plant a stake in the ground.

You may have noticed that, when you are around people who seem to be swimming in too many options, you get angry, and you want to say, "Hey, why don't you just make a darned decision!" You may want to say, "Get out of your head, and jump into life!"

On the other hand, you may have noticed that when you are around people who seem to be recklessly decisive, that you may become afraid, and then you want to say, "Hey, why don't you step back and look things over for a minute, before you charge into a wall without looking!" You may want to say, "How about using your head?"

The Optionalizing bucket and the Contesting bucket oppose each other in such a way that, when someone uses one bucket too much, other people are likely to polarize towards the other bucket.

This can be valuable information to have, especially if your Personality Type means that you invariably use one bucket much more often than the others. (And we believe that each of the 12 Personality Types does, indeed, use one bucket much more often than the others.) You can learn how people are most likely to react to the excesses of your personality.


Another way of sorting the buckets shows us which of the four archetypes are most "in the light." This also means that we can predict which two archetypes are most "in the shadow."

As facilitators and consultants, we appreciate the ability to predict where something might be headed, even if we might need to adapt our predictions on the fly. The 12 buckets can be arranged into what we call "Pathways," which can forecast the avenue by which any given problem might find its way through the four archetypes, progressing as if by stepping stones to reach and incorporate the gold that's in its shadow.

There is a great deal of power in being able to predict things, even if you can't predict them down to every detail. Using the 12 buckets gives us the ability to predict in much greater detail than did the four buckets alone.

For example, the Pathway for the Optionalizing personality shows us how to move from swimming in too many options (through a series of stepping stones) towards being more decisive. And the opposing Pathway shows us how to move from being recklessly decisive (through a series of stepping stones) towards using our heads to view some alternate options.

So when we are dealing with the "basic fight" between the Optionalizing bucket and the Contesting bucket, we help each side work its way towards the opposing bucket (which is also its shadow) in order to resolve the conflict. And this gives us additional power in the midst of any fight.

Powerful things are always protected in some way. In this case the power is protected by the requirement that we must now "do our own work" in 12 ways as opposed to only four. In order to learn effectively how to use all 12 buckets, we must get to know all of our own shadows in greater detail.

So this learning continues to be experiential, and not just intellectual. That is our strength, and it has helped us create a Model that works across many divides. The Lover effect has given us a way to connect through the gold of the most basic human experiences, which are common ground in all cultures and arenas.


If you'd like to be notified of upcoming Shadow Types events, you can subscribe to an email list through which you will receive occasional announcements about our newest workshops and opportunities to learn more about the twelve buckets. To subscribe to that list, click this link: CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE

If you'd rather not subscribe to another email list, you can just keep your eye on the Calendar of Events where all our upcoming events are listed.

If you already have some experience facilitating Shadow Work®, you may be interested in our next Shadow Types Training, which you can find listed on the Calendar of Events.

Thanks for taking your time to look at this.



Shadow Work® Founder Cliff Barry is a Certified Trainer, Coach, and Group Facilitator living in Boulder, Colorado. Read more about Cliff.

This article originally appeared in our free email newsletter in August 2011. To subscribe, visit our subscription page.

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