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Guest Column

Every month, our editing team selects and publishes a special article to feature. This article is also mirrored on our Medium publication and is eligible to earn royalties based on views. Our July guest writer is Laura Coor! 

This gripping article delves into the profound concept of using others as mirrors to confront our inner demons and embark on a transformative journey. It recounts a haunting personal experience of a harrowing "spiritual awakening" in Laura's teenage years, plunging her into the depths of hell.


Her raw reflections emphasize the crucial role of embracing and transmuting our darkness for personal growth and spiritual development. Prepare to be moved by this captivating exploration of shadow work and its profound impact on the human psyche.

Read more of her work on Medium

Into the Shadow Realms

Written by: Laura Coor

My Thoughts These Days

Have you ever tailgated somebody because you were mad they were driving slow, but then cursed somebody when they tailgated you?

Or, have you ever been overly annoyed at somebody for cutting you in line, but then cut a line yourself when you had the opportunity?

These examples are the small, mundane versions of how we, as humans, have a powerful tendency to judge other people instead of using them as tools to look at ourselves. Each person we pass by is simply a fragment of ourselves, and we are all fragments of the Divine. Shattered off from Source, and sprinkled onto the Earthly planes, trying to remember where we came from. But in my opinion, it’s only once we realize this that we can begin the process of using people we encounter as mirrors. Each time we do this work, we get a little bit closer to ourselves.

And yeah, that sounds very woo-woo and almost romantic. But let’s not romanticize this, because once you wake up to this conundrum, you can never go back. Some days I’m laughing at ‘myself’ when somebody honks at me at a red light, chuckling about how I must be in a rush in whatever reality that piece of me is living in. But other days, I’m anxiously trying to deny the flakey part of myself that I wake up to through hanging around emotionally unavailable people. I like to think I’m not like them. But then I remember, in a lot of ways I am. And that’s hard to reconcile with.

But at this point, seeing the shady parts of myself through the mirrors of others is better than ignoring them and stuffing them deeper and deeper down into the dark and dank realms of my core - only to emerge later in ways that cause me to suffer. Now, I pause whenever I feel an emotion rising in response to somebody else, and ask myself what it is inside of me that is getting triggered. What aspect of myself is the same? And at this point in my life, I want to dig into the deep places inside of me that are hurt, scared, and confused, and bring them to the surface to breathe.

How It Applies

However, this is not my original idea. Using others as a mirror is an old concept that, in my opinion, got lost in translation through the ultra-high acceleration rate of the 21st century. During the Romantic Era, the poet William Wordsworth warned humanity about the Industrial Revolution and our materialistic desires sabotaging our ability to look within. He must have been a true psychic.

This process of healing ourselves through examining our triggers is called shadow work. And I’ve come to realize it is the most important step in my life journey. By contemplating my reactions, from the most mundane circumstances to the very advanced and traumatic ones, I can raise my low vibrations to the surface, and give them a chance to vibrate higher. Suffice it to say, I can free myself from my own shadows.

And although I discovered this process a while before I understood what it truly meant or began the process of integrating it, it wasn’t until very recently that I realized when I say it is the most important part of my journey, I mean it.

I truly believe it is now up to me and my own free will to choose to continuously confront my shadows and work on transmuting them into light, or choose to ignore this profound realization and continue living familiarly. But I know deep down in the depths of my soul that if I choose the ladder, I will be prolonging the work my soul came here to do. Perhaps for my entire lifetime, then into the next. Because I have awoken to my shadow self, ignoring it feels like a direct path away from the divine. And where does that go? To hell?

A Descent Into The Past

Now, to me, this is where my story gets interesting.

While this sounds unbelievable: I have already been to hell.

At this point, I might as well say that everything I just wrote exemplifies where I am currently at in my life. I am currently at the point where I do my shadow work daily and work hard to remember who I am at the core. However, there are a few important experiences in my story that lead me to believe shadow work is a crucial part of my journey.

So let’s back up:

When I was fourteen, I experienced what I now call a ‘spiritual awakening.’ And although I wish it was an awakening to the presence of fairies and bright white light, it was quite the opposite.

It was on a trampoline in the backyard of my childhood home, with two of my best friends, when an innocent mistake took me to a place that instantaneously shattered my entire comprehension of reality. I descended into a realm that I could not at all describe. Except to call it hell.

And when I say hell, I literally mean I was shaking my head back and forth and asking my friends in panicked bewilderment if we had died and gone there. I couldn’t stop panicking about how we were going to explain to our parents that we killed ourselves only to land in hell. My ability to comprehend the reality I was in had inexplicably disappeared.

Now believe me, I know that this sounds absurd, especially because this was all due to my friends and I baking our own cannabis cookies but failing to think that they had any power to get us high since they didn’t smell or taste like pot. So, we ate them. All. I remember stacking five cookies on each other and crunching them down as if I were in an eating contest. Oh, and I remember laughing hysterically about how many cookies I could eat at once. I was so proud!

My descent into ‘hell’ started with a brief blackout. Before that, only a few words were exchanged between my friends and me about what we were feeling as we lay on the trampoline. One of them said, “It feels like the sun is pressing down on me.” And my other friend mentioned how she felt like she went through a time glitch. But we didn’t think too much about it because we had already convinced ourselves the cookies would not work. The idea of getting stoned had completely phased out of our minds. We were so convinced they wouldn’t work that two of us ignored my other friend when she said she went through a time glitch! But then, all of a sudden, as I laughed at my friends' joke, I started blacking out just before my entire body shot to the back of the trampoline and I whispered,

“Oh no. We did something bad.”

“We did something bad,” I said it over and over again. As I vigorously shook my head back and forth in an attempt to shake off whatever was happening. It took one split second for me to enter into a completely different reality where it felt like my entire existence had been stripped out from under me. It felt as if my body was floating away from itself and rediscovering itself every single second over and over again. I felt so uncomfortably foreign in my own skin, so uncomfortably foreign on the physical plane I was on. My physical reality was wavering and spinning around me, and I couldn’t focus on anything besides the sheer panic running through my mind, asking my friends how to get back to where we just were, ten minutes ago. I kept looking at my hands and not understanding who or what I was. I didn’t feel like I was in my own body, but I wasn’t looking at myself from an outside perspective either. When I walked, I felt like I was floating above the ground but so desperately wanted to get back to it. When I talked, I knew words were coming out but I didn’t understand how. I didn’t feel engaged with my being. I was existing solely inside my head, where my thoughts were completely disconnected from who I thought I was. I couldn’t explain to my friends or myself what I was feeling. All I knew was that I was overwhelmed with an extremely dark feeling and overall knowing that words could not describe. It wasn’t as if I knew I was Laura, and I could comprehend that I was too high on weed. No, it was as if it was me but not, and whoever I/we/humanity had been before that point didn’t exist. I have a hazy memory of going into my brother's room and begging him to help me. But he didn’t recognize how dark I was spiraling. I remember my friends being there, but I don’t remember connecting with them. They were trying to calm my panic down, but they didn’t feel like I did.

I remember feeling like whatever we did, wherever we brought ourselves, was eternal. After a while, the only thing I could conjure up was that we had died and gone to hell.

I tried to sleep it off, but I would have to jar myself upright the split second before I felt like I was going to fully lose my mind. Laying down with my eyes closed, I kept going into a vortex of fear, trying to let myself accept it but being so afraid that if I did, I wouldn’t come back. I remember being in that cycle for hours. Finally, after 8 hours of complete torment, the all-encompassing bad feeling that I could literally only describe as hell faded away. It felt like a miracle without a savior.

Back To Reality

After thinking about this experience for many years, I now understand the power behind thinking the pot cookies wouldn’t work. That way of thinking catalyzed blasting off, leaving me unprepared for the landing.

That experience, that first spiritual awakening, resulted in me understanding that middle school was a matrix that I did not want to participate in. I became defiant and depressed. I developed an overwhelming feeling that nothing we did in class or life, truly mattered. I felt like I had been lied to about what our existence was. I couldn’t piece together how I had traveled to what I legitimately thought was hell, and back, on the same day. I went on like this, living life but not truly understanding what had happened to me, for months. Eventually, the acute anxiety of it all faded away, and I blended back into the Laura that everybody thought they knew. But I knew I was different, and there was no returning to who I was before that experience.


I now understand that experience to be a pivotal moment in my soul's evolution. Sometimes I wonder if that decision to eat those pot cookies shifted my soul's timeline, and I cracked open my mind to the feeling of hell on earth at an age much younger than the Ethers intended. But ultimately, I know it was meant to happen exactly the way that it did.

I’m 25 now, and looking back, what I find the most compelling about the experience is that I kept describing the panic I was feeling as ‘hell.’ I kept asking my friends how we got there, and how we were going to get back. Yet, I continued with my life, moving through experiences that I thought were random until my second (and very recent) ‘spiritual awakening.’ I now know that each and every experience, event, or person I met, were strung together in a synchronistic pattern to bring me to exactly where I am, and who I am, today.

A few months ago, I discovered a podcast where one of the podcasters (and my current idol) said that she had traveled to the hell realms, but she didn’t describe what it felt like. That prompted me to eagerly google the hell realms and to try to see if anybody else had experienced them. I had never thought to look this up because I believed so strongly in what I felt that day. I spent way more time trying to forget about it than leaning into it.

(Much like we do with our own shadows.)

I also understand that up until this point, I had never questioned whether my descent into hell was indeed the ‘hell realms.’ When I try to think back on that experience, I cannot confidently remember exactly what it felt like. I haven’t ever fully been there again. Yet, more than ten years later, I finally heard somebody much more spiritually and psychically advanced than I mention the hell realms. For the first time, I began to wonder whether I actually did go to the hell realms, or if I was just too young and naive to think of any other way to describe the feeling.

I’m not a clairvoyant and I have never seen dark energies or entities in the physical. For some reason, I sometimes doubt my own experience based on the fact that my version of hell was not ‘dark’ in terms of color or smell or who lived there. I didn’t travel to another dimension per se, but another reality.

I gave up the feverish googling quickly after failing to find somebody who could describe the hell realms as I felt them. Especially because when I googled it with the word ‘edibles’ attached, I found a bunch of online users saying that pot can’t do that, it’s probably schizophrenia. I sought validation but I did not find it in the way that I expected to.

What I discovered is far more mind-opening.

Wanted To Or Not, I Went

I ultimately realized that the reason for experiencing my personal hell on earth at such a young age was that I was being prepared for what was to come. I didn’t have a choice. One way or another, I was going there, and my higher self is not one to waste time. I was meant to visit the dark realms early so that all of the other dark experiences that were meant to unfold afterward (and a lot have) would one day make sense to me. And today, it all does. I was introduced to the darkness early on because I am meant to develop a profound tolerance for it. I am meant to embrace it, not resist it.

When we think about spiritual awakenings, there’s a lot of talk about raising our vibrations and tapping into Source energy. But what are you supposed to do when you have dark energy attached to you, sucking you back down into the 3D matrix like a leech sucks blood? What happens to those who get thwarted by demonic energy? Whether that be a literal entity, cancer, or black tar heroin. I may not have seen dark entities when I visited my version of the underworld, but I felt them. And the irony is, I have felt them even more profoundly in my life following that experience. That energy, that feeling, followed(s) me everywhere. The more I tried to escape it, the more it popped up. Via romantic relationships, familial relationships, the towns I moved to, the cars I bought, and all of the times I would have brief encounters with down-and-out people on the street that felt drawn to me in a way I then couldn’t explain. There are a lot of lightworkers and healers and people in general around who are familiar with using Source energy as a means to heal. They can tap into the higher frequencies and allow it to penetrate their clients or friends. But truthfully, I believe the dark forces of energy that are eating us and Earth up as fast as high-speed internet, cannot be entirely transmuted by somebody who has never tapped into those dark frequencies themselves.

And that’s when shadow work comes in. Shadow work is where my life comes middle-circle. (Not full circle, because I think that’s still coming.) For one to transmute somebody else’s darkness, they first have to transmute their own. And to do that, they must be willing to embrace it.

And so, I am welcomed with open arms to the world of shadow work, with a “soul” purpose of one day going out into the world and being a shadow worker. I no longer fear my experience with my own hell realms, but embrace it as a tool to understand the entire spectrum of light.

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