Inaction Is Action
November 19, 2010
Reality, Alive
January 13, 2011

Darkworkers and Lightworkers

Two years after writing this article, I’m frustrated because it’s become surprisingly popular on Google and yet my opinion of it has gone way down. So let me rewrite it now: an article on lightworkers and darkworkers which will hopefully live up to the promise of its title.

Let me fill in the backstory. Once upon a time, I was a Steve Pavlina fangirl and my opinions were pretty much clones of his. OK, I still am a fangirl, but nowadays I’m happy to say that I differ on his opinions a bit more in some areas. …Seriously, it was a bit embarrassing.

This article explained the concept of lightworkers and darkworkers, a.k.a. polarity, basically according to what Steve Pavlina wrote, if filtered a little through my experiences.

But Steve Pavlina’s ideas here are, hm, interesting – I can’t say if I believe in them or not anymore. In any case, I had no right to be so sure about them back then.

Now, I’d like to talk about what I know on the topic, and what I don’t know, too. I don’t consider myself any more of an expert on the topic as I was two years ago, but perhaps I am better able to identify the limits of my authority.



The trouble with the concept of lightworkers and darkworkers is that I think people mean different things by the terms.

I got into quite a few arguments on the Steve Pavlina forums because of this. Basically over semantics.

The common, vague meaning is that a “lightworker” is someone who dedicates their life to making the world a better place. It often has spiritual connotations; so a spiritual healer is more likely to be labelled a lightworker than say, a feminist author. That said, I think plenty of feminist authors and other activists could still be described as lightworkers.

I identify with this concept. I feel that my main purpose in life is to do good. Even when I try to earn money, I tend to do it from a place of “I’m earning this money so I can have resources to focus on doing my mission” rather than just thinking about survival or self gratification. Those things alone are rather uninspiring for me.

So far, so good. Now “darkworker”, if only because of the name, would seem to be the opposite of that. So, someone who dedicates their life to making the world a worse place? But no-one, or practically no-one, really does that. So the word is often used to mean basically greedy sociopaths, people who want self-gratification and don’t care what they have to do to get it. Because of this narrow focus, the net result of what they do is harm to the world.

A lot of people casually use “darkworker” to mean that. I do sometimes. It’s intuitive and it can be useful to have a word like this.

The Left Hand Path

Unfortunately, there is also a pretty sizeable group of people who protest this usage.

These are the self professed “darkworkers” or those who follow “the left hand path”.

For them, the whole idea of darkworker-as-sociopath is a myth, and a harmful one. They seem to feel quite victimised by it at times.

For them, being a “darkworker” means drawing energy inward, aligning with “darkness” (which according to them is not negative), and aiming to fulfill their personal ambitions but preferably not by doing harm to anyone else.

To be honest, I’ve tried hard to understand these people, and I can’t. Generally it feels to me like they are over-intellectualising things and following a philosophy which doesn’t quite connect with reality. I don’t understand this non-negative “darkness” which they use. It seems very poetic but I’ve never seen any evidence for it in my life; not even in my intuition.

I’ve talked to darkworkers who explained to me powerful experiences they had with this “dark” energy.

According to the universal principle “you can’t argue with someone’s personal experience”, I won’t try to tell them that they are wrong. But, really, I just don’t feel it.

Darkworkers As Rebels

If I were to make a guess, I’d say this type of darkworker is just someone who really identifies with the “rebel” archetype. Connected with this (and sometimes one and the same thing) are Satanists, who usually worship a positive version of Lucifer who rebelled against the authority of a domineering God.

I see that a lot of darkworkers are ex-Christians, and I think perhaps they like the symbolism darkworking as a way of asserting their freedom from the religion they were brought up in.

Some would even agree with that in part, I think. Where we differ is on the question of whether this sort of darkworking has any substance besides that. They would say yes. I would kind of tend to think no.

Negative Astral Entities

Part of my hangup about people identifying as “darkworkers” had to do with the fact that negative astral entities exist, and at times they can influence humans, leading those humans to create more negative energy in the world, which the spirits feed off.

Well, I’ve heard this, and my intuition does seem to agree with it. The experiences of some friends who I trust would be proof of the existence of such beings.

Luckily, I believe that negative beings don’t have that much influence on us. Perhaps they are just a personification of our own negativity. I don’t think they are a fundamental force in the Universe.

Well, back when I was getting into stupid arguments with self-professed darkworkers, I thought that they were being controlled by negative astral entities. I mean, what happens when you offer yourself to the darkness? My reasoning was that if the darkness responded, it could only be negative beings who were doing it.

Nowadays, I don’t believe that negative beings are such a strong force, and I also don’t believe that it makes much sense that anyone would intentionally get involved with them. That would be like someone voluntarily infecting themselves with diseases.

Do self-identified darkworkers fool themselves and do it anyway? I used to think so. Now I tend to think not. I think self-identified darkworkers are mainly just following a (to me) strange philosophy and are mainly harmless to themselves and others.

Evil Darkworkers

Actually, I did talk to someone who seemed to have done something more along the lines of the classical “evil” darkworker. His experiences clashed with what I’ll call “philosophical darkworkers”. This guy was someone on the Pavlina forums who used the name “Plato”.

For him, darkworking involved filling himself up with negativity, particularly fear. When done right, this would powerfully motivate him to do whatever he desired to do, and would also kind of provide the reason behind his actions as well.

The goals in question were basically power – and not “personal power” but “power over others”.

He describes his experience thus:

I was never apathetic. I had masses of energy because my fear and pain were sharp and constant, reminding me that I needed more. Each successful step towards greater power brought a wave of pleasure of orgasmic intensity. Every step back fuelled my fear and pain.

I had zero sense of morality in the conventional sense. I didn’t care about anybody. I didn’t believe win-win was truly possible because there is no such thing as equality. I was truly evil in this sense: I wanted to put people into the state that was my worst nightmare – forced submission.

I held the belief that happiness is dominance. To be happy was to perceive oneself as superior. As far as I was concerned, happy people believed they were better than me. That’s why they were happy. I didn’t consciously think this. I instinctually just knew it to be true. The mindset of fear perceives happiness in this way.

I realised that happiness was to make people submit to my will. Misery was to submit to the will of others. There was no middle ground. I had to make reality and everything in it bend to my will.

To polarise this way, Plato explained, required working hard on basically becoming a bad person:

You must align every single thing you do to self service, and by definition do nothing to serve others. … Your own issues will become increasingly large, meaning ever increasing motivation to take action, and ever increasing focus on self. It’s a spiral.

A good guideline for darkworkers is to practice the seven deadly sins constantly. Pride, lust, greed, envy, gluttony, sloth, wrath. It is worth mentioning that sloth does not mean laziness in it’s original definition. It means indifference to the work of God. To not appreciate the world. Ingratitude.

His experiences were quite convincing to me, and also seemed to fit in with the “opposite of a lightworker” idea as well as the “influenced by negative entities” idea.

Platonic Darkworking Vs. Philosophical Darkworking

I haven’t talked to any other darkworkers of this sort, though (not that I would look for them). I wonder if there are many. Becoming this sort of darkworker seems, like I mentioned before, to be like voluntarily infecting yourself with a disease. Who would want fear and pain to be “sharp and constant”? But perhaps that makes sense if you don’t know anything else. Plato writes:

My time as a true darkworker ended when I read The Power Of Now, and Steve [Pavlina]’s blog. I read them because I had been told they were good for “Inner Game”.

I experienced the bliss of presence through Tolle’s writing and experimented with using Love energy through various Pavlina articles.

The more I used these, the more I became de-polarized. Darkworking depends upon the belief that “I NEED more to be happy. I MUST have more.” Love and presence totally undermine that. We can be happy right here, right now so there’s no point trying to acquire more. Right?

That realisation was the end of darkworking for me. You lose commitment to acquiring power when you realise happiness requires none.

So for two years I’ve been scuttling around uncertainly, not really knowing what I’m doing. Inconsistently serving myself; always lacking the fire I had before. I missed it, in spite of the pain.

I didn’t want to let go of my desire to dominate. I was addicted to it. Also, almost all of my beliefs were aligned with darkworking, as well as my habits.

Gradually, slowly, minutely, my beliefs have shifted. Through exposure to loving people who came into my life, as well as this forum and finally The Work of Byron Katie, I’ve been able to let go of my addiction to power.

If this is similar for all people, then I don’t think polarising as a darkworker of this type could be considered positive – neither for others, nor for oneself. It has the quality of an addiction. It does give you motivation, energy, a sort of power, but charges you and others so much for it.

Well, I’ve posted what were the post salient parts for me of Plato’s writing. If you want to read more, just check out the original articles I mentioned above. The links again: here and here.

Now what about what I called “philosophical darkworking”? – Obviously it’s a different thing to what I’m going to call Platonic Darkworking. Is it also valid? Who knows. Obviously it’s valid in the sense that if philosophical darkworkers get something out of it they can go ahead and do it. But, on the other hand, I don’t really buy the worldview it espouses. I don’t believe there is a “dark energy” that isn’t negative. As for whether I believe in a “dark energy” that is negative? I’m not sure if I do, and at the moment I don’t really care, because it doesn’t affect me much either way.

What Lightworking Means For Me

Let me finish off the article by mentioning what lightworking means for me.

For me, it’s very real that I focus my life on doing good. It gave me the motivation to keep going in a world that seemed otherwise meaningless.

Most self-gratification seemed hollow to me. I couldn’t imagine a life dedicated to self-gratification. Which left me with the need for some sort of mission, something to do which would keep me moving.

Combine this with my keen awareness of injustices and my vision of how much better things could be on this planet, and an instinct to lightworking was born.

I can’t avoid thinking about my own needs because I do need to take care of them in order to survive. And, in fact, I do try to be as happy and as well as possible. But having an overall goal helps me move forward. I also find that by making survival about something bigger than just myself, I can let go a bit more than I would otherwise and I often find that the Universe is there with a safety net, making sure I’ll always have what I need.

I’m not always perfect at this skill of letting go, but I’m getting better. The interesting thing is, the more I can let go of my fear, the more I can focus on the creativity which I’m trying to bring into the world.

I’m learning to live from love, peace, and nonviolence, not fear or judgement or anger. This is because of my spiritual path, and I don’t often connect it with lightworking as a concept, but I guess it is connected. The more I can base my life on a foundation of love and peace, the more I can truly serve others rather than doing it for impure reasons or in a way that causes more harm than good. (For example, if you use violence to achieve a goal, you might achieve it and appear to be doing good, but violence always creates more violence and there will be a backlash somewhere for sure).

I don’t use the term “lightworker” much anymore; my squabbles with “philosophical darkworkers” kind of spoilt it for me and it always did sound a bit like I’m trying to be a saint or something. So I don’t talk about it too much, but I do, quietly, continue to dedicate my life to doing the most good I can.


So that was the new article. I think it’s fairly complete.

Note that the first 18 comments below are responding to the old article. As you can see, some of them contributed to inspiring me to rewrite this.

I am conscious that this is not a complete article, because my knowledge of lightworkers and darkworkers is not complete. I’m leaning towards thinking that if the concept really does have value, the work and knowledge needed to really be one or the other must be very extensive. Steve Pavlina likened being polarised to being a blackbelt in a martial art. You don’t just decide one day to be a blackbelt. You can make that goal, but then you have to work for it and achieve it.

I can talk about my own experience, and the intuition which leads me towards greater love energy and also greater service. I’m still not a blackbelt though, and I’m really not quite sure what a blackbelt really looks like. For lack of any real role models, I’ll just keep following my intuition; it’s got me this far.



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Leave a Reply


  1. Sandy says:

    Nice to know those theories 😉

    I think then I am into Non Polarised tag now ha 🙂

  2. If my writing sounds critical of you I didn’t mean that. It’s more a near rant:

    I notice lightworkers halo people easily. If they see you as good intentioned, or label you a “lightworker”, they stop seeing your devils—worse, they stop seeing their own.

    I see myself as doing “lightwork”, but I’m inconsistent with my high consciousness *all the time*. I do wrong, the label “lightworker” absolves nothing. Tired of seeing this.

    “Non polarised people want to gratify themselves but feel resistance to doing things like making a giant company to earn them money” – S. Gubb

    I resist this. And I view that empowering. It’s not the only or right way to change things. But you might just have just randomly mentioned this point.

  3. Sophia Gubb says:

    hey jack, I get you. a lot of LW are into this because it gives them a chance to play angels and demons. i’d like to think I’m not one of those people.

    I would resist that thing too, unless I had a very specific reason to make a giant company. I mentioned it as something a typical darkworker would be drawn to do. So a non polarised person wouldn’t have the dark charge in them to make such an action, though their dark side may fantasise about it perhaps. a LW (like you) would be a very long shot from creating a giant company, at least most of the time.


  4. Oops, Sophia, I misinterpreted the “giant company” thing. Anyway, I agree with everything said. 🙂

    I think the “angel and demons” view comes from dogmatic labeling. My development pathbreaks when I drop labels and clarify what I really mean. That’s a reason I eschew them. I do see their value though. But many people don’t see past them, and they use language unconsciously. I swear many personal dev articles would become unnecessary to read, if people realized this point. Sounds preposterous, but I believe it that strongly.

    • Sophia Gubb says:

      Yeah I get that about labels. I am unsure about whether I need to work out to use them better, though I do know I can get out from underneath them when necessary. I’ve thought about doing a label-free 30 day trial though I’m not sure how that would work. But anyway yeah, some people are used by language rather than fully using it to their advantage, i totally agree.


  5. Jeanne says:

    Hi, friend Sophia! I veered from the blogging course I was on and realized how much time has gone by — and wow, your site is WONDERFUL (reflecting you methinks). I’ll have to come back and explore some more. Just wanted to give you a cyberhug.

  6. Sophia Gubb says:

    Wow, it has been a long time hasn’t it! Thanks a lot, I am happy with how it’s developed! 🙂 A massive cyberhug back!! 😀

  7. says:

    It is all about intention and love! Light workers want the better good and darkworkers want control and power. They both work with energy one vibrating with love the other trying to dominate and take the energy for themselves.

  8. Amia Tamar says:

    Dear Andrew Gubb,

    I think you fail to fully grasp what it means to be a darkworker. A darkworker doesn’t always want power & control, but to do what they want, how they want & when they want.

    I am a darkworker. I do what makes me happy without caring how others feel about it. I would NEVER go out of my way to hurt others because a more enlightened darkworker will understand, the key to getting what you want is serving humanity. It is only low level darkworkers who destroy for no reason (in the same way that lightworkers can give until they themselves have nothing left). They do not think of the long-term. They fail to realize that they are a part of mankind and they need mother nature to exist for them to exist.

    I feel you tried to paint darkworkers out to be “evil” & lightworkers “good” when both darkworkers & lightworkers need eachother & are valid paths. I don’t understand lightworkers, but I respect & appreciate them. I do feel, however, that you are resisting what is occuring in the world only causing it to persist. You must first accept the place where are at as humanity & love every part of it.

    Peace (:

  9. daf says:

    so a lightworker would ask money for writing this and promise some feeling ? or would that more be the darkworker ? can you enlighten me on that 😉

  10. l says:

    I agree with daf a real lightworker should give her readers money 🙂

    The two paths merge further down the road, and it is a spectacle when it happens. No meaning to try to put it in words. You’ll get our side (as well as your own dark side) more after that.

    It’s not about control, it’s not about money, power. At all.

    An ill manered subset is giving the whole group a bad rap. The funny thing is that RHP practitioners in throwing mud on their LHP cousins because of the subset, serve that very subset, which is actually a common enemy (oh bad word! 😛 ). Many hesitate to polarise on the Left, inspite of their inclination due to fear of rejection.

    I really love Lightworkers, more than I love exploiting them(well, maybe not!), but enough with the “lies of the good” please.

  11. Sophia Gubb says:

    Hey “I”,

    It’s a long time since I wrote this, and I think I’d write it very differently these days – actually probably I *wouldn’t* write it. Right now I’m embracing the old adage “all I know is I know nothing” in this area. I’m actually rather skeptical of polarisation theory now, except that I know I want to serve a higher calling (and am doing it). As to whether there is actually an opposite to that, I remain open. I have never experienced “dark” polarisation, can’t imagine what it feels like, though I can see some people seem to get value out of the concept for themselves. I don’t know if this thing people get value out of is really the opposite of my desire to serve a higher calling, and if so in what way.


  12. l says:

    It ranks #4 for “darkworkers”, that’s how I got here.

    You’ll get it eventually, I don’t want to spoil the surprise for you. I can’t, really.
    Jung calls it individuation, and what he describes is actually left hand polarization.

    Just don’t view us as enemies, we need each other and everyone needs both toolkits.

  13. Sophia Gubb says:

    For sure, I don’t want to see people as enemies at the best of times, and the fact that I don’t even know what you are means that I have no basis to 🙂

  14. l says:

    The difference is mostly a matter of preference. My litmus test:
    What do you think about the direction of the spiral, is it outward or inward?
    Answer spontaneously/intuitively.

  15. Sophia Gubb says:

    I got outward. Am I a lightworker now? :p

  16. l says:

    Haha, probably. But now I’ve grazed on your blog, I’m not so sure 🙂
    Good luck, Sophia.

  17. Sophia Gubb says:

    Well, thanks, though I’m already quite sure of my path – whatever it is. 🙂

  18. l says:

    so so far already and still not getting it.
    It is ridiculously obvious to me- and to others of the ‘breed’ as well- that you are a pure darkworker.
    of the darkest breed.

    to help you along its not the semantics but the wound that counts,
    i’ve acted out the lightworker myself for many years, it’s ok i think. after all we’ve been manipulated since babies to obey and be ‘nice’ (being dark doesn’t mean evil. I’m actually quite samaritan myself, even more than my fake lightworker days)

    btw it still is on first page for “darkworkers”
    and a song for you to listen

  19. Sophia Gubb says:

    Thanks for telling me what I am. To return the favour, I’ll tell you what you are: you’re transgender. Enjoy your newfound self-understanding.


  20. Laurel says:

    This was a good read. I have always labelled myself as “Darkworker”, and I can understand why other people might then view me as negative or even, evil. Actually, I’m a really nice person. I spend hours contemplating the moon as many lightworkers might, I try to better myself, I take my son to preschool and remind him to “be kind today”. Darkworking, for me wasn’t a good or evil choice, but more of an affinity. I am drawn to darkness, it comforts me, I thrive within the cloud of dark ether that I feel surround me when I perform magick. I do not fear the unknown, I trust that, with respect the “negative beings” would not harm me, but guide me. In the same sense I have utter respect for the positive beings too! Often I will mention the Goddess and I have a deep reverence for nature. I practice healing, and I am about to go for a certificate in it. No, I’m not confused. I do everything I feel I should, but I draw my power from shadows, as lightworkers draw theirs from light. There must be both peoples to maintain balance. There IS light within me, as there is darkness in you.

    Other darkworkers may take it that they have to be bad people, and perhaps that is the polarity they’ve chosen. For me, I do what I’m called to. We’re all here to grow, and we’ll grow in the individual ways we need to. As my mother always said, “Eat your carrots, one day you’ll be able to see in the dark.” xx

  21. Sonolil says:

    Dark represents the unknown, the spirit as opposed to the obvious light-energy of matter.

    The Western world, literally, does not seem to understand that the dark and light are born together and depend on each other.
    They may seem like philosophical musings to you but to those born into Hindu, Buddhism, and Taoist regions, such as I,
    these are truisms that are intuitively felt and understood.

    Other than that, fuck labels. Do whatever you want. If helping others fulfill your existential needs then so be it.

  22. Adinah says:

    Hmmm interesting. I generally agree with what you’re saying. I’m a light worker all the way but I have realized that my mission here isn’t to be all lovey dovey with everyone. I used to think I was a darkworker for a while because I can’t stand being around a lot of people. I hate the type of lightworkers that are constantly doing yoga and saying namaste and blah blah blah all that sparkly crap. In a lot of ways I have been a negative person and I realized that my energy was powerful enough to influence people around me. But because I have been influenced before and hated how it felt, I made a point to start working on clearing my negativity because the thought of making other people miserable makes me sick to my stomach. I don’t want to do harm, but I do not want to actively help people. I love mother nature, I love animals, I love the stars, and I love anything that has to do with “mysticism.” I tend to care about the world on a global level. Like I said, I want nothing to do with helping people on an individual level. Besides it has always been draining to me and I never truly enjoyed helping people. Getting involved with people is icky to me.

    I also don’t think there are many darkworkers on the planet, because love and light prevails all. However it has become very obvious in the last 5 years to me that the darkworkers are those in government starting wars, all of the illuminati stuff has some validity to it. Notice how pop music is becoming increasingly negative (messages that disrespect women, all about drugs, money, being filthy rich.) I mean pop music has always been kinda empty, but now, the messages in the music is just perverse. Think about the disgusting chemicals in our food. You think Monsanto CEOs eat that stuff?! NOPE, you think the elite do? NOPE, you know why? Because they know damn well what the stuff does to you, and they have no problems feeding it to the masses. Look at the media, pure distortion of the truth. The people that run the world actively LIE to us everyday, distract us with crappy reality tv shows, put garbage in our food and everything else we buy for our bodies, the church rapes our children, the school system SUCKS and does a great job at chipping away a child’s creativity…. I mean its pretty apparent that those guys are the darkworkers. When I read things about how the some of the elite practice black magic, I have to laugh because the more I learn about universal laws, the more it becomes obvious that they know about that stuff too, but use that knowledge for PERSONAL gain at OUR EXPENSE. If that’s not darkwork/black magic, then I don’t know what is.

    I guess now I sound like a conspiracy theorist haha! Anyways! Nice article 🙂

  23. Jolly Fellow says:


    I wanted to provide some insight as I identify as a Darkworker.

    I think the term dark is misleading as really it is used as the opposite of the word “light” and therefore used to describe the other.

    I believe that the difference between a darkworker and a lightworker boils down to one thing. One’s driving force. For me, darkworking means that the inner drive inside me is driven by “self” and that means that I am committed to fulfilling my desires, even if my desires were to, quote unqoute, become a better person

    Some examples of how this benefits others:

    I am exceptionally loyal in relationships, and considered selfless by friends and family.
    I have very deep and unconditional love for my loved ones… however being a darkworker for me is the realization that I am this way because it is what “I” desire. I WANT to love my family, “I WANT” and therefore “I DO” but deep down it is based off the person that I wanted to be and subconsciously I am this way and always was this way out of the desire to please myself.

    This deep love really only extends to this close to me. Outside of that, I am still often a nice person, however this is because sometimes I enjoy being perceived as such. If I pity someone and give of myself for their betterment I am doing so for myself.

    That being said, my commitment, my drive, is not for the betterment of the world, the betterment of others, but to myself. Sometimes this benefits others, sometimes this doesn’t.

    My commitment to the realization that everything I do is for myself, being consciously aware of my truest self, has yielded more success and more passion, and even more rewarding relationships

  24. know crow says:

    I’ve been a shadow worker for eons and as much as I can perceive the point most here are attempting to make let me make this clear: we Offer anyone the tools to face the darkness head on. That said there are many paths to the same destination

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