What Is A Lightworker? What They Do + Signs Of One

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“Lightworker” is a term that has become more widely used in recent years, but what does it mean?

Maybe someone has implied you are one, or perhaps you’re captivated by the concept and would like to learn more about what these luminous beings do, as well as how to be a lightworker in your own way.

By the time you’ve finished this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about what lightworkers are, the signs and traits they exhibit, and how to put these abilities to work in service to others.

What is a lightworker?

A lightworker is a person who is dedicated to spreading love, positivity, and healing energy to the world. They are often highly empathetic and intuitive and are believed to be connected to the higher realms of consciousness.

Lightworkers may engage in practices such as yoga, meditation, energy healing, or other forms of spiritual work in order to cultivate their inner light and share it with others. They are deeply committed to helping others awaken to their own spiritual potential and to creating a more harmonious and loving world.

A lightworker can be compared to a lighthouse, shining its bright light out into the darkness to guide ships safely to shore. Just as a lighthouse serves as a beacon of hope and safety for sailors, a lightworker serves as a beacon of light and positivity for those who are lost or struggling in life.

They use their spiritual gifts and practices to help others navigate through difficult times and find their way back to a place of peace and happiness. Like a lighthouse, a lightworker is a steadfast and unwavering presence, always shining their light to guide others toward a brighter future.

Traits Of Lightworkers

Those known as lightworkers generally share several distinctive traits that set them apart from the general population. These can sometimes alienate them from their peers, but they also grant them special talents and the ability to connect with those of like mind very easily.

While not all lightworkers will exhibit the same traits and behaviors, most will be able to relate to at least a few of the ones listed below:

Deep empathy and compassion for others’ suffering

Most lightworkers care deeply for other living beings and try to avoid contributing to their suffering as much as possible.

As a result, many of them adhere to vegetarian or vegan diets in order to avoid causing harm to sentient beings, and make lower-impact life choices. For example, they may only buy ethically-made clothes so they haven’t contributed to sweatshop labor, and buy ethical, fair-trade, organically grown foods.

You’ll often find lightworkers in careers that allow them to do real good to help other people. If they’re more introverted or prefer to work behind the scenes, you may find them working in non-profit organizations, whether they’re helping to clean up the environment, battling against injustices like human trafficking, or providing outreach to those in need.

No matter what situation they’re dealing with in their own lives, they’ll make a point of doing something—anything—to help others.

Natural healing abilities

One of the reasons why many lightworkers gravitate toward helping others is that they have innate healing abilities.

Many feel devastated by the sorrow and cruelty present in the world, and are thus drawn to professions in which they can put their passion for caring toward helping those in need.

Some work in healthcare or therapeutics such as nursing or hospice care, while others gravitate toward herbalism, massage therapy, physiotherapy, psychology, and counseling.

Many lightworkers use their intuition to sense where people are hurting so they can massage or reset damaged areas, while others are so empathic that they know exactly what to say to alleviate someone’s mental or emotional anguish.

Strong connections with animals

Lightworkers almost always have strong affinities and connections with animals. Some may be able to sense animals’ thoughts and emotions empathically or telepathically, but almost every lightworker will love spending time with furry, feathered, or scaly friends.

Many lightworkers prefer the company of animals to that of people, and have an easier time connecting with them.

Since they have such an affinity with animals and such an awareness of their emotions, many (if not most) lightworkers are either vegetarian or vegan. Those who cannot adhere to a plant-based diet for health reasons are generally still diligent about using cruelty-free personal products and living as ethically as possible.

Unparalleled patience and gentleness

Some people refer to certain lightworkers as “earth angels” due to the positive energy they exude as well as their loving, gentle natures. These souls often show saint-like patience, even with those who are immensely trying, and maintain compassion for others in even the most difficult circumstances.

Unlike covert narcissists or attention seekers, a lightworker’s motivation to help others is entirely selfless. Their devotion has nothing to do with winning accolades but is instead a means of letting the Divine work through them to bring peace to those in need.

Physical sensitivities

Almost every lightworker you encounter will contend with some type of physical sensitivity. Some have allergies or immune system dysfunction, while others may have sensory processing issues or hypersensitivities to stimuli such as scents or chemicals.

This can make it difficult for them to work at regular jobs where they may be exposed to harsh scents, repetitive intrusive sounds, and so on.

These sensitivities may go beyond sensory processing and into the realm of energy as well. For instance, the average lightworker will be able to sense changes in energetic vibrations around them. As such, they may be able to tell when an earthquake is going to hit, if the Schumann resonance is acting up, or if someone near them is about to burst into tears or anger.

Emotional hypersensitivity

Many lightworkers are plagued by anxiety and sorrow, especially when faced with the enormity of the world’s problems and their inability to fix everything that’s wrong out there.

For example, you may find that the lightworkers you know avoid the news because hearing so much doom and gloom all the time throws them into a state of despair and hopelessness.

This type of sensitivity can make regular relationships tumultuous as well. Those who are particularly empathic may find themselves in relationships with narcissists because they’re so drawn to fixing other people’s problems.

Others may overthink every word or action and become very “needy” for reassurance and affection, which non-lightworkers may find off-putting.

An almost otherworldly “glow” around them

Have you ever encountered a person who seemed to glow or shine, as though they had an internal light source?

Many lightworkers give off a natural sense of serenity, like the kind you may see in a gentle-hearted Catholic nun or Buddhist monk. Their inner peace seems to manifest in a tangible aura that can either be seen or felt when they’re near and that makes those around them feel calm, happy, or uplifted as well.

Babies and small children will smile and run toward them, and complete strangers may pour their hearts out to them without hesitation.

Intense spiritual experiences/connection with a higher power

Lightwork spirituality seems to be inextricably linked with powerful mystical or spiritual experiences. Some have had profound dreams that have changed their lives forever, while others may have had near-death experiences in which they experienced crossing over to the other side, or meeting with loved ones who had already passed on.

These experiences vary from person to person and are usually influenced by the individual’s spirituality or religious lean. For instance, a Christian lightworker may talk about being visited by angels, while a Buddhist or Hindu may experience a Kundalini awakening.

However the Universe chooses to manifest for these people, it almost always offers guidance and direction toward a higher purpose.

Types Of lightworker

There’s no single lightworker definition, but rather a variety of types that have various abilities and personal leanings that make individuals ideally suited to different roles.

How they use their abilities in service to others will depend on whether they’re introverts or extraverts, and what their interests are.

Below are the primary lightworker types you’ll come across, and the roles they play in their community and society as a whole:


When most people think about lightworkers, healers are the first type to come to mind. These nurturing souls are often found in healthcare jobs since their natural healing abilities allow them to work holistically and help others’ bodies, minds, and souls in equal measure.

Your average healer is a big-hearted person who won’t hesitate to ask “how can I help?” to anyone who may need it. Their love language is often “acts of service,” and they can often alleviate pain or sorrow through touch or gentle conversation.

Career paths chosen by healer lightworkers range from nursing and massage therapy to counseling. Some even pursue jobs in hospice care because of the comfort they can provide to the dying and grieving.


Of all the lightworker types, intuitives (aka “seers”) often have the greatest difficulties. While energy healing techniques such as Reiki have gained more respect over the years, seership and psychic abilities are still considered “woo-woo” in most circles.

As a result, lightworkers whose strengths lie in clairvoyance, clairsentience, and the ability to speak with their higher self or spirit guides are usually met with ridicule rather than support. This can be alienating and invalidating, and seers often keep to themselves rather than risk abuse from others.

Those who do choose to interact with the public or use their abilities to help others tend to be clandestine spiritual workers rather than overt ones. For example, instead of coming out publicly as psychics or mediums, they may keep their abilities secret and pursue careers that put these abilities to good use. As you can imagine, being an intuitive can also be invaluable for therapists, chaplains, doctors, and outreach workers.


What is a lightworker empath? It’s someone who can sense other people’s emotions strongly, or who feels others’ emotions as though they were experiencing the other person’s pain (or joy) firsthand.

While this level of empathic connectivity can be immensely beneficial in healing fields, it can also be helpful in other interpersonal fields.

For example, people working in public relations or politics can help to bridge potentially volatile gaps by sincerely connecting with each party involved. This can make them invaluable assets in HR, and in international relations that require finesse and compromise.


Some lightworkers are entirely devoted to activating other people’s spiritual awakening. Extraverted types may hold workshops, retreats, or circles in which participants can have intense-but-safe experiences, like Ayahuasca ceremonies.

In contrast, introverted activators may create breathtaking works of art, music, or literature that “trigger” a satori-type of mystical understanding and illumination.

Note that activators don’t take direct action toward others’ awakening, but rather offer the tools for them to experience it themselves.


While activators take a passive role in helping others with ascension, teachers are far more hands-on. They may pursue careers in academia—particularly in fields such as psychology, theology, and philosophy—so they can pass ideas and knowledge on to others.

Similarly, if they’re artistically inclined, they’ll show others specific techniques for using different media to get ideal results and evoke responses in those who see or listen to their creations.

Earth Stewards

Earth steward lightworkers can be either introverted or extraverted, and how they put their abilities to use will often follow their natural inclinations. For example, quieter types who have a strong affinity with nature spirits may follow earth-based religions like Druidry, and pursue work that restores ecosystems, or uses herbs and other plants to heal others.

In contrast, extraverted earth stewards may pursue careers in eco stewardship. They may take part in shoreline cleanups and Greenpeace missions, or get involved in environmental law to defend waterways or old-growth forest, depending on their individual leanings.

The one thing that all earth steward lightworkers have in common is a desire to care for the natural world above all else.

Light Warriors

If any lightworker embodies the concept of the “warrior angel,” it’s this type. They’re often strong, extraverted, and fiercely devoted to making real change happen in the world.

Some may be advocates for social justice and change, and either go to law school to defend those in need or take an active role in politics. Others may work behind the scenes to support people in the public sector, and will work tirelessly to help the causes they feel strongly about.

You’ll also find light warriors in the armed forces or as independent fighters, devoted to helping those who are vulnerable or subjugated. Some may risk their lives to defend endangered wildlife from poachers, while others will storm compounds to free victims of human trafficking.

Light warriors step in when strength and action are needed, and may even sacrifice themselves to save others if needed.


Whereas light warriors devote most of their time and energy to being soldiers and guardians, responders are those who leap into action when needed. They may have regular jobs and pursuits like anyone else, and wouldn’t be labeled as particularly empathic or psychic by anyone who knows them, but if they witness an accident, or if a natural disaster occurs, they’re first on the scene to lend a hand.

Some may choose to make vocations out of this leaning and choose careers as firefighters or paramedics, but they’re just as likely to be librarians who do search-and-rescue volunteer work, or homemakers who’ll make endless sandwiches and pots of coffee in an emergency situation.

The Struggles Lightworkers Face

Now that we’ve established the meaning of lightworkers and the various lightworker characteristics, we can also touch upon the difficulties that many of them face.

You may experience some of these at some point, so it’s important to be able to recognize and treat them accordingly when and if they arise.


Depletion, aka “lightworker depression,” is common to healers, empaths, and teachers, as they channel energy through their own bodies to heal or enlighten others, which can be utterly exhausting.

Many go beyond their natural limits because they want to help others so much, but this often comes at a cost to their own wellbeing.

This is especially true for those who seem to be addicted to helping people. They’ll perpetually put others’ needs ahead of their own, regardless of how much it drains or even damages them.

Some will keep caring for and trying to heal others until they have nervous breakdowns or develop health issues that prevent them from being able to do anything for anyone else.


It’s often difficult for lightworkers to relate to others, especially “normal” folks who don’t share (or even understand) their abilities. They may have had to hide their natural abilities because of other people’s misunderstanding or skepticism.

Some may have even learned to stay quiet about what they hear, see, or feel so they don’t end up forcibly committed to a psychiatric ward by those who don’t believe in their lightworker gifts.

Additionally, many lightworkers have a deep-seated yearning to go “home.” They don’t feel as though they belong here on this planet, and ache to return to the oneness of the universe where they won’t feel trapped in a body, or subject to societal expectations that make no sense to them.

Emotional or psychic overload

This is common with empaths, but it is one of the lightworker struggles that can affect any type equally. It’s a type of overstimulation that can reduce their ability to function, or even cause breakdowns.

The physical equivalent to this would be similar to a parent who’s “touched-out” by having small children paw at them or chew on them nonstop for days at a time. Everything simply becomes too much, and they need to withdraw into silence and solitude to recharge.

Feeling directionless

Many lightworkers—especially those who aren’t yet aware of what they are—can experience a sense of feeling lost, or uncertain as to what path to take in life. They can feel that they have a higher purpose or divine calling of some sort, but they don’t know what to do about it.

This is especially true for those who may have a wide range of abilities and interests and thus have difficulty picking a lane.


Since lightworkers are so devoted to making the world a better place and alleviating others’ suffering, they can end up feeling hopelessness and despair at their inability to make everything better for everyone.

Many end up feeling as though anything they do is pointless since nothing they do will make much of a difference.

They often forget that every small action causes great waves of positivity that can lead to great transformation down the line, in those they’ll never meet firsthand.

As such, they may withdraw into themselves and be overcome with depression and a sense of personal impotence.

How To Handle Being A Lightworker

If you recognize various aspects of yourself in this article, you may be thinking “Okay, I’m a lightworker – now what?”

It’s well and good to come to terms with one’s natural abilities, and another to figure out what to do about it. Here are some tips to help you navigate your gifts and life with them.

Find the path that works best for you

While some people are naturally inclined toward spiritual lightworker healing or counseling, that path isn’t going to be a solid fit for every individual.

If you feel that you want to help people, determine what you would feel most comfortable doing.

Are you okay with hands-on work like massage therapy or in-person counseling? Or would you rather write articles or record guided meditations so people can help themselves?

Perhaps you don’t want to work with people at all but would rather become a canine herbalist or eco steward. Find your passion and then figure out the route that can take you where you want to go.

Make self-care and self-love a priority

Since lightworkers get overwhelmed and burned out more easily than regular folks, it’s vital to prioritize self-care whenever possible.

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to self-care that’ll work for everyone, so you’ll need to determine where your weak spots are, how to strengthen them, and what you need to recover from overstimulation, etc.

For example, learn to read your body’s signals when it’s telling you that it’s feeling overwhelmed, and have a calm, safe space to retreat to for rejuvenation. If you find certain scents relaxing, have candles or essential oil diffusers in that space. Add soft lighting, soft blankets, and a drawer or box full of snacks to balance your blood sugar and ground you.

Get as much sleep as you need, stay hydrated, and don’t hesitate to say “no” if you don’t have the energy to do something.

Talk to others of like mind and ability

It can be very alienating to be the only lightworker in your friend or family circle. They may not understand—or even believe in—your abilities, and may even go so far as to imply that there’s something wrong with you if you think you’re an energy healer or empathic enough to communicate with animals and nonverbal people.

The key to staying sane and stable in situations like this is to find others like yourself and make a point of communicating with them regularly.

If there are other lightworkers in your area, see if you can get together once a month (at least) for conversation and support. Alternatively, if you’re in a small town or far away from any other lightworkers, join online groups where you can connect with other people like yourself.

You’ll be amazed at how validating this can be, as well as how much you can learn from one another.

Do regular journaling or meditation

Journaling and meditation can both be immensely helpful ways to deal with the emotional and mental rollercoaster that being a lightworker can cause. Whichever you choose, adapt it to your personality rather than trying to force a particular type of habit.

For example, one person may like a guided meditation with music, while another revels in complete silence. Similarly, you may like to journal about gratitude and the positive experiences you have as a lightworker, while one of your peers may use their journal as a means of venting all their frustrations.

Whichever paths you choose, aim to make this a regular practice, such as 20 minutes every evening, or every Saturday afternoon.

Famous Lightworkers

Although they may not have been labeled as such, many of the world’s most beloved and respected figures—both past and present—have been lightworkers. In fact, you may already be drawn to or inspired by them without even realizing that they mirrored traits that you embody as well. Some of the most famous ones include:

  • Florence Nightingale: This perfect example of a “healer” lightworker, she was devoted to nursing the sick and wounded, and working toward healthcare reform.
  • Pema Chödrön: A “teacher” type lightworker who teaches others how to live with uncertainty and despair. She has written over 20 books to help others embrace their spirituality and hosts retreats for seekers despite her advanced age.
  • Alex Grey: An “activator” lightworker type who aims to aid others toward spiritual or conscious awakening and ascension through his paintings.
  • Julia Butterfly Hill: This devoted “earth steward” lived in a thousand-year-old California redwood tree for 738 days to prevent it from being cut down by loggers.
  • Nadia Murad: A “light warrior” Iraqi Yazidi human rights activist, Nadia has dedicated her life to fighting against human trafficking, and supporting genocide survivors.

In addition to those mentioned above, many beings who set the foundation for various religions, as well as prominent spiritual practitioners, would be considered lightworkers. These include Yeshua (Jesus), Buddha, Mani, Guru Nanak, and so on.

The Difference Between Light Work And Shadow Work

Many believe that the opposite of lightwork is shadow work, and that if lightwork is all about love and compassion, then shadow work must be evil and cruel.

This couldn’t be further from the truth.

While lightworkers focus on rekindling people’s light and helping them find joy and purpose in their lives, shadow workers help people deal with the darker, more painful aspects of themselves that they may have repressed and hidden away (in the shadows, if you will).

They provide safe spaces for people to bring forth ugly old wounds and traumas so that they can be healed, or help people get over addictions or self-harming behaviors.

Shadow work is more difficult than light work, but its results can bring immense growth and catharsis. In fact, these two approaches to healing and unity generally incorporate aspects of one another.

Think about the yin-yang symbol: there’s no light without shadow, and both have to exist to create balance. A person who focuses entirely on light and love may end up having a nervous breakdown because they haven’t addressed the deep wounds festering in their repressed past.

Similarly, someone who’s totally fixated on self-help books and drawing forth their inner shadow may end up seriously depressed because they’re not delving into happiness and interconnectedness the way they could. As with all things, balance is key, and walking the middle road is the best way to achieve it.

A Final Word

Now that you know what it means to be a lightworker, do you recognize yourself in any of the descriptions mentioned in this article?

If so, there’s a good chance that you’re either a lightworker already, or have the capacity to become one.

As such, you can determine whether you’ll use your abilities for personal enlightenment, or in service to others.

Do you find that you’re happier working with plants and animals than humans? And are you more inclined toward seeking wisdom and inner peace? Or serving the collective consciousness by healing people?

No matter what type of lightworker you are, there’s a path that’s ideal for you. Remember that there’s no “right” or “wrong” approach here, nor is there any shame in using your abilities for self-growth. You are a catalyst for enlightenment and transformation simply by existing, and that’s an amazing, sacred gift to the world.

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About The Author

Catherine Winter is an herbalist, INTJ empath, narcissistic abuse survivor, and PTSD warrior currently based in Quebec's Laurentian mountains. In an informal role as confidant and guide, Catherine has helped countless people work through difficult times in their lives and relationships, including divorce, ageing and death journeys, grief, abuse, and trauma recovery, as they navigate their individual paths towards healing and personal peace.