Tarot and shadow work: Suppose you pay attention to what is said in new-age communities or those in healing professions. In that case, you may have heard the term “shadow work” a lot, and many healers and other practitioners talk about it a lot, and they talk about how they went through it themselves to transform. However, you may not understand why so many throw the term “shadow work” around. So let’s begin to delve into the meaning of it and why it is essential for those who have been through trauma to go through it.
What Is Shadow Work?
The term shadow work means that you are tapping into your subconscious mind to uncover the trauma you suppressed for a long time. Shadow work also counts for revealing aspects of your personality that you hide because you find them undesirable. As you can imagine, shadow work is not fun as it can bring out emotions you did not want to face or think you had within, but once you do it, you will find it healing.
You often engage in unhealthy and destructive behaviors such as overeating, drinking, spending, and so on because of hiding aspects of yourself that you do not want to come to terms with. Still, when you do the shadow work and uncover those issues you tried to suppress for so long, you will get healthier and break those habits.
When doing shadow work, you need to work with a therapist or a coach to uncover those aspects of yourself that you suppressed for so long. You can also do some meditation and journaling for release, and other tools can help you with your shadow work, such as tarot.
Can You Use Tarot For Shadow Work?
Yes, you can use tarot for shadow work! However, it is recommended that you work with a therapist to get help if you are dealing with an emotional crisis while undergoing shadow work. However, tarot is extremely helpful in bringing you the extra insight you need as you go through it, as tarot complements therapy. Tarot, as you know, is an excellent tool for self-reflection.
Now that you know that you can use tarot for shadow work, and if you enjoy working with the tarot, you can make shadow work somewhat easier in between the times of meeting your coach or therapist. The tarot will also help you discover the light within you, as that is what you do when you do shadow work.
What Does The Light And Shadow Mean In Tarot?
All the light and shadow in tarot means that you are discovering the light and shadow parts of yourself as you use tarot for self-reflection and shadow work. Any tarot deck can work for this, but one particular deck you may find helpful is The Tarot of Light and Shadow. The shadow deck gives you the insight you need into your inner world or your subconscious, which you have not released into your consciousness. The light deck shows everything in your conscious and your rational mind. That particular deck can be beneficial for shadow work. However, any deck will do as well.
How Do You Use The Tarot For Shadow Work?
Using the tarot for shadow work involves using a dedicated spread to become enlightened as you do shadow work. Days Inspired has an excellent shadow work spread that I will share now. A tremendous five-card tarot spread can help you with your shadow work. You will take card one, which goes in the middle, and card two, beneath card one. Card three is above card one, card four is on the left of card one, and card five is on the right of card one.
Now, let’s talk about what each of the cards represents in this spread, as card one is there to identify a shadow issue you know you have.
Then card two reveals why you are holding onto your shadow issue.
Next, card three shows the brutal truth about your shadow trait, card four shows how you can practically work to heal your shadow trait, and card five reveals how you can take the best care of yourself when you do your shadow work.
There is no question that this is a painful spread, but as it is said, the truth hurts, and this is no exception. Let’s now do a sample reading for a querent who is working through her demons with therapy, and let’s go and see how she can keep up with her healing journey and how she is affected as she goes through it.
Sample Shadow Work Tarot Reading
Here is a woman named Nicole who has been an emotional overeater because she endured a lot of trauma in her childhood involving bullying and harshly critical parents who expected too much from her. Nicole has not had much success in adulthood as she works for minimum wage cleaning tables and lives alone in a small apartment in a poor neighborhood.
Nicole knew it was time to start dealing with her trauma from her past when she had her medical checkup that showed that not only was she 100 lbs overweight but tested positive for diabetes. Her lifestyle was poor because she turned to food for comfort and to push down the trauma she did not want to face.
However, Nicole is in therapy and starting to lose some weight as she digs deep into her childhood wounds, which is very painful. But she has a long way to go regarding healing. So, I decided to do a shadow work tarot reading for Nicole. Here is what presented itself.
Card one shows Nicole’s shadow trait: Star reversed.
Card two shows why Nicole has held onto the shadow trait: Five of Swords.
Card three indicates the hard truth of Nicole’s shadow trait: Page of Pentacles.
Card four indicates how Nicole can work to heal her shadow trait in a practical manner: Knight of Cups.
Card five shows how Nicole can take the best care of herself as she does her shadow work: Judgment.
Let’s pick Nicole’s reading apart.
Card one shows Nicole’s shadow trait, and Star reversed comes up, which represents that she has lost hope for anything positive to happen to her. Considering her history, it is unsurprising that she would not have much hope for the future. She lost hope during childhood that anything would improve because she never had true acceptance from anyone, including her parents. Nicole never believed in herself, so she never felt she had any success in her adulthood.
And this will lead to card two, indicating why Nicole had held onto her shadow trait, which happens to be the Five of Swords.
The Five of Swords indicates that Nicole feels defeated, and since she feels defeated, she will sabotage herself as she comforts herself with food, so she does not have to face the painful past that she has. When you are feeling defeated and you have no hope for anything better to improve, like Nicole, you will not have the motivation to improve yourself and find a reason to be optimistic.
Now, look at card three, the hard truth about Nicole’s shadow trait, and the Page of Pentacles comes up. This card represents a hardworking and studious student. However, the shadow trait of this card, which will sometimes show up in reverse, is losing motivation, procrastination, and laziness, which represents how she has been until her doctor’s appointment.
The hard truth about her trait is now she sees that her actions have been ruining her, hence her obesity and diabetes diagnosis. She has no choice but to be kicked into action to begin working hard to address her issues. The only way she can become healthier physically and mentally is if she does her shadow work, which will require hard work, which means she will have to feel the distressing emotions as they emerge.
Card four represents what practical applications Nicole can use to heal from her past as she does her shadow work and the Knight of Cups comes up, which is an imaginative and visualizing card. She can do envisioning exercises, one aspect of the Law of Attraction and manifestation that is important to grasp. Visualizing and believing in yourself can manifest what you want quicker. Therefore, if Nicole envisions herself in better health as she does her shadow work religiously, she will attain better health.
Finally, the fifth card shows how Nicole can better care of herself as she does her shadow work, and Judgment comes up. Therefore, as Nicole is evolving into a better version of herself as she works on herself and sees herself as a work in progress, she will want to refrain from judging herself too harshly as she does her work. She could become overly critical of how she handled her trauma as she soothed herself with food for so many years as she made progress. She will want to refrain from that, which will also help her become a renewed version of herself as she looks at herself with compassion and love through her work.
As you can see, this shadow work spread will reveal the truth about your shadow trait and how you can take the best care of yourself as you work through it. Always be kind to yourself as you do this difficult work.