This is a part of the Shadow Work for Law of Attraction Series:
Tarot reading can be an important tool for self-growth if applied for shadow work. I know that I used to be afraid of negative tarot messages, until I realized that the most opportunity and growth lay directly on the other side of these messages.
Shadow work blocks manifestation because within our subconscious minds, contain blocks that act as opposing forces to what we want. When we identify and heal the shadow, we release resistance.
What Is The Shadow
Shadow work is any exercise of the conscious mind to illuminate the hidden, shadowy sides that we all possess. Our shadow sides can be found in our subconscious minds, and they are stories we’ve collected- beliefs about how the world works that we have hidden from ourselves.
These aspects of us become hidden for many reasons, but often our conscious minds choose to suppress or repress certain aspects of us to protect us. If we do something that is met with intense disapproval, experience trauma, hurt, or abuse, chances are we have fragmented parts of our consciousness.
How Can Shadow Work Help?
Often times, our shadow will manifest as blocks or resistances as we try to manifest things in our lives. We may sit there wondering why we can’t lose the weight, get the job, or reunite with that loved one, but we find intense emotional resistance at the thought of going on a diet, going for the interview, or calling them up.
Why is this? The shadow. Within our subconscious minds, there may be a part of us that is actively trying to stop us from getting what our conscious minds want. Why would it do that? Because it has a good reason.
Shadow Work Blocks Manifestation
Oftentimes, what seems like self sabotage or emotional resistance is actually something that really needs to be looked at within ourselves. We may find resistance to the diet because we want to store more fat to feel safe and protected. We may find there to be an intense fear of failure so we avoid the interview. Maybe we can’t call them up because they remind us of an abusive caretaker in our past.
The reasons can go on and on, but the point is, oftentimes we have forces within us that are pointing in opposite directions that we aren’t even aware of. When we decide to look at all parts of us, not just what we are aware of on the day to day, we can start seeing the unconscious motivations behind actions that previously made no sense to us. This is the purpose of shadow work.
Shadow Work As Tarot
Tarot is illuminating because the deck will always contain major patterns that play out through most people’s lives. These are, as Carl Jung called them, collective conscious archetypes. Collective consciousness is the collection of the collective human experience that we all carry within our unconscious minds.
Archetypes are common thematic patterns within the human experience. We all know them because they’re so shared by everyone. There’s the underdog story, the hero’s tale, the good guy/bad guy dynamic, etc.
Tarot is the collection of these positive and negative underlying threads of the human experience. This combined with energy and intuition manifests some very enlightening cards that can help you understand your current situation very well.
How To Do Shadow Tarot Work
Shadow tarot work is naturally done when a tarot reader decides to reverse some cards in the deck. Reversed cards symbolize the opposite of whatever the unreversed card would be. An easy example is Strength, which symbolizes…strength. The reversed Strength card would symbolize some sort of weakness within whatever situation you are asking about.
All Reversed Deck
If you want an all shadow work reading, you can draw tarot cards like you normally would do, but instead read all of them as reversed.
The Celtic cross spread contains some aspects of shadow work. You can use the past influences, obstacles, and your inner state of mind parts of the Celtic Cross spread to gain insight on blocks.
Past, Present, And Future
You can use the past, present, and future spread in order to gain insight on past, present, and future blocks.
Clear Out The Energies In Your Room
I find that clearing out any energies will always make readings a little sharper. This can be done with sage, black salt, smudge spray, or any other way you like to usually cleanse energies. You can also cleanse your deck at the same time.
Clear Your Mind
This can be done by taking a few deep breaths or doing a meditation. You can channel your intention for the reading to illuminate any subconcious patterns.
Invoke Your Guiding Forces
These can be your spirit guides, your intuition, whatever you use to read tarot with. Many tarot readers have special invocations they use in order to ask for the help of spirit guides, angels, goddesses, etc. Here is one that I use for shadow work:
May the cards illuminate so that I clearly see the shadow/resistance to (this situation)
Shuffle Your Cards
Do this as you would do for a normal reading, but keep your focus on the shadow aspects. Keep your intention on illuminating any subconscious patterns you may not be aware of.
Draw Your Cards
Draw whatever you are guided to. Sometimes people like to pick the cards that fall or stick out. Everyone has their own style.
Interpreting Your Cards
There are many websites online explaining the meanings and the reversed meanings of cards. When you are starting out with shadow reading, it may be a good idea to look up the reversed meanings if you are not sure. Gradually you will become more aware of the archetypes surrounding each reversed card and weave the stories of the card spread without any external help.
Doing Shadow Work Based On Your Interpretations
This is the fun/not so fun part. Now that you have recognized these patterns that you were not previously aware of, you can begin to dive in to them. I have a guide on shadow work here, but the basic premise of shadow work is to first, acknowledge your shadow, and then let it go. Obviously letting go does not mean pretending the shadow isn’t there- you just made these realizations that it is there so you can’t push them under the rug now. Acknowledge your shadow and surrender to it.
I have a guide to quick releasing here: