Shadow work allows you to explore all aspects of yourself and develop an understanding of your hidden fears, emotions, and anxieties. But if you are new to shadow work, it may seem a little bit daunting! Thankfully, a shadow work Tarot spread provides a simple way to explore your shadow side.
Firstly, let’s quickly clarify what shadow work actually is. It is the idea that we have a shadow self which is made up of our repressed fears and emotions. Anything we don’t view as suitable for wider society, or anything we are ashamed of, is repressed. However, this is kind of counterproductive. These feelings are still there, and they can hold us back! So, by doing shadow work and facing what we have repressed, we can embrace our true selves and grow.
Free Shadow Work Tarot Spread
If you’d like help, I can do a free Tarot reading on your behalf within an hour. Not just a couple of cards and their meanings but an actual spread to give you some insight into your shadow work and what it can unlock for you.
How to Perform a Shadow Work Tarot Spread
A simple six-card spread can allow you to explore your shadow side. This is a pretty general spread, perfect if you are new to shadow work. By reflecting on different aspects of your shadow side, you are able to gain clarity and understanding. The first three cards reflect your shadow self. The fourth and fifth cards represent how your shadow self affects your life, with the last card giving you advice from the universe.
Before performing the spread, take a moment to center yourself with the deck. Acknowledge your intent, shuffle, then pull the six cards.
Card 1: Shadow Fears
The first card pulled represents your repressed fears. We begin with this card as these fears are a huge part of our shadow self. We can discover how they hold us back in life by acknowledging them.
Acknowledging our fears can be scary, but it is the first step towards a healthy relationship with our shadow self. The card pulled in this position may be pretty obvious, but you may need to meditate and reflect on it for a while before moving on to the next card.
Card 2: Shadow Beliefs
The second card pulled represents your shadow beliefs. Shadow beliefs may be about yourself, other people, or the world around you. It may reflect anxieties about your life or prejudices towards others.
Remember, these are beliefs that you are repressing. You may be surprised at what comes up here, but it is important to embrace what the Tarot is telling you.
Card 3: Shadow Wishes
Just like fears and beliefs, we will often repress our wishes. This may be because we think they are not suitable for the kind of person we are, or we may believe our friends and family will judge us for these wishes.
The third card will reveal these wishes to you. It may be obvious what this card represents. However, you may need to spend a moment reflecting on your shadow wishes.
Card 4: Effect on You
Now we move to the two cards that reflect how your shadow self affects your life. The fourth card pulled represents how the repression of the fears, beliefs, and wishes discovered in the previous card holds you back.
It may reveal behavior or attitudes that come from repressing your shadow self and how they affect your journey forward in life.
Card 5: Effect on Others
The fifth card represents how your shadow self affects others. As our shadow self contains our repressed emotions, it has an impact on our behavior with others. Jealousy and fears regarding others can still be bubbling away, even if we try to keep them to our shadow self!
It is useful to reflect on the first three cards and make connections between them and cards four and five. This will allow you to gain an in-depth understanding of your shadow self.
Card 6: Advice
The last card pulled in this shadow work Tarot spread, represents advice from the universe regarding your shadow self.
It will show you what steps you can begin taking in order to address, acknowledge, and embrace your shadow self. This will ultimately allow you to live in harmony with the issues raised in the previous cards.
(Optional) Card 7: Clarity
You can pull an optional final card for clarity if something specific has come up during your spread. Just be clear about what you want to clarify before pulling the card, and keep it focused on your shadow work and nothing too personal.
If your clarifying cards get too broad or off-topic, then you should do a separate tarot spread afterward.
Asking the Tarot: What am I Repressing in My Shadow Self?
Another way we can approach shadow work with Tarot is to ask a question and draw one or two cards. This is not as specific as the previous six-card spread, yet, it is sometimes more effective.
Ask the Tarot, ‘what am I repressing in my shadow self?’ and draw a card. Meditate on this card, and listen to your intuition. If you need to, draw another card.
Simple Three-Card Shadow Work Tarot Spread
The three-card reading is also an option if you want a quick and simple spread. This gives an accurate answer, but I’ll leave it to you to decide how deep you want to go on your journey.
You can extend this reading to four cards with an additional qualifying card, but if it isn’t painting a clear path for you, I’d suggest taking the time with the complete spread.
Important Cards for Shadow Work
When performing your shadow work Tarot spread, it is useful to keep an eye out for specific cards. The meanings of these cards are strongly linked to shadow work, and therefore are big signs in this kind of spread!
The Hermit represents soul-searching and enlightenment. It reminds us of the importance of turning inward and learning from introspection.
If the Hermit appears in a shadow work Tarot spread, it is a positive sign that you are moving in the right direction in regard to your shadow self. You are developing self-awareness and understanding.
The Tower is an extremely interesting card, one that is both respected and feared by many Tarot readers. It represents total destruction, with beliefs shattered and major changes on the horizon.
If the Tower appears in a shadow work Tarot spread, it may feel pretty scary! However, it shows you that you are in a strong position to face your shadow side and embrace the issues that are raised in shadow work.
Shadow work can bring up a lot of emotions and questions. Because of this, it is useful to turn to other spreads when you have finished your shadow work Tarot spread.
If you feel anxious and upset about what your shadow work has revealed, turn to a self love Tarot spread to remind yourself of how great you are! Remember, your shadow self is not totally who you are, merely a part of your complex personality.