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I am not going to lie. The term shadow work did scare me at first. I would see blog posts about it, and I never really understood what it meant. However, I have recently begun my journey with shadow work. So, I thought I would write a shadow work Tarot spread guide!
These Tarot spreads are designed to explore your shadow side and figure out how to work through any issues it reveals. I will use the Modern Witch Tarot deck in this guide, but you can use any deck you want!
Shadow Work Tarot Spreads Up Front
Shadow work Tarot spreads are used to explore your ‘shadow side.’ These are things you might be repressing, such as fears and anxieties.
My favorite shadow work, Tarot spread, is the five-card spread for personal development. It is an excellent way of working through the different aspects of your shadow self that might be holding you back.
I have also included a simple three-card Tarot spread for shadow work and a shadow work Tarot spread for interpersonal relationships. Our shadow side can impact how we interact with other people in our lives. So, it can be super useful to understand how our repressed traits and emotions affect our interpersonal relationships!
What Is Shadow Work?
Before diving into the spreads, we need to understand what shadow work is. The psychologist Carl Jung developed the theory of our shadow self. He believed that our shadow self includes aspects of our personality that we may be embarrassed or ashamed about. They may be things that we may feel are not socially acceptable.
Shadow work allows us to delve deep into our shadow self, understanding what repressed emotions and fears might be holding us back. With shadow work, we tap into our unconscious mind. By doing so, we can become self-aware of our thoughts and behavior.
Shadow work allows us to embrace and acknowledge all aspects of our personality. This helps us grow both emotionally and spiritually.
Three-card Shadow Work Tarot Spread
I want to begin with a three-card shadow work Tarot spread. This is the perfect spread if you are new to shadow work. It is designed to be simple yet effective, identifying one aspect of your shadow self that needs to be addressed.
The three cards pulled in this spread refer to:
- Card one: What am I repressing in my shadow self?
- Card two: How does this affect my life?
- Card three: How can I deal with this?
Let’s look at an example reading to help us get to grips with this spread.
What am I Repressing in my Shadow Self?
The first card pulled highlights anything you may be repressing in your shadow self. It will reflect hidden traits, beliefs, and fears that you need to address.
I pulled the Two of Swords for this card. This is a card that reflects difficult decisions and avoidance. When it pops up in a reading, it is usually because you are trying to avoid making a choice. Take a look at the card. The person is blindfolded, unaware of their true circumstances. But, can they take the blindfold off?
So, what does the Two of Swords mean for our shadow self? Well, it clearly shows a tendency to avoid certain things. It suggests that I am hesitant in making decisions and taking action. Could this be based on fear?
How Does this Affect my Life?
The second card pulled shows us how our shadow self affects our lives. In this reading, I received the Eight of Wands. The Eight of Wands reflects a time of movement and progression. It will appear when you are full of energy and action!
This card follows on from the Two of Swords. It tells us that my shadow self makes me scared and anxious when it comes to decisions. But, this affects my life as it means that I cannot progress.
How can I Deal With this?
The third card pulled is an advice card. It shows you how you can deal with the aspects of your shadow self that is affecting you.
I received the Hierophant for this position. The Hierophant is the fifth card of the Major Arcana and reflects tradition and leadership. It is also known as the Pope or the High Priest and reflects spiritual convention and conformity.
So, what can this mean regarding my shadow self?
The Hierophant will often tell us to seek spiritual knowledge and enlightenment from those in a position of authority. I believe it to be telling me to look at spiritual leaders and those more experienced in shadow work than I am. By getting advice and understanding from them, I can work on my shadow self.
Five-card Shadow Work Tarot Spread for Personal Development
We mainly work with our shadow selves to enhance our personal development. By understanding our negative traits and thoughts, we can work with them to better ourselves.
So, this five-card shadow work Tarot spread is designed for us to pinpoint the different aspects of our shadow self. We can then learn what we should do to work on our personal growth.
The five cards pulled in this spread refer to:
- Card one: Deepest fears
- Card two: Deepest wishes
- Card three: Negative traits
- Card four: Negative beliefs
- Card five: Advice from the universe
Let’s look at an example reading to understand this spread a little better. I will pick five cards for myself and look at what the Tarot is telling me!
The first card pulled reflects your deepest, darkest fears. This card may be pretty obvious, but you might need to meditate on it for a while to understand what the Tarot is telling you.
For this card, I pulled the Four of Cups. This card reflects boredom and dissatisfaction, representing a time of apathy and pessimism. I related to this card in this position. One of my biggest fears in life is boredom. I know that life can be fleeting, and I want to experience all I can before I die.
So, what can we learn from this card in this position? Well, the Tarot is telling me that I must be aware of this deep fear. I must always remember to push myself forward, follow my dreams, and try out new things.
The second card pulled reflects your deepest wishes. Again, you probably know your deepest desires, but this card will allow you to understand them better. Our shadow self may repress our deepest wishes if we believe society and our loved ones might judge them.
I received the World for this card. A card all about accomplishment and fulfillment, I think it is pretty obvious in this position! I am a passionate, hardworking person and want to achieve so much in my life.
The third card pulled reveals the negative traits that come from our shadow self. Our shadow self includes anxieties and fears that will manifest in our behavior. However, we may not be sure about the behavior’s root. This card allows us to understand how our shadow self affects our day-to-day lives.
I received the Five of Wands for this card. This is a card that represents conflict and disagreements. It is in the Suit of Wands, so we know that this conflict is linked to passion and fire. It reflects us being steadfast and non-moving regarding our inherent beliefs.
So, what can I learn about my shadow self?
My shadow self has traits that cause me to be defensive and argumentative. I do relate to the card. I am super passionate about my beliefs, especially regarding politics. But, could this reveal an unhelpful part of my shadow self? Am I too stubborn? Does this ultimately harm my connections with those around me?
The fourth card pulled reveals our negative beliefs. They can be about us or the world around us. Our shadow self includes prejudices and anxieties, and this card usually reflects these.
The Five of Pentacles was pulled for this card. This card reflects a time of financial woe and suffering. It will usually pop up when we have hit hard times and are struggling for money.
I understood this card in this position, and I thought it was pretty interesting how it popped up right now. I am the worst when it comes to money guilt and always feel bad when I spend large amounts of money! Even though I work hard to earn money, I always have a voice at the back of my mind telling me I need to save it all.
But, this spread reveals to me that my money worries are negatively affecting me. My shadow self has these anxieties that I will end up in the position of the Five of Pentacles. However, the card appearing in this position tells me I need to address these worries. It is okay to spend money I have earned!
Advice From the Universe
The last card pulled reflects any advice from the universe regarding our shadow selves. It usually links back to any previous cards, so it might take a bit of meditation to figure it out!
I received the Hermit in this position. Now, the Hermit is one of the Tarot cards that I like and relate to. It reminds us of the importance of self-reflection and isolation. To figure ourselves out, we must take ourselves away and meditate on who we are in the world.
I believe the advice from the universe to be pretty obvious here! We can understand that the Tarot is telling me to pursue shadow work more, spending time reflecting on my thoughts and feelings.
Four-card Shadow Work Tarot Spread for Interpersonal Relationships
Shadow work is about reflecting on our negative traits and beliefs. Working with our shadow selves will reveal repressed emotions and feelings. Much of the work we can do with our shadow selves is linked to our behavior and actions toward those around us. In understanding what makes us tick, we can figure out how our shadow selves affect our interpersonal relationships.
So, this spread is all about how our shadow selves affect those around us.
The four cards pulled in this spread refer to:
- Card one: What I am afraid of regarding other people
- Card two: Negative ways of communicating
- Card three: Areas of jealousy
- Card four: Ways to move forward
Let’s use an example spread to work through the different meanings of the cards. I will pick four cards for myself and see what they mean!
What I am Afraid of Regarding Other People
The first card reveals any hidden insecurities regarding our interpersonal relationships. It will show us the fears that are deep in our shadow self.
For this card, I pulled the Two of Wands. This is a card all about looking to the future and planning the next step. So, what does it mean in this position?
Well, I believe this card reflects my worry that those around me will always want to move on from me. Regarding romantic relationships, I worry they will quickly get bored of me and look for someone new.
Negative Ways of Communicating
The second card pulled reveals negative ways of communicating we may have. The Devil came out for this card.
The Devil card reflects addiction and material pleasures, so what does it mean in this position? Well, I believe it reflects how I bond with people. I am a bit of a partier and love to meet people this way. However, can I get to know people over drinks and dancing?
Perhaps the Tarot is telling me that my shadow self makes me communicate with people this way. I am scared of truly getting to know them and showing them who I am.
Areas of jealousy
Our jealousy of others is often a big part of our shadow selves. We tend to be a bit ashamed of our jealousy and will try to repress it. However, we cannot pinpoint what we want and crave in life by not genuinely understanding our jealousy.
I received the Queen of Pentacles. A card all about abundance and stability regarding money. I know why this has appeared in this position. I get jealous when people are more successful than me, and I worry about my money’s stability.
Ways to Move Forward
The final card pulled reflects ways to move forward in our interpersonal relationships. It is typically linked to the cards previously pulled and provides advice for us.
I received the Fool for this position. The first card of the Major Arcana, the Fool, reflects new beginnings and taking risks. So, what is the Tarot telling me about my communication with others?
I think back to the first card pulled. My fears when it comes to relationships. Do I need to work on letting loose of these fears and take that leap of faith shown in the Fool?
Shadow Work Tarot Spreads FAQs
Let’s look at some questions you might have about the shadow work Tarot spreads.
Question: Can you do shadow work with Tarot cards?
Answer: Tarot spreads are a great way of working with your shadow self. They allow you to understand the different aspects of your shadow self and provide advice on how to move forward.
Question: How do you do shadow work?
Answer: There are loads of different ways to do shadow work. Tarot spreads are a great place to start, but I advise you to start a shadow work journal. This allows you to use prompts to meditate on and explore your Tarot self.
Question: What is your shadow self?
Answer: Your shadow self refers to hidden aspects of your personality. They are things you may have been repressing because of shame and anxiety.
Explore Your Shadow Self With These Tarot Spreads
Tarot is a great way to get to know your shadow self. Shadow work can help you on your path in life, allowing you to delve into all the different aspects of your personality!
I hope this shadow work Tarot spread guide will help you with your shadow self-journey. Good luck, and remember that your shadow self is a normal part of you! We all have a shadow self, and knowing the different aspects of it allows us to be stronger and more confident in who we are.