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What Can We See In the Absence Of Light?


“I embrace my shadow self. Shadows give depth and dimension to my life. I believe in embracing my duality, in learning to let darkness and light, peacefully co-exist, as illumination.”

― Jaeda DeWalt


My granddaughter is two years old and is having a fun time playing with shadows at the moment, she is quite fascinated with them.


A bedtime game is to make shapes with her hands on the ceiling, one minute a rabbit, the next a bird; the soft lamplight next to her bed holds the key to a whole menagerie of shadowed animals. Another game she has is to try to side step her black silhouette and she is discovering that it is impossible to run away from it unless, of course, there is no light. It is very comical to watch and the metaphor of not being able to lose our shadow is not lost on me!


There is a shadow lurking in everyone’s life. A fathomless darkness that is a home for our inner trials and conflicts.


All that is repressed within becomes a cavalcade of archetypes that dwell quite happily in our internal landscape. Our skills and talents that have not seen the light of day, percolate beneath the surface feeding the underdeveloped personality with fantasy. Yet those lost aspects of self want to be a part of a waking consciousness.


The shadow is the martyr, the victim, the saboteur, masochist, sadist, addict, tyrant and more.


Oddly, we can see that to some degree these archetypes can be the best bit of ourselves. They are honest; their truth lies in their potentiality for self-realisation and the subsequent evolution that will come as a result from hanging out with one of these unlikely inner characters. Accepting that we are both light and dark, accepting our dual nature is a step towards wholeness. We begin to realise that the shadow is but light waiting to be illuminated. Working with Tarot can be so rewarding when doing the self discovery bit. The 22 Major Arcana cards are a navigation device for the demographic populace of our psyche.


I have never truly gone for reading reversals in a session.


I might explore them for my own personal reasons but I do think that a successful consultation will examine the contours of each card and include the less shiny aspects as a whole context. Reading upside down cards can actually be very limiting. That said, I am hoping to work with the shadow more fully over the next few months, not just for myself but with clients and in class. My sense is that following on from the intensities of 2020 we will require to have more than an abstract view, especially as Tarot sensitives, of the shadow and as opposed to running from the obscure abyss, we embrace a new found luminosity.


Our shadow is as much a part of our interdependence as our need to take care of each other and our own self.


The shadow exists in the collective, in the culture and in humanity itself. The best place to start is with the self and this is where the true healing begins. In this instance healing means restoring and harmonising the soul.


To Prepare:


When working with shadow, we need to know we are safe. Set your intention in your journal or your vision board (these are very useful visuals that you create for perspective and clarity.)


Contemplate your stuff and how you express it. You could say, ‘I feel so down.’ Instead you could put it like this, ‘I feel low, but this too will pass.’ Whilst it is important to recognise your emotions and feelings it is also important not to set them in stone.


Creating a personal zone.


Pick a time and a place, usually within your home (a place of nature can be good too.) Let it be somewhere you will not be disturbed. Make a little altar dedicated to this work. It can be a kitchen cupboard, shelf or corner, it does not have to be lavish. Altars provide reminders of our innermost self, beliefs and ideas. It should be personal and reflect your individuality, experiences and in this case, your shadow. It will assist you to evolve beyond your deepest angst and rawness. Allow it to be creative, it must speak to you.


In the time you give to this, be gentle with yourself and treat the moment with respect and be grateful for the opportunity to grow.


Draw a card.


This card suggests that which is emerging from the hidden depths, it shows what is longing for illumination.

Write down in your journal your keywords that you usually work with. Then, jot down what you would consider to be the shadow or undignified elements of the card. Ponder them, be aware of your feelings and impressions. This done, you can now look at the gifts from the shadow aspects of the card. This is what will be realised for you from your work with the card. See how things shift in you, what seems to feel better or lighter and observe if this changes anything in around you. Your interactions with people and places in particular.


An example might be, The Devil card, I picked this because it is an obvious one when discussing the shadow. All that out of balance ego, repressed experiences and desires!


The Devil’s shadow:


Chained to fear and insecurities.

Inability to love self.

Love of materiality.

Bondage to habits and addictions.

Power issues.

Repressed sexuality.

Too serious and funless.

Aggressive and bullying.

You might think of more, make bullet points that are easy to understand.


Gifts of the Devil in shadow:


Liberation from fear.

Realisation leading to compassion.

Recognising your own negative inner dialogue.

Learning to love yourself.

Expressing sexuality with honesty and joy.

Being able to grow.

Creating opportunities for fun and play.

Expressing freewill and choice.




Here is a mini spread that will inspire your inner work and how you can pay it all forward.

  1. What is my potential?

  2. What are my gifts?

  3. The end of the cycle.

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