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What Is Shadow Work?


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Hey all!

I apologize if this is a newbie question but i have been using tarot for about 5 years and have never tried or even understood what shadow work with Tarot is and how it is done.. could anyone clarify it for me please?  

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Hi @Aldor44. I'm not sure if this is specific enough an answer to your question, but there is a thread here on the forums about Shadow Work/Pathworking/Active Imagination which includes some references to Tarot cards and other online resources. You might find some helpful info there. 🙂

Edited by Starlight
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I guess the link posted by Starlight will be much more thorough. But I have heard of Shadow work via the book by Michael Osiris Snuffin, in a nutshell it is basically an "active imagination" exercise.

 

You visualize the card for a few minutes until you feel ready to recall every single details of the card. Then you close your eyes and see the card with your mind's eyes. Once you get all the details of the cards, you imagine entering the card (any fantasy that works for you, i.e. lifting the corner of the card and entering it, or else...). Then you would let your "imagination" do its job. You can communicate with the characters or let the elements show you what they mean.

 

I do put imagination under brackets as I am not too sure how much is imagination (understood as all the mind), and how much is communication with spirits. On this point, there is a part of the Book of Thoth that is called "Tarot as living beings"...

 

I have done shamanic meditation for a few years, which is very similar, but I have not done any shadow work with Tarot cards. I am planning to do so as the insight gained from shamanic meditation have been impressive and I know that this type of work with the cards can be of immense value.

 

 

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I don't do shadow work with tarot specifically but do in other ways. It's examining the fragmented parts of the psyche and then bringing them back into integration with the whole self as a way to resolve circumstantial drama in your life. Basically when we have these fragments floating around in our energy and we don't understand what they mean or how they got there they continue to activate negative experiences in out life representative of the fragment. In this way we are confronted with our shadows and see them reflected in other people. I have a spirit guide that specifically engages with me when I do this work. He is very good at bringing these parts of the psyche into the light in a very healing and positive way. As he has taught me, when you examine the fragment and then experience it in a loving context, it integrates. When we meet our fragments in outer experience it rarely is in a loving context and often just perpetuates unless it forces a healing crisis.

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In a nutshell shadow work is the work you do to integrate the parts of yourself you don't accept or acknowledge. This shadow self may had it's formation through traumatic experiences/ hard situations in this or other lifetimes (if you believe in that/ and if you do I recomend past lifes tarot spreads, just do it if you're ready tho) and it continue to affect you present without you realizing or knowing how to deal with it. Best way to integrate this parts of yourself is bringing them to light (through questions, meditation and other methods) and learning how to love them, accept them. 

Now I personally do tarot shadow work when it comes to parts that i'm not aware of. Questions to your deck like "what part of myself needs healing", "what part of myself i'm unconsciously denying/ i need to accept?", "what part of myself i need to learn how to love?", "what part of myself most negative affects my life at the moment". You can also ask "how can i accept/love this part" if you're finding it difficult to. For parts that you know but don't accept questions: remember that everything you hate, is afraid, feel ashamed or want to change about yourself is already a part of your shadow self that wasn't healed and you can ask about the origin of these parts in depth to your deck ("why do i react this way in centain situations?", "what made me feel this way about this part of myself?", "what is a health way for me to express this part of myself" and so on). 

Also it helps in the reading seeing the cards as feelings or a person to interprate some of these questions. There's good oracle cards as well that are very good to shadow work.

 

 

 

Edited by Raiane
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