The shadow card functions as a magical tool in your reading. This card shines a light on anything that hiding behind shadows, underlying, unexposed. Using shadow cards is a means of navigating the unknown mindset of your querent.
Using Shadow Cards
Carl Jung referred to our darker sides and ego personalities as ‘shadow’ sides that we hardly ever became conscious of without considerable moral effort.
“Filling the conscious mind with ideal conceptions is a characteristic of Western theosophy, but not the confrontation with the shadow and the world of darkness. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.”
“The Philosophical Tree” (1945). In CW 13: Alchemical Studies. P.335
And that is one of the many beauties of the Tarot, it allows you to explore that which most wishes remain hidden. The Shadow Card illuminates the buried underlying factors and thereby the Tarot empowers you to heal.
Why use a shadow card?
By simply asking your querent if there is anything in specific which they would prefer to focus on is a great way to start your reading, but so often querents feel that Tarot readers should “know it all already”. They have preconceptions about what their reading will be and thereby choose to not reveal too much. I’ve personally had querents prefer not to even ask me a question! In these cases, shadow cards are my go-to tool.
Uses for the Shadow Card could include, but not be limited to:
- Bring awareness to the unseen
- Unrecognized personality traits
- Identify prevailing subconscious thoughts
- Recognize denials
- Isolate fears
- Personal shortcomings.
How to find the Shadow Card in a Tarot Reading
When you know that you are in need of some enlightenment regarding a querent or question, set your mind that you are in need of a shadow card while shuffling in your question.
Lay out your spread and the bottom card of the deck will then be your shadow card pertaining to the overall reading.
However, if you need clarity regarding one of the cards within your spread, look to the next shadow card at the bottom of your deck.
With certain spreads, such as the Upcoming Year Spread, I prefer to lay out one month, interpret it and ask for a shadow card if needed and then move to the next month.
Take a look at how a shadow card reacts to a simple two-card reading. Shadow cards are truly remarkable tools that every Tarot reader should feel confident to use.
Now, when using the shadow cards, remember not to draw too many as this too may cause more confusion than illumination. Bear in mind their use is to add clarity and light to the subject. So seek not your answer in them, but rather in your spread.