Shadow Work Tarot Spreads
Last Updated: July 25, 2023
Shadow work is the process of exploring and integrating the parts of ourselves that we may have suppressed, neglected or ignored. These aspects of ourselves are often called the shadow self, and they can include our fears, insecurities, shame, and unresolved traumas. Shadow work is an essential component of personal growth and an area somewhat of healing, as it allows us to confront the parts of ourselves that we have been avoiding and accept them, reintegrating them to ourselves with compassion and love. This can aid in healing self-awareness, self-esteem, confidence and overall mental health.
Shadow work can be done in a variety of ways such as journaling, meditation, therapy, and spending time alone. It is important to remember that when doing shadow work it is not about trying to “fix” anything, but rather understanding why we may have chosen certain coping mechanisms or behaviours, and learning how to accept ourselves in spite of them.
One way to approach shadow work is by using a tarot spread to aid you with the prompts and to provide you with support whilst working through “shadow stuff”. If you’re looking for shadow work questions to ask tarot, you’ve got plenty to choose from here. As there are multiple shadow work tarot spreads to guide you with articulating what you may be struggling to say, others request help from your otherworldly team if that is part of your practice. Whatever happens, tarot is a tool to help you move through shadow work with kindness and understand the greater lessons of life.
The process of doing shadow work is both challenging and rewarding. It takes time and patience to explore the depths of our own psyche, but it is a journey that will bring us closer to embracing our true selves.
Do I need a special tarot deck for Shadow work?
When it comes to using tarot decks for Shadow work, any deck can do. You don’t need to go out and buy an elaborately decorated or dark aesthetic deck for this process. The most important thing is to pick a deck that speaks to you and one that you feel comfortable with. This is a personal journey so the focus should be on you and your connection with the cards. Just experiment with different decks you have already to find which ones work best for shadow work, but if you want to treat yourself you’re very welcome – you don’t need to ask permission from anyone but you.
Why does tarot help with Shadow work?
Tarot can be a valuable tool for shadow work as it provides an accessible way of understanding the inner workings of our minds. By using tarot, the structured meanings of the cards articulate the complexities of our inner lives in a way that is tangible and manageable. Tarot can help to guide us through different aspects of shadow work such as identifying our subconscious thoughts, understanding how we are feeling and exploring what we may need in order to integrate. Ultimately, tarot can be a great support during the process of shadow work.
It is important to note that, although tarot can provide valuable insight into your shadow self, it should never be used as a replacement for therapy or professional assistance.
What if a tarot card I hate comes up during the Shadow work reading?
This is a great example of what Shadow work is about. What is it, really, that you dislike about this card? Why are you having such strong emotions regarding it’s theme, and why is it so difficult for you to accept? It’s ok to feel uncomfortable during the process of Shadow work, but it is important to take a step back and look at why this card might be appearing in your reading. Shadow work always provides us with an opportunity to dig deeper into our minds, understanding our emotions and how they influence our lives.
Shadow Work Tarot Spread Questions To Ask
For this page I currently have multiple shadow work tarot spreads for you, but it’d be a pain for loading speeds etc if I had a graphic for EVERY single spread so I’m going to trial one or two spreads here, and the rest will be on Pinterest for you.
To begin, shuffle your tarot deck and draw a card for each position in the tarot draw as shown in the below layout.
Finally, take some time to reflect on the questions that each card position represents and what message the tarot cards in that position might be trying to tell you. If you’re just starting to learn tarot, or if you’re still getting to know your deck, you may find my in-depth articles on the meanings of every tarot card helpful.
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Shadow Work Tarot Spread #1: Bringing Shadow Into The Light
- In what ways am I holding back that is causing me harm?
- How can I hold myself with more love and compassion right now?
- What shadow aspect am I avoiding most?
- In what ways is it manifesting that I may not be aware of?
- How can I best integrate this shadow?
- In what ways will integration help with empowerment and life improvement moving forward?
Shadow Work Tarot Spread #2: Empty Shadow Feeling
- What do I need to let go of in order for me to move on?
- What creative action can I take right now to start the process of integration?
- I’m running on empty – aside from essentials, how can I fill up my cup right now?
- This overwhelm is drowning and I need some encouragement for energy to breathe. What is the root cause of my current feelings and what practical steps can I take to manage it?
Shadow Work Tarot Spread #3: My Shadow Triggers
- What triggers my shadow aspects?
- How to navigate these triggers in a healthier and kinder way?
- What is a healthier way to express my shadow aspects?
Shadow Work Tarot Spread #4: Smoother Shadows
- What’s going well with the shadow work process right now for me?
- How can I keep making progress?
- Where will new joys bloom up for me?
- In what ways can I show myself more love at this time?
Shadow Work Tarot Spread #5: Shadow History Lessons
- Past: How did my shadow show up in the past?
- Present: What does my shadow self look like now, whilst I’m going through this process?
- Future: Where will I be benefiting the most in my life from integration moving forward?
Shadow Work Tarot Spread #6: Beginning The Work
- Starting SW: I’m feeling # and acknowledging that is what it is, but I don’t know where to start. What advice do you have for me?
- Starting SW: How can I move forward from this, and what do I need to think about?
- Starting SW: What am I not seeing?
Shadow Work Tarot Spread #7: Shadow Support Flash Reading
- When integration is happening, how can I support myself best?
- Why should/shouldn’t I be doing this right now?
- Where is a good place for me to find additional support?
Shadow Work Tarot Spread #8: Shadow Focus
- Was this inherited, or was this learned behaviour?
- When this starts to flare up, how can I find a way to pause and really acknowledge what is going on?
- How can I turn this into self-awareness that’ll provide me with a coping tool in the future?
Shadow Work Tarot Spread #9: Otherworldly Offering
- Who can help me on this shadow journey right now?
- What help can be offered to me?
- How can I change my opinion on what’s happening right now?
- What additional advice do you have for me?
Shadow Work Tarot Spread #10: Minimal Liminal Shadow Meeting
- Shadow Signifier card
- What do I need right now?
These tarot spreads are designed to help you in your journey towards self-responsibility and integration of the shadow aspects of yourself. It is important to remember that this work takes time, that the purpose isn’t to become “new” or more “advanced/levelled up” spiritually but to ensure that you’re living your life as authentically as you meeting yourself with love, tenderness and compassion. I’d love for you to find more ways to make your life easier, and Shadow Work as a process can get you there.
What to do after a Shadow Work tarot reading
Always remember to take the time to listen and be still so that you can get their answers with clarity.
After you’ve finished a tarot reading, there are a few things you can do in order to reflect on the experience and integrate the insights you gained. Here are some suggestions:
Use a tarot journal to record your findings
Jotting down your thoughts in a tarot journal after reading can be helpful in a few ways. First, it can help you remember the details of your reading later on, such as how you felt at the moment and perhaps your first impressions of what a card meant.
Second, it can provide a space for you to process the information you’ve received and explore what it means for you. Third, it can be a way to keep track of your progress over time as you revisit your journal entries and reflect on your journey.
Take a picture of the cards
If you want to remember the position of the cards and what they meant in relation to your questions, take a picture of the spread. This will help you look back on the reading later and review the insights you received. Sometimes, clarity is better acquired after you’ve stepped back from the situation for a little while and had some time to process it.
Some people create Instagram accounts or Pinterest accounts specifically for this, and if you use any of our spreads please tag us @backyardbanshee if you feel comfortable!
Take some time to meditate and reflect
Immediately after a tarot reading, it’s important to take some time to sit with the insights you’ve received. This can be done through proper meditation, visualisation, or simply taking some time to reflect on the reading.
It can be helpful to think about what the messages from the cards mean for your life and how you can apply the advice that was given to you. That time can also be used to replenish your energy level and cleanse your tarot deck.
Get a second opinion from a close friend
If you have close friends who also happen to be tarot practitioners, it can be helpful to get their take on your reading. They may be able to offer additional insights or perspectives that you hadn’t considered before. This is also a good way to get feedback on your own interpretation of the cards.
Ensure to ask permission before just blindly sending your cards across in a message and saying “what does this mean to you?” as your friends may not have the energy or have a boundary with this sort of thing – manners cost nothing, and this is especially to note if they are a professional tarot reader who normally gets paid to interpret readings.
Layer your reading with more divination
Why not try adding astrology dice or a pendulum reading to your tarot session? Your intuition will guide you on how to best use these tools, but they can be helpful in providing more clarity around the messages from your tarot reading. We have lots of methods for you to utilise here on the website.
Do the same reading a month later
This is a great way to check in on your progress and see how far you’ve come. It can also be helpful in understanding the cyclical nature of our lives and how our current situation is likely to change over time. This can be especially useful if you’re struggling with a decision or trying to figure out which path to take as to offer suggestions, provide perspective and encourage your confidence to move forward.
At the end of the day, tarot readings are meant to be a helpful tool, not a replacement for your own intuition. The best way to use tarot is to combine the insights you receive with your own understanding of the situation. Trust your gut and follow your heart—the answers you’re looking for will come.
It is my hope that these tarot spreads on my website help you with clarity and articulate whatever is going on. Let me know what you think of this tarot spread in the comments below and if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me.
I have been passionate about reading divination for more than 15 years. This gives me a unique perspective when it comes to creating fun, supportive and creative tarot spreads. I hope they help you find the clarity and insight you are looking for.
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