Read an Excerpt
The Shadow Knows
There is a shadow lurking in every person's inner life, a psychic darkness sheltering our inner conflicts and unexpressed emotions. It takes its shape from a menagerie of archetypes, each recognizable throughout time and around the worldtroubling characters who thrive within our persona. The shadow is the saboteur, martyr, victim, addict, sadist, masochist, or tyrant, all the dark figures that prey on the lighter qualities of the human personality.
The shadow also represents those latent talents and positive traits that were banished from us at some time along our life path: artistic, musical, athletic, or creative talents. An undeveloped ability, a dream that has gone unexpressed, a fantasy of what might have beenthese, too, make up the personal shadow, the lost parts of ourselves.
To channel the negative characters in our personality, we first must bring them into our waking consciousness. Tarot Shadow Work will help you come to terms with life's dualities, show you how to embrace the darkness, and teach you how to balance the light with the shadow in your own life. The entire world of the human psyche can be mapped out using the twenty-two cards of the tarot's major ajrcana, with each card tapping into a different quality of our psychology.
Accepting that we are made of both light and darkness, life will start to make sense. When we accept our dual natures, we stop sabotaging our own efforts and learn to be compassionate with others and with ourselves.
I was raised on a large Ohio farm in a traditional family structuremother, father, older sister. I met my first dark shadow at the age of fourteen. Its name was anorexia nervosa. Despite the illness, I was valedictorian of my high school class. Graduation day was a happy time. I could not predict the descent into darkness that lay before me.
While in college, I met two more shadows. Their names were alcoholism and drug addiction. Not yet conscious of their power, I was swept into a downward spiral of self-destruction. I found myself in a physically abusive first marriage and here I met the fourth shadowmy willingness to be a victim. I felt controlled by nameless, powerful forces. My life was a frightening place.
After my divorce, I spiraled deeper and was taken to a psychiatric hospital by my family. It was 1983 and I was thirty years old. While hospitalized, I was introduced to psychotherapy and the concept of shadow. The horrible things happening to me had names and I had a personal responsibility to acquaint myself with them. It was up to me to take charge of my own recovery. After years of struggling, I was informed I had a choice. I could choose to live . . . or not. There was no way over, under, or around the shadow. The only path to freedom was through the darkness.
It was slow, painful work, but I discovered the shadow had a purpose. It carried messages about my personal growth. It pointed me to where I had been hurt and what I needed to examine. My life started making sense.
In this book, I define "shadow" as a person's unresolved inner conflicts and unexpressed emotions. Drawing on the experience of my own losses, I began to develop the idea of shadow work using tarot cards.
Tarot Shadow Work is a culmination of that endeavor; using the methods found here, inner conflicts can find resolution, unexpressed emotions can find a voice. Change occurs because of the power of choice. Choice leads to healing and the gift of healing is creative freedom.
The goal of this workbook is acceptance and integration of the shadow, not its rejection. What are the messages carried by your shadow? What is the shadow trying to convey to you about your personal growth? By understanding your own humanity you can extend that insight to others and know compassion.
I hope Tarot Shadow Work opens a new chapter in the story of your life. May it bring peace and healing to all souls in pain.