Bringing Light to the Shadow
Welcome to the Tarot Blog Hop Samhain/Halloween edition! We are a group of tarot enthusiasts who agree to blog together eight times a year.
Perhaps you are coming to me after visiting Joy Vernon's Blog.
When you finish here, please leave a comment if you like, and proceed to the next, which is Joanne Sprott's blog.
If you find a broken link in the chain, visit here for the master list.
Samhain is the spiritual name for the holiday that is known secularly as Halloween. It is the cross-quarter day between the autumnal equinox and the winter solstice. All Halloween traditions, including costumes, trick or treat and jack-o'-lanterns have roots in early pre-Christian traditions.
Today, Samhain is often celebrated as the final harvest, the Witches' New Year and the day when the veil between the worlds is at its thinnest, facilitating communication between the world of the living and the world of the dead. Samhain is the most solemn holiday on the Pagan Wheel of the Year.
For this Blog Hop our wrangler, Amethyst Mahoney, has assigned a very interesting topic. Rather than focusing on communicating with the spirits, Amethyst has asked us to look within.
Amethyst rightly points out that many people, especially metaphysical people, are asked to "wear masks" that make them more acceptable to society at large. Amethyst has asked that in this blog post we remove those masks and allow our true selves to be seen.
What an opportunity for personal healing this is!
I have to admit, I have never been much of a mask-wearer, especially when it comes to metaphysics. My father was a Methodist minister, but not a fire-and-brimstone preacher. My parents accepted my tarot career and my Pagan spirituality with good humor and respect. In fact, at my father's funeral my mother asked me to give a tarot reading to the minister who officiated.
I attended a born-again Christian academy in high school, but it was in the 1970s when the born-again movement was filled with more joy than hatred.
I have almost always been public as a tarot reader and as a Pagan. The fact is I live in a nudist camp in tropical South Florida. Not only do I not wear masks, I don't wear clothes most of the time. I don't personally know the pain and fear of having to hide who I am. For that I am very, very grateful.
But we all have a shadow self - a part of self that we want no one to see. A part of self that does not live up to our own standards, or to the beliefs others hold of us. Sometimes we don't want to acknowledge that shadow self. Sometimes we can see nothing else and live our lives in shame and fear.
When we bring light to our shadow we can see it for what it is - and accept it. I think acceptance, especially self-acceptance, is the key to healing.
The people who feel they must wear masks do so because they fear they will not be accepted. The people who suffer in the knowledge of their own imperfections are unable to accept their own humanity. The people who hang on to the negative words of others believe negative things about themselves. They are unable to accept that their truth is the only truth that matters.
Many times in tarot readings the shadow self rears its head, and the querent has the opportunity to acknowledge, accept and heal.
The story of confronting and healing the shadow self is a part of the Path of the Fool in the Major Arcana of Tarot. The final seven cards give us clear direction for this process. Interestingly, I also see these final seven cards as the journey to spiritual enlightenment.
Does this mean that we cannot be truly enlightened until we confront our shadow? I believe it does.
The final seven cards begin with card 15, the Devil. My favorite Devil image is from Spiral Tarot. Here we see the Devil holding up a mirror. The person looking into the mirror is recoiling, unwilling to face her shadow self.
The Devil is the first step on the journey to spiritual enlightenment. Here we must face the shadow, whatever it is.
The Devil asks you to look deeply into yourself and acknowledge your imperfections, and even the parts of you that are perfect that others cannot acknowledge. Here is where you begin to own yourself - all of yourself.
After the Devil we confront the Tower. The lightening that strikes the Tower is enlightening, and wipes away the structure of belief that can no longer stand.
The Tower commands you to release all the faulty information that you have built up about yourself.
Sometimes confronting the shadow is confronting the true things - I'm an over-eater, I'm impatient, I'm quick to anger, I'm judgmental, I'm selfish. The part we need to release is what usually follows, which is "and that means I am a bad person."
Sometimes we need to release the things other people have said about us that simply are not true or don't matter.
After the Tower is the Star. Here we are able to avail ourselves of abundant healing light. Here, we recognize our worth and our worthiness.
After the Star comes the Moon. Having acknowledged the shadow with the Devil, released it with the Tower and accepted healing with the Star, we are able to discern our own spiritual path. We are able to see beyond the superstitions and weaknesses of others, and claim our true gifts and our true path.
With the Sun, we are able to live out loud and dance in the light without fear. We are able to acknowledge our own ability to shine without any need to hold back or hide.
With Judgment, we acknowledge the voice of Higher Power, and understand our true calling. We are able to leave the past in the past, and claim our position in the World, where everything is within our grasp and we have nothing to hide.
As we embrace the World, we acknowledge our power and our successful healing journey. We are able to embrace who we are - completely - entirely - with no guilt, no shame and no apology. In doing so we become like a beacon of light that draws others to us. Those who cannot accept us fade into the background. Our true soul family can now recognize our light and celebrate it with us.
We can then accept our responsibility to help others on the planet as they embark on that same healing journey of bringing light to the shadow.
Now hop over to Joanne Sprott's blog and see what she has to say about exploring the shadow self!
If you are working backward please visit Joy Vernon's blog here.
If you find a break in the chain, visit the master list.