Earley Light: Shedding Light on the Shadows of Self

Explore the shadow aspects of tarot cards to help you uncover your own personal shadows and incorporate techniques, such as exercises and affirmations, to begin your journey of healing.

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Machelle Earley

Machelle Earley

Reading the cards since 1999, Machelle enjoys using her empathy and intuition to assist others gain insight into their lives, helping them on their path of personal development and enlightenment.  Her specialty is working with shadows, where she helps others discover and heal the hidden shadows of self that have been tucked away for self preservation but have, in fact, limited each person’s ability to live to their fullest potential.  Also a Reiki Practitioner, she is committed to helping others heal through her business Ray of Light Tarot & Reiki.

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Releasing the Ties That Bind

 

When the 8 of Swords comes up in a reading, it usually means that your predicament is a product of your own making or imagination.  You have confined yourself to the degree that you are unable to free yourself or even see a way out.  In the Anna K version of this card, we see a woman looking at herself in a mirror but she is not seeing her true reflection, she is seeing something else entirely.  Her mirrored self is blindfolded and wrapped up in a material that is in both her current world and her mirrored world.  In the mirror, she is surrounded by swords with a small path in front of her while outside of the mirror she holds a sword in her hand.  Since the swords represent thoughts, the mirrored self suggests that she surrounded by her thoughts, allowing them to confine her while the self on the outside of the mirror has more control of her thoughts since the sword is in her hand.  Could it be that she seeing that she is doing it to herself?

 

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Questioning Love: Finding Love Through The Lovers Card

For February’s shadow card, I purposely chose The Lovers as it can be use as a tool to delve into our psyches to learn more about the love, our lack thereof, in our lives.  With the approach of Valentines Day, many people who are unattached begin to wish for someone in their lives that they can share that special bond with.  They yearn for the special love that only lovers can share and sometimes begin to question why they do not have it or why they are unable to find it.  Others that are already attached begin to yearn for someone that is not their current love, someone that embodies different qualities than their current love has.  By looking at the shadow side of ourselves through this card, we can take a look and perhaps discover why we aren’t happy with what we currently have in our current situation.

In the traditional Rider Waite deck, we see a couple striped of their clothes with an Angel overhead coming out of an ethereal cloud.  The Angel appears to be blessing their union as they stand there, under the bright sun, with a tree burning behind the man and a tree of fruit behind the woman.  The man looks at the woman while the woman looks at the Angel.  A mountain stands in the background between them as their feet are firmly planted on the green grass below them.  

The Lovers card is about relationships, love, and choices.  When we are in a relationship, like the couple in this card, we bare ourselves completely to each other, trusting that we will be accepted for who and what we are.  We can look for approval from a higher power (the woman looking at the Angel) to make sure that this is our soul mate – a match made in heaven.  There is a very strong sexual attraction with this card, represented by the tree of desire behind the man and the tree of forbidden fruit with snake behind the woman, reminiscent of the story of temptation of Adam and Eve.  The woman can also be looking at the Angel for an answer for a choice that she needs to make.  Should she give in to the temptation of the man in front of her?  

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Lessons of the Hierophant

For this months shadow card, we find ourselves working with the Hierophant, being represented by the Teaching card from the Snowland Tarot.

In this particular card, we see an owl standing before an open book resting on a tree stump.  His audience of forest animals seems attentive as he shares his wisdom while the snow gently falls around them.

 

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b2ap3_thumbnail_9-of-Coins.jpg

Are you grateful for what you have in life?  This months card is a reminder that while we strive for all of the luxuries that we want, we have to be grateful for what we already have.  

In the 9 of Coins from Tarot of the Absurd by Jessica Rose Shanahan, we have a person who is active by a tree that holds an abundance of coins and she holds one in her hands.  The many coins are a culmination of everything that she has accumulated in her life and she holds onto them with all of her might.  It appears that she is dancing, showing her appreciation and happiness for everything that she has within her grasp.  This tree has given her abundance and an opportunity to be self sufficient.   

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July’s shadow card is the Sun.  When you look at the Sun card it is difficult to imagine what the shadow side of it can be but there definitely is one. 

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A Quest for Betterment

June’s shadow card is the 8 of Cups, shown here from the new Tarot Illuminati by Erik C. Dunne and Kim Huggens.  Here we have a figure, cloaked in red, with his back to us walking away from 8 cups stacked behind him.  Red is the color of passion indicating that this person is passionate about their pursuits.  There are 5 cups on the left and 3 on the right and it appears as though the cups are empty but in truth we do not know if they are or if they have something in them.  If they are full, perhaps he is leaving them behind because they no longer work for him, if they are empty he may be feeling that his life is empty and he is leaving them in search of fulfillment.  He uses a cane to assist him as he walks in a wintry scene though a doorway between very large rocks towards what appears to be a stairway to the moon.  

The 8 of Cups is about going on a quest in some form or another, walking away from a job, a relationship, a belief system, or any other situation, positive or negative, and is often about leaving something good in order to find something even better.  Sometimes the quest is about finding yourself, of looking deep inside to discover those hidden things that you are finally ready to face.  A quest can be about leaving the past behind you so you can move on to better things, or leaving behind emotions that no longer serve you.  

 

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Kathryn Shimmura
    Kathryn Shimmura says #
    Thanks, Machelle Although I didn't actually perform any specific shadow work, I did have a dream that night which was definitely s
  • Machelle Earley
    Machelle Earley says #
    Shadow work, in whatever form, is important. A lot of shadowrok is done through dreams.
  • gary c. e.
    gary c. e. says #
    Solid !

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

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For the month of April, we are dancing with the devil inside.  In the Universal Waite deck, the devil card depicts 2 humans, 1 male and 1 female, chained to the black pedestal that the devil is sitting on.  The chains are loose, suggesting that they could remove them if they wish, but they are choosing to keep them on and are a representation of emotional and mental bondage.  The humans are naked and have horns and tails, the female has a pomegranate indicating fertility and the male has a flame indicating desire.  The Devil holds a flaming torch, appearing to light the tail of the male, signifying lighting his passion.  The black pedestal and back ground suggests ignorance and the unknown.  The devil wears an inverted pentagram on his head suggesting a mental delusion.  The devil himself is a symbol of our obstacles, vices, and fears. 

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b2ap3_thumbnail_The-Hermit-SP.jpgMarch’s shadow card is The Hermit.  We are still in the winter months and it is the time of year where we go in and work on our inner selves.  I did not purposely choose this card but I find it fitting that it was a random draw.  This is very much a card of introspection and deep searching.  It is one of seeking guidance and knowledge and looking within oneself to uncover the truth.  The card from the Steampunk deck by Barbara Moore and Aly Fell shows a man standing on a heap of rubble holding a lantern and from it, emitting what appears to be lightening.  In the book, Barbara Moore states that the pile of rubble signifies the information and ideas that he has collected in his journeys.  He appears to be an older gentleman with a long graying beard, further suggesting a wise and sage person who has spent their life accumulating the knowledge that he is standing on.  The lantern suggests that he not only holds the answers in his hands but there are new sparks of ideas that are itching to get out.

 

The shadow of this card takes solitude to the extreme…spending too much time by your self, being withdrawn from your family and friends, cutting yourself away from everyone.  It can also indicate paranoia, or fear – fear of being by yourself, fear of your thoughts or feelings, fear of your journey or what you might find out.  Fear holds us back from many situations so we keep ourselves in seclusion to keep from getting hurt, but it doesn’t really work.  What we end up doing is hurting ourselves in a different way…we don’t go out and live life, experience it.  If we don’t experience pain, can we truly experience joy?  Ignoring our thoughts and feelings doesn’t make them disappear; we have to face them eventually, as difficult as that may be.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Machelle-Earley_Queen-of-Pentacles_12B_240x.jpgI’ve been thinking about all of the different blogs that are out there, especially ones about tarot.  There are many wonderful tarot blogs but I want to do something a little different.  One of my specialties as a tarot reader and a Reiki healer is helping people discover and heal their shadows.  For those of you not in the know, the shadow is that part of yourself that makes itself known in the most inopportune ways after suppressing aspects of ourselves that that we do not want others to see.  These things can be either positive or negative and can come out in a number of ways, many of which are not very flattering.  In order to come to terms with these shadows, we must bring them into the light and work with them rather than against them.  The dark is as much a part of us as the light is and to be a person that is completely balanced, we must work with our shadows in order to make peace with them.

Sometimes we bury our shadows so deep that it is difficult to determine where the shadows came from in the first place.  A lot of detective work goes into shadow work.  We have to fist figure out what the shadow is, then we need to decipher how the shadow came to be in the first place and then we need to take the actions required to retrain ourselves to rework the shadow.  This is where tarot can come in.  Within the cards, there are clues to our shadows.  The cards have a way to delve into the subconscious when we are giving readings, so why not use that information with ourselves to do shadow work?  There are many people who already use tarot to help others but never even thought to do so for them.  It takes courage to want to do shadow work.  You have to be willing to come face to face with your shadows and it can sometimes be very painful.  I will tell you that it is a very rewarding and fulfilling experience and well worth the effort and pain that can come with it.

Every month, I will post a card showing general information about the meanings of the card and its shadow aspects.  I will also provide some suggestions to help you heal the shadow along with a monthly affirmation to help you stay on track.  Some of them may be simple and some may be more complicated.  Please remember that these are only suggestions and depending on the card, the shadow may not apply to you.  I suggest grabbing the same card from your favorite deck and see if you see the same shadows apply to you or if something else comes to you.  What one person sees in a card, another will not.  It’s important to use your intuition just as much as it is for the traditional meaning of the card.  What is it that you notice in the card?  Is there something that makes you angry about the card?  What makes you happy?  Do you feel anything physical?  Use that as a starting point.   The idea is to work with one particular shadow for the entire month.  For some shadows, this will be enough time, but others will require more time to work things out but after 30 days, you are well on your way.  With any kind of shadow work, I highly recommend keeping a journal to help you really work through the issues.  It’s an invaluable tool to that can really help you gain more insight into yourself and your behaviors.

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