Romancing Shadow Selves

Carl Jung separates parts of our personality out into ‘that which we are conscious of’ and elements ‘that which we are unconscious of’. Our conscious mind is where the ‘ego’ sits and is made up of the parts of our personality and identity that we are aware of.

The trouble with personas, according to Jung, is that it can lead to aspects of one’s personality (both good and bad) being unexplored, underdeveloped, and suppressed. Through a desire to please others, we focus on our qualities which we perceive to be acceptable by others and hide the parts of ourselves which we believe to be negative.

The Two of Cups generally shows a young man and woman, exchanging cups and pledging their love for one another but the symbolism of this card encompasses so much more than just romantic love. What we see here might also indicate the beginning of a lifelong friendship, a “meeting of the minds” – or any situation in which human energies enrich and transform one another.

Another approach is to take the opportunity to court, to romance a part of yourself that has been underdeveloped. To identify such an aspect you might lay out Two of Cups cards from a number of deck (see above). Then place a card from the Archeo, Personal Archetype Cards by Nick Bantock or from the Carolyn Myss Archetype Cards. Spend some time in your journal exploring the benefits of connecting more fully with this archetype.

Decisions Decisions!

  • Flip through an archetype deck and decide which archetypes need a bit of love, need to be courted and activated. Lay down the cards and perhaps make use of a Show Me style deck to pose a question to begin some work with these archetypes. See example below. Dialogue with the archetype and work out how you can use the energy of, in this case, the Ace of Rods.

To the extent you’re aware of the archetypes operating within you is an indicator of your level of consciousness.

Crumbling Tower Aftermath

“The Tower has a simple meaning: The crumbling of the status quo. This card’s usual image of lightening destroying a tower is incredibly scary – destruction is all that we can see. The ground is unsteady beneath our feet. We don’t know what to hold on to”.
Little Red Tarot

Having your home destroyed by fire or flood, quitting your job, getting fired, finding yourself living rough, being ghosted by someone you love, losing a friend, having a loved one die are all examples of Tower moments. Lets state the obvious. The shock from events like this feels incredibly painful and sadly, there are rarely any quick fixes. But, eventually, despite our despair, most of us pick ourselves up and slowly rebuild.

Without sounding glib, or suggesting that doing a Tarot spread will fix things, it must be said that working with cards may help adjust one’s perspective and help someone find a way forward. Assuming you have come up for air this is an example of a spread with cards that might help you find some clarity. The Show Me cards are great because, at a time when you are not sure what you want to know, they help you ask whoever is listening, to just shed some light on possible options.

Rather than provide a ‘reading’ of the cards that appeared from the Forest of Enchantment Tarot, I’ll let you consider which responses are in any way helpful.

Self Soothe with Gentle Tarot and Oracle Decks

Key word associated with the 5 of Cups include – Sadness, loss, grief, despair, abandonment, guilt, remorse, regret, trauma, bereavement, mourning, heartbreak, unwelcome change, emotional instability, focusing on loss, focusing on negative emotions, isolation, loneliness, emotional baggage, divorce, separation, anger, disappointment

“The 5 of Cups card can remind us of an old wound. If there’s anything you have ‘stuffed down’ in the past, a grief, guilt or grudge that you carry, now is a good time to face that. Don’t be afraid of it – make some space in your life so that you can gently acknowledge what happened. This is about healing, and that begins with being truly honest about how you feel”. Source: Little Red Tarot

Sometimes when we work with Tarot and Oracle decks cards appear that mirror feelings we may have been trying to submerge. When the 5 of Cups shows up we can either slip it back into the pack or face and work with the kind of feelings that are frequently associated with it.

Beth from Little Red Tarot writes that “the Five of Cups shows us a moment of pure sadness. There’s very little here, but a figure, standing sadly beside overturned cups. What happened? It doesn’t really matter. Whatever those cups held is now gone, and this person is left to deal with it.

What is impressive about Beth’s post is that she gives permission to grieve when she says things like “let yourself be sad. If you’re putting on a brave face or being strong for someone else (or for yourself), now is the time to drop the act. Really give yourself the space to feel what you feel. It may be simple grief. It may be a complex mix of things. Go with it.”

By contrast, Elliot says that “when the Five of Cups comes up in a reading, its message is to “Snap out of it!” Admittedly he does offer a strategy for shifting focus from negative thoughts. He suggests that you “remember the details of your favorite place” saying that “this may be a park you visit, or a particularly beautiful place you traveled to”. He encourages you to think about “your happiest memory of a place to close your eyes and remember each of the details of the place”.

Of course, doing this may prove challenging if you are in the grips of a major bereavement. Being told to snap out of it may distract you momentarily and allow you to discharge some anger as you slap the person dispensing such advice. In fairness to Elliot he is writing about more mundane matters of the heart and his advice is very sound in such situations.

Likewise, working with gentle Tarot and Oracle decks is another soft option if you are caught in a whirlpool of disappointment and heartbreak. Wicked Moonlight has a great video where she talks about her top gentle decks.

Personally I have a couple of readily available mass market decks that I turn to when I am in a 5 of Cups state, just “want to suck worms” and have no capacity to talk to another person about whatever is bothering me. Each of these decks have wonderful guided books and the Barbieri guidebook includes highly creative guided imagery exercises which are perfect for when you are lying in a foetal position under the doona cover.