For me, Tarot cards are a way to access Hekate’s wisdom while helping me self reflect. I’ve use the cards this way much more often than for divination. I figure if I am communicating with Our Lady and processing my own shit, then I really don’t need prescience since I’ll be on the right track. One of the biggest obstacles I’ve had in my life is my shadow self. You know that side that everyone has – the dark, fear based creature that has long dirty hair, unkempt nails and smells like a nineties grunge band? Wait. She doesn’t always appear that way. She is just as likely to show up in six inch bitch boots or worn out Doc Marten’s. The shadow can show up in any form. We can be easily confused and fall victim to her energy.
Ms. F U
Don’t get me wrong here – there are times when we need the shadow. Ms. F U (Fear and Underworld) comes along when we have been deeply hurt, giving our authentic selves much needed time to heal. But, then it’s time for her to get back into her padded cell. That can only happen if we know she is in control and if we have the tools to help tame her. A lot of times, I’ve been blissfully unaware that my shadow was in control. I’ve done some weird things while she was driving the bus. Let’s just hold on a minute before we get all shadow-trashing here. The shadow is a wise creature. We have much to learn from fear. She is the container for all our pain and disappointment. She is our connection to the underworld. She knows things. We need to listen to her AND we need to keep her under control.
The Hekate Shadow Taming Tarot Spread is designed to help us figure out if the shadow is in control and to let us tap into her wisdom.
What Was I Thinking?
I had that moment of clarity. That second of realization when I became aware of the fact that I was completely in the wrong. I couldn’t breath. After all these years of believing that I had been innocent, I now knew that I was at the very least an equal partner in the situation. Looking back, I just kept saying to myself “what was I thinking?”
Indeed, that is the question. There’s been many times in my life when I have just messed things up. No other explanation beyond my own ignorance, arrogance or stubbornness. Then there are the times that I seemed to be acting completely out of character – bad relationships, bizarre financial decisions, and cavalier career moves. What was I thinking?
During those times, my shadow self was in control of my life while my authentic self took a back seat. Looking back, I can see that fear – and the emotions associated with it – was the dominate energetic force in my life during those times. Fear based living gives license to our shadow self to grab control from our true selves. How do we get ourselves in this situation? Often, the shadow emerges as a protector for our authentic selves after trauma, like abuse or assault. The problem comes in when we fail to recover from the trauma and return to living from the position of love based energy. I’m not talking about happy kitten sort of love, I’m referring to the vital force of compassion that fuels all living things.
The Shadow, Hekate and the Underworld
Our shadow selves are of great interest to Hekate, who will willingly help us tame them by taking their fear based energy back into the underworld from whence it came. Like her guidance of Persephone to and from the underworld, Hekate will lead us through our own personal underworld journey to emerge as our authentic selves.
There are times we don’t know we are living under the direction of our shadow selves. In addition, there are times when we need to revisit our own personal underworld of the shadow. The shadow for all its capacity to do harm in our lives also can be both our greatest protector and source of personal growth.
I’ve explored the problems of shadow self magick in a recent blog. I developed this as a tool for helping clients work with their shadow self. By shadow, I am referring to our fears, experiences and aspects of ourselves that we keep hidden from ourselves and others. There is much to be gained from confronting, understanding and learning to use these things to our benefit. Our thoughts, emotions and behaviors are energy that we can use to our benefit or detriment. By working with our shadow, we can tap into this energy for healing and personal growth.
Hekate and the Shadow SelfThere are countless ways that Hekate can help us work with our shadows if we choose, here’s a few examples:
- Hekate, as the Torchbearer, can shine a light on our darkness and help us to overcome our fears.
- Hekate, as the Key Holder, can open doors to the aspects of ourselves that we are too afraid to confront.
- Hekate, as Soteira, offers us the wisdom necessary to not only confront, but understand and incorporate our shadow energy.
You can visualize any of Her aspects that appeal to you for doing this reading.
The Hekate Shadow Self Tarot Reading
IMPORTANT: Clients have told me repeatedly that this is a very powerful spread, please make sure that you are in a stable state of mind when you approach this reading. This reading is not for when you are significantly depressed or very ill in other ways.
Instructions: This reading is designed to be done alone or with a trusted guide, either in the living sense or of the spiritual kind. You should prepare yourself as you typically do for a reading. If you are new to doing your own readings, please contact me for guidelines. You should place an offering to Hekate in your space.
(Someday I might iron that altar cloth, but probably not.)
The Three Arms of the Spread
The spread consists of three arms, like in a triskele. The first arm represents your authentic self, the second your shadow self and the third represents Hekate. Before setting the three arms of the triskele, it is necessary to pick a card that represents your authentic self and one for your shadow self. Place these two cards in the center of what will become your triskele.
Card 1 (Significator/True Self): look through the deck until you find a card that you think represents your True Self. If you aren’t experienced with your significator card, it’s fine to just pick the card that appeals to you the most. Take your time doing this.
Card 2 (Emergent/Shadow): shuffle the deck any way you choose. While shuffling concentrate on your shadow (themes, experiences, images). Sooner or later one card will emerge, either literally by flipping over or by you sensing a strong energy/attraction to that card. This is your emergent card representing your shadow.
Laying Out the Cards
Then lay out the cards face down as per the photo. The three arms will be: 1. True Self (cards 3-15, the earth arm), 2. Shadow, (4-16 the underworld arm) 3. Guidance from Hekate (5-17, sky arm).
Complete the arms by placing the corresponding cards of the same position in each arm before moving onto the next card. All the cards in the first position in each arm go first and so on. That connects each card to each other across the arms, so the probability of an accurate reading is increased. The cards within the arms are connected to each other by their shared space in that arm.
The first card in each arm represents the dominant theme of the arm (aka the aspect).
The second is the root or core of the aspect.
The third reflects the emotions of the aspect.
The fourth reflects thoughts of the aspect.
The fifth card represents behaviors associated with the aspect.
For the authentic and shadow self arms, there may be some overlap amongst the cards. This is especially likely if your shadow self is the dominant energy controlling your life. For the guidance from Hekate arm, each card will provide insight on how to tame your shadow self and move towards living an authentic life.
I recommend a mix of your intuitive and standardized interpretations of each card and then each arm and then how each arm relates to the others. If you would like help interpreting, let me know.
The deck featured is “Cards of Fortune” by Bennie Allain.
You may also be interested in the Enodia Two Card Daily Tarot Spread.