Tarot Spread for Problem Solving and Shadow Work

Tarot Spread for Problem Solving and Shadow Work December 1, 2020

This tarot spread is designed to help illuminate a situation and offer solutions when struggling to resolve shadow issues, or when stumped about how to find a path forward out of current difficulties. It was especially created for times when anxiety, lack of confidence, or misperception are contributing to an inability to effectively proceed or problem solve.  It does this by seeking clarity and advice in multiple areas of life: mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual.

When you know you are having a problem in an area of your life that stems from or is complicated by self-destructive internal dialog, it can be very difficult to figure out how to change that dialog.  Those difficulties are compounded when you are unsure how those problems are affecting your life on different levels.  When you understand how and where you are affected by the problem it helps enable you to address the manifestations of the problem and work to heal or resolve them.

My first reading using this tarot spread. Deck is the <a href=”https://www.llewellyn.com/product.php?ean=9780738726700”>Tarot of Pagan Cats</a>.
My first reading using this tarot spread. Deck is the Tarot of Pagan Cats.

Why This Tarot Spread was Born

When I am doing readings, it is just as important for me to use an effective spread, as to form an effective question.  I am not one of those people who can just use the Celtic Cross or another generalized spread ad nauseum, and receive the answers to all my questions.  For many months I have been struggling with feeling a sometimes crippling lack of confidence about my pagan and witchy writing, even though intellectually know full well that my writing has value outside of myself.

I have given myself many readings over the last several months hoping to find insight into how to overcome that lack of confidence, but to no avail.  I have been asking the right questions, but using the wrong spreads, so until I created this spread, my readings always came back with very unhelpful platitudes and reassurances that I am doing the right thing, and my efforts are going to work out.  I was not looking for reassurances that writing is worthwhile, because I know that.  I was looking for tangible ways to address my anxiety and lack of confidence, which made those readings frustrating and useless.

By using a spread that directly addresses the lack of confidence and how it manifests throughout different aspects of my life, I was able to get a helpful answer and formulate a plan to address the root of the problem.

If you would like details about the specific spread pictured above and what it meant for me, you can find that in Finding Confidence and Direction as a Pagan Blogger.

Tarot Spread for Problem Solving and Shadow Work, image by <a href=”http://sidneyeileen.com/category/witchcraft/”>Sidney Eileen</a>.
Tarot Spread for Problem Solving and Shadow Work, image by Sidney Eileen.

Using and Reading this Tarot Spread

By separately addressing the different areas of life, it is possible to see how a problem is affecting you on multiple levels.  You may find that one area is exactly as you expected, while providing targeted insight into another area where your understanding was clouded and confused.  It is also possible to sort out where the most effort needs to be placed, and what areas are still working just fine despite your problem.

I am not one for rigidity, so feel free to modify this spread for your personal readings.  I will give some specific suggestions later in the article, but this is the card order and meaning which I used for my first reading with this spread.

(1)  The current overall approach or perception of the problem or issue

This is the card which represents the approach you are currently taking in relation to your root issue.  This approach is likely to be preventing you from seeing the problem clearly or finding a solution.  It is the embodiment of how you are misperceiving, misinterpreting, misdirecting, or otherwise failing to accurately perceive the root causes of the problem.

In the case of my reading, this was the King of Swords because much of my lack of confidence stems from my lack of academic background regarding the subjects I am discussing.  I am attempting to hold myself to academic standards which are outside my realm of experience and current ability to achieve, and are not necessarily important anyway given that most of my writing is based on personal experience rather than any formal education.

If you are experiencing anxiety, it is likely to show how you are erroneously approaching a problem, thus increasing your anxiety rather than alleviating it.  If you are trying to address shadow work, it may show you what you are falsely focusing on, inadvertently engaging in spiritual bypassing rather than looking at the genuine cause of the problems you wish to resolve.

If it shows you the issue or aspect you were expecting, then the rest of the reading may focus on how to change that issue or aspect into something which is healthier or more productive.

(2)  The current mental state around the problem or issue

This card is all about awareness.  It is there to help illuminate what you are currently doing or dealing with on a mental level, because of your problem issue.

(3)  The current physical state around the problem or issue

This card is all about awareness.  It is there to help illuminate what you are currently doing or dealing with on a physical level, because of your problem issue.

(4)  The current emotional state around the problem or issue

This card is all about awareness.  It is there to help illuminate what you are currently doing or dealing with on an emotional level, because of your problem issue.

(5)  The current spiritual state around the problem or issue

This card is all about awareness.  It is there to help illuminate what you are currently doing or dealing with on a spiritual level, because of your problem issue.

(6)  Advice for resolving internal false narratives around the problem or issue

This card gives advice for how to change the narrative of card (1), so that you start to address the true root of your problem.

(7)  Advice for mentally addressing or resolving the problem or issue

This card gives advice for how to mentally deal with your root issue, seeking clarity and resolution.  If your root issue is actively causing problems in this area of your life, this is likely to provide new direction.  If you should continue doing what you are already doing, this card will reinforce that approach.

(8)  Advice for physically addressing or resolving the problem or issue

This card gives advice for how to physically deal with your root issue, seeking clarity and resolution.  If your root issue is actively causing problems in this area of your life, this is likely to provide new direction.  If you should continue doing what you are already doing, this card will reinforce that approach.

(9)  Advice for emotionally addressing or resolving the problem or issue

This card gives advice for how to emotionally deal with your root issue, seeking clarity and resolution.  If your root issue is actively causing problems in this area of your life, this is likely to provide new direction.  If you should continue doing what you are already doing, this card will reinforce that approach.

(10)      Advice for spiritually addressing or resolving the problem or issue

This card gives advice for how to spiritually deal with your root issue, seeking clarity and resolution.  If your root issue is actively causing problems in this area of your life, this is likely to provide new direction.  If you should continue doing what you are already doing, this card will reinforce that approach.

(11)      The ideal overall approach for addressing or resolving the problem or issue

This card is your goal card, which illustrates the healthy way to approach and resolve the core issue, or the outcome you should strive for to change your issue.  It shows you what your overall

You can pull additional cards or modify the spread as needed to achieve more clarity.
You can pull additional cards or modify the spread as needed to achieve more clarity. Image by Susanne Jutzeler, suju-foto from Pixabay

Seeking More Clarity or Otherwise Want to Modify this Tarot Spread?

If you need additional clarification, pull one card at a time in the area where clarification is needed.  Follow your intuition regarding whether or not to reshuffle the deck focusing on that specific area before pulling more cards.  If you do not think single cards will provide the clarity you need, pull a smaller three or four card spread in that area, like Past-Present-Future, Mind-Body-Soul, Fire-Water-Earth-Air, or something else entirely.  Exactly what mini-spread will work best is likely to relate to the nature of your problem and confusion.

Another option is to change what areas you are examining.  For example, if work/life balance is an issue, you may want to add two cards for employment, and two cards for your free time.  Just add them into the sequence ringing the core cards: mental, physical, emotional, spiritual, employment, and free time.  Add as many specific life areas as you need to in order to find clarity for your problem or issue.

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