So this arrived in the mail yesterday…
And the person I had with me had a pretty visceral reaction. As in, raised voice and “what the hell did you buy, why did you buy this”, etc. Poor guy nearly had an aneurysm, I’m pretty sure.
I’m not a Christian and I don’t believe in heaven or hell, an omnipotent god or evil devil.
What I do believe in is the inherent good and evil of people. No person is all good. No person is all bad. We all have a darker side, and that is what “Shadow Work” is about. And, Shadow Work is the reason that I purchased this deck (…and a couple of others I have in my collection. I’m looking at you, Secret Tarot of Dominic Murphy.)
“The shadow-self is where you keep your anger, your resentments, your self-loathing, your grudges. Some of us display our shadows for all to see: others keep them well-hidden, and appear unbearably and disgustingly cosmic to those who don’t.” – [Aeclectic Tarot Forums]
I had to explain this to him (once he calmed down) and I figured it might be something interesting for you as well.
The term “Shadow Work” refers to Carl Jung’s references in his work to the human nature’s “Shadow Self”. This is that side of us where our hidden (and sometimes not so hidden) issues lie. Our insecurities, our negativities, our morbidities, our toxicities. Our deep seated wounds. Our destructive tendencies.
My mother calls Shadow Work the “Abattage des Démons” which translates into the “Slaughter of the Demons”. And that is why this deck was so intriguing for me. It’s not about evil creatures for me, but about a 69 card deck filled with all different aspects of the Shadow Self.
[Yes, 69 cards, instead of the standard 78-ish. Which means this isn’t really a tarot deck at all, nor does it carry the structure of the tarot. If what I heard is correct, the author did not want it titled with the word “tarot” but the publisher did it anyway.)
“The shadow self can be raw, dark and unbearably real and often remains as an unconscious aspect as we rather not look at why we do or say things irrationally or instinctively.” – [The Shadow Self and Tarot on Tarotpugs]
The deck is a way to explore those shadowy parts in the self, nudge at them and examine them. And perhaps, ultimately, while bringing them into the light to heal them, even if that healing is minuscule and takes countless rinse and repeats to see any real progress.
In my case, I do this most often by working with a dark deck on the first day to pull forth an issue that I need to work on, and then switching to a lighter deck the following day (or days) in order to seek a positive path that will assist me in healing what had been brought to the surface the day before.
Shadow Work is an important part of self development, and something that takes immense amounts of time, like chipping away at a wall by picking off one little granule of mortar at a time. Tools to help in these endeavors are always a good thing, and I see this deck as a tool to assist me on that path.