How to Use Tarot Cards for Shadow Work and Healing

 How to Use Tarot Cards for Shadow Work and Healing

The shadow is a psychological concept that Carl Jung came up with and it basically refers to our dark side. We all have aspects of ourselves, moments from our past, and certain fears and desires that we don’t want to spend too much time thinking about.

Your shadow self is the part of you that holds all of that stuff. It’s buried so deeply within ourselves, so ingrained into our programming, that we are not even consciously aware of it.

Yet your shadow affects your daily life in ways you can’t even imagine. Those bad relationships you keep attracting, the constant lack of security you have, and your inability to speak your truth comes from wounds and negative programming stored in your shadow self.

To move forward and heal those deep inner wounds, you first need to shine a light on it. You need to illuminate and confront the dark and replace it with light.

That is what shadow work is all about and tarot, being the gateway to your subconscious, is a great way to help you confront your dark side and I’m gonna show you how.


All inner wounds are caused by fear relating to some kind of trauma that you experienced in the past or inherited from your family. These fears lead to erroneous or limiting beliefs that you have and mess up your inner programming.

Fears, Limiting Beliefs, and Negative Programming

When it boils down to it the light and higher levels of vibration can be associated with the emotion of love and the dark and lower levels of vibration can be associated with the emotion of fear.

All inner wounds are caused by fear relating to some kind of trauma that you experienced in the past or inherited from your family. These fears lead to erroneous or limiting beliefs that you have and mess up your inner programming.

That negative programming is why you fall into the same negative patterns and why you feel like something within your life needs healing.

Let’s talk about why your programming is so important. You as a conscious creator generate your own personal reality.

Whatever your unconscious programming is and whatever thoughts go through your mind repeatedly is what gets broadcasted out to the universe. The universe then generates things to put in your path based on what you have broadcasted.

All that stuff lies in the shadow. You are not aware of it but it happens.

So let’s say you were bullied as a child and you have this inner belief that no one will love you. You are afraid you will never find love.

You then find yourself constantly in unstable relationships with the wrong partner as an adult reinforcing your belief that you are unlovable.

That belief is clearly not true and that programming is negative but the universe can’t tell the difference. It just responds based on your code. You heal by rewriting your code.

Obviously, you can’t exactly heal things you don’t know about. That’s where tarot comes in.

You can do a reading for yourself and allow the cards to shadow you what you can’t see about yourself. They are an invaluable tool for self-reflection!

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Preparing for Your Reading

As with any reading, you will feel blocked and won’t be able to achieve any kind of real depth unless you’re in the right frame of mind.

The magic of tarot does not lie in the cards themselves but lies within you. If you’re feeling very anxious and have a lot of stuff on your mind you won’t be able to access the deepest parts of yourself.

This is important for any reading but especially for shadow work where the whole point is to illuminate those hidden parts of yourself.

What can you do to get in the right frame of mind? Several things:

  • Ideally, perform your reading at a time of day where you are already relatively ‘empty-minded’. For example, in the morning before your day has truly begun or after your evening shower when you’re relaxed.
  • Find a comfortable space to do the reading where you won’t be disturbed.
  • Do a short meditation or simply take a few deep breaths to calm yourself and empty your mind. I would suggest doing a simple grounding exercise.

The whole idea is to get into what I like to call ‘receptive mode’. Receptive mode is when your own mind is quiet and sort of out of the way, creating space for Spirit to come through as well as for you to access your higher self.

If you do this before you approach the cards you will be able to pull more from the reading and, like I said, illuminate the darkest parts of yourself.


The magic of tarot does not lie in the cards themselves but lies within you.

Questions to Ask the Cards

Now that you are in the right frame of mind it’s now time to begin the reading. Make sure you have a notebook or pen and paper handy so that you can do some journaling.

It’s important to mention the reason or purpose for doing shadow work. What specifically are you trying to heal or shed some light on? The shadow is very vast so if you were to keep it too general I’m afraid you might not be able to make sense of what the cards are talking about.

The key lies in being clear about your purpose. Are you trying to find out about your money mindset issues? About negative patterns in your relationships? About your chronic problems with certain chakras (e.g. issues with speaking your truth). What issue do you want to focus on for the purpose of your reading?

Now that that’s clear let’s talk about the actual spread. I could just create and give you a spread for you to use but I have a different way of doing things.

Rather than save 100s of spreads and never use them, I prefer to create my own spread on the fly by forming my own questions.

For example, let’s say you want to know why you are always blocked from receiving abundance. That’s the main question. You then break it down into several sub-questions that will help you get the answer.

You arrange those sub-questions in a line, cross, square, triangle, whatever, and that’s basically your own custom spread you made for the purpose of your reading.

It’s totally up to you and dependent on your goals for the reading. But, I’ll make a suggestion. Here are some questions I used for a reading I did for myself that I think you could use as spread positions:

  1. What fears of mine underlie this issue?
  2. What am I refusing to acknowledge about this issue?
  3. What limiting beliefs are holding me back?
  4. What is the root cause of this issue? (basically, what moment in your life or from your family history first cased the issue)
  5. How can I heal these issues?

As you are doing the reading and looking each card as it relates to the question/position, I recommend that you write down your interpretation on paper.

There is just something about physically writing it down that helps me process the information I’m learning more and get into a deeper space of introspection. We need to dig really deep here and uncover parts of yourself that may be long buried. Journaling helps with that.

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Struggling to go beyond individual card meanings and understand the big picture? Download my Tarot Master Starter Kit to learn how to masterfully weave the narrative and read like a pro!

Continue the Healing Process After the Reading

You have completed the reading, you wrote down your interpretation and journaled about it a little bit. Basically, now you have illuminated and gained insight into one aspect of your shadow self.

It’s not enough simply to know about it you need to heal it as well. That involved acting upon what the cards suggested in position number 5 (how can I heal these issues?) as well as one other thing.

You need to flip those limiting beliefs by writing down some positive affirmations for yourself. For example:

  • Limiting Belief: “I need to toil in order to receive money otherwise it’s not earned.”
  • Positive Affirmation: “The universe supports me in all my needs. Abundance is my divine right.”

What you are doing is rewiring yourself. You are rewriting your own code and fixing that negative programming that’s blocking you.

It doesn’t stop there. Pay attention to people or things you find yourself judging because judgement often reveals something some aspect of your shadow self that you don’t like or want to acknowledge.

You also need to carefully pay attention to your thoughts. Pay attention to any time you feel that limiting belief is popping up and say that affirmation you wrote, in your mind.

Try out my method for shadow work and deep inner healing using the tarot and let me know what you think? What truths did you uncover about yourself