Ruminations on Chapter 1 of “Tarot Shadow Work”

I am studying Christine Jette’s “Tarot Shadow Work” this year less as an outward study and more as an inward study. I figure with so much shadowy stuff going on this year, it would be good to review with tarot. It fits in with that work, even if it’s not necessarily about skill. The way I wanted to notate it here was just to journal about some quotes that caught my attention. In a few chapters I will actually be doing some spreads and meditations, so this will be the place to record that as well.

The personal shadow “contains parts of an individual’s psyche that have been forbidden or shamed, depending on cultural and parental conditioning.”

I still remember my parents’ discomfort with my growing intellect as a child. At least, I remember my dad’s. He was more outward with it, accusing me of putting on airs. My mom, I think, is more inward about it. I think it makes her uncomfortable. I’d like for us to work through that. Pieces of shadow around using my intellect, around success definitely come from here. Shadows about emotional expression — ditto. Sexual shadows are a mixture, I think, both cultural and parental. I am hoping this book brings other shadows to light — maybe I’ll learn something new. I don’t mean that in an arrogant way. It’s just that I spend such an obsessive amount of time in self-reflection, I sometimes wonder if I either have no unturned stones, or if the stones are too heavily embedded to ever be overturned.

“The deeper, more unconscious the shadow, the more we experience it as alien to us. We cannot face it in ourselves or tolerate it in another. If you wish to catch a glimpse of your shadow, think of a person you do not like. Describe the qualities in that person that bother you. The characteristics you list are part of your own shadow.”

Oooo, that’s uncomfortable. I don’t want to single out a person, but qualities that bother me — arrogance, conceit. Hypocrisy. Dishonesty. Loud, fast talking — like the kind that doesn’t allow me to get a word in edgewise and also makes me look around to see who else is listening. Being a doormat. And I really hate when someone thinks they know what I’m thinking or what my motivations are better than I do. Being unjust. This could be an ongoing list, but I think that lists the top five or so.

“The shadow cannot be eliminated and shadow work is not about fault-finding and blame.”

I like this idea — it is freeing. It reminds me of a conversation I had recently with Cedar about embracing things/behaviors that used to cause panic. In my case, it’s about eating-to-cope. I have come to a place where I recognize it is a part of me and don’t let it panic me when it comes. I want to explore my shadows and maybe find ways to not have them control my behavior unconciously, but I’m not fooling myself into thinking they’ll go away. And blaming my parents for all my problems, well, I’m past the age of doing that successfully, I think.

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