Once upon a time, a girl walked into a tarot deck and found exactly what she'd been searching for…
The Dark Wood Tarot is a sensual and immersive tarot experience. It brings you deep into the shadowy heart of an enchanted forest. The Shadow Witch reflects you, the reader. Each archetype offers a discovery, a lesson, and a reflection of your deepest self. The Dark Wood is a shadow deck meant to push you out of your comfort zone in the best way possible.
I've always harbored an intense fascination with haunted, occult things. Power, mystery, and darkness are tantalizing and powerful. The supernatural reminds you of how very much alive you are. Gooseflesh erupts across your skin, your breath quickens, every ounce of you becomes alive and on heightened alert. Fear and erotic love are each two sides of the same coin. This is why thrillers and horror movies make for a great first date. Both fear and passion open us up to something new. They push us out of our comfort zone. It is the thrill of exploring the unknown.
Occult work is based on pushing the boundaries our "normal" senses. We all reach for the tarot deck in an effort to dive deep, to look between the lines of our normal, every day lives. We want to open the Book of Us. We want to finger the pages, maneuver around, and rewrite our destiny.
Tarot vision expands past our normal perceptions. We light a candle and cast shadows to uncover what's hiding there. It is inside occult, metaphysical, and yogic work that we become the Tomb Raider and Indiana Jones of our interior selves.
Terrifying stuff hangs out in these shadowy, cobweb-filled spaces. But just because something isn't familiar shouldn't automatically make it scary. And I've never been physically or emotionally hurt by something or someone that wasn't an actual human being.
Shadow Work is essential for those who desire self-actualization. We are multi-dimensional, holistic creatures who are ever shifting between polarities. We move between sleep and wakefulness, high and low energy, responsibility and pleasure, and of course, darkness and light. The moon doesn't exist without its dark side, and neither do you.
Shadow Work keeps tarot readings on point, especially when you are reading for yourself. Self-reads present a unique challenge. How do we know we are finding the truth of the cards or just telling ourselves what we want to hear? Few of us sit down, spread the cards, and intuit messages like, "The cards say I being am being a real jerk right now." Shadow Work is the medicine for self-justification because to do it, you are required to examine things about yourself you don't normally want to look at. And we all act like jerks sometimes.
We justify our behavior and actions all day long. This is why they say the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
"I didn't mean to be cruel to by best friend that time I left her at the mall, but I really wanted to leave."
"I didn't intend to be a rude to my husband, but I he just didn't understand how I felt."
"I didn't intend to yell at my daughter, but she interrupted me for the fourteenth time when I was trying to pay the bills."
You can't see your own awful behavior if you aren't willing to break out of your comfort zone. But, once you do, you can take responsibility for your actions. You acknowledge the behavior or desire. Then, you can make amends with yourself and others. This heals relationships, makes way for growth, and more than anything, it sets you free.
The Shadow is like a trash heap or giant basement where you throw everything you'd rather not deal with about yourself. It holds the parts of you you'd like to pretend aren't true or don't want to think about. The Shadow is where you place repressed instincts and impulses. This is where everything your mother or caregiver told you weren't allowed to do goes. It is where you place all the things "nice people" don't do. The shadow holds murderous, violent inclinations; selfish behavior; deviance; and everything society deems unacceptable. Talk about scary!
Talents, love, and magical qualities inhabit the Shadow, too. Remember that drama teacher who told you you couldn't sing? You threw that lovely voice into the shadow. Talents and curiosities you are afraid to display or explore are stored there.
Ever fallen head over heels in love with someone you weren't allowed to love or didn't think you deserved? Their warm beating heart and soft face is tucked away inside your shadow waiting for you, no matter how much you try to cover them up. Qualities, personal attributes, weirdness, anything you fear isn't good enough in comparison to others and want to silence gets crammed in the shadow. Original thinking, creativity, entire ways of being that are true to you can be deeply buried in your Shadow. Talk about rich!
Three Shadow Tools
Shadow work offers tremendous rewards for those willing to explore themselves. Your body and psyche is a repository of deep magic. It only takes a questioning mind and a deck of cards to break possibility wide open.
Cast your cards well!
Sasha Graham teaches tarot classes and produces tarot events at New York City's premier cultural institutions, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She has appeared on film, television, radio, and in the New York Times. ...