Embracing the Shadows: Halloween and Tarot
I love Hallowe'en. When I was a kid, I thought it was the most thrilling day of the year...a day when you could transform into anyone or anything, when you get to roam the blustery streets of your neighbourhood after dark, a time when the ordinary shifts into the shadowy unknown.
I still get that magical feeling even now. I love to dress up every Hallowe'en, whether I'm going to a party, or just staying at home to scare trick-or-treaters. The last few years forces have come together, and I have been busy reading Tarot at Halloween parties and events, yes, in costume. Don't you love it when things come full circle so beautifully?
Whatever the situation, I always go for the archetypal Hallowe’en costumes: vampire, devil, ghost, witch. I’ve stretched it to include some of my favourite goddesses and demigoddesses, and I have to admit I love a good X-Men or Dr. Who costume, but since I’ve “grown up” I don’t tend to go for the trendy or non-scary costumes. I think it’s fantastic if people dress up at all, but secretly I’m very traditional about Halloween.
To me, this absolutely fantastic day isn’t about dressing up as the latest scandalous Hollywood or political figure, or a chance to be a sexy crayon (I swear that’s a real costume I saw in a shop this year). It is about acknowledging that this is a day when the veil between the worlds is thin, when spirits are a little more free to walk the earth, and to revel in the fact that we don’t understand everything about life and death and there are still a lot of mysteries. I don’t mean that this should be a serious, solemn day, though. Quite the opposite – there is a real thrill and euphoria in embracing the darkness of Halloween.
Being a Tarot reader, at this time of year I turn to my cards for insight into my shadow, darker self.
I ask the cards to help me bring to light any aspect of myself that I may have been pushing away, hiding somewhere deep within myself, because I don't want to see it. Then, I create a quiet and safe space for myself to explore these shadow aspects, to make friends with those parts of who I am that I am not so comfortable with. Finally, I ask the cards how I can thank and release anything that may not be serving me well.
If you have your own Tarot deck, you can give this process a try, using this simple three-card spread:
Card 1: What part of myself needs to be brought to light?
Card 2: What do I need to learn from my shadow self?
Card 3: What part of myself can I thank and release?
If you don't read Tarot for yourself, I recommend setting aside some time on Halloween to ask yourself these questions, and to be open and without judgement or expectation, allowing whatever needs to come up, to come up. Write in your journal, be open to messages from your ancestors, guides and those who have come before you – Halloween is a time when this kind of communication occurs more naturally and with ease.
Whether you are using the cards or journaling, be kind to yourself. This process can be a kind of detox; you never know what may come up, or how you may react. Approach the process with gentleness and compassion, and try to give yourself a break as much as possible.
Then, after that time of introspection, put on your witch hat or vampire teeth, and let your devilish side loose, at least for one night! Happy Halloween everyone!