You open your eyes and find yourself on a path, its early evening. Behind you is a lake, teeming with fish and wildlife. On the sides of the path are open fields, cool grass tickles your feet. A few feet ahead of you, there is a wolf, coyote, and a dog howling: the moon hangs low and golden in the sky. The air is cool and crisp: its early autumn and the smell of fire is in the air. Far in the distance, the path leads to mountains and beyond. Two castle towers stand guard as if keeping you inside the circle.
Maybe you could move down the path, but instead you walk across the cool grass to the tower. You open the door and climb the winding staircase. On the top floor, there is a circular room. The room is slightly furnished, the window has glass, a rug on the floor, and against the far wall there is a treasure chest. Slowly, walk across the room and kneel in front of the chest. A mixture of anxiety and excitement builds as you unlock and open the chest. Inside the chest is your treasure.
Both towers contain the same treasure chests and the same items. The Moon, though I did not consciously choose the card for this reason, represents our emotions and intuition. The moon also represents the Shadow, our unconscious aspects of ourself we do not acknowledged. It’s interesting I would choose this card because according to my Tarot profile, this is the “year” of my Shadow card: Temperance. It’s not clear in the book how cycles and the year cards work but Greer state either using them at the calendar New Year, or your birthday is fine. I like the system put forward of assuming that the outside situation will begin acting with the new card’s purpose at the start of the calendar year and the lessons you need to learn will begin to be internalized on your birthday. I like this system and plan to begin doing Shadow work this year.
I have only worked one chapter of M. K. Greer’s Tarot for Yourself, but so far it’s been a really helpful book. One of the more interesting exercises I’ve done described above is called “entering a card.” Basically, in the meditation you visualize the tarot card, go into it, and interact with the card. The purpose of this exercise is to go into the card and interact with it and directly ask it what it has to teach you. Although I did my tarot profile per-another exercise in the book I had pretty much forgot about it when I did this exercise. The Moon does represent my moon sign, Pisces. The way you choose which card to enter was to choose intuitively with the Major Arcana face up. I choose The Moon, without any premeditation, and went into the mediation.
Before starting on this meditation, for the past few days and since I started the Tarot work, I have considered doing Shadow work. I don’t know much about it practically speaking. Just as I was considering it, I’ve seen a few things around the blogosphere with other folks working through theirs. In practical terms though, I don’t really know much about Shadow work, or what a shadow of Temperance would even suggest. In Jungian psychology The Shadow is defined as:
(1) the entirety of the unconscious, i.e., everything of which a person is not fully conscious (2) an unconscious aspect of the personality which the conscious ego does not recognize in itself. Because one tends to reject or remain ignorant of the least desirable aspects of ones personality, the shadow is largely negative. There are, however, positive aspects which may also remain hidden in ones shadow (especially in people with low self esteem). Contrary to a Freudian conceptualization of shadow, therefore, the Jungian shadow often refers to all that lies outside the light of consciousness, and may be positive or negative. “Everyone carries a shadow,” Jung wrote, “and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is.”
So, I’ll need the month or so until my birthday to really figure out how I am going to go about shadow work. In the future though, I will probably write more about my experiences with Shadow work. I’d be really interested in any resources you might have or hearing any other experiences – and especially any advice on getting started.