With the dark season approaching and the spirit of Halloween in the air, it’s a good time to light some candles, burn some incense, play some atmospheric music and work with the shadow cards of the Major Arcana for some serious self-exploration:
The Hanged Man, Death, The Devil, The Tower and The Moon.
The late Hajo Banzhaf (Tarot and the Journey of the Hero) assigned these cards to the Arc of the Night of the Major Arcana, the descend into the underworld, which starts with the Hanged Man and ends with the Moon.
These are not the most welcome cards when they appear in readings, but when we face them and examine our dark side (including those past experiences we’d rather forget), they can help us turn our darkness into light.
The best way to do that is through self-enquiry. Here are some questions you can ask yourself for each card:
The Hanged Man – What do I keep avoiding? Where am I stuck in my life? In what situations did/do I find it hard making decisions? What sacrifices have I made in order to make progress? What do I refuse to give up?
Death – Endings in my life that were painful. Changes that were unsettling. New beginnings that resulted from these endings/changes. What do I need to let go of now (habits, things, people…)? How can I transform anguish, loss and grief into a new sense of purpose and understanding? What transformations have I experienced in my life?
Tarot spread: 1. Me now / 2. Me a year ago – What has changed?
The Devil – What is controlling me / what am I controlling? Where do I feel trapped? How can I break free? Where am I complacent? Where am I wasting too much energy that isn’t worth it? What am I obsessed about? Where have I been despondent? A taboo in my life / family / society.
The Tower – What am I angry about? When was the last time I showed my anger? What incident or situation shook my world? How have I recovered? When did I feel that my life was falling apart, and how have I rebuilt it? What has gone out of control? What have I destroyed on purpose in order to start again differently?
The Moon – When did my imagination last run wild? What are my fears / insecurities and doubts? What am I confused about? A nightmare I can remember I once had. My lunar fantasies: visions and illusions (pull a card for each). What is obscured and needs to be revealed? Where and how am I deceiving myself?
Make a date with your shadow and descend into the underworld with these cards. Enjoy!
PS: Learn more about how to use the cards for self-exploration and healing in my Discovery Tarot Course.