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Oracle cards laid out for a shadow work spread.

How to Use an Oracle Deck for Shadow Work

When you were little, the oracle may have been something that appeared in books you read or TV shows you watched which highlighted a mystical figure bequeathing answers to a lone hero who had traveled far and wide to ask the wise one questions.

As always, fiction is never far from the truth.

While the oracle most easily accessible to you might not be a floating figure in a cloak, it appears in the form of oracle decks, packets of cards with imagery, and accompanying wording.

Oracle reading is a form of divination, just like Tarot reading, tea leave reading, the pendulum, and other forms of delving into the subconscious, which can help reveal answers to burning questions in our daily lives.

While the conscious mind is what we use every day to get tasks done, communicate with others, and complete general everyday activities, it is in the subconscious mind that all the deep stuff goes on. It is the realm of dreams, psychic vision, soul connections, and all the other things that lie hidden beneath everyday life’s veil.

It is also the place where the shadow lurks.

What is the Shadow?

There is a Soul, and there is an Ego. The theory is that when we come to earth, we are these pure little bundles of light called the Soul. All we know is love, joy, and innocence.

But as we progress in this realm which steadily becomes more dangerous, we develop an Ego. This Ego isn’t designed to hurt us or anyone else; it is designed to protect us. Throwing a pure and innocent Soul into a harsh and dangerous planet such as Earth is like feeding a lamb to the wolves. So we create an Ego that helps us to deal with the more difficult aspects of life.

This is how we survive. The Ego’s job is to protect the Soul.

But it doesn’t always work out so simple as that.

An Ego exists in the realm of the conscious mind, and it is in the conscious mind that we operate daily. An Ego may become so wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of the material world that it forgets its primary duty: to protect the Soul.

As such, it starts to take on a life of its own. It neglects the Soul and focuses instead on itself.

The problem is, the Ego is then assuming a role it was never meant to have. In some cases, it starts to think it is the Soul.

It also tends to have a host of “negative qualities” attached to it. It has to. Otherwise, it would never have been able to survive in this harsh and dangerous world. To survive in it, the Ego had to become like it to a degree.

However, as the Ego grows, it realizes that society does not approve of these negative qualities. Therefore, it learns to hide them. Or escape from them using forms of escapism such as drugs and alcohol.

This is especially dangerous when the Ego is attempting to deal with the results of trauma. Memories and residue from traumatic events often find a home in the subconscious mind, but it is unpleasant for the Ego to deal with these memories. Hence, it tries to find a way to deal with them in the material world, often in a self-destructive way.

When the Ego attempts to bury these negative qualities, which are often accompanied by unpleasant trauma accumulated from experience, it forms an entity of its own and becomes the Shadow.

The Shadow is not welcome in the conscious mind where the Ego lives, so it finds a home in the subconscious.

Want to learn even more? Make sure to read: Shadow Work: What it is & 4 Steps That Will Help You Face the Darkness

Serious problems arise when a Shadow is not dealt with by the conscious mind.

Negative feelings and attributes are a part of life, just as positive ones are. A Shadow that is left to fester on its own devices can manifest in a host of physical and mental health problems, issues within relationships, and an individual struggling to find their way into the light without knowing what is wrong with them. To top it off, we have an Ego that wants to keep it buried at all costs.

But the Shadow must be confronted if a person is to heal and become whole. Carl Jung was an ardent student of the Shadow, and he epitomizes it perfectly in this quote:

“There is no coming to consciousness without pain. People will do anything, no matter how absurd, to avoid facing their own Soul. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.”

In other words, the Shadow must be brought into the light and acknowledged to heal wounds that have been inflicted on the Soul. This is difficult and painful, which is why the Ego will avoid it for as long as possible.

As previously mentioned, it is not uncommon for the Ego to start thinking it is the Soul. This is why many don’t acknowledge they have a Shadow side. If you point it out to them, their response is, “I have no idea what you are talking about!”

In many cases, they genuinely believe this. The Shadow is hidden deep within, and it can be not easy to draw it out.

However, there are ways and means to do it.

One way of doing so is with oracle decks for shadow work.

Shadow Work & Oracle Cards

So how can an oracle deck help you?

An oracle has one purpose: to answer your questions and provide deeper insight. It could be that you do not know what your Shadow is and how it works. That’s okay and normal. An oracle deck is here to help you learn more about your Shadow side so that you can deal with it better.

Using oracle decks is very simple. You ask a question and pick a card that magnetically pulls you towards it. Pay attention to your intuition (developing your intuition through practice is a great daily hobby you can do).

Then you look at the imagery and note what thoughts and feelings come to mind. You can also read information about the card in the accompanying guide book (if there is one).

Though the process is relatively simple, the results and meaning behind the oracle are profound.

Check out this article next: The 5 Best Affirmation & Oracle Decks & How to Use Them

Oracle Decks for Shadow Work

You may be wondering how you even begin to use an oracle deck for shadow work. There is no guidebook or rule book. It will come naturally.

Don’t work yourself up into an anxious state, asking yourself how, when, and where you are supposed to ask questions about your Shadow. Your Shadow shows its face regularly; it is just that the Ego has trained itself not to pay attention to it.

Pay attention to when you experience fear. Pay attention to when there is conflict in your relationships. Pay attention to when you get a negative thought, such as being envious of your friend or jealous of your colleague.

The Shadow shows itself all the time. It is always trying to get our attention. Our job is to give it the attention it needs.

For example, if you find yourself feeling intensely afraid about something, this is your Shadow waving a hand at you. Pull out your oracle and ask: Why do I feel so afraid about ....?

Pull the card that calls out to you and meditate on it. There is an answer in there somewhere and using your own intuition and knowledge of the card. You will then be acquainting yourself with your Shadow at a deeper level.

It is a work in progress and often a long one.

But the more you confront the unpleasant, frightening, or negative things, the deeper your understanding becomes, and you will gradually learn more about the darker side of human nature, both of yourself and others.

Oracle Deck Meditation & Taking Care of Your Oracle

An oracle deck for Shadow work is a sacred tool. Therefore, it is important to treat it with respect and reverence. Here are some ways you can take care of your oracle deck and how to use it:

  • Create a sacred space for it and cleanse it after each use. You can sage it with white sage or palo santo.
  • Pulling a daily card specifically for Shadow work is a good way to get to know your oracle and yourself at a deeper level. You can ask the question: What does my Shadow want me to know today? Then pull the card and leave it out on your sacred space.
  • Meditate on the card. Stare at the imagery or close your eyes with the image in your mind. Pay attention to thoughts and feelings that crop up.
  • When using the oracle, shuffle the cards and then lay them out. Pull the one that feels right. Don’t overthink and think to yourself, “Maybe I’m just imagining it’s calling to me.” If you feel drawn to one for no reason, then it is your intuition speaking.

Bring the Shadow to the Light With Oracle Cards

The Shadow is complex, and it is something we all have. No one is pure light. The goal is not to bury or ignore the Shadow but to make it conscious by bringing it into the light.

Only by doing this can we become our true selves and set our Souls free.

This is why oracle decks are such wonderful things. They are an extremely effective tool for exploring the Shadow side and enabling you to understand yourself at a deeper level. You may be uncertain about which oracle guide works best for you, but go with your intuition! You can also research which oracle cards might be best for you.

The light and dark are not so different from one another. The mistake we have made in modern society is to pit them against each other so that we have turned them into sworn enemies, which are to be avoided at all costs.

The reality is that it is only by letting them work together that we can become our true selves. This involves harnessing all the courage we possess and being bold enough to go into the dark cave where the Shadow lives. However, we do not do so to destroy it but to rescue it.

The Shadow is a part of us, and it must be fully understood and acknowledged for the greater good of both ourselves and others.

Every venture into the dark cave requires a flashlight to shine the way. Let the oracle deck be your light as you navigate through the darkness.

Related article: Are You an Empath?

Sarah Brownlee

Sarah Brownlee

Having worked as a teacher, a bartender, and even a private investigator, writing was something Sarah Brownlee just fell into, even though it had been her passion since she was a little girl. To date, she has written and published 3 Children and Young Adult fiction novels, ghostwritten for others, and... Read More

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