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Illuminating The Shadow: A Winter Solstice Soul Tarot Layout

Originally Published
December 21, 2016

A Winter Solstice Soul Tarot Layout with the Mary-El Tarot

What is Soul Tarot? Soul Tarot is the way that I uniquely blend my mediumship skills and intuitive tarot during readings. It’s about going further and reaching deeper, using our Spirit Team as our guides. 

The darkness of winter lends itself to being quiet and introspective. We curl under our blankets next to a fire (or a heater) or gather with friends and family to share the warmth of love. The Winter Solstice is no exception. It not only gives us the chance to go within and look at what we have accomplished but, we also look at what we think is holding us back.

What if we could use the Winter Solstice Energy to look the things that we consider “chains”, “bindings”, or “limitations” and see them for what they really are: Opportunities?

Illuminating the Shadows: A Winter Solstice Soul Tarot Layout is designed so that you can see what is holding you back, what you have “chained” yourself to.  Who better to help facilitate this than The Devil card in our tarot decks? The Devil isn’t about demons or hell and damnation. It’s about really seeing what is making us unhappy—maybe the things that have been making you unhappy for years. It's about looking at those "chains", looking at your shadow side and embracing it so you can move more fully into your Light. It’s about finally breaking free and finding understanding.

Before you begin this reading, I want you to pull The Devil from your deck and sit with it a minute. This may make some of you uncomfortable—and that’s ok. Looking at ourselves isn't always going to be comfortable, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't do it form time to time. You’re going to use the energy of this card to direct the intention of the reading and to help you focus on your Shadow Side.

Next step: draw four cards. The first three will be in a triangle with the fourth lying on its side on top.(see picture above). Pick out your favorite crystal or a rock that appeals to you and place it at the bottom. This represents the movement of digging deep, going into the earth to truly see, pushing through and then purifying as we come out.

Cards One and Three are the shadow parts(chains) rising to be seen. These represent the part of your Shadow Side that is having the biggest impact on your life currently. The Shadow Side is incredibly important. It’s not something to conquer or get rid of. It serves a function and creates a balance. Once we illuminate or shine a light on our Shadow Side we can discover what we are supposed to be learning from it. How we are supposed to grow from it.

Card Two is called The Path. This is what is pushed up -or birthed from your Shadow Side. It is directly connected to it, but in a positive way. This card gives insight into how, if you shine a light on the Shadow, you can move forward. Like its title insinuates, it is the path forward.

Card Four is the Infinity Card. It speaks of universal things—of your greater purpose, journey or lesson. It is what comes down from the divine to meet with your Path. It is information contained on your Soul Blueprint. This will represent a big universal Soul Truth for you. It’s allowing you a glimpse at the bigger picture.

You may draw an optional fifth card for clarification but only do so after you’ve truly worked the first four cards. When we do readings that dig deep, sometimes we don't want to see what the Tarot is telling us, so we keep pulling card after card hoping for something pretty. The whole point of this is to look at the uncomfortable. Only pull a fifth card to clear up anything you've already really worked out from the first four.

Combined with the Winter Solstice energy, this layout should help you work with your Shadow Side to bring forward the most Light. It should act as a Light in the Dark.

I’ve pulled an example,  to demonstrate how you might use the layout for yourself.

The tarot deck used for the reading is from the Mary-El Tarot by Marie White.

You’ll see The Devil card pulled off to the left, acting as a focal point for the reading. Next we are going to identify the elements that we view as blocks or challenges. Things that we feel are more negative. It’s important to remember that these two cards hold the potential for great healing and insight into our Soul.

Shadow Side ~ Card One: Six of Cups Reversed This card represents the heaviness that can push us down. Locking away our feelings, ignoring the uncomfortable can keep us held back, unable to move forward. Anxiety and depression can form from us bottling it up, leaving us feeling disconnected from the Divine. One may feel like they are barely keeping their head above the water.

Shadow Side ~ Card Three: Ten of Disks Reversed We then get caught up in only seeing what isn’t working. We only see the negative and we dwell on it, unable or unwilling to see the positive aspects of life. It’s a cycle that can be hard to break, hard to move on from.

But both of these are actually guiding us towards our Path. They are helping us building a greater understanding and connection to our Soul and the Divine.

The Path ~ Card Two: Ten of Wands This cards asks the recipient of the reading to rise above and step outside their situation—to become The Observer. It’s about understanding that the shadow side is what makes us stronger and gives us more depth. Our mistakes, challenges and missteps are what lead us to greatness. Embrace them-don’t shove them down. They are the key to moving forward. That anxiety acts as a beacon yelling, “Hey! Wake up!” We can use this alarm as momentum to make changes and get back on track. We can learn compassion and empathy for others.  No matter what is going on around us, we have the choice to remember that we are Beings of Light, even when we don’t feel like it. Our true self never goes away, even if we can’t see it. Use the hard parts to propel you into the good.

The Infinity Card ~ Card Four: The Hanged Man This calls our attention to the idea that even light workers have a shadow side—in fact, it’s vital to the work. It’s about giving into your destiny and going deep into yourself to find it. The process of releasing and therefore "purifying" things we considered "chains".  Embracing the pain and suffering and love and joy, all the while understanding they are all equal and important. They all play a part in stepping fully into the Light.

How it applied to the client: This client has struggled with anxiety and depression their whole life. These things can put them into a repeating cycle of negativity or assuming the negative first when presented with change. It can also make them spin out and be hyper critical of themselves and any mistakes they have made in the past. What their Guides and the Tarot are trying to show them is that by taking the journey within and embracing aspects of their life that are uncomfortable, they will be able to see how these “mistakes” have actually made them stronger. In reality, these “missteps” moved them further along their path. Without the Shadow Side, they never would have become who they are today. They never would have stepped into their destiny or Life Purpose.

By stepping outside of stressful situations or situations from the past that weighed them down --and becoming an Observer rather than “in” it or “judging” it-- they can see these experiences for what they really are. A beautiful web of events moving them ever closer to the Divine.

I'd love to hear about how this layout worked for or challenged you. Feel free to comment below or post your own reading. There's always universal truths that shine through with these types of readings that we can all learn from!

**For those of you celebrating the Summer Solstice, use the "extended light" of summer and shine it on your Shadow Side!**

Cards from the Mary-el Tarot by Marie White published by Schiffer Publishing, Ltd. c. 2012

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Last Updated:
October 18, 2021
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