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The Tower as Shadow

Thread originally posted on the Aeclectic Tarot Forum on 28 Sep 2002, and now archived in the Forum Library.



Moongold  28 Sep 2002 
Dear Colleagues,

In Tarot Constellations Mary Greer shows how to calculate soul, personality and teacher (Shadow) cards P. 28 - 32. My soul and personality Cards are seven, being the reduced number of birth day, month and year dates.

However, I am quite confused as to how she then calculates the Teacher/shadow card as my particular set of numbers reduces to 25 (2 + 5 = 7). This particular combination of numbers does not seem to fit in the formulas she uses. Am I then to assume that my Shadow car is also 7? I'm not sure that would be right.

If anyone is familiar with this particular Greer book and he way she does this?

Pollack in An illustrated Guide to the Tarot P. 167 gives a couple of explanations. One of these involves an implied higher number . Using this system, Iím not sure that I like my Teacher/Shadow card (the Tower) LOL . Who likes their Shadow card? I say a little humbly that in some ways it makes sense in terms of some of my lifetime experiences. Of course this brings into the light for me all sorts of questions about predetermination and past lives etc. Another story (Napeea where are you?). I hope Iíve learned the lessons well so that my next life will be like swimming with dolphins.

Has anyone worked with this system of numbers and meanings in the Tarot? Perhaps you could let me know if I have understood Greer and Pollackís explanations correctly? The weakest link for me is the implied higher number. It doesnít sound terribly scientific to me. It is a little as though there were a set of numbers (5 - 9) that none of the formulas fitted so someone came up with the implied higher number theory.

Any advice appreciated. Actually, the more I think about the Tower as a Shadow card, the less intimidating it seems.

Blessings

Moongold 


Moongold  28 Sep 2002 
Well I progressed a little further in the book. Obviously this shadow work is touchy! I think I understand Greer's formula now and sure enough the Tower is my Shadow/Teacher card.

There is a much more positive explanation further on. Paul Foster Case (the Founder of BOTA), Gertrude Stein and Marcel Proust were all double 7's like me, and with the Tower as Shadow/Teacher. Also Aleister Crowley and James Wanless (Thoth and Voyager Tarots respectively). Also Bruce Lee and Uri Geller. And others.

There is amazing learning here. I am doing Shadow Work using the Christine Jette approach and am almost finished the Star of Recovery exercises. These use meditation and the Tarot Cards with the star spread to focus on aspects of one's revealed shadow. It is a very exhaustive but peaceful process. Jette later goes on to speak about embracing the Shadow. Greer speaks about the Shadow as teacher and healer. Greer wrote in 1988 and Jette in 2001. Both use similar principles with different approaches.

Another thing I've learned in this process. If you ask for guidance for spiritual growth, you'd better mean that you really want it! It comes in the most surprising ways.

On to the next discovery.....

Moongold 


MeeWah  29 Sep 2002 
Moongold: I am not sure I understand your query; however, l am familiar with Mary K Greer's writings on this subject but not Rachel Pollack's.

Since there are only 22 Major Arcana, if the total of the birth month, day & year is a 2-digit number higher than 22, it is reduced. Therefore: if the sum of your birthdate is 25, then the two digits of 2 + 5 are added, resulting in 7. 7-The Chariot is thus the Personality Card. Depending on the number of the Personality Card, it may or may not be further reduced to produce the Soul Card. Since 7 cannot be further reduced, the Soul Card is also 7-The Chariot.

The number 25 representing the sum of your birth date does not figure further in the calculations other than it happens to add up to 7.

Mary K Greer refers to a Hidden Factor Card, which I see as the Shadow Card. A Shadow Card need not be seen as negative per se, but it does represent the unknown aspects of self; the other half of the duality that resides in every man. It is the flip side or "opposite" of the Personality Card. It can most easily be calculated by determining what numbers add up to the Personality Card--a process that produces another card--thus, 7 is 1 + 6, or 16.

With 16-The Tower as one's Shadow Card, 'tis likely that the life is marked by patterns of major, even drastic change. Such changes are oft characterized by a quality of not being within one's immediate control. The energy usually takes the form of apparently external factors--such as the influences &/or actions of other people; or circumstances. It also encompasses the internal factors of self that precipitate change. Also things set in motion by one's own attitudes & actions; a cause & effect type process. Throughout the life, The Tower can represent hard-won knowledge acquired through experience & include experiences of the inner revelatory variety such as through inspiration or sudden understanding--like the light-bulb effect, being struck by lightning (knowledge). 


Moongold  29 Sep 2002 
Quote:
Originally posted by MeeWah
Moongold: I am not sure I understand your query; however, l am familiar with Mary K Greer's writings on this subject but not Rachel Pollack's.

Since there are only 22 Major Arcana, if the total of the birth month, day & year is a 2-digit number higher than 22, it is reduced. Therefore: if the sum of your birthdate is 25, then the two digits of 2 + 5 are added, resulting in 7. 7-The Chariot is thus the Personality Card. Depending on the number of the Personality Card, it may or may not be further reduced to produce the Soul Card. Since 7 cannot be further reduced, the Soul Card is also 7-The Chariot.


Mary K Greer refers to a Hidden Factor Card, which I see as the Shadow Card. A Shadow Card need not be seen as negative per se, but it does represent the unknown aspects of self; the other half of the duality that resides in every man. It is the flip side or "opposite" of the Personality Card. It can most easily be calculated by determining what numbers add up to the Personality Card--a process that produces another card--thus, 7 is 1 + 6, or 16.


Dear MeeWah,

Thank you for your kind and prompt response.

I could not understand the process and logic of getting the 1 + 6 or 16 combination whereas there is a certain logic in adding up all the numbers that comprise the initial birthdate information. And I thought this obscurity made the whole formula questionable. I still cannot understand the logic of the formula, but perhaps I need to accept it on faith. Intuitively, it makes sense.

To be honest, I think I was reacting to initial shock at having the Tower card appear as my shadow card. One of the characteristics I have had reinforced in my shadow work has been that of impetuosity/spontaneity and I certainly demonstrated that in this reaction LOL. More often this quality is creative and enjoyable.

I've settled down about this now, Meewah, which led me to write the second post. I must say my encounter with the Divine, via the Tarot, has been full of suprises.

One of the beauties of this site (Aeclectic) is that there is a great deal of wise and good natured assistance available. I still have to watch a tendency to react a little negatively to the appearance of the Tower, the Devil and some of the Swords cards in personal work. Eventually this will pass I trust.

Thanks once more for your explanation.

Blessings,

Moongold 


MeeWah  29 Sep 2002 
Moongold: At the time I responded to your thread, your second post was not present. & thank *ye* for the mental exercise :)

I can see why the means employed to determine a Shadow Card may seem a wee arbitrary, but 'tis all in the numbers. I agree that The Tower can describe impetuosity &/or spontaneity; or a need to emulate same. Those are not negative qualities in & of themselves; may serve as reminders to occasionally let one's hair down; to not be so structured. In a sense, The Tower can represent a freedom or escape from structure, possibly due to Divine intervention. In relation to The Chariot, it could represent the road less-traveled by--as in Robert Frost's poem "The Road Not Taken":

"...Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference."

An intriguing aspect of the Shadow Card is when it appears as a Year Card & more likely to have a greater significance or impact. The same is true of when the Personality or Soul Card is in effect for the year. Similarly when any of the Lifetime Cards (that is, Personality or Soul) appear in daily cards or in a throw.

BTW: I can relate to the aversion to one's Shadow Card--'tis an instinctive disavowal of what it could possibly represent of the self. I have felt similarly about The Devil, which is my Shadow. It has led to some interesting & meaningful insights some of which have not been gained without difficulty or "the hard way"; but it does help to retain one's sense of humor. 


Moongold  30 Sep 2002 
MeeWah,

Thank you for sharing Shadow card information with me. I certainly see it differently now.

This is partly about learning a whole new set of meanings, isn't it? And not projecting my own stereotypes on to the archetypes, so to speak. One of the most valuable aspects of membership here is just that - seeing things through other eyes and with other shades of meaning. It is qute liberating.

As part of this search I discovered the BOTA site and have been fascinated by BOTA's interpretation of the Major cards. The Tower is given as:

To this Key is attributed the stage of spiritual unfoldment called Awakening, because it represents the flash of clear vision which reveals to the searcher the true nature of his being which has previously been hidden from him because of the bondage of his consciousness. The tower is the structure of error and ignorance, which is struck by the lightning of Spiritual Comprehension emanating from the central sun of Truth, or Pure Being. The crown which is knocked from the top of the tower is will-power. But it is a false crown, for it represents personal will, which has no existence in reality. Right knowledge begins with the flash of comprehension that reveals to us the true nature of Will, as symbolized in the 9th Key. Hence what is really over-thrown is the delusion that we exist as separate personalities, which delusion is the cause of all human suffering and limitation.

The falling figures are the two modes of personal consciousness, generally called self-consciousness and subconsciousness. The flash of Superconsciousness turns all of our conceptions of personal consciousness upside down and utterly destroys these false conceptions. The 22 Yods represent the 22 basic modes of consciousness symbolized by the 22 TAROT KEYS.


The Devil is certainly more complex and the BOTA description quite graphic. If the Shadow is so dark and intense, how powerful must be the personality and how deep the understanding and knowledge that comprise it.

I guess as you said, along with Greer and Jette, the key is knowing and using the knowledge positively.

Thanks again for your help.

Moongold 


MeeWah  01 Oct 2002 
Moongold: Thank you for that very intriguing passage on The Tower. I have some acquaintance with the B.O.T.A. Tarot correspondence course which you may like.

I have also seen The Tower to represent the head chakras; especially associate it with opening of the third eye. When the veil of illusion is lifted, even for a moment. 


The The Tower as Shadow thread was originally posted on 28 Sep 2002 in the Using Tarot Cards board, and is now archived in the Forum Library. Read the threads in Using Tarot Cards, or read more archived threads.

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