The "Shadow Card"?


Hey guys, I was wondering how many people use the "Shadow Card", as I call it--the last card at the bottom of the deck following a spread, which signifies the subconscious mind. I'm curious about what others call this card. I've heard it called the "Teacher Card" or the "Deep Secrets Card". I call it the "Shadow Card" because it reminds me of the New Moon, which is the "hidden"/ unconscious face of the Moon.

The other night I was in a mild state of trance--between dreaming and consciousness--when, albeit my eyes were closed, I had a rather panoramic vision of the living room where I was laying as my Familiar,* Spider, crept near to me.

So, I decided to perform a Daily Draw with my trusted tarot deck, and I asked my Familiar what lesson(s) I should learn today... I shuffled the cards for a rather long time since my intuition hadn't prompted me to stop and draw a card for several minutes. Like all of my uncanny and deeply meaningful draws, I drew the EIGHT OF SWORDS! Since I do not draw many cards from the Suit of Swords, I had to look it up, and I started crying when I read the various description, as they PERFECTLY reflected what I have been feeling and enduring for the past three weeks, to no avail...a rather drawn out period of depression:

"Jupiter in Gemini: Feeling fenced in...restrictions...a progress is possible...imprisonment...weakness...too many ideas with no direction...blocked energy or creativity...bound by your own mental obstructions...waiting to be rescued...feeling vulnerable and isolated...self-sabotaging mind...victimization."

I have used many of these same adjectives to describe how isolated and trapped I have been feeling in my isolated town. :( My depression has been so bad that I haven' been able to lift a finger and work on my magnum opus on herb-lore. Interestingly enough (or perhaps ironically), my Shadow Card, as I call it, was the Strength Card, which is also the Eight of the Major Arcana of the RWS deck/ clones (Strength, however, is 11 in my own preferred deck, the Ancient Italian Tarot by Lo Scarabeo).

*I have three Familiars, or animal helper spirits: Spider, Snake, and Owl, each is associated with Witchcraft, occult knowledge, and the Underworld. A "Familiar" represents the species as a whole, rather than an individual critter. A more common term for this helper-spirit is a "Totem". One book that I recommend on the subject is Dr. Emma Wilby's "Cunning Folk and Familiar Spirits".


I've gotten into the habit of using the Shadow Card with almost every reading. I love seeing how synchronous it is! Usually, it reinforces the theme of the reading, or I think of it as "the reason why" card because it highlights the cause of my current situation, giving clues to how I can make improvements.

Sorry to hear about your depression. {{{MacMorrighan}}}

If my familiar was a spider, I'd be hiding under my bed. :)


Thank you so much for the virtual-hug RiverRunsDeep! As for Spider, it took me a while to...."adjust" and not become so creeped out, because i *hate* spiders! Eeeeuuuuwwww.... I like to focus on the beautiful webs--which can be used in Bindings!--and, Spider has proven fabulously helpful in allaying my Pisceanmind from the psychological troubles that Mercury Retrograde can cause, as that period can cause me to misjudge a situation thereby spring boarding either panic or a mini episode of depression since I am not omniscient.

I've only just started using Shadow Cards, but in this instance, I wonder if it's alluding to Inner Strength, that I am, perhaps, stronger than I give myself credit for? *shrugs*


Spiders are GREAT! bring on Anansi et all. :) ;)

My Totem is Fox (in particular an Arctic Fox). My father's tribal Totem (East African) was the African Fish Eagle.
(I have 5 "helper spirits". Fox, Black leopard/panther, and the other 3 are not animals. I usually call them my "guides").

I am infinitely familiar with your descriptions and experience of The 8 of Swords :neutral:
And part of my habitual self-management of this, is to regularly visit a therapist of some sort, and regularly attend a physical activity club that I enjoy.

...lots of people are "stronger than they give themselves credit for"...
all part of that "self sabotage" thing right?
(and Spider - is a "kick ass" guide to have! :) Creation and the primordial alphabet... hmm)

Sometimes - I use a shadow card (when intuition takes me). I like the name "shadow card" - being a person who leans towards the occult and mystical magickal things.
And I use it as a prompt... the subconscious, the dark side of the matter, the bit that has not been considered, additional advice, and even a message from the Familiar...
I "play" - with what interpretation comes to me as "shadow" in the context at the time.

Hope things get better for you.
Hang in there :heart:


I don't use a shadow card or any other kind of auxiliary cards like clarifiers. I just go with what's in the spread and find enough there to work with. The whole gamut of "extra" cards was unknown when I started back in 1972, and I never warmed up to the idea (or the need).


Tanga, what a very interesting idea....I never thought about looking at the Shadow Card as the message/ advise from my Familiar in a one card draw! :)


I'm with Barleywine. I don't use extra cards, either. Once in awhile I do draw a few cards for more information in a spread, but I don't "do" clarifiers, quints, shadow cards, etc.

Sometimes if I do a Celtic Cross it's interesting to let the deck pick the significator by using the top card of the deck after shuffling as the significator and then use the last card on the bottom of the deck as the crossing card..


...Sometimes if I do a Celtic Cross it's interesting to let the deck pick the significator by using the top card of the deck after shuffling as the significator and then use the last card on the bottom of the deck as the crossing card..

Ooh - I like that Grizabella. Thank you :)


When I started to learn I was on a study group on the net where we learned to look at the undercurrent card; the last card on the bottom of the deck. I do it when I do important spreads. Sometimes, I find it quite useful and clarifying.

Love and Light, Genna.

Michael Sternbach

I started looking at the "shadow card" awhile ago. I like how it gives me an additional piece of information, but I couldn't say in advance on what.