Magic, Occult, Tarot

Bottom of the Tarot Deck: Shadow Cards

The Ten of Cups has been stalking me lately. It’s not that it’s been showing up in my tarot spreads… it’s been landing at the very bottom of my deck. Repeatedly.

In the digital age of witchcraft, this old crone has learned many new things and been able to put names to things I’d been doing and practicing for years. One of those little pearls has been putting a name to the card that lives at the bottom of your deck after you’ve done all your shuffling and whatnot. This has been on my mind lately — A LOT — because in recent weeks, the same card keeps landing at the bottom of my deck. Let’s take a closer look at what I now know is called the Shadow Card!

What is a Shadow Card?

A shadow card is the card at the bottom of your tarot deck. The shadow card represents your innermost emotions and fears. So, it would correlate to the tarot card in the 9th position in the Celtic Cross spread – which is traditionally known as the card of “your hopes and fears.”

How to Read the Tarot Shadow Card

When reading for myself, I’ve always snuck a peek at the card a the bottom of the deck. I didn’t have any “official” reason for doing so, my intuition just told me that it should be considered. I think of it as a clarifier — a card that sheds some extra light on the tarot spread as a whole.

Should I Look at the Card at the Bottom of My Tarot Deck?

I definitely peek at the card at the bottom of my tarot deck – I always have. I’m undeniably drawn to knowing what it is. As a personal aside, this might have to do with my late-grandmother, Josephine (a devout Catholic, but witchy nonetheless). Josephine lived a life full of charming superstitions and quirks. She reflexively spouted protection spells and threw spilled salt over her shoulder. She was a voracious reader of novels of questionable literary value, and one of her more interesting eccentricities was that she always read the last page of the book first.

My day job is as a writer, so this quirk definitely caught my attention. I remember asking her once, “Grandma, why do you read the last page of a novel first? Doesn’t that ruin the ending?” She just smiled and said, “I read the last page of the book first because I like to know where I’m going.”

My grandmother just smiled and said, “I read the last page of the book first because I like to know where I’m going.”

And that, for me, is what the card at the bottom of the tarot deck is all about. It is a beacon in the dark night. It illuminates my path and helps to clarify my tarot reading.

The Secret Message in the Bottom Tarot Card

Just like jumping cards, the bottom card of the tarot deck holds meaning and weight for me. Yes, I pay attention to these special circumstances! Personally, I always check when I’m reading for myself, but I’m not as consistent when reading tarot for others. I like to leverage this card when I need a little extra oomph for my divination. In those cases where the tarot spread is pretty clear but I still have a niggling uncertainty, the bottom card can be just the ticket for clarification.

Other Clarifier Cards in Tarot Readings

As noted above, you can use jumping cards, or the card on the bottom of the tarot deck to clarify your reading, but don’t forget that you can also just draw additional cards. If you lay a spread, and still have questions, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with pulling an extra card — or several — to clarify. For example, a traditional Celtic Cross tarot spread is ten cards, but if you lay those ten cards and feel that there’s something more to be revealed, you should absolutely lay more cards on the table. In doing so you’re not breaking any rules, and no one is going to judge you!

Share Your Tarot Tales

Do you have a tarot card that stalks you? Or, do you peek at the bottom card in your deck? Let us know in the comments or keep the conversation going by joining Wayfinder Tarot on Twitter, Instagram, or our private Facebook group.

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