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.



8 thoughts on “Bottom of the Tarot Deck: Shadow Cards”

  1. Michael mc loughlin says:

    Very interesting and enlightening

  2. I literally searched for “bottom of the deck” tarot card meaning because I TOO got the 10 of cups!!! And I’d already pulled it earlier and reshuffled! Wow!!!
    What does it mean?!

    1. Wow, indeed! Let’s hope that it means we’re heading for a shift back to harmony… to a time when we can gather with family and friends again and celebrate! Thanks for posting how you found this blog post… it makes me feel optimistic ♥

  3. The High Priestess stalks me everyday i just namd myself that! Its so me!

  4. Your grandmother and I are one in the same – I have always done that with a new book since I can remember.

    So that said to keep reading, and your explanation here helped a lot, for that thank you. Please let me know where else I can read from you, if anywhere on this, outside of your posts on this site.

  5. I was curious about the bond of the deck because I know when I started becoming enthusiastic about washing readers and absorbing some of the information that was shared during those readings I didn’t know that almost 20 years later I would actually be interested in reading myself. I bought many tarot decks I’ve been living in my car for six years and most of them are in storage none of them really resonated with me I didn’t feel and it affinity for any of them until I got the golden art nouveau tarot deck which I ordered had delivered to my daughters house and I was ecstatic.

    I’ve done maybe for the last week or two readings for myself and I find that it’s extremely accurate and if I’m thinking about someone or what’s going on in their life and I pullcards why don’t pull them I actually don’t believe in that and I know that is something that traditionally was done but I’ve noticed more and more readers are actually allowing the cards to jump in for me that is a clear indication that card is meant to be on the table sometimes you’ll get mini carts and you put them back in the deck because you know that the cars that are meant to be will come out again. So I don’t like picking them even though I have gone through phases in my life many many years ago actually even decades ago where I put my hand above the cards and when I felt an energetic tingle I would choose that card but I would definitely not pick them in a row because I don’t believe that is the proper way to do it but that’s my feeling on the matter

    I knew the bottom card was significant for some thing and I never really understood and I can also tell you that many card readers are not using it as the ninth position in the Celtic cross as in hopes and fears. They are using it to signify more information for that reading particular time and they look at the tldeck many times during that reading

    One day I hope to be in a position where I feel confident and comfortable with the cars where I can actually maybe have a channel of my own and also be giving personal readings but I have to say for someone who is just started I am very impressed but I also am an energy reader so it makes sense

    I don’t think it’s for everyone I definitely think that some people are more aligned to doing this and it’s because of who they are and it goes hand-in-hand and part of what they’re doing in this lifetime

    So the people who are just out here and there reading because they wanna make money I wouldn’t subscribe to those people and you can pretty much tell when someone is really gifted or if they’re just doing it because they know the mechanics of the cards they understand the meanings but they’re not really aligned with spirit

    I’m sure some people will feel that that’s incorrect as well because we’re all spirit but that doesn’t mean all of us have conversation with spirit on a regular and so we have establish that relationship therefore some of the messages might not really be for the individual you’re reading for especially if you cannot put all of your energy and an intention into reading for someone else

    That’s pretty much all and add this was a good article for me I appreciate the information

  6. Interesting article. But what if you already pull your cards from the bottom? I have the vise versa deck which is a two sided deck so I naturally pull from the bottom. Would I know draw from the top?

  7. I used to read the last page of a book first when I was little. This touched my heart. Your choice of words was illuminating to my particular inquiry. Thank you

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