Psychosynthesis Explore your Shadow Spread

I was reading a book on Psychosynthesis the other day (A Psychotherapy of Love: Psychosynthesis in Practice by Ann Gila and John Firman) and a tarot spread jumped out at me that would be useful if you are feeling there is something central underlying several issues you, or your client, is experiencing and want to explore. So I thought I would share it here – It is a very powerful spread particularly when done with the Thoth. The repressed material is likely to be unrecognisable by the querant (you or your client) initially – but once you have the image and associated energies meditating on it and thinking on it over then following few days will help you release its transformative potential.

Before I go into the spread I will explain a little about psychosynthesis so you can understand the deeper intentions behind each spread position.

The following diagram is a model of how psychosynthesis sees the psyche

Psychosynthesis modelTo explain the terms:

Field of Consciousness and Will

This is our conscious self what we know of ourselves and what we want to do in life. Our motivations and our actions.

Middle Unconsciousness

This is our unconscious as connected to the present moment, things here we are not aware of but haven’t put any energy in to being unaware of them – simply they have not reached conscious level.

When we experience pain and trauma when we are developing it can be bad enough that we decide to not access certain parts of ourselves in order to keep ourselves safe. Jung considered this the Shadow. We seek then to actively repress this, all be it out of consciousness. We will tend to avoid situations that would bring our shadow to our consciousness. So if anger is something that was unsafe to express as a child for instance then we might seek to avoid conflict at all costs and loose also the positive ability to stand up for ourselves, to speak out about injustice and to express our thoughts or feelings if it would lead to real or imagined conflict in some way. Hence our shadow contains a positive and negative counterpart.

The Positive shadow tends to map to the Higher Unconsciousness and the negative shadow to the Lower Unconsciousness

Psychosynthesis is also concerned with our True Self – the transcendental part of ourselves this is beyond the physical, the ‘I am’, our pure consciousness in its highest form. Also there is a concept of sub-personalities in psychosynthesis. We can concieve of ourselves as having several parts of ourselves or viewpoints at once, each viewpoint may have a complex ‘personality’ of its own. Examples would be Inner Child, Inner Parental voice, Saborteur, inner Spirual being etc. When we are in harmony with ourselves we can see this like an orchestra playing well together, sometimes we are out of balance, the violinest is justtaking over too much or someone it out of time with the rest and not listening.  I decided to include this idea in the spread also.

So with this background the spread looks like this:

1. Field of consciousness and will: What I know and want in the present situation
2. Middle unconscious: What my subpersonalities are saying, how they are getting on
3. Higher consciousness: What positive qualities are still repressed partially or completely from the distant past that are relevant to the current time
4. Lower consciousness: What negative qualities are still repressed partially or fully from the distant past that are relevant to the current time
5. What I am avoiding in life circumstances to keep the positive and negative shadow hidden
6. The true Self guidance
7. Outcome


.            5.

1. 2.                 7.

.            6.


I like the arrow shape as it symbolises movement forward.

I have found this spread very powerful – it gets into the depths of the psyche and will usually take some working with to fully heal. Often the cards’ energies in 4 and 3 are not recognised as they represent shadow material which is actively repressed by the psyche, so by definition we are going to find the meanings here hard to access intially. However if we hold these cards in our mind over the next few days and weeks, and also meditation on their meanings and relevance often inspiration is sent to us and it can feel like a doorway has opened out into our mind and things start to shift positively, sometimes miraculously.

Please feel free to have a go with this spread and comment on how you find it for yourself or in your work with others.

One thought on “Psychosynthesis Explore your Shadow Spread”

Comments are closed.