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How to Identify Shadow Traits in Your Personality with Tarot

Originally published by the Llewellyn Blog by Barbara Moore on September 22nd, 2021

Sasha Graham has established her expertise of doing shadow work with tarot. Her latest book, The Magic of Tarot: Your Guide to Intuitive Readings, Rituals, and Spells, will be out next month.

The exercise below will give you a taste of how she teaches shadow work and combines it with tarot. Naturally the book goes into more depth, but in this sample you can get a sense of her practical, loving, and magically-fueled approach. Enjoy this excerpt:

Write down five things you can’t stand about other people. Five qualities that make you go crazy. Five things people do that fill you with a tasty, bitter bile of anger in your throat. It could be five qualities of a single person, or from many people. It could be something you observe in friends and family and/or something you see celebrities or media figures doing. List five qualities that make you hot under-the-collar.

Now that you’ve listed five things (and don’t worry, if you could only come up with three or four, that’s okay too). Circle the one thing on the list that bothers you the most before reading any further.

Once you’ve circled it take a good hard look. THIS is the Shadow quality most dominant in your shadow self. This is the quality you must come to terms with.

Our experience of life is a projection. Remember, the universe is inside of us. What we focus on is what we need to work through. For example, you circled inauthenticity because your pretentious friend exhibits fake behavior that drives you up a wall. If inauthenticity is in your shadow, think about ways are you being fake in your own life.

You can see in this example how people move in the opposite direction of their shadow issue. Let’s say Susie circled rude behavior. First, she considers how she is rude to others. She would never consciously do such a thing. Instead, she moves in the opposite direction. She puts others needs ahead of her own because she is afraid to be rude. She puts others first so often that she can barely speak for herself. She has lost her true voice and cannot be authentic unless she integrates this aspect of her Shadow.

Integrate the Shadow Tarot Reading

Look at the quality you circled in the 5 Thing Exercise.

1 2 3

Card 1: How your repress this quality.

Card 2: How you express this quality.

Card 3: How you can integrate this quality and move forward.


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