The “Persona & Shadow” Two-Deck Personality Profile Spread
AUTHOR’S NOTE: I’ve long felt that tarot reading is principally a storytelling art built on anecdotal assumptions rather than a deductively rigorous discipline. It is therefore not ideally suited to the analytical exploration of the human mind, neither the subjective navel-gazing kind nor the psychological profiling of other people. (Natal astrology already has that pretty well covered if one has the time, inclination and persistence to learn its intricacies.) When it isn’t entirely a subconscious projection of our personal opinions onto the cards, it is an imaginative attempt to draw parallels between symbolic imagery and objective reality, usually through free-association and intuitive guesswork (or sometimes simply through mind-reading). The closest I’ve come to feeling comfortable with this form of layman’s psychoanalysis is through my experimentation with the practice of reversal, in which cards that appear randomly in an upside-down orientation can speak to the inner workings of a situation at the mental/emotional level. At the end of this piece I’ve linked a previous essay that examines this approach.
After writing about the “shadow”card and the fact that reversals can serve a very similar purpose in a reading, I decided to create a “personality profile” spread that specifically uses reversed cards to describe the inward-turning aspects of an individual’s psyche (Jung’s “shadow”), a quality that reversal already imparts to any reading in a more general sense. This spread requires two decks, one with only upright cards and a second one with only reversed cards.
Originally published at http://parsifalswheeldivination.wordpress.com on January 4, 2023.