Happy Halloween everyone! I thought what better way to celebrate the holiday this year than to keep a promise I made way back in this post about going over a reading I did for myself using Daily Tarot Girl’s Meet Your Alter Ego Tarot Spread.
So first, let’s go over when is a good time to use it? Obviously, it’s good for exploring the self but I also think this might be a good spread for character creation or fleshing out a preexisting character as a writer.
The reading I did was for the purpose of exploring myself and I honestly expected to see the identity of my avatar, Toadie, in the reading. I mean, why wouldn’t I, right? I got more than I bargained for in the end. My recommendation is that if you are doing this reading to explore yourself for the first time, use a deck with gentle imagery. The deck I chose when I did this reading was the Mystic Dreamer Tarot and I still had a hard time processing it. It took me about four days and even then I went over it with my therapist. No joke.
In the spirit of Halloween though, I’m presenting this reading with my Necronomicon Tarot that I got for my birthday this year. It’s a dark deck featuring artwork inspired by the mythos of H. P. Lovecraft. I believe it’s appropriate for the holiday, but it will influence the intuitive aspect of the reading.
Okay, now that’s all been said let’s take a look at my reading’s layout with the deck I’ll be using for this post next to the deck I originally used:
As you can see, these two decks have a completely different feel and it can slightly alter how one interprets the cards. For now, I’m just going to work with the Necronomicon Tarot deck in keeping of the holiday spirit.
Now, the super important thing about this spread to keep in mind while looking at each card is to think about the positive and negative aspects. There are always reasons for why we suppress things about ourselves. Maybe we got hurt. Maybe it’s something we’re afraid of. Just because we hide it from the world doesn’t make it automatically bad. The things we share with the world aren’t automatically good either. It just means what we share is what we’re comfortable with.
The first card in the spread represents how suppressing parts of yourself effects your life. For me, I got the Knight of Swords. As you can see in the image of this card, the knight here is just charging ahead aggressively without watching where he’s going.
This knight lives in the realm of the mind and thought. He gets impatient with those that can’t keep up with his ideas. And in his impatience, he’ll rush ahead to carry through his plans. Sometimes this rush can be to the point of cutting corners or missing critical details.
The key positive and negative in all this? Emotions are cut off in the process. This is knight tends to be an entirely cerebral persona when in action. It’s a good thing to box away emotions and focus on the task before you when emotions cloud your judgment. It’s not a good thing when emotions get stuffed aside so often that they are longer acknowledged and expressed.
So having this card here in this position suggests that what’s happening when I suppress parts of myself, I’m suppressing my emotional side too. I end up becoming a cerebral creature that’s emotionally disconnected from the world around me. The fact that I’ve been diagnosed with Unspecified Personality Disorder with Schizoid Traits makes this hard to argue with. What I found difficult to process was the behavioral implications that came with this card since I also have Bipolar Disorder.
Any time I get upset or start struggling with intense emotions, my go-to answer is to bury myself in projects. The more overwhelming it is, the bigger and more numerous the projects… and the more withdrawn and disconnected I become.
For what it’s worth, this is how workaholics are born. It’s a form of escape rather than dealing with the emotional problem directly. And it’s so easy to do because it’s socially acceptable. It’s viewed as productive and functional. Society supports it while completely unaware that the person is really collapsing internally. If this behavior is sustained long enough alexithymia, which is the inability to recognize or describe one’s emotions, sets in and becomes the norm.
It’s because of this one card in this reading, that I have realized just how much trouble I am in in terms of my mental health and well-being. Even now I struggle to identify my emotions.
The bottom three cards of this spread represent the personality traits, dreams, and issues that make up your alter ego. As I said earlier, I was expecting to see my avatar, Toadie, here. Instead, I met… myself, for a lack of a better word. Perhaps my inner child would be the best way to put it?
The Ace of Swords, which is the gift of the mind, landed in this row for me. Kind of a weird card to see here seeming how I am diagnosed with a mess of mental illnesses and disorders. Having said that, it doesn’t change the fact I’m not stupid. I do have a brain in my head. I’m capable of independent thought.
I also know that any out there that has been marginalized, dismissed, or discounted because of their gender, skin color, social class, or disability completely understands why I feel pain, angst, and even anger over this.
I shouldn’t have to say what I think and feel only to have someone inform me why I don’t think or feel that way. I should be permitted to own and speak my truth for what it is. As it is. Without filter. Without apology. Without needing to hide behind a mask.
Of all the things I struggle with in my life, this one I think I hate the most but find in some ways the easiest to work around thanks to the internet.
The King of Wands, a man with a vision and a plan. A man of power and control. This is a side of me I’ve always feared and wanted. As a survivor of domestic violence, I have seen firsthand what kind of damage control gone wrong does to a person. Damage I never want to do to another soul. Damage I don’t want done to me anymore.
It took me a long time to understand the key in all this rests in the exchange of power and boundaries. And I didn’t quite get that with this card until I did a reading this post and made the promise to cover this spread.
To get what I mean, take a look at the King of Wands from the Mystic Dreamer Tarot compared to the one from the Necronomicon Tarot:
What is the same and what is different between the imagery in these two cards? Admittedly, it wasn’t the Necronomicon Tarot card that helped me to finally see what my personal issue and longing here was. It was the card from the Steampunk Tarot:
Do you see it now? It’s all in the way this king protects his throne and who he allows into his space. This is what boundaries are and how the exchange of power works. When you allow someone into your space, you permit them to have some measure of power. The thing is, you always have control of this flow. As scary as it may sound, you always have the option of finding some way to walk away and go no contact from a person if it comes to that.
Now having said all that, there is the aspect of the entrepreneur that is the King of Wands. The man with the plan and a vision. This part of me I do think I have embraced since becoming a parent. My children wouldn’t have their IEPs and care plans if I hadn’t. My oldest son wouldn’t be homeschooled right now despite so many people, my father especially, thinking it’s the worst idea ever if I hadn’t embraced this part of myself.
But the negatives, the things I fear and struggle to reign in to keep in check? I truly have no desire to plow people over, or mow down their boundaries.
Okay! The Knight of Wands! Passion! Action! Adventure! I can’t tell you how happy I was to see this card here. And if you think I’m going to say this is the full blown manic side of me here, you’re right.
Yes, there are positives and negatives to it. Why wouldn’t there be? On the upside there is lots and lots of energy involved. So much to do, people to see, places to go. Everything is a new dawn and I’m unstoppable. The downside? Combine all that and throw in severe disorganization of the brain. Add in extreme emotions. It’s all or nothing. All the time. High stakes 24/7.
Honestly, I wish I could have this energy and exuberance without the recklessness. Thinking about that, I came to realize something:
The only difference between these two knights is one is ruled by the realm of his thoughts while the other is ruled by the realm of his passions. Aside from that, they are both often driven to blindness. Whether I’m sliding around on the manic spectrum or not, I’m frequently prone to hyperfocus and tunnel vision.
My concerns regarding the king is misplaced. It’s not about power and keeping my need for control in check. Not exactly. It’s more about being blind to what’s going on around me and I need to pay more attention to that.
These top three cards in the spread address the alter ego in terms of how to work with it and what it has to say to you at this time.
The first card in the top row offers advice on how to integrate your alter ego into your daily life. The card I got was the Ace of Cups. This card is the gift of the heart. So we’re talking about opening up emotionally and using creative expression here – the very opposite of the Knight of Swords and perhaps the most challenging thing to do for someone dealing with alexithymia.
And yes, this is why I launched my Emotional Tarot Series here on my blog. It’s incredibly difficult to express yourself emotionally in any shape or form when you can’t even identify what it is you feel. I’m hoping that by giving myself creative tools to make it easier to do that, it will be easier to express myself to others. I also hope that by sharing my journey and process I can help others in some way.
The next card in the row gives advice on how to embrace and work with your alter ego. I got the Queen of Wands here. For a long time I saw this card as the mother of the soul and so when I first saw this card I assumed it dealt with how I parented my sons.
However, there is another dimension to this card. This queen is a social networker. She is very much a people person and something that those with Schizoid PD struggle with. So I’m going to take it that the advice that this card has for me is that if I want to integrate with my alter ego, then I need to be more socially involved with the world in some way.
The final card is the advice your alter ego has for you at this time. I got the Magician. My alter ego wants me to know that I have all that I need – skills, knowledge, and tools – to accomplish whatever it is I wish to do. I just need to get out there and get it done.
And that, my friends, is the Meet Your Alter Ego Tarot Spread by Daily Tarot Girl. I learned a lot about myself the first time I used this spread and I gain more insight each time I review my reading. It’s proven to be quite valuable to me and my well-being. I hope you find it useful as well.
Necronomicon Tarot by Anne Stokes (Illustrator), Donald Tyson (Author) © 2007
Mystic Dreamers Tarot by Heidi Darras (Illustrator), Barbara Moore (Author) © 2012
Steampunk Tarot by Aly Fell (Illustrator), Barbara Moore (Author) © 2012
Images used for the backgrounds were provided by pixabay.com under a CC0 license.