Shadow Work Session 1: 10 Of Pentacles

Tarot Card: 10 of Pentacles

Meaning/Themes: Reaping the rewards of a lifetime of hard work and planning. The culmination of one’s hard work and planning. Sacrificing in the present to build a secure and stable future. Needing security and stability to be happy. Sometimes doing things you don’t want to do and avoiding risks to ensure your long term security and safety. This card can sometimes nod to one’s children/descendants.

When I first drew this card, I was intrigued by the fact that I was being asked to start my shadow work journey with the final card in the tarot. It definitely gave me the sense that I was being asked to start at the “end” and work my way backwards. This approach makes total sense to me because where I am in my life right now, I think that it will be much easier for me to start my journey by delving into the aspects of my shadow self that are at play in my life right now than it would be for me to start at the very beginning of my shadows development.

It came as no surprise to me to learn that I have some shadow traits centered around my need and desire for security and stability. As a Taurus sun, this is an aspect of myself that I have come to acknowledge and accept throughout the course of my life. However, while meditating on this card today I have been reminded of how my desire for security began to develop in my early childhood. I told myself that when beginning my shadow work journey, I would simply draw a single card (drawing clarifiers when needed) and open myself up to whatever that card has to teach me. With that being said, I suppose that I will begin my first shadow work session by jotting down the first thoughts that this card triggered for me.

When I first drew this card, I thought of all the ways that I am currently trying to plan for my future. I am presently very discontent with my life and I want to make major changes so that my future can be different/better. This discontent is significant surrounding issues like finances, relationships, family dynamics, and my personal goals, ambitions, and freedoms. As I pondered all of this, I became depressed by the notion that I should have already “arrived” at the vision of stability and success (two concepts that are very intermingled for me) that I developed for myself as a child, teen, and young adult.

Exploring my relationship with the concept of security and stability in my childhood: I grew up poor, living in a three bedroom trailer with my mom, grandma, great-grandma, and bother. My aunt even lived with us for several years. Because our trailer was so cramped and overcrowded, I had to share a room with my brother and great-grandma until my aunt Silvia moved out and my brother was given her old room. I didn’t even have my own bed for many years, as I had to share my bed with my great-grandma. During the day, my three little cousins always stayed at my house so our grandma could watch them while their parents worked. The house was crowded, loud, and chaotic most of the time and none of us had any space to ourselves. None of us had a safe, quiet, secluded place to go where we could be alone. I remember that I would often sit under trees outside or hide in my mother’s room while she was at work to be alone. Throughout my childhood, I had an intense desire to have my own space and things. This desire deepened as I began visiting my friends houses, realizing that most people did not live the way that I did. In my mind, most people had their own rooms. Most people didn’t have to share their bed. Most people lived in larger houses. Most people had rules and order in their homes instead of children being free to run in and out of the house making all the noise they wanted. My time spent in school also drew to my attention that, many people looked down on those who lived in my neighborhood. It was clear to me that kids from the trailer park were seen as poor and lower class. I began to see that the people that I liked and wanted to be like were wealthy, so I began to look down on myself and my family because we were poor and lived in a trailer. I also began to develop severe issues with jealousy and possessiveness. I wanted what my friends had and I always felt ashamed and disgusted with myself when I couldn’t have those things. I began to notice things like clothing and mannerisms that “poor kids” often possessed and internally looked down on them for those things even though I was poor myself. When I did get nice things, I felt the need to hide them and keep them away from my cousins and brother, who all got even fewer nice things than I did. As an adult, I have noticed that both my cousin Lindsay and myself developed this tendency because as children, there were five of us yet there was never enough nice new things to go around. I definitely developed a tendency to focus on all of the things that I didn’t have rather that becoming grateful for the things that I did have.

My mom often struggled with money. On several occasions I remember her talking to my grandma about how she was struggling to pay the bills while crying in front of me. I can’t really explain it, but this made me feel that I had to do something to make her feel better, so I would go up and hug her and tell her that she was a great mom. However, inside I felt scared and worried that we would become homeless or starve to death. My mom was really bad with money, a trait that she passed on to me. As an adult I have started calling it “poverty mindset.” Any time that my mom would come into some money, she would instantly spend it on herself or on me and my brother. She would always overextend her finances, making plans and promises for things that she couldn’t afford. Consequently, she was always in debt to my aunt who was much more responsible with money.

As a child, I was aware of the fact that I was being raised by three women with no male influence. They did a great job raising me, but in my child mind, it was only poor lower class people that didn’t have a father in the home. Even as a kid I remember telling myself that I wouldn’t be like my mom. I would definitely get married. I saw marriage as something that upper class people had and I was quite embarrassed by the fact that my dad wasn’t in my life. I didn’t want kids at that time but I knew that if I had them, I would never let them grow up without a dad like I grew up.

By the time I was a preteen, I had come to understand stability, security, and success as being tied to financial affluence, peer admiration, and a traditional family dynamic. I thought about my future a lot as a child and had decided that I wanted to one day be rich and married with a home and fancy belongings that were ONLY MINE. I wanted people to envy me for what I had because I felt that would mean that I was well to do. In my child mind, the alternative to that was being the one who was envious, poor, and alone which was unacceptable to me.

Essentially, I came to view stability and success as everything that I didn’t have as a child. I wanted to gain all of these things but had no example set for me regarding how to get and maintain these things in a healthy way. Because my mom was single and poor, I never saw her as being stable, secure, or successful. I knew she was a good mom and I loved her for it, but even though she was educated and worked hard, I never viewed her as successful because she didn’t emulate the vision that I had developed to express my incomplete and superficial idea of what success and security was. I wanted to gain financial stability but all of the adults around me were poor and bad with money. I wanted to get married but none of the women in my life were married to show me what a healthy marriage looked like. I wanted to be admired and envied by my peers but only knew what it was like to be condemned and judged for my financial situation. I wanted to feel pride but only ever felt shame. Even though my idea of stability and success may have been warped, I learned nothing during this time about how to make long term plans to set a stable foundation for my future because I was born and raised in an environment that was built on a foundation of day to day survival rather than hard work/temporary sacrifice for future success.

These shadow work posts are truly for my own self discovery and development, but I appreciate those of you who have taken the time to read this. I plan to continue to explore and write about my shadow aspects related to this card throughout the week or until I feel that it is time to move on to another shadow aspect.

Love Always, AnxiouslyM

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