Shadow Work Session 7: The Devil

Warning to anyone reading this, I apologize that this post hops around and is a bit incoherent. I am writing out my thoughts as they come up. My thought process can be chaotic when I’m thinking through things.

I decided to draw a new card today, moving onto some new shadow themes. However, the 7 of swords popped out while I was shuffling my deck. This reminded me that I still need to work on the integration of the 10 of pentacles, how to EARN the future I want. I think that this will be best done through application, but I will keep it in mind moving forward so that I am mindful of my journey and experiences.

So, today I drew The Devil as my shadow aspect card for the week. My cards for integration and outcome were The Magician and 6 of pentacles. Honestly, this combo feels kind of loaded when looking at it for the first time. The major arcana cover big life themes, so drawing two of them in one reading seems like a bit much to tackle at one time, but I will give it a try.

The Devil is all about our addictions, toxic traits & habits, and the things that we allow to control us. We don’t always realize what these thins are, because we often allow ourselves to be controlled by them because they bring us some sense of pleasure, or they fill a void that could be filled if we only took the time to address or issues and heal. Though we like to claim that the devil, toxic people & situations, and our addictions have power over us, the kicker about this card is that it reveals that WE actually hold all of the power. We are being controlled because we allow it. Claiming that we have no power over these things is a cop out because we don’t want to face the pain and discomfort of stepping into our power and breaking the chains that bind us (changing our lives.) I think that it makes perfect sense that The Magician was drawn as my integration card, as this card is all about using the tools we have in front of us to manifest and create change…but I will get into that a bit later in the week.

Last night I was thinking to myself that I am much more comfortable when people make decisions for me….even if I resent the fact that I feel like I have no “power.” It is as if I trust other people to make decisions for me more tan I trust myself. I thought that this may have something to do with my work with the 10 of pentacles surrounding stability and security. It may still have something to do with that but it could also play into The Devil card…giving away my power.

I was honestly pretty stumped about how to get started with this card, so I drew some clarifiers to point me in the right direction so I would have at least some points of contemplation for the day. Unsurprisingly, I got major mom vibes from these cards.

When I was growing up, my mother and I had a ridiculously close bond…at least that’s how it was until I hit puberty. I loved that she was so quirky, taking me out to unique interesting places and introducing me to obscure movies, music, and books. She was who I viewed as my primary care giver and I looked up to her a lot. However, after talking to her a bit more in depth in my adult years, she didn’t trust herself to raise her kids alone or live alone until we were in middle school. Raising is kids was a team effort. My mother, grandmother, and two of my aunts had a hand in it. We all lived together so long that I really didn’t think anything about it. I mean, I knew that is wasn’t “normal” but I thought that it was just because we were all poor. I’m sure poverty played a huge roll in this, but it also had a lot to with my mother’s fear of managing her own life on her own. Any time my mother struggled with her mental health, her finances, or her physical health she always had another adult around to help pick up the slack. This may have been good for us kids in a lot of ways…but I noticed.

My mom is morbidly obese, and has been since she was a child. She told me that this role played a huge role in her life experience. She was made fun of for it and ostracized. She felt rejected both at home and out in the world, so she receded into herself. She was fearful of putting herself out there and going for the things that she wanted. She was always afraid that no matter what she went for, her weight would hold her back. This is why she found her enjoyment in accademics and solitary activities.

I however was nothing like this as a young child. Before I hit puberty, I was actually really outgoing and was not afraid to make decisions or to put myself out there for what I want. Unfortunately, in her efforts to protect me my mother imposed her own fears onto me. She always tried to discourage things that I wanted to to. When I did go out for something, my mom always planted the seed of fear and doubt in my mind as she tried to prepare me for disappointment. For example, when I wanted to audition for the cheerleading squad in grade school, my mom constantly told me not to get my hopes up too high and to be prepared if I don’t make the team. Even though I was confident in my try out and knew I did a great job, my mom made me feel fearful that by best wasn’t enough. I made the squad, but from that point on, I never felt like I was good enough to belong there. Before that….I don’t remember having fear. Everything seemed so simple and black and white. You want something, you go for it, maybe it works out and maybe it doesn’t. There was never a reason for me to be scared to even try before this. Another situation that I recall was when I was a young child up through middle school age, I was a relatively talent singer…it is all I ever wanted to do. As a kid I used to belt it out any time any where. However, I eventually started asking my mom if she would take me to casting auditions and if she would let me try out for The School Of The Arts in my state. Though she always told me that I was good and asked me to sing for her and others regularly…she never helped me to go after what I want. I remember her telling me everything that could go wrong instead of boosting me up with everything that could go right. She told me that I would have to face a lot of rejection and that I would be going up against kids with a lot more experience and training than I had. At the time, I didn’t care. I was aware that I would face these things but I was ready to go for my dreams anyways, but my mom made me scared. She made me second guess my desire to “go for it” so often…..that I started to feel that fear as soon as an idea would pop into my head. I my desires were from this point on stunted, controlled, and manipulated by fear.

I tried to focus on academics like my mother and brother…but I struggled. School was really hard for me back then. I didn’t learn the way that other kids did and I needed a lot of extra individualized attention. I was always falling behind grade level and my mother and teachers talked about that openly with me. So, here I am, being told constantly that I’m not good at academics but that I should be afraid of going after the things that I actually was good at because maybe, just maybe, I wouldn’t be good enough at those things either.

Fear had full control of me…it still does. It also provides me with convenient excuses for not taking control of my life and going after what I want. The fear became my default way of thinking. It became my inner voice. I also developed some major people pleasing tendencies from this and a compulsion to seek constant validation. (OMG…..I think I am hitting on the root of a major issue for me.) Because I was always told that I was either falling behind and was not good at something OR that I was good at something but should be afraid to move forward….I have developed this compulsive need to ask people what they think before I do ANYTHING. If I don’t get any encouragement or support from others about a thing…I simply won’t move forward with the thing. I have developed this mindset that nothing is really worth doing if I’m not doing it for the support and opinions of someone else. This mind set literally controls my life.

I think I am going to call it quits for the day because I think that I need to spend some time meditating on this before moving forward.

These shadow work posts are truly for my own self discovery and development, but I thank those of you that have taken the time to read this. I plan to continue working with The Devil Card throughout the week OR until I feel that it us time to move on to another card/shadow aspect.

(P.S. I may be wrong, but I think that I may need to work with this card a bit longer than a week….we will see how things unfold.)

Love Always, AnxiouslyM

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