Decks Used: Game of Thrones Tarot, Making Magick mini deck, Crow Tarot
George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire (or Game of Thrones) series is on my TBR for #SeriesSeptember, and although I know I won’t finish the entire series this month, I am enjoying diving back into this world with both the books and the TV series.
One of my favorite moments from the first book, Game of Thrones, actually comes quite early in the book, before the Stark family disperses from one end of the kingdom to the other. Tyrion Lannister, an outcast within his own family due to his stature, offers some words of wisdom to Jon Snow, the “bastard son” of Ned Stark:
‘Never forget what you are, for surely the world will not. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness. Armor yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you.’
Jon was in no mood for anyone’s counsel. ‘What do you know about being a bastard?’
‘All dwarfs are bastards in their father’s eyes.’
‘You are your mother’s trueborn son of Lannister.’
‘Am I?’ the dwarf replied, sardonic. ‘Do tell my lord father. My mother died birthing me, and he’s never been sure.’
‘I don’t even know who my mother was,’ Jon said.
‘Some woman, no doubt. Most of them are.’ He favored Jon with a rueful grin. ‘Remember this, boy. All dwarfs may be bastards, yet not all bastards need be dwarfs.’ And with that he turned and sauntered back into the feast, whistling a tune. When he opened the door, the light from within threw his shadow clear across the yard, and for just a moment Tyrion Lannister stood tall as a king.pp. 53-54
This is one of many scenes in which Tyrion’s wisdom shines, and it often shines brightest when he is actively struggling with his shadow.
“Shadow work” in tarot (as with other applications of analytical psychology) involves examining the aspects of ourselves that don’t embody or represent our ideal, the parts we typically resist or refuse to acknowledge or perhaps aren’t even conscious of, the parts we’d rather put behind us while we present a more pleasing front to the world – and to ourselves.
Tyrion’s shadow is not his physical stature, but his social stature. It’s his feelings about his place in the world and, more specifically, within his family. It’s what he feels – and strives, through debauchery, not to feel – when his father makes known, time and time again, that he has emotionally disowned him. This is the shadow Tyrion is trying to confront, and in this moment, he is revealing his shadow by projecting it through his words of wisdom to Jon.
I recently used this spread to explore a situation related to my career path. Here’s a look at how that went.