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The Shadow Side of Healing

March 10, 2018

For several days, The Chariot Card – VII, has jumped out of many of my decks.  Obviously, Spirit was trying to get my attention as I have also been seeing the number seven with increasing frequency as well. I meditated, asked for guidance, journaled, and multiple messages began to come through related to healing, wholeness, and ascension.


First of all, consider the number seven.  According to, “Seven is the seeker, the thinker, the searcher for Truth (notice the capital "T"). Seven doesn't take anything at face value -- it is always trying to understand the underlying, hidden truths. Seven knows that nothing is exactly as it seems and that reality is often hidden behind illusions.” The number seven is connected to spiritual awakening and enlightenment, intuition and inner awareness, manifestation and victory. There are seven chakras, seven colours in the rainbow, seven musical notes, and the human body regenerates itself every seven years, and there are seven days in the week. Seven also signifies when the ideal of mind, body, and spirit are in alignment with each other.


Next, consider the Chariot. Typically, when I see this card, my first thought is that “the Chariot never gives up”. This is a card that signifies movement, positive change, and the need for determination and focus. The messages for the Chariot from The Good Tarot by Colette Baron-Reid is “Victory – Everything I have worked for, including the obstacles I have faced and overcome, is now part of this time of victory. I have learned to see all aspects of my life as essential to my growth. I have fallen but now I am risen again to live freely and truthfully, fearlessly and skilfully.” In The Star Tarot, Cathy McClelland writes that “the Chariot symbolizes the cosmic warrior who has travelled through many experiences and learned that if you have the will and determination to dig deep within, you will find the well of inner strength to overcome any blocks that hold you back. As the Charioteer rides the heavens, he masters the ever-changing inner and outer realms of life…. See your life through the soul of the Charioteer, and you will discover how to control and use your intuition and personal power and to direct its creative force into success and victory.”


As valuable as these descriptions are, I have been led to look deeper into the meaning of this card. I was led to consider the symbolism of the horses – one black and one white, one light and one dark. As I did this, I was led to consider this story:

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life:

“A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.” It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf will win?”


You might have heard the story ends like this: 

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”


In the Cherokee world, however, the story ends this way:

The old Cherokee simply replied, “If you feed them right, they both win,”and the story goes on: 


“You see, if I only choose to feed the white wolf, the black one will be hiding around every corner waiting for me to become distracted or weak and jump to get the attention he craves. He will always be angry and always fighting the white wolf. But if I acknowledge him, he is happy and the white wolf is happy and we all win. For the black wolf has many qualities – tenacity, courage, fearlessness, strong-willed and great strategic thinking – that I have need of at times and that the white wolf lacks. But the white wolf has compassion, caring, strength and the ability to recognize what is in the best interest of all.


You see, son, the white wolf needs the black wolf at his side. To feed only one would starve the other and they will become uncontrollable. To feed and care for both means they will serve you well and do nothing that is not a part of something greater, something good, something of life. Feed them both and there will be no more internal struggle for your attention. And when there is no battle inside, you can listen to the voices of deeper knowing that will guide you in choosing what is right in every circumstance. Peace, my son, is the Cherokee mission in life. A man or a woman who has peace inside has everything. A man or a woman who is pulled apart by the war inside him or her has nothing.


How you choose to interact with the opposing forces within you will determine your life. Starve one or the other or guide them both.”

–Cherokee Story


The second half of this story is one that most of us have never heard – but it is absolutely crucial when we are considering how to heal, how to become whole, how to step into our truth, and our full power.


Many on this journey toward Union become “addicted” to healing. Finding more things to heal, identifying more aspects within ourselves that are “broken” creates a sense of control and power over the journey. You may become convinced that if you keep focusing on your healing and identifying all of the wounded places in your soul that you will suddenly flip a switch – union will happen once you heal the one “crucial” element that is preventing you from having a relationship with your twin, and then you will finally have your “happily ever after”.  Well, I have news for you – as important as healing is in stepping into your true self – the constant searching for deeper wounds that are “preventing” your twin from coming to you actually reflects a lack of self-love and self-acceptance.


I am not suggesting that healing issues that are keeping you trapped in unhealthy relationship patterns isn’t important – for it most certainly is! Overcoming co-dependency and blocks around self-worth and self-esteem is vitally important in being able to have happy healthy, fulfilling relationships with everyone – friends, family, soulmates, lovers, and our twin flames, and it is vital to your soul’s progression. Self-love however, means that we love ourselves – all of ourselves – the light and the dark. Unconditional love must begin with ourselves. When we can truly love ourselves and accept all that we are – the light and the dark that makes up our perfectly imperfect selves – then we are aligning more with self-love. We all have, and will continue to experience emotions that we may refer to as negative as we move through our ascension journey. Being in the light does not mean you will never experience anger, jealousy, fear, or any other emotion. What is does mean is you will not be controlled by your emotions or act from that place – you will not be a victim to your inner world. But there is a distinct difference between healing counter-productive behaviours and releasing belief systems which do not serve us, and negating who we are in all of our complexity by denying the aspects of ourselves that we fear because of their intensity. Jung argued that the shadow aspect of ourselves contains all sorts of qualities that if left un-integrated will deprive us of the ability to connect in meaningful ways due to an impoverishment in our personalities. “For example, a person might believe that to be assertive is to be selfish; so he goes through life being pushed around by others and deep down seething with resentment, which in turn makes him feel guilty. In this case, his potential for assertiveness and resentment both form part of his shadow.”* Or, in this discussion, part of his dark wolf.


If there is an issue holding you back from enjoying the full expression of your life, then you should work to heal it. You can perhaps do some of this on your own through mediation, journaling, and the use of positive affirmations. You can seek the assistance of professional counselors and coaches. Energy clearing through smudging, salt baths, meditation, and other modalities are helpful. Energy healing through Reiki, EFT, sound therapy, acupuncture, and past life regression is also beneficial. The goal of any healing modality should be focused on helping your feel empowered and healthy.**


What I do, however, encourage you to consider is that we all have our own journey to wholeness. Your journey is yours. Your twin’s journey is their own as well. You are responsible for you. They are responsible for themselves. Your healing and wholeness may create movement on their part do to your connection. It may not. This is where we begin to grapple with the concept of free will, and soul purpose, which will be the subject of another post. But for now, relinquish the idea that you are responsible for your twin’s healing. If they are your twin, and your soul contract includes you coming together in this lifetime, then they will need to step into their power as well – and you, as divine and powerful as you are, are not their God, there to direct how their journey unfolds. Their growth and their path belong to them, and you are not in charge of it. Heal yourself so you can live your life to the fullest. Accept and love yourself in all of your complexity. Learn to feed both wolves so you can become the highest realization of yourself. As much as we need balance our masculine and feminine aspects, we must learn to balance the light and dark within ourselves. They must all work in harmony in order for us to be whole. Just like the Charioteer who directs the light horse and the dark horse in order to ride forth in victory, we must integrate, accept, and love the various aspects of ourselves fully and completely.


*For more, see the Society of Analytical Psychology

** Trust your intuition when working with any healer, and if the modality or healer doesn’t resonate with you, then make sure to listen to yourself, no matter what anyone else says.

***Images are from The Good Tarot and The Star Tarot

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