The other day, in one of the online groups I’m in, someone asked if anybody else had encountered shadow people? They also asked ‘What are shadow people?’ It turns out that tons of people had encountered them. This was a relief to me because I still have vivid recollections of my own encounter. However, nobody seems to have a definitive answer about what they are. So today I thought we’d try to answer this question with a bit of help from the Tarot. I designed a Tarot spread which I invite you to have a play with since it doesn’t just answer the general question about what they are – It also answers why they visited you.
My Shadow Person Encounter
When I was 19 years old, I was staying in all-girls dormitory at a Christian University in Chattanooga, Tennessee. One night, not long after falling asleep, I was awakened by the door to my room cracking open. I always locked my dorm door so I have no idea how it could have opened from the outside. Looking up, I saw a shadow man. A flat darker-than-black outline silhouetted against the light behind him. Without thinking, I charged out of bed and rushed toward him. It was only when I slammed the door shut that I realised he was no longer there.
Thinking back to this incidence, I’m still certain that it could not have been a human man I saw. A couple of other girls on my floor had also spotted shadow people. This transpired when a group of them came running to my rescue. As I rushed toward the door, I had been screaming loudly, waking many of the girls on my floor up.
The entity terrified me but was it evil? I will withhold judgment until the Tarot has had a chance to weigh in.
What Are Shadow People?
So what are shadow people? In this video, a few different theories are laid out, from the usual scientific view of it just being the projection of a stressed mind, to it being an interdimensional traveller, variations of the ‘Slenderman’ or ‘Hat Man,’ a djinn, a demon, a ghost or an alien. In the comments thread, someone suggested that shadow people show up because of a glitch in the Matrix. According to them, shadow people are in ‘spectator mode.’ That actually kind of made sense to me.
But let’s see what the Tarot has to say about it…
Shadow People Tarot Spread
Shadow People Sample Tarot Reading
- Mental state right before the encounter – 6 of Cups: This is spot on. I was trusting and had childlike faith. I felt much safer in my American college dorm room than I had ever felt at home in Sweden (a story for another day).
- Mental state after the incidence – 4 of Swords: I was up for many hours, praying fervently with one of my friends. I associate the 4 of Swords with prayer so this feels right as well. Hence I feel I can trust the rest of the reading. Once we finished praying, there was no lingering state of fear. I did not have my sleep disrupted by shadow people again and had no trouble sleeping.
- Origins of the Shadow Person – 3 of Cups: This is a surprise! I feel this a someone from my soul group trying to make contact. Definitely not a hostile entity!
- Their reason for being there – 7 of Cups: An attempt to gain or create clarity.
- What would their message be if they could communicate? – Queen of Cups: This is a psychic experiment (!). Actually, this makes a lot of sense. This is also one of the experiences that prevented me from getting stuck in fundamentalist Christianity.
- Did they achieve their objective? – King of Pentacles: In the sense that they appeared to have a physical(ish) form, yes.
- How was I protected by the Light at the time? – 9 of Cups: I have always felt strong protection around me. While I was terrified for the few seconds it took for me to run to the door, there was no lasting ill effect. The shadow person did not harm me.
- What emotional impact did this incident have on me? – 10 of Swords: It terrified me at the time it happened. After the terror was chased away by prayer, I was still left with a conundrum that I couldn’t solve for a very long time… Well, until today. I suppose the 10 of Swords could symbolise me losing my religion because of these kinds of experiences. The church could never give me any satisfactory answers and I refused to shrink my mind to fit the box of dogma. This created a lot of pain for me but, ultimately, questioning everything and refusing to conform has served me well.
- Is there anything else I can learn from this? – 4 of Cups: Meh. I could actively seek more experiences like this out but I really don’t see the point. The objective was achieved at the time and the knowledge I have now feel sufficient. There is more that I could learn and maybe I will at some point but I have to be honest, I’m not feeling the need to go deeper at this stage. It took me 32 years to even do a reading on it so…
Deck used for the reading above: Hanson Roberts Tarot