Portrait of the Inner Child

St. Patrick’s Day is one of my favorite holidays – even if I am only a little bit Irish! While it is actually a religious holiday, recognizing St. Patrick as one of the patron saints of Ireland, in modern times it is more a celebration of Irish culture. The wearing of the shamrock (and the color green in general), drinking green beer and serving corned beef and cabbage are all ways in which this holiday is now celebrated.

It is said that St. Patrick used the shamrock, with its three leaves, to explain the Holy Trinity to the Irish people. It was here in the United States that the first parades were held in honor of St. Patrick – largely to make a political statement. Today the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day is one of joy and merriment – eating, drinking and dancing to honor the Irish, but to also honor the "spirit of the Irish" within each of us. That spirit is our ability to gather in community and allow our inner child to come out and play. I thought that it might be interesting to work with a couple of "inner child" spreads that are more for play than for wisdom (although true play brings with it its own form of wisdom), in honor of the joyous nature of St. Patrick’s Day.

I decided to sketch a portrait of the inner child in each of us. For this purpose, I placed the Major Arcana and each of the four suits in separate piles. I defined them as follows:

Portrait of the Inner Child 

  • Major Arcana – The archetypal energy of the inner child.
  • Wands – The spiritual and creative essence of the inner child.
  • Cups – The emotional essence of the inner child, and its ability to dream and envision.
  • Swords – The mental essence of the inner child, and its ability to reason.
  • Pentacles – The essence of the physical world of the inner child, including their health.
Pentacles Major Arcana Cups

Major Arcana – The Star

Wands – Eight of Wands

Cups – Three of Cups

Swords– Three of Swords

Pentacles – Queen of Coins


Taking a quick over-view of the cards, we see that the archetypal energy of the Seeker’s inner child is that of linking our conscious and unconscious realities, It is about peace, serenity and understanding one’s life purpose. Their inner child is on a quest to bring meaning to the Seeker’s life.

The spiritual and creative essence of the Seeker’s inner child is that of having many life experiences, and having these experiences come at them fast and furious. Their inner child, when accessed, is adamant about running around and getting into everything!

The emotional essence of the Seeker’s inner child is that of joy and celebration. They want to experience life, they want to understand it, and now they want to celebrate it!

The mental essence of the Seeker’s inner child is that of heartbreak, and the need to communicate better. They often feel hurt by the world around them. The Seeker needs to know that communication with their inner child is of major importance.

The physical essence of the Seeker’s inner child is a true gift – it is that of having the ability to over-see and nurture the basic things in life – finances, home, family, and physical health. Of most importance here – the patience that it takes to do this well.

In a reading, whether for yourself or for a client, these separate parts of the inner child would be gone into much more in depth than they have been here. Connecting with the inner child is a wonderful path for growth and self-healing.


Another method for working with the inner child is to address the Pages, or messenger cards, as they represent the energy of a young, inquisitive soul. Each Page represents a different aspect of the inner child.

The Page of Wands expresses his fiery energy through the need to learn, and the need to travel to do so. This Page is the perennial student aspect of the inner child.

The Page of Cups expresses the social side of your inner child. This Page is all about learning how to interact with others, and with yourself.

The Page of Swords expresses the intellectual/mental side of the inner child. This Page is learning about commitment, and about how to deal with those who fail to keep their commitments (or perhaps he or she is dealing with their own inability to keep commitments). This Page helps the inner child to observe what is going on without making judgments.

The Page of Coins expresses the mundane, day to day side of life. This Page is all about learning to take responsibility and direction, being able to have the focus and intent to get the job done.

Are you connected to your inner child? Do you hear its voice? Do you know how it feels? Where it is strong, where it needs to be loved and embraced? What is your inner child trying to tell you? How can you integrate your inner child into your waking life?

Wishing each of you a very Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Go celebrate your inner child!

The scans in this article are from the "Lord of the Rings" Tarot, U.S. Games, 1997. 

© March 2011 Bonnie Cehovet

5 thoughts on “Portrait of the Inner Child

  1. Áine Foley

    Irish culture has NOTHING to do with wearing shamrock, drinking green beer and eating corned beef and cabbage. St Patrick’s Day is for tourists, not the Irish – and most of the traditions linked with St Patrick’s day originated in New York, not Ireland. I live in Dublin city centre and I hate that people outside Ireland think that this is in any way typical of my country. Do you also think we still live in mud cabins and exist on a diet of potatoes? It’s such a cliché ridden idea of Ireland.
    I don’t see the joy and merriment of drunk tourists wearing stupid green hats falling out of pubs around Dublin city tonight.

  2. Stella

    Aine, I hear you. I think that here in America we have trivialized the day into something we do for fun. I’m so sorry you were offended by this post though. I hope that the rest of it–the spread and the discussion of the pages–were more to your taste.
    I’d love to chat with you about a post from you about Ireland and Tarot there.
    And, smile, I know I don’t think of all of Ireland as shamrock-wearing, green-beer-drinking, corned-beef-and-cabbage-eating drunks. What is a traditional thing you do there in Ireland on St. Patrick’s day?

  3. Bonnie Cehovet

    Aine –
    What I have described here is my personal experience of St. Patrick’s Day, how it is celebrated around me. And no, I do not drink beer, green or otherwise, nor do I think that over-indulging in alcohol is a great thing to do. The shamrock, the wearing of green … all of the things that I spoke of are what we see here in the U.S. – this is not meant to disrespect Ireland in any way.

  4. Lynn

    So many holidays have veered from their true meanings because of Hallmark and pop culture.
    I like that this tarot readings guides us to stop and reflect.
    Aine- I appreciate what you have shared with us (here and on FB) about Irish culture! Very interesting. I would love to hear more!

  5. Áine Foley

    My initial comment was probably stronger than I meant it to be – I understand that the perception that people have of Ireland is completely different for those not living here…they have a kind of romantic idea of it. It is a Catholic feast-day – the parade and the drinking of green beer (?) began in the US, and for some reason was adopted in Ireland – mostly to drag in tourism I would imagine, I think there is something very cynical about it. I just hate the general commercialism seeping into Irish culture, especially the way traditional music is being degenerated by pop and rock bands.
    And most Irish people avoid wearing green, it’s considered and unlucky colour, back when people were more superstitious they were afraid that the fairies would take them away if they saw them in green, well that’s what my granny told me anyway. Most people you see in green on St Patrick’s day are tourists.

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