In my latest podcast I discuss using tarot for connection to your ancestors and wanted to share some spreads which I found helpful. They are from Nancy Henrickson's book Ancestral Tarot.
The Journey Spread (pictured above) starts at the left, travels across the top and circles around the bottom:
1) Me today
2) The bridge I will be crossing to meet the ancestors
3) What do the ancestors think of me?
4) What do I think of the ancestors?
5) What is the goal of my journey
6) The unexpected
7) How will ancestral tarot affect my life?
Ancient Ones Spread:
1) How can I best communicate with the ancient ones?
2) What message to the (collective) ancient ones have for me?
3) How can I best honour those of my blood who lived a millennia before me?
I have had an ancestral altar for a couple years now and also have a special one for my cats. There are lots of ways you can create a special place in your home for your ancestors which can be as simple or elaborate as you like. Some ideas are:
- things that belonged to your loved ones
- offering plates
- tarot cards
- so much more!
Ancestral Oracle of the Celts
In my last podcast I talked about different archetypes in the Major Arcana as well as the 16 archetypes in the Modern Goddess Oracle. While looking at my shelf of decks I forgot about one I acquired recently in a trade. The Ancestral Oracle of the Celts by Caitlin Matthews.
Each card has an affirmation associated with it. For example: The Prophet "I foresee the images hidden within the greater pattern and how they were seeded in the past."
The spreads included with this deck are more about working with the ancestors using the archetypes within each card which I find super cool. Not only are my ancestors Celtic but working with ancestors is something near and dear to me. Caitlin includes guidelines for gathering the ancestors, as well as a circle of welcome ritual.
You start by making a welcoming semicircle of cards around a candle which represents the hearth, to which the exiled ancestor is invited. Have a glass or bowl of water near.
- Place a Divine Ancestor behind (or under) the flame. These cards have family gifts associate with them and an image of the Gundestrup Cauldron. I chose the Lady of Life because looking at the Sun Cycle. I associate with the Maiden, Spinner and Seer.
- Next choose some female clan cards for the Line of Mothers and some male clan cards for the Line of Fathers.
- Place a stone to represent the exiled ancestor you are welcoming (I chose Gabbro) and say "This stone represents..."
- Hold the stone. What does the exiled ancestor need most? Look through the line of mothers and fathers to select one card from each to act as sponsors of the exiled ancestor. Which of the clan cards welcome the exiled ancestor unconditionally? What do they say to the ancestor? Speak these words aloud.
- Place the exiled ancestor between one of the mothers and one of the fathers as sponsors who support them. How does this ancestors stone feel now? Moisten the stone with water from your glass in token of the ancestors cleansing and long thirst.
- What welcome does the Divine Ancestor make to the exiled ancestor? Speak this aloud.
- Finally, make your own welcome, saying " As one of your descendants, I witness your return to the family hearth. I am holding you in my heart as one of the family. May you find the welcome you have longed for."
- Move the stone to the hearth and leave it there overnight with the glass of water.
There are many ways you can use this deck. The archetypes included are both common and unique. I really like the Initiator and the Restorer. They may be topics I explore more as I get more comfortable with this deck.