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!
I am currently taking an Master Advanced Tarot course through the Tarot Readers Academy and part of our creative homework this week was to create a couple looks for 3 major arcana cards. These are my submissions.
Elements of this look: Leo, natural colours (yellows, green and browns), velvet for innocence/self indulgence, but a fur collar for that wild side. Infinity sign, army boots and backpack to represent being prepared for challenges. Crown for power/leadership.
Who is this look for? Anyone who wants to look fierce and graceful at the same time. Natural born leaders. Sportsman or fitness aficionados.
Elements of this look: Capricorn (horns), chains, being bound/limitation/domination, lust/sex, black and red, opulence, snakes, smoke in the background for fire/transformation, wallet for money. Big boots for stomping (or shit kickers lol). Claws to represent fear.
Who is this look for? Anyone who wants to show off their assets and powers of dominance and control. Someone who may be materialistic. Someone who is embracing their shadow side.
Much to the dismay of my parents (yes I'm 40) I have delved into the world of tattoos with my first tattoo done after I visited Harry Potter World in Orlando this year - I got the Deathly Hallows symbol. I then got a tarot related tattoo I made using the suits of the tarot. All of these symbols hold a lot of associations and they are also found within the Magician card.
The Magician is all about taking action and manifesting your goals and dreams.
I also wanted the sword and the wand to face different directions to represent 'As Above, So Below' which means that what happens in the cosmos, is drawn down like a lighting rod through the Magician and into the material realm. What we think, we can do. What we desire, we can create/manifest. There is always a connection between the various planes of being and life. We can do whatever we put our minds to.
For those who would like a tarot reading from me but maybe aren't in Regina or wanting to schedule a time that works , I am offering online readings on Jitsi Meet. Evenings and weekends are best. Email me to book. I would prefer payment via PayPal or e-transfer upon booking. Each reading is at least 10 cards and last about an hour. Let's connect.
I have compiled a few printed versions of my digital zines. I have 4 volumes at the moment which include original tarot spreads, as well as some helpful tidbits and recipes.
Wheel of the Year
While on vacation in Florida, I wanted to try the novelty of ordering on Amazon and getting it that same day and The Yarn Tarot has been on my wishlist since a friend had mentioned it to me. As a fibre artist and tarot reader this is a must have deck for me.
This deck follows the traditional RWS system which is the one I really prefer. The Strength card is my favourite within the Major Arcana because it pictures a ginger kitty as the "lion" and I call Watson (my ginger kitty) my lion as she roars when shes happy and purrs really loudly with her mouth wide open. I also LOVE the dress in the angel in the Lovers. Beautiful. I also really like the figures in the images as this deck is inclusive and I am very jealous of all the kitted outfits the people are wearing.
I work in all aspects of these fibre arts on a regular basis and I feel this deck is very personal for me. The cards are matte yet very easy to shuffle. The box is a hard shell that when opened has beautiful images of the suits on it. There are 2 extra cards included with affirmations. The guide book is basic but it has a hard cover and is of a very good quality (much like the Modern Witch Deck/Guidebook). If you are a fibre worker and you don't have this deck already - what the heck are you waiting for?!!
The Yarn Tarot would also pair perfectly with my Unraveled Oracle to add even more depth to your readings.
This is the Tarot Disassembled by Jennifer Cooper Steidley. Its is a very unique deck using JUST symbols and colours. I backed this deck on Kickstarter a while ago with a few extras. There was a choice for the box to be black or yellow and I chose black which is the "moon" version. I also got 4 postcards, 4 holographic stickers and a cool bookmark!
This deck follows the traditional RWS system but you can see similar symbols throughout the cards and this may help some to delve deeper into this aspect of tarot. I have also been using this deck when it comes to dream interpretation as symbols and archetypes are the language of our subconscious.
I really love the vibrancy of the colours and the rose petal feel is a favourite of mine. The cards are matte which I also like and this makes it easier to take pictures with them.
The guidebook is very in depth covering the common symbols as well as each card meaning, keywords, associations and spreads. Jennifer's mind set with this deck was to disassemble all the parts in an image so that when you piece them back together you learn as you go. I'm really happy with this deck and it will be a great addition to anyone's collection.
I always like to have a tarot mat when doing readings for myself or others. They also help me decorate my altar or sacred space for different times of the year. You can also use them to wrap up your decks to keep them secure.
In last weekend's Sage Wind Tarot Circle, we were discussing Shadow Work. While reading The Witch's Eight Paths of Power (also a Sage Wind Temple discussion group) we went over the Iron Pentacle. I really liked the concept. Later one we learned about the Rust and Gilded Pentacles which emerge when fear prevents you from manifesting iron. I made these spreads to help you work through some of the points. I hope you find them useful in your shadow working.
The Iron Pentacle comes from the Feri tradition. It is a tool of transformation that involves reclaiming ideas that we are often taught are negative which diminishes our personal power.
The Rust Pentacle is the decayed and demeaned reflection of the Iron Pentacle. The Iron Pentacle rusts when our flight response is triggered and instead of dealing with issues we run from them.
The Gilded Pentacle is the opposite BUT it is also based in fear (aggressive fear rather than passive). The Gilded Pentacle is more like fool’s gold rather than real gold. It is a false coating that hides the rust beneath. This is the fight response to fear.
I have updated my digital zines in my Etsy Shop. They now include a bit more content and tarot info as well as a bit more cohesiveness across the board. I enjoy making tarot spreads and have more ideas up in the ol' noggin. I have also sent my files off to a local printer to make physical copies which I am excited for.
Like any others, I have a nice collection of different tarot decks. The above photo are the ones that I always have close by for readings. Since studying the cards, I have been using the Rider-Waite-Smith system with traditional symbolism and meanings. Even in my certification we use the RWS method of learning. As a result, these are the decks I am most drawn to and most comfortable using.
The Druidcraft tarot is a recent addition. It is my mentors favourite deck and I love how the images reflect the teaching of Druidry and Wicca. The cards a a bit big for my hands but it has made me learn different methods of shuffling as a result. I will usually only use this deck for people who I feel might relate to the images as a witch, druid or fantasy fan.
* I have a brand new boxed set of the Druidcraft Tarot to give away if you sign up for the Sage Wind Tarot Circle I lead.
You may recognize this deck. It is one of the most famous tarot decks and definitely the most popular. It is often the one you see misused in movies and in pop culture. Originally published in 1909 with images drawn by Pamela Coleman Smith and instructions by mystic and occultist A.E. Waite. This is a vintage deck made before US Games stamped the sides. It is also one of my most used decks.
The Everyday Witch tarot is likely my favourite deck that I use daily. I love it not only for the images but also because each card has at least 1 cat in it. As a crazy cat lady this works for me :) This deck is well worn in and I find it is great for everyday general readings. I also use it alongside the Everyday Witch Oracle.
The Light Seer's deck is absolutely gorgeous and I find it has a very gentle energy to it. I often use this deck if people are asking heavier questions. The images in these cards are comforting and caring.
I am still noticing new things in the cards of the Pagan Otherworlds deck. There is an ancient manuscript feel to them with a lot of hidden messages. This deck seems to hold wisdom that is a bit more to the point than the Light Seer's deck. I often use this deck when looking for answers that involve mental clarity and rationality.
The Modern Witch tarot is very much like the RWS deck but more... modern. It doesn't put people and concepts in a box. For example, the King can be a woman, there are updated clothing styles and people of all sizes and races. It feels very down to earth but still thoughtful. The messages I receive from this deck are like tough love. It is made from a thick cardstock so I find them hard to shuffle as the deck is very thick.
I have booked the upstairs room at The Broom Closet / Jessups's General Store at 1811 Quebec St one Saturday a month for the next 6 months!! I will be booking readings and depending on Covid restrictions going forward I may even have discussions/workshops/classes on tarot every now and then. The dates I will be at the shop are:
I will be there from 1 - 4pm each day. If you would like to book a reading please email me and I will be happy to help! I am charging $30 for half an hour. You will have me for the full 30 minutes to do your reading, answer any questions you may have. I hope to see you soon!
A couple things you should know about the space before coming:
The Broom Closet and Jessup's General Store are the #1 shop for witchy treasures in the city. They have herbs, candles, cauldrons, tarot deck & books and lots of occult inspired clothing & accessories. Karli and Donna are amazingly friendly and will love to help you find anything you are looking for. They are located right beside Fellinger's Meats just off 11th Ave at 1811 Quebec St. Check it you if you haven't been there before.
Got a new deck last week - The Tarot of Unknown Shadows made by Dark Synevr. I have been following them on Instagram for a while as I am interested in the Victorian Freak Show tarot that I believe they are currently printing. The cards above are a couple of my favourites.
Initially, I was quite impressed as the packaging looked really good and the deck is gilded on both the top and sides. The guidebook has that rose petal feel and is gilded as well., a bit more on it later.
The cards feel a bit think but they are a good size and easy to shuffle. A few cards were stuck together but no biggie. I really like the back design, a bit distorted looking yet also a nostalgic feel to them.
The suits are coins, swords, cups and wands like usual but the wands are umbrellas which make me think more of air than fire. The suits in each card are outlined in gold which is pretty and the card name is written in a beautiful handwritten font in gold at the bottom. I really like the gold detailing, it makes the deck a bit more magickal. The aesthetic of the deck is kinda haunting and vintage which is what drew me to it. It is made using collage with old photographs. I like the faded colours and frozen in time feel the images display. If you like traditional symbolism and images then this deck doesn't really touch on those at all. There are some small hints here and there but overall not traditional.
The Major Arcana is also beautiful. These are a few of my favourites. The Magician's eye glitters at you and it just looks so cool. There are gold details on all the cards - the other one that really stood out is the Devil card with the gold horns. Strength is #8 and Justice is #11.
There are 2 extra cards in this deck - Light & Shadows. They are a nice addition and I will incorporate them into my readings with the deck as oracle cards.
Back to the guidebook. The writing id very small but that's to be expected. Half is in English and the other half in Russian. I haven't read through it all yet but there have been a few sentences that have been lost in translation.
The tuck box has the same rose petal feel with gold detailing. It is nice and sturdy and the cards inside were cello wrapped to protect them. Again the writing on the back of the box is a bit disjointed but no big deal.
My main disappointment is that the gilding from the back of the cards has transferred to the front edges as if they were stacked when not fully dry. It bugs me because it is really noticeable because it is shiny. Like the writing on the cards, there is a chance it will fade with use but it is still something that irks me as I spent $65 on this deck.
I don't normally keep my decks in their tuck boxes and this cosmetic bag works good as one side is black and the other side is a nice shiny gold. I will still likely get the Victorian Freak Show Tarot once it is released because Victorian and Dark Circus are 2 of my fav things. I had more hopes for this deck but overall it is a nice looking deck, just some of the quality is lacking.
I did a 3 card reading with this deck and this is what I interpreted.
I used the Fairy tale spread by @TarotontheMoon.
Card#1: A wish: 5 of Coins = A change in life to help with health or the home. I need to start making my house feel like a home rather than just a shell that I am trapped in. Cooking more at home and organizing the chaos is a good starting point. It will also in turn help with anxiety and general mental health.
Card#2: An obstacle: The Sun - I should try and look for the positives in life as I am not letting much light in and as a result, things are getting darker and darker.
Card#3: A lesson: 9 of Coins - When I work with others who are supportive and want to lift others up, we all succeed. Look for these people and they will also help me learn my worth.
I've started a mailing list for the Sage Wind Tarot Circle I do monthly online. If you would like to be notified when each workbook comes out just click on the image above to sign up.
You will get a free tarot cheat sheet just for doing it.
With 78 cards in a tarot deck, there is definitely something for everyone. When I choose a card to define me I usually look to the 8 of Pentacles - the craftsperson or apprentice card. For those that may not know, my craft is fibre arts. I have been working with fibre since I was very young.
If my Unraveled Oracle deck didn't give it away, I am a spinner, knitter, crocheter, I've woven, dyed, stitched etc. I was a member of the Sask Craft Council for years as a professional craftsperson and belonged to the Regina Weavers & Spinners Guild. My favourite thing out of them all is wool judging. I got my wool judging certification from Olds College in 2012 and have been judging wool shows across the prairies and teaching workshops about wool since. With hundreds of sheep breeds I never stop learning and helping producers see the value in their fibre makes me feel like I've done a good job.
I've also had knitwear in Sask Fashion Week twice; once with Riley Lawson (2013) who won Best Emerging Artist and THE Dean Renwick (2015).
I also have a popular knitted hat pattern (was the most popular unisex hat for some time) with over 110.4k unique downloads.
And have had patterns and mentions in several magazines and books as far away as the UK.
I have been a team leader with the Etsy SK team for the past 7 years promoting Saskatchewan makers and vintage sellers.
I was also a nominee in CBC's Future 40 under 40
Many of these milestones are within my Unraveled Oracle Deck... and hey, what does all this have to do about my favourite tarot card? Well as much as all this seems like bragging, I am pretty damn proud of myself of all the things I have accomplished within my fibre career and I feel I embody the craftsman card. Hard work, quality and education are important aspects in my work and continue with my tarot practice as well.
Here are a few different examples of the 8 of Pentacles cards.
Keywords for the suit of pentacles are: craftsmanship, skill, work, determination, integrity, focus and sincerity. This card heralds success and skilled effort and using these to a high level. This card stands for professionalism & perfectionism and holding yourself to high standards. It also means obtaining qualifications and a sense of liberation as a reward for talent and skill. 8's hold the history of our experience and they also signify reflection, transformation and finding inner strength. In numerology, the number 8 is linked with honour, respect, awards, public recognition and abundance.
8 is also the lemniscate that appears in the Strength and Magician cards in the major arcana hinting at wholeness and development in the physical, mental and spiritual planes which I'm sure creatives can relate to! On a spiritual level, 8 symbolizes cosmic consciousness.
As you can see, this is why I relate myself to the 8 of Pentacles. I believe in working with my hands and getting better and growing and always learning new techniques. When working with raw fibre from sheep to shawl, I have not only been keeping environmentally responsible but also stay true to time honoured traditions that connect me to the past and my ancestors. This is also why I call myself Woolly Witch on instagram.
As part of the release of my Unraveled Oracle Deck I had planned to release a small collection of patterns that included a tarot/crystal bag (Intuition) , a shawl/altar cloth (Incantation) and a necklace (Intention). These patterns have been created but I need to finish the samples and covid kinda put a wrench into the situation but I have plans set in action now. I also have a few knitting patterns for crystal grids I plan on typing up so keep an eye out if you are a knitter.
For my homework as part of my tarot certification, we were asked to get creative with the cards. I made them into business cards. Can you guess which cards they represent?
I found this great article about using tarot in a respective and mindful manner today and wanted to share it. Click on the image to be taken to The Tarot Parlor site for more in depth descriptions of each point.
Karli of Jessup's General Store and I have teamed up again to make some very magickal altar cloths. These have all be naturally dyed under the full "Cold" moon and screen printed with intention. Click on the pictures to learn more!
I've started a monthly tarot circle with the Sage Wind Temple. I'm hoping it will help others as well as myself to learn together and keep up a regular tarot practice. It is free to join. I have more info here which will have all the workbooks and such for each topic. Hope you can join us.
I am doing an afternoon workshop with the Sage Wind Temple on Sunday Oct 18th from 2 - 4. You can find out more on the Facebook event.
I am teaching a tarot workshop next month at the Art Gallery of Regina. Presented alongside, Ritual & Lore, these workshops enrich the understanding of techniques used by artists in our September - October main gallery exhibition.
It will be an online class so you can work from the comfort of your home!
Reading Tarot with Susie Gourlay
October 6, 7 - 9 PM
Online workshop over Zoom video conference
members & non-members $30
Register ONLINE or call 306-522-5940
In this down to earth class, you will learn how to use tarot as a tool for divination, guidance or self-reflection discussing the archetypes and symbols used to tell the story in the cards.
There is no need to memorize the meanings of 78 cards: Susie will help break down the tarot system in a way that is easy to understand. This workshop is perfect for those new to tarot or those wanting to feel more comfortable reading the cards for themselves or others. You will be provided with lots of resources for further learning on your own as you continue on your tarot journey!
Students must have a tarot deck with traditional symbolism such as Rider-Waite-Smith, Thoth, Halloween Tarot, Robin-Wood Tarot etc. If you have questions about which Tarot deck to use, please contact the AGR, and we will put you in touch with Susie.
DO NOT use an Angel Deck or Oracle Cards for this workshop!
Learning the tarot is a wonderful experience. This guide is best used with a deck with similar Rider-Waite-Coleman imagery.
I created these pages to aid in learning keywords to help you easily work your way through the 78 cards in a tarot deck.
The Fool's journey is set out to show the progression of life's experiences and learning from mistakes and successes. It is seperated into 3 blocks of 7 cards with the Fool on the outside. Set up your cards this way to see this journey and compare the keywords to the images on your cards to help make sense of the major arcana. (22 cards)
The minor arcana (56 cards) consists of 4 suits. I've broken them down and colour coordinated them to help you quickly find what you are looking for. Keep in mind, some decks change the names of the suits. I've tried to include as much info as I could to help you draw correlations and see emerging patterns without overwhelming you (I hope).
I hope that you find this guide useful and enjoy the universe of tarot.
My weaving tonight is for an extra boost for my husband. He has been working hard to find a new job where he is appreciated and paid well. Looking for success tomorrow.
Using the Magician (the manifestor), 3 of Wands (new opportunities), passing through a raw green adventurine ( for luck) to the 4 of Wands (success and celebration) and with a hope for the 10 of Pentacles (abundance and prosperity). All 4 elements including a gold candle for success and money and using Jessica's (The Tea Witch) money powder. Also focusing on the end of this waning moon phase moving into the new.
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