This is a spread I did on the last New Moon, coinciding with Samhain and also Day of the Dead. I considered this to be an auspicious time to honour my ancestors, but also to ask the cards for a message, or information, on my ancestral lineage.
There are many different ways of doing such a spread, and equally different ways of asking questions – these variables are up to each practitioner to choose and alter as they see fit. You might also want to think what the word “ancestor” means to you. When I did this spread, I wasn’t just thinking about family relatives I’ve known that have passed away – I was also thinking about those that I never met, such as great great grand-parents, and their parents before that, and their parents before that, and on and on along the karmic thread. Their names I’ll never know, yet collectively they hold a rich body of knowledge and wisdom that I wish to both honour and learn from.
Here is the 10 card spread below:
Cards 1, 2 and 3: What is my ancestral lineage? Cards 4, 5 and 6: What gifts do my ancestors offer? Cards 7, 8 and 9: What lessons do they need me to learn? Card 10: What do they help me to develop and become in this lifetime?
Naturally one may adapt this any way they see fit. When I asked the first question, What is my ancestral lineage, my intent was solely to distil the core essence of the main life lessons or karmic energy handed down over the bloodline. Here is what I received, using the Haindl Tarot:
Cards 1, 2 and 3: What is my ancestral lineage?
Strength – The Emperor – The Tower
Whoa, 3 majors, no big deal (deep breaths). The keywords here are strength, power, and breakthrough. Haindl’s version of the Strength card in particular is powerful and arresting: the woman in this card has strength over the snake, symbolic of one’s kundalini energy but also shamanic, transformative power. More than just having strength over it, to me she raises it as if to honour this power, and use it in a ritual.
Then there is the Emperor, speaking of authority. Both the woman in Strength, and the Emperor are naked: they are part of nature, not dominating it.
The Tower, the last card, is the only one in the trio showing a man-made structure falling apart. The Tower is freedom and illumination at the same time, breaking the rules and gaining insights, experiencing a release from that which imprisons us in our own, man-made world. So far, so good.
Cards 4, 5 and 6: What gifts do my ancestors offer?
2 of Cups (Love) – Isis (Princess of Swords) – 2 of Swords (Peace)
This was a lovely and supportive 3 card spread. I literally felt my ancestors say, we are here for you, with you. Call upon us when you need to feel loved, when you need peace. Number 2 showing up twice, symmetrically on either side of Isis, speaks of relationship: one – to – one.
Isis (the equivalent of Knight of Swords in the more traditional RWS deck) is associated with, among other things, the after-life, and in one way, this card stands for my ancestors, but in another way, it also stands for the gift of such knowledge offered by them, alongside that of wisdom and prophecy.
Cards 7, 8 and 9: What lessons do they need me to learn?
7 of Cups (Illusions of Success) – The Devil – 9 of Wands (Power)
Sheesh, they don’t mince their words, do they?! This was basically a warning to not take my power and misuse it, but also to not get caught up in the ego-driven quest for power and self-importance, particularly when working in the world of magic. Because it is so, so magnetic, and utterly irresistible at times, and it a world where, should one misuse their power, they can get lost and lose themselves eternally in the fog.
But equally, and paradoxically, it is also about knowing my own power, and my fears, and channelling that in a healthy way. Having the ability to separate what is real from what is not can be a challenge when working in the realm of magic, for, as someone noted, the universe speaks in a symbolic language, but not everything that happens is symbolic. Knowing the difference between the two is what separates the shaman from the insane.
Finally let me just say that having the Devil turn out in this line, made me smile just a little. For as I’ve written before, I am currently in a Devil year (ending in December), and as such I’ve been slowly learning a bit about this much misunderstood energy, for lack of a better word.
Card 10: What do they help me to develop and become in this lifetime?
Queen of Stones (Spider Woman)
Finally, here I am 🙂 I had a mixed reaction when I saw this card. Mainly, I was elated, for I felt it an honour to have such a strong shamanic woman as a model to develop and grow into. I also felt a tad intimidated, and the usual doubts crept up. On the whole though, out of all the mature (Queen) cards, I find her exceptionally magnetic, intensely powerful, and equally formidable. This is the equivalent of the Queen of Pentacles in the traditional RWS deck, and is thus contains a very pragmatic, down-to-earth energy. This is someone rooted in the real world, yet aware of the other dimensions symbolised in the labyrinth.
It would be an understatement to say that this spread left me a little speechless, albeit in a good way. There are many more layers in this spread than what I’ve written about in this short post, I feel. I am still processing it, I guess 🙂
I’d love to read if anyone else tries this and something similar, and what their experiences are. Many blessings and wishing everyone a magical week ahead, Monica