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Ancestral Tarot: Uncover Your Past and Chart Your Future

Ancestral Tarot: Uncover Your Past and Chart Your Future

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Ancestral Tarot: Uncover Your Past and Chart Your Future

296 pagine
3 ore
Mar 1, 2021


A practical, hands-on guide for using tarot to connect with your ancestors and gain access to their insights for healing, self-protection, and personal powers.

With a tarot deck in hand, readers will learn how to identify and access ancestral gifts, messages, powers, protectors, and healers.

Tarot expert Nancy Hendrickson guides readers through the basics of finding recent ancestors, and navigating the confusing maze of DNA and ethnic heritage. As a longtime tarot enthusiast, she shows readers how to incorporate a metaphysical tool into a world of tradition.

Ancestral Tarot spreads are included in relevant chapters. Each chapter includes three journal prompts that lead readers into self-discovery around ancestral gifts, wounds, and patterns they may have inherited. The better we know our ancestors, the better we know ourselves.

Mar 1, 2021

Informazioni sull'autore

Nancy Hendrickson is an author with decades of experience in genealogy and tarot. Her published work includes several genealogy books and magazine articles. Nancy has been interviewed on the topic of internet genealogy by the New York Times, Kiplinger’s, and Better Homes and Gardens.  She is a columnist for The Cartomancer Magazine, writing about Tarot decks of the past as well as Tarot from a cultural perspective. She is active on Instagram @nancysageshadow where she posts daily about Tarot and other forms of divination. You can learn more about Nancy and her work at

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Anteprima del libro

Ancestral Tarot - Nancy Hendrickson


Chapter 1

Beyond the Veil

There are more things in heaven and Earth, Horatio,

Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.


In the last few weeks of my mom's life she saw her long-deceased mother by her side. Mom's standing next to me, she would say.

Mom's vision was a common one; it's been well-documented that when people are close to death they see or converse with relatives who have already crossed over. But those close-to-death experiences are far from the only time we experience ancestral communications.

There is an undeniable energy that is ongoing and familial. For me—and for millions living from one end of the spiritual spectrum to the other—there's a certainty that the essence of our ancestors lives on, probably forever. And while we, using tarot, want to communicate with our ancestors, the truth is, they're already communicating with us. If you're tuned in, you know this. You may hear whispers during meditation or interact with long-gone family in your dreams, or like me, actually see spirits who are trying to get your attention. But if all this is new to you, hang on 'cause I'm going to show you how to begin listening.

Who Are the Ancestors?

But first, exactly who are the ancestors?

When we think about an ancestor, the immediate image is of our own blood lineage, e.g., great-great-uncles, 10x great-grandfathers . . . you know, the whole family tree. But based on the culture you come from or relate to, an ancestor may differ from a dead person, based on how recent or distant their passing.

I'm all for keeping things simple, and this book isn't intended to be a comparative religion guide to the afterworld. For our purposes, I'm referring to ancestors as people who are now in Spirit. This means they may have passed over last month or hundreds of years ago.

I work with three different types of ancestors. Let's meet them now.

Ancestors Come in All Flavors

Ancestors of Blood

Ancestors of Blood are those with whom you share genetic material. Some ancestors you knew during their lifetime; most you did not. Ancestors of Blood will probably be the largest group of people with whom you'll work. That's because family is like a seesaw—one day offering you happiness, and the next, grief.

When you think of genetic ancestors, you know that their DNA runs through you just as surely as their blood flows in your veins. You share not only their physical traits but also their emotional profiles and behaviors.

These ancestors' genetic or ancestral memories are hardwired into your system; let's call it your genetic inheritance. The Ancestors of Blood are the ones from whom—via either nature or nurture—you've inherited family patterns that have taught you how to navigate the world. Sadly, some of those patterns won't guide you to the X on the treasure map. Instead, they'll run your ship aground on some deserted island. Fortunately, you'll learn how to deal with those issues later in this book.

The Ancestors of Blood we can relate to most immediately—and probably the ones we most want to work with—fall into two categories: those you want to honor and those who inflicted wounds that sorely need healing. And in case you're wondering—no, you never have to honor an ancestor who made your life a living hell, but it's my prayer that you take the first steps toward healing you.

Your blood ancestors come down two lines: one from your dad (paternal) and one from your mom (maternal). Direct blood ancestors are those in a straight line from someone down to you. In other words, your dad's dad's dad or your mom's mom's mom.

Now where this whole blood ancestor thing can get tricky is when, somewhere along the line, the father listed on a document wasn't the real father. This happens more often than you might think, which is one of the reasons DNA has become such a popular tool for finding real ancestors (chapter 6).

But, false fatherhoods aside, when I refer to Ancestors of Blood, I'm talking about the people along your family line who created you.

Without taking a deep dive into history, just let me also say that all your ancestors go back to the beginning of humans on Earth. According to the brainiacs, we all came out of Africa, then spread across the globe. There was a great book published several years ago called The Seven Daughters of Eve in which DNA expert Bryan Sykes takes us back to those he calls the seven original Eves—the mothers of us all. You'll meet those early, original ancestors in chapter 5. Although they lived so long ago that we can hardly wrap our heads around it, they are still blood ancestors.

Note: Modern humans as we know them were not the only humanlike species running around populating the world. It's been well-documented that modern humans interbred with other species including Neanderthals and Denisovans. Some DNA companies can tell you if you have some tiny percentage of Neanderthal DNA. (Yes, for the record, I do.)

Ancestors of Those Who Were Adopted

If you were adopted, you may feel as though you have no ancestors. That's not true. You have just as many as anyone else even though you may know less about them. My hope, if your parentage is unknown, is that one day you will find a DNA match that will lead to your blood family. That, then, will lead you to your own precious lineage.

If you want to discover your blood family, my best advice is to persevere. More and more adoption records are opening, and my wish is that one of them is yours. The second thing I'd tell you if you were sitting across from me now is that I personally have found parental lineage via DNA, so it's not so outlandish that the same thing could happen to you.

At age ninety, my mother found her father. And just in the last year, through DNA, I was able to find the biological parents of a Jewish adoptee, even though the birth parents were born in Romania and lived in the Jewish ghettos of both Chicago and New York. Blood will out. They will be found.

If you're adopted, you can still do every exercise in this book. Although you may never know your blood ancestors, trust me, they know you. Your intent will guide them to you just as surely as the lamp of the tarot's Hermit sends rays into darkness.

Ancestors of Place

If you are a Native American or live outside North America, you may already know the customs and cultures of your family's place of origin. But if your family immigrated to the Colonies or later to what became the United States or Canada, clues about your ethnic origins may only come from family stories, legends, or lore. Or they may be totally lost in time.

While the Ancestors of Place have a genetic connection, you may never have heard of them or had any awareness of their existence. They could have lived far beyond your recent memory, originating in a place you never knew as home.

Maybe you heard a family story about your Ancestors of Place coming from the Old Country. Unfortunately, that story isn't as helpful as knowing they originated in Ireland or came to North America because their Quakerism bought them a ticket to an English prison. Hopefully, your tarot work will open more of those detailed doors.

For our purposes, Ancestors of Place are relatives who lived in your family's places of origin. If you've traveled extensively and stayed in a town where you felt right at home, I'm betting that you unknowingly stumbled upon a place of origin.

There's one more thing. In this group, I also include the spirits that our distant ancestors probably knew well, but have become lost in our modern histories. Our long-ago ancestors were so connected to nature that they knew a whole host of beings outside our experience. Among them are entities like the Aos Sí, tree spirits, the goddess of the moon, and the Thunderbirds.

Ancestors of Time

I have no idea how many lifetimes we have all lived. But I do know that we've lived them. There are places and people we are so drawn to that it's clear we knew them in another incarnation. Ancestors of Time are those from past incarnations.

My sister Vicki connects to the washerwomen who worked at Fort Laramie, Wyoming, in the 1800s. For Patti, Ireland is where she feels the most at home. John felt a sense of peace and magic while sitting by the shore on the Aran island of Inishmore. He is drawn to runes and Nordic lore as fervently as Vicki is to laundry.

As for myself, I've tapped into many lifetimes. Whenever I visit the Little Bighorn Battlefield, I have an incredible sense of joy because it feels like I'm connecting with old friends. I'm also drawn to World War I biplanes and the Ancestral Puebloan (Anasazi) ruins that are strewn across the Southwest. Standing on the ramparts of Stirling Castle in Scotland, I felt I had come

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