Ancestors Tarot Spread With A Complete Guide for Witches
Last Updated: July 25, 2023
Ancestry is something that sparks interest for a lot of folks, and for witches it is to find what makes them connect with their magick more. To know who you are, to know where you came from, and finding ways to honor what brings you joy from before is a very special path, and sadly one not everyone can access (either due to no-contact, or from adoption, or from lost records). My aim here is to help with creating a connection through tarot to aid in this journey for you.
Who are Ancestors? Not just bloodline, they're community too
Many of us might think of our ancestors as simply those who came before us in our bloodline, but in reality, the idea of ancestors extends far beyond genetics. In this tarot spread guide, we’ll delve into the idea that our ancestors are open to more than just our biological forebears; the wider community of people who have shaped us and left a lasting impact on our lives. By embracing this expanded definition of ancestors, we can connect with a rich tapestry of history, culture, and tradition, and find strength and inspiration in the wisdom of those who came before us. So join in with your deck as we discover the power and importance of acknowledging and honoring our ancestors, both those related to us by blood and those who are part of our wider community.
We are more than just our family at any one time; the chosen people in our life, friends, lovers, mentors, colleagues… they shape us more than blood relations at times.
Tarot and Ancestry FAQ's
- Can I connect with Ancestors through tarot and oracle? Yeah, absolutely! Connecting with ancestors through tarot and oracle can be a powerful and transformative experience. The cards can help you tap into your intuition and connect with ancestral energy, gaining insight and guidance from those who have come before you whether by blood or by community.
- Can I specifically connect with someone through tarot and oracle? Yes, you can use tarot and oracle to specifically connect with someone if you know distinctly who they are. Setting an intention before shuffling and drawing cards can help you to focus your energy and connect with a specific ancestor. You might ask for guidance or seek to connect with their energy to gain insight into their experiences. From what I understand of this though is that they have to consent too to come across for you, so if it doesn’t work for you this could be one of the reasons. I would always state intent that you mean no harm and no distress, but you’re wanting conversation and connection.
- What ways can I learn about my Ancestors experiences other than tarot and oracle? There are many ways to learn about your ancestors’ experiences beyond tarot and oracle. Genealogy research, historical records, family stories, and cultural traditions can all provide valuable insights into your family’s history and heritage. You might also consider visiting ancestral homelands or seeking out local experts in genealogy or history. I’ve got a FREE downloadable ancestral guide – grab your copy because why not? 🙂
- What do I do if I don’t have any knowledge of my Ancestors? If you don’t have any knowledge of your ancestors, don’t worry! You can start by exploring your own family history through conversations with relatives or researching public records. There are also many online resources and professional genealogists available to help you uncover your family’s past.
- How can I use tarot and oracle to heal the ancestral line? This is a big brutal question to be honest. I’d suggest working with spreads designed to identify and heal ancestral patterns or trauma, or connecting with specific ancestors to seek guidance on how to heal their energy, can help you to release negative patterns that have been passed down through the generations. I’d also 100% recommend reaching out to genealogy specialists and family therapists.
- Can non-human Ancestors be communicated with through tarot and oracle? So I’m white, and have no expertise with certain closed practices you may be referring to. While non-human ancestors may not communicate through tarot and oracle in the same way as human ancestors, you can still use the cards to connect with the energy and wisdom of your animal or plant ancestors. The most important thing is to approach your practice with an open heart and a willingness to connect with the energy around you, and not to encroach on practices that have nothing to do with you. I’d suggest sticking within your own cultural background for exploration.
- When is a good time to connect with Ancestors? There isn’t a specific time that is best for connecting with ancestors, as it ultimately depends on your personal beliefs and preferences. Whether you choose to connect during significant dates such as holidays or ancestral anniversaries, or during periods of meditation or ritual, the most important thing is to create a space where you feel comfortable and open to receiving guidance from your ancestors. Like a lot of witches like Litha and Samhain as a time to reconnect, and other folks may suggest the dark moon or when the moon is perigee. It literally depends on what your energy levels are like for trying this. I would say to remember though that your ancestors are always with you in their own way, and always ready to support you on your journey.
Why Connect With Ancestors Through Tarot?
Tarot spreads can be a powerful tool for working with ancestral energy and incorporating it into our self-growth journey. By using tarot cards to connect with our ancestors, we can gain deeper insight into our family history and the influences that have shaped us. Tarot can help us explore our ancestral lineage and gain a better understanding of our family’s cultural traditions and beliefs. You can get so many tarot decks from different indie artists now based on different cultures that it’s actually bloody mind-blowing. By working with tarot in this way, we can also identify patterns and behaviours that may have been passed down through generations and begin to heal any inherited trauma or negative patterns.
You know that I’m going to say that tarot can be a valuable tool in the self-growth aspect of genealogy work; yes helping us to honour and connect with our ancestors while also gaining a greater understanding of ourselves. By using tarot to connect with our ancestors, we can gain a greater sense of connection, belonging, and purpose in our lives.
“But how?” you ask. I’d say that Tarot aids in connecting with ancestor energy in several ways. Firstly, tarot cards can serve as a bridge between the conscious and subconscious mind, allowing us to tap into deeper levels of awareness and intuition. By focusing on a specific ancestor or lineage while shuffling and drawing tarot cards, we can receive messages and guidance from our ancestors.
Additionally, tarot spreads specifically designed to connect with specific ancestral energy can help us gain a better understanding of our ancestral heritage and the influences that have shaped us. These readings you can then create for yourself might focus on exploring ancestral wisdom, uncovering family secrets, or healing inherited trauma.
I’ve created for you a workbook to guide you with a little structure (and provide tips) on how to get into connection with your Ancestors. I’ve included helpful information on creating a family tree, where to search for information not just genealogically but also for your community and culture, witchy tips on how to go through understanding generational trauma and working with it to move forward, and other ideas to help you honor your ancestry. I don’t claim to be an expert on any of this, I just genuinely want to support you like a banshee bestie! Download it here 🙂
I hope this has been useful for you in understanding how to connect with your ancestors in different ways. If there is anything else you need help with, don’t hesitate to reach out! I’m here to support you on your journey.
Ancestor Invocation Ritual
Performing a simple invocation ritual before or after the tarot session can be a beautiful and meaningful way for you as a witch to connect with your ancestry. Whether you are just starting out on your spiritual journey or have been practicing for years, a simple ancestral ritual can help you tap into the wisdom and guidance of your ancestors and honor their legacy.
At its core, an invocation ritual is a way of calling in the energy of your ancestors and inviting their presence into your space. By setting your intention and creating your own sacred atmosphere, you can create a space that is open to messages and guidance from your ancestors.
This can be especially powerful for witches who are interested in exploring their heritage and ancestral roots. By connecting with your ancestors in this way, you can gain a deeper understanding of your family history, cultural traditions, and spiritual practices that have been passed down through the generations.
Whether you choose to perform a simple invocation ritual with just a candle and an offering, or incorporate other items or rituals that hold special meaning to you, the most important thing is to approach your practice with an open heart and a willingness to connect with the energy and wisdom of your ancestors.
So if you’re looking for a meaningful way to connect with your ancestry and tap into the power of your lineage, consider trying this simple invocation ritual. With an open mind and a heartfelt intention, you may be surprised at the outcome and of your own abilities.
A candle (preferably white, black or a color that represents your ancestors to you)
A lighter or matches
An offering (such as food, flowers, or a symbolic item)
A quiet space where you can sit or stand comfortably
- Begin by finding a quiet space where you can focus and connect with your ancestors. Light your candle using a lighter or matches, and take a few deep breaths to center yourself.
- Hold your offering in your hands and speak your intention out loud, inviting your ancestors to join you in this space. You might say something like, “Dear ancestors, I invite you to join me in this sacred space. I call upon your wisdom and guidance, and offer this gift as a symbol of my love and gratitude.”
- Set your offering down on your altar or on the ground, and stand or sit in front of it. Take a moment to connect with the energy of your ancestors, visualizing them gathering around you and offering their support.
- Speak your intention for this ritual out loud, whether it be to seek guidance, connect with your heritage, or simply to honor your ancestors. Allow yourself to be open to whatever messages or guidance may come through.
- When you feel ready, thank your ancestors for their presence and guidance, and blow out your candle. You may choose to leave your offering on your altar or dispose of it in a respectful manner, such as burying it in the ground.
This invocation ritual is a personal and sacred practice, and only you can modify it as needed to suit your needs and preferences, this is just a basic structure to work with. You might choose to incorporate other items or rituals that hold special meaning to you, such as music, crystals, or other offerings. The most important thing is to approach your practice with an open heart and a willingness to connect with the energy and wisdom of your ancestors.
Creating an Ancestor Altar
Creating a mini ancestors altar in your home or sacred space is a beautiful way to honor and connect with your ancestors. Here are some steps to get started:
- Choose a designated space. Choose a space in your home or sacred space where you can set up your ancestors altar. This could be a small table, shelf, or any other surface that feels special to you.
- Gather your supplies. You will need a few basic supplies to create your altar. This might include a cloth to cover the surface, candles, incense, photos of ancestors, small statues or objects that represent your ancestors, and any other items that hold special meaning for you.
- Set your intention. Take a few deep breaths and set your intention for your ancestors altar. This might include a prayer or affirmation to connect with your ancestors and invite their energy into your space.
- Arrange your items. Begin arranging your items on the altar, starting with the cloth to cover the surface. You might place candles on either side of the altar, and arrange photos, statues, or objects that represent your ancestors in the center. You might also include offerings such as flowers, crystals, or food to honor and connect with your ancestors.
- Light candles and incense. Once you have arranged your items, light candles and incense to create a sacred space and invite your ancestors’ energy into the area.
- Connect with your ancestors. Sit in front of your ancestors altar and take a few moments to connect with the energy of your ancestors. You might offer a prayer, meditation, or simply sit in quiet contemplation, allowing yourself to feel their presence and guidance.
Your ancestors altar is a personal and sacred space, and you can adjust it as needed to suit your needs and preferences. Whether you spend a few moments or longer periods of time in front of your altar, it can serve as a beautiful reminder of your connection to your ancestors and the wisdom they offer.
Ancestors Tarot Spreads - Three to choose from!
I have three ancestor tarot spreads for you to choose from; exploring new connections, establishing a specific connection, and looking into healing down your familial and cultural lines. The purpose of this is that if you are feeling disconnected from your ancestry, these spreads can give you clarity or further insight into the relationship. For more support and understanding generational and ancestral trauma, I would recommend checking out Dr Gayani DeSilva. There’s an article on health.com/condition/ptsd/generational-trauma
Tarot spread layouts & questions to ask
To begin, shuffle your tarot deck and draw a card for each position in the tarot draw as shown in the below layout.
Finally, take some time to reflect on the questions that each card position represents and what message the tarot cards in that position might be trying to tell you. If you’re just starting to learn tarot, or if you’re still getting to know your deck, you may find my in-depth articles on the meanings of every tarot card helpful.
*Any affiliate purchases through this program won’t impact you financially and we support these sellers in an unbiased way.*
Bridging - Communicating With Ancestors
Tarot card #1: I call in ##### Are you present?
You can use a specific card as a signifier or you can blind pull after the question here. This may look like the Empress for wanting to connect with maternal energy – or the King of Cups for grandfatherly advice. This may also look like a card for your cultural background, or a card that represents your community. Alternatively something like the Six of Pentacles may pop up – indicating that someone who has felt distant suddenly wants to help you out.
Tarot card #2: A short message or advice
Tarot card #3: What skills have I learned through you?
This card will show what similar skills you both share, and therefore another way to honor your connection. This may look like the Tower for strength and ambition in times of crisis, or The Hermit for knowledge and studious wisdom. It could even be as simple as the Three of Pentacles showing that you’re comfortable socially with building for the future with others. Whatever this may be, it’s its own special bridge between you.
Tarot card #4: What traits have I picked up from you?
This card will show what similar traits you both share too, and a way that in your day to day that they are with you. Whilst every individual is completely unique, you may both be impatient like the suggestion from the Five of Wands – or perhaps empathetic like the Eight of Cups. Perhaps you both have a strong grounding in emotional stability, just like the Queen of Pentacles. Whatever this may be, it marks a unique bond you share through connection.
Tarot card #5: What lessons can I learn from you?
We can always learn something from every person we meet, and our ancestors are no different. This card may look like the Ace of Swords for a lesson in determination – or The Magician for a reminder to trust your inner power. It could even be something like Judgement or the Wheel of Fortune for understanding karma and how our actions have an effect on other people. This card will show you what to take away from your relationship.
Tarot card #6: What protection can you provide me moving forward?
This is likely to be more of a Yes/No answer than a protective statement. This could be something like The Devil for recognition of our own liberation, or the Queen of Wands for a reminder of your fiery spirit. Alternatively this could be something like the Nine of Pentacles for protection of wealth, or Strength to show that you will come out stronger than before. Whatever this card pull is for you, it should offer guidance in the form of protection.
Tarot card #7: How can I heal some of our Ancestral traumas?
This is a tricky one. This question can lead to a lot more, so I do recommend the additional spread below for this, but it can be a theme overview for you. This could come in the form of something like Temperance for a reminder to find balance before emotionally reacting to situations, or The Star for searching out hope that can be found amongst chaos and uncertainty.
Tarot card #8: What legacies can I help build for the future?
This card will represent a theme or what type of ancestral energy is present for you. For example the Star could represent healing and hope, while the Wheel of Fortune may indicate cycles that have passed through your family. Alternatively, it could be something like the Ten of Pentacles for a reminder that we all belong to the same community – and so our legacies should always be built with this in mind. Whatever the card is, it should offer guidance of what you can do to help build a better future for yourself and others after you.
Healing Generational Trauma - Ancestor Tarot Spread
1. What ancestral trauma needs to be healed?
Ancestral trauma is often deeply rooted and can be difficult to identify. This card could represent something for understanding where the trauma originated from. The card for this question could be The Tower, which represents sudden upheaval and destruction. This could suggest that the ancestral trauma needing to be healed may be a deeply ingrained belief or pattern that needs to be completely dismantled in order to create space for healing and growth.
2. How can I best approach this healing process?
For the best approach to healing, cards like the Ace of Cups could be drawn. This card represents the beginning of emotional healing and the potential for new beginnings. It encourages self-care and self-love as essential steps towards healing. It’s a suggestion for getting started, as sometimes we just need that guidance and structure.
3. What do I need to know about the generational trauma that has been passed down?
Generational trauma is oftentimes buried and hidden, but it can still have a lasting impact. The way we raise those in front of us, like our children and our community, can be greatly affected in ways that we are still unable to pinpoint or identify. Healing something as heavy as trauma can be a big task and it’s important to understand what we can do with the information that is available.
The Four of Swords as an example answer is a card of rest and retreat, which could represent the need to take time to understand the generational trauma that has been passed down. It suggests that we must first acknowledge, look at stable support around us and honor the trauma before we can begin to heal it.
4. What action steps should I take in order to heal this trauma for myself and for future generations?
This card placement would be to provide practical advice and steps towards healing. The Ten of Pentacles represents the legacy that is passed down through generations. For this question, it could suggest that the action steps needed to heal the trauma involve creating a new legacy for future generations. This could involve seeking therapy or support, practicing self-care, and breaking negative patterns.
5. How can I use tarot moving forward to help heal myself and my Ancestors?
Tarot can always provide guidance, encouragement, and a sense of hope and possibility. The Five of Wands could provide a response to this question. It represents finding balance and harmony among conflicting energies, which could be taken to mean that tarot can be used to find a balance between honoring the pain and suffering of our Ancestors while also creating space for healing. It’s an invitation to use tarot as a tool for understanding ancestral trauma and providing gentle guidance in the healing process.
Or it may be one of my favourite cards, The Star, which represents hope and inspiration, and could suggest that our magick can be used as a tool for gaining insight and guidance on the healing process. (We love Aquarian, outside-of-the-box, unconventional solutions!)
6. What blessings can I gain from this healing process?
This card will show you something to hold on to here, and to look forward to. The Sun is a card selection of joy and positivity, and could represent the blessings that come from healing ancestral trauma. This card encourages us to embrace the present moment and to find joy and happiness in the journey of healing.
7. What are the potential consequences of not healing this generational trauma?
It’s good to be aware of triggers so that we can be properly aware enough and grounded enough to take additional action when needed, but no one can guarantee what this will look like. The Seven of Swords could be a card selection to represent the potential consequences of not healing generational trauma. This card is all about decisions, and it suggests not self-sabotaging yourself and cheating yourself out of something truly beneficial.
8. How can I best protect myself while engaging in ancestral work?
Other than therapy, prioritizing self-care, nourishing with good food, good friends and good soul stuff, we want to look at something quite functional for your own energetic protection. The Hierophant represents tradition and structure, which could suggest that having a solid support system and seeking guidance from trusted spiritual or ancestral leaders can help to protect oneself while engaging in ancestral work.
Alternatively you may pull the Two of Swords, which would suggest that clear boundaries need to be set to protect yourself when engaging with ancestral work between you and the individual you’re working with. It is important to recognize your limitations and establish clear, healthy boundaries in order to protect yourself.
9. What new perspectives or insights do I need to consider in order to begin this work?
Sometimes we just need to start. This is the card placement to help with it. A good example would be if you pulled out The Hanged Man as a card of surrender and letting go, which could suggest that new perspectives and insights may come from stepping back and looking at the situation from a different angle. It may require a willingness to let go of old beliefs and patterns in order to make room for new growth and understanding. Ultimately healing generational and ancestral trauma are two big tasks, not an easy feat, and possibly the work of your lifetime. But there is nobody better placed to get started on this. There is no one else right now with the courage and curiousity. There is no one else who is ready to make the commitment. You are up for the task, and you can do this.
Messages Down The Line - Ancestors Tarot Spread
Tarot card #1: Message from the Ancestors
This can look like something like the Three of Cups for a message that it’s important to come together in solidarity, or The World as an invitation to join forces on the common ground of understanding. It could also be something like The Hierophant, signifying traditional wisdom that has been passed down through generations to remind us of our shared values. Whatever it may be, this card should offer a reminder that we’re all connected in our communities and have a responsibility to help one another.
Tarot card #2: A description of who they are (that are helping you and connecting with you right now)
This card can represent the people that are currently helping you reach your goals and guiding you through this journey. It could be something like Justice for trustworthiness, a Libra or someone in business or law, and a reminder to never give up on yourself. Alternatively, it could be something like The Chariot for strength in overcoming obstacles and pushing forward, or a Cancerian, someone who is truly invested in your growth. Whatever the card shows, it should give guidance on the type of people that are there for you now.
Tarot card #3: How to take action from this specific Ancestral guidance
This card placement can provide a message of how to step forward on this guidance. It could be something like the High Priestess for an invitation to listen to your own inner wisdom and intuition, or the Wheel of Fortune for understanding that life can be unpredictable and it’s best to move with it. Alternatively, it could be something like The Hermit for understanding to take things slowly and at your own pace. Find your key takeaway from this card is that it gives you specific advice on how to move forward.
Tarot card #4: How to work with past Ancestors for future descendants
This is a genuine play on how to help your community in the future, with skills, traits and tips from our pasts. We are made up of thousands of people who have been brought together long before us, and their skills, talents and traits that still live through us may teach us something that can save someone in the future. This card can represent something like the Eight of Cups, as a reminder to find what has been left behind and use it to your advantage – but don’t forget to take moments for yourself along the way. Alternatively, it could be something like The Emperor in understanding that we need structure and discipline in order to build foundations that will last generations.
Tarot card #5: How to honour your Ancestral team moving forward
This can work on a one-by-one basis as you get to discover individuals, whether energies, spirits or archetypes, or it can work on a collective basis. It can look like something like the Queen of Swords for an invitation to find balance between intuition and logic, or it could be something like The Hanged Man for a reminder to understand sacrifice in order to reach our goals. Whatever it may be, this card should provide an indication on how you can honour the Ancestral team that has been there with you, and a reminder that we are a part of something bigger than ourselves.
Tarot card #6: Ways to bring Ancestral energy into your life and daily practice
This could be something like The Sun for a reminder to bring joy into your life, or Strength as an invitation to find courage in the face of adversity. It could also be something like the Ace of Pentacles which encourages us to manifest our goals and desires through hard work and dedication. They could even be more practical, like the Seven of Pentacles which shares with us to take our time and be patient throughout the entire process. Whatever the card gives you, it should be a reminder to bring Ancestral energy into your life and daily practice in order to keep moving forward.
I just want to wish you some good luck on this journey, as whilst I’m not saying you’ll need it, I just wish for it to be easier for you in other areas whilst travelling this road. You’re a brave and incredible person for taking this on. And as I said it, so it is. Until next time xox
What to do after an Ancestors tarot reading
Always remember to take the time to listen and be still so that you can get their answers with clarity.
After you’ve finished a tarot reading, there are a few things you can do in order to reflect on the experience and integrate the insights you gained. Here are some suggestions:
Use a tarot journal to record your findings
Jotting down your thoughts in a tarot journal after reading can be helpful in a few ways. First, it can help you remember the details of your reading later on, such as how you felt at the moment and perhaps your first impressions of what a card meant.
Second, it can provide a space for you to process the information you’ve received and explore what it means for you. Third, it can be a way to keep track of your progress over time as you revisit your journal entries and reflect on your journey.
Take a picture of the cards
If you want to remember the position of the cards and what they meant in relation to your questions, take a picture of the spread. This will help you look back on the reading later and review the insights you received. Sometimes, clarity is better acquired after you’ve stepped back from the situation for a little while and had some time to process it.
Some people create Instagram accounts or Pinterest accounts specifically for this, and if you use any of our spreads please tag us @backyardbanshee if you feel comfortable!
Take some time to meditate and reflect
Immediately after a tarot reading, it’s important to take some time to sit with the insights you’ve received. This can be done through proper meditation, visualisation, or simply taking some time to reflect on the reading.
It can be helpful to think about what the messages from the cards mean for your life and how you can apply the advice that was given to you. That time can also be used to replenish your energy level and cleanse your tarot deck.
Get a second opinion from a close friend
If you have close friends who also happen to be tarot practitioners, it can be helpful to get their take on your reading. They may be able to offer additional insights or perspectives that you hadn’t considered before. This is also a good way to get feedback on your own interpretation of the cards.
Ensure to ask permission before just blindly sending your cards across in a message and saying “what does this mean to you?” as your friends may not have the energy or have a boundary with this sort of thing – manners cost nothing, and this is especially to note if they are a professional tarot reader who normally gets paid to interpret readings.
Layer your reading with more divination
Why not try adding astrology dice or a pendulum reading to your tarot session? Your intuition will guide you on how to best use these tools, but they can be helpful in providing more clarity around the messages from your tarot reading. We have lots of methods for you to utilise here on the website.
Do the same reading a month later
This is a great way to check in on your progress and see how far you’ve come. It can also be helpful in understanding the cyclical nature of our lives and how our current situation is likely to change over time. This can be especially useful if you’re struggling with a decision or trying to figure out which path to take as to offer suggestions, provide perspective and encourage your confidence to move forward.
At the end of the day, tarot readings are meant to be a helpful tool, not a replacement for your own intuition. The best way to use tarot is to combine the insights you receive with your own understanding of the situation. Trust your gut and follow your heart—the answers you’re looking for will come.
It is my hope that these tarot spreads on my website help you with clarity and articulate whatever is going on. Let me know what you think of this tarot spread in the comments below and if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me.
I have been passionate about reading divination for more than 15 years. This gives me a unique perspective when it comes to creating fun, supportive and creative tarot spreads. I hope they help you find the clarity and insight you are looking for.
What is secular witchcraft? It is a form of witchcraft that does not draw upon any religious beliefs.
This tarot spread for checking in on your mental health can provide you with clarity and productive actions during difficult times.
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