Make yourself a cuppa and get comfy as we dive into our very first Ancestry & Tarot adventure - building our family tree with the cards
Welcome, sweet friend! I'm so happy to see you here as we begin our ancestral journey with tarot as our trusty intuitive tool.
Whether you're a tarot newbie or something of a seasoned card slinger you're very welcome to pull up a chair, pop open a pack of cards and join us as we anchor into our roots in order to develop an empowered understanding of ourselves, our loved ones and those who came before.
Today's focus is on building your family tree with the cards - a great way of creating space for exploring family dynamics and laying the foundation for further ancestral work moving forwards.
Read on for step-by-step guidance, and be sure to click on the video above to join me for a more detailed chitchat and plenty of examples of each stage of the activity ahead.
selecting a tarot deck to work with + getting to know the cards
Before diving into all things family tree related I thought it would be handy to share some thoughts on selecting a deck of cards to work with throughout your Ancestry & Tarot journey.
Whether you're a newbie or something of a pro, choosing a deck populated with people is always a good bet, as families are very much about relationships, and, well, people!
If you're keen to expand your tarot path and discover tarot beyond ancestry, a deck subscribing to the RW system is often super handy as many resources and sources of info are created with the RW in mind.
Of course, what really matters when choosing a deck is the connection you feel - trust your intuition, sweetness! Pretty much my main motto in life - you know you and your needs best. Take that leap of faith and believe in yourself!
a super speedy overview of tarot's structure
While you don't need to have any prior knowledge of tarot in order to dive into the activities we'll be exploring (there it is again - you're going to be trusting your intuition! More on that in a sec) you might be keen to have something of an idea of what this tarot stuff is all about from the get-go.
Here's my in-a-nutshell guide!
A tarot deck typically consists of 78 cards, and is, to put it succinctly, a tool for life - by which I mean, tarot contains and reveals everything that it is to be human, to be here as a physical being and as a spiritual being.
Which is pretty darn incredible, no?!
Tarot incorporates external and internal situations and events, relationships, creations, life stages, from the major moments to the smaller nitty-gritty details of everyday life.
The cards can be split into three main components: the Major Arcana, Minor Arcana and Court Cards.
The Majors carry major energy - typically denoting significant energies, situations, moments of one's path at this point in time. Running from The Fool to The World, if we put the Majors in chronological order we get a journey from innocence, naivety, newness to completion, consciousness, mastery.
(It's worth pointing out that we often experience Major Arcana energies in our lives in a random order, rather than strictly in sequence from start to finish. Hey, sometimes we even go backwards at points, too!)
The Minors carry everyday energy (although, like most things tarot, this isn't a hard and fast rule!) - Minor cards often depict scenes of day to day life - energies, situations, interactions, moment's of one's path at this point in time on a somewhat smaller scale.
Four suits reside at the heart of the Minor Arcana - Cups, Swords, Wands, Pentacles, journeying within each suit from Ace through Ten.
- Cups are linked to the element of water, and therefore to emotions, connection, intuition
- Swords are linked to the element of air, and therefore to thought, communication, logic
- Wands are linked to the element of fire, and therefore to inspiration, creativity, drive
- Pentacles are linked to the element of earth, and therefore to abundance, resources, the physical world.
Each of the four suits has a family of Court Cards - Page, Knight, Queen, King, with the Page being the youngest and therefore taking their first tentative steps towards understanding and utilising the energy of his suit; while the Queen and King represent the internal and external potential of the energy of their suit at its most mature and most powerful.
During a reading, Court Cards tend to represent either an element of the seeker (so, you if you're slinging cards for yourself) or a person in your life who is somehow significant to the topic being explored.
If you're keen to learn more about individual card meanings, keep your peepers peeled for a Tarot Keywords Cheat-Sheet coming soon.
And be sure to check out the video below for some handy examples of cards drawn from all three components of the deck.
building your family tree with the cards
Which brings us to today's point of focus, building your family tree with the cards.
Having found a comfortable space to begin, and having taken a few juicy deep breaths to really anchor into the present moment with an open heart, begin placing your cards face-up in front of you (I'm a big fan of working on the floor!)
Spread out all 78 cards image-up, so that you can see and survey the scenes on the cards with ease. It might be that you are already recognising family members - or yourself! - within the cards.
When you're ready, scan through the cards and begin familiarising yourself with the landscape in front of you.
You're going to be intuitively selecting a card to represent yourself as you perceive yourself within your family, as well as a card to represent each member of your immediate family (family through DNA, upbringing or otherwise).
So, you may want to choose cards to represent your parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, partner, your own children, and anybody else who you consider to be family.
choosing cards intuitively
There are a couple of things you might like to consider when looking through your cards for matches that resonate.
For example, you might find it helpful to explore:
- People: Posture, facial expressions, whether solitary or within a group, movement, positioning. Is the character on the card doing something? Are they mid-action, or are they perhaps resting?
- Objects: Tools, materials, things
- Setting: Inside or outside, at home or on the road, on land or on water, nature
- Background: Weather, scenery, landmarks
- Colour: Clothing, sky, nature.
The key thing here is to allow your intuition to lead the way - if a certain card brings to mind Uncle Bob, dive into it! Ask yourself why. Explore the card for as long as you need to.
Feeling a little stuck? Flip things around and have a think about what comes to mind when you think of Uncle Bob - and then see if you can find cards that mirror such thoughts.
Position your chosen cards in front of you, perhaps in a row(s) or in the shape of a traditional family tree diagram - whatever feels right to you.
Keen to dive deeper? Take things further by mixing up the remaining cards that haven't been selected, before laying them out in front of you again, this time face-down so that all you can see are the card backs.
Hover your hands over the cards and allow your intuition to guide you in randomly choosing a card for every family member (being sure to choose one of yourself, too!), turning the cards over as you go, in doing so revealing a 'hidden perspective' for you to consider.
Reflecting on your family tree findings
As you build your family tree, and after you've gathered all of your cards, you might like to take some time to reflect on the cards chosen, exploring in greater detail the energies and relationships at play.
Here are some prompts to get you started, although do feel free to deviate/tweak/change/add as you see fit!
- Who am I in the family? What role do I play?
- Do I feel the role I embody aligns with who I really am today?
- Are there any themes coming through?
- Who do I feel closest to? Who do I feel less close to?
- Who do I find it easy to understand? Who do I find it difficult to understand?
- Do I feel understood by my loved ones?
- Do I share traits with family members?
- What energies am I comfortable sitting with? What energies am I uncomfortable sitting with?
- Was it easy or difficult to find cards for people?
- Are there any cards I'm having a particularly strong reaction to, pleasant or unpleasant?
- What do the hidden cards mean to me? Do I recognise such energies within my family?
- If I were to build my family tree a year ago/five years ago/a decade ago how might the cards differ?
- Do I think my family would see themselves this way, or would their perspectives differ?
Take your time, take a break and return to your family tree if you'd like to break your experience into chunks, and jot down or ponder your findings and thoughts.
laying the foundations for further ancestral work
Congratulations! You've completed our very first Ancestry & Tarot card slinging activity. Building your family tree helps create a foundation for the activities and adventures we'll be diving into moving forwards.
If you have any questions about today's activity or about Ancestry & Tarot (or ancestry/tarot as separate subjects!) do feel free to get in touch as I'd love to experience this journey together and to connect more deeply along the way.
See you soon for our next adventure!
With love, gratitude and so much joy,
Browse all Ancestry & Tarot posts here.
DISCLAIMER: All information, guidance and advice given throughout Ancestry & Tarot is not equivalent to, or a substitute for, professional medical advice. You are advised to consult an appropriately qualified healthcare professional should you have any concerns about the nature of the activities shared throughout this series. Your health and wellbeing are paramount, sweet friend.