Ancestor Work and Tarot – An Interview with Nancy Hendrickson and Carrie Paris


Ancestor Work and Tarot – An Interview with Nancy Hendrickson and Carrie Paris

  • Why do you feel people are so inextricably drawn to ancestor work?

Nancy:
I think that many people – if not the majority – are unrooted when it comes to their own family history.  Without those roots, there’s almost a restless energy that knows its lacking *something*, but doesn’t know what that is. Ancestral work has the ability to return the gift of deep roots to people. Once rooted, I believe we begin to step into our own power – and in fact, the power of generations standing behind us.
Carrie:
I can best answer this from diviner’s perspective because this is where I’ve been witnessing a growing interest in ancestral work. And while ancestral work has been around for ages, it’s also becoming a big part of the current divining community. What comes to my table more times than not are people drawn to understanding how healing ancestral and cultural wounds equals lifting and evolving their ancestral line.
  • How does Nancy’s book “Ancestral Tarot” compliment Carrie’s deck “The Relative Tarot” and vice versa? How should readers approach the two collectively?  I’d imagine armed with both, a reader could really go far!

Nancy:
This is just a great question as Carrie and I both talk about the book and cards as cousins. When I do ancestral tarot readings, I always use The Relative Tarot because its energy blends so well with my ancestral spreads. Hand-in-hand, the book and the cards give users a strong foundation from which to begin or continue their ancestral work.
Carrie:
The moment I opened Nancy’s book I knew I found “The Relative Tarot’s” cosmic cousin. Exploring ancestral patterns can be a painful journey, especially when the road is paved with skeletons that haunt us along the way. Thankfully, Nancy has written a valuable book brimming with useful techniques for uncovering where our ancestral inheritances may have originated and why we sometimes feel the impulse to act them out. Each exercise magically transforms the ancestral agenda and becomes a curative lesson in freeing ourselves from repeating outdated stories. In the end, “Ancestral Tarot” becomes a sound ally and advocate for healing the generational wound. I feel “The Relative Tarot” can bring a visual element to Nancy’s techniques because the intention behind the imagery is rooted in pictures from the past.
  • If you don’t really feel a connection to your deceased relatives or weren’t crazy about them while they were alive, how does that square with this sort of work?  Can you still benefit from it?

Nancy:
Absolutely. Ancestral work can be done by anyone, regardless of their connection to family. In fact, I’ve worked with many people who have had negative experiences with their family-of-origin. But working with generations further back in time a powerful and healing connection can be made – and often is.
Carrie:
This is a big question and one that includes establishing boundaries and taking a few steps before even entering dialogue with a challenging ancestor (if at all). I don’t encourage people to immediately connect with an ill-meaning ancestor. It rarely works and creates set-backs. Instead, my priority is to help a sitter solidify boundaries their ancestor may have broken. Once a strong boundary is in place, we look at locating the sitter’s well-meaning ancestors which tend to act as gatekeepers as well as advisors. If the sitter feels fortified by their established boundaries and still wishes to connect with their challenging ancestor, we are then prepared. In addition, I invite sitters to go into the conversation with what I refer to as their outcome goal. This is when a sitter enters a session not only with their boundaries and gatekeepers in place, but also with an outcome goal in mind— “I plan to leave this session with this outcome and this is what I am bringing to the table to achieve my goal.” Facing an adversary requires being tooled up and when we go in prepared, we are already in a position of self-care and healing.
  • Can you give one or two examples of ways you have seen ancestor work help people?

Nancy:
I have seen incredible healing for people who begin ancestral work. This is especially true for those who grew up in an abusive environment. Just knowing that they have ancestors who love and support them can begin the healing process.
Carrie:
So many are being called to this work that I can’t help but wonder what the driving force behind it might be. And each time I think about it, I always circle back to ancestral healing. As I mentioned in your first question, I feel ancestral work ripples out beyond immediate family issues, though this is where it usually starts. And from there it grows in people the capacity to feel connected and united instead of divided from their roots.
  • If you have one piece of advice for someone just starting out to explore this path, what would it be?

Nancy:
Be willing to trust yourself. Ancestral messages can arrive via tarot, feathers, a neighborhood cat, or a cloud formation. If you understand that you have ancestors who are always near, you’ll find it much easier to begin receiving messages as they’re coming in almost constantly.
Carrie:
Give yourself permission to rejoice in and be surprised by all the support you actually have coming from your ancestral line. Once you establish this connection, make a goal to celebrate and communicate with your well-meaning ancestors. And there are many ways you can do this: altars, offerings, prayer, simple conversations and my favorite, divination. Keep it simple and don’t buy into the stereotype of what ancestral communication is, because it usually isn’t what you think. Instead, it is as natural as having tea with your favorite aunt, who just happens to be deceased.
  • Are there any spreads you recommend that are particularly helpful for ancestor work?  

Nancy:
I do a three-card spread each morning that gives me an ancestral message for the day. The message answers my question of: How can I live this day to my highest abilities?
To begin, choose a card that represents the Ancestors to you. For me, it’s the 6 of Cups. After shuffling, I begin to draw down in the deck until I reach the 6 of Cups. The card just before the Ancestor card is advice on how best to live my day. The card immediately following the Ancestor card is a kind warning of what to avoid. This simple three-card spread is amazingly accurate.
Carrie:
I just posted a simple spread (below) that I feel all levels can do. It features the Chariot as an ancestral guide who leads the diviner to receiving a message.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>