The Veil Thins - Ancestor & Spirit Tarot Card Reading
The Hermit card represents following one’s own heart, after considering all of the options and concerns presented by community. It is a Virgo-linked card. It's essence craves cleanliness, orderliness, information, and new experiences, but not without preparation. Virgo is Earth energy, grounded in approach.
In the northern hemisphere, Virgo coincides with autumn, where creature comforts become necessity, and the spiritual veil starts to thin. Flora and fauna fade into sleep, energetically falling backward and away, yet time marches forward to our linear lenses, creating a sort of Virgo vertigo. Back and forth, death blended with the continuation of life. Time becomes ripe for turning within, turning to Spirit. Contacting the spirit realm for guidance becomes more convenient.
Using Tarot to Connect with the Other Side
It’s extremely important to cast a healthy circle when connecting with ghosts, spirits and ancestors. One of my favorite clearing techniques is to clean my house thoroughly. Using my besom (witches broom) which has been lightly sprinkled with essential oils, I sweep out ill will, letting fresh air fill my space instead. Before beginning a reading involving ancestors, I cast a circle around my altar/ reading area with a smoking ember, and fall into gratitude so as to set an empowered-yet-listening vibe. You can do other things like chant, set stones about your house, play music, dance, etc. but the only absolutely essentials are cleanliness and a gratitude-filled heart space.
Ancestral Ghosts - Contacting Spirit Voices from Within Using Tarot Cards
Ancestral ghosts live in your DNA. Literally. Scientists have found that memories can be transferred from consciousness to consciousness via our genetic code.
I see this in the eyes of the women in my family when we speak of my Great Grandmother on my mother’s side. She was an amazing woman who lived a very difficult life, and she died a tragically difficult death. Her memory causes my cousins, aunts and I to shudder and ache with grief and respect for her story. I personally find her to be the most fascinating story I’ve heard about my lineage, and it is she who I contact the most. It is she who contacts me the most, too.
I believe our conversations are helping us both heal.
To connect to an ancestor(s) with Tarot cards, clean and cast your smoke circle after arranging your altar. Place an object belonging to your ancestor, a photograph, drawing, or anything else your spirit might use as a physical anchor for connection on your altar space.
You might also offer your spirit a “seat at the table” by pouring them a cup of tea, water, or offering them a bit of food. Collect a means for recording your communication, be it a journal, camera, or the voice memo app on your phone. Shuffle your tarot cards, feeling your ancestors magically and quite literally pump through your veins, and begin to listen.
Find a meditative point of listening that feels good, knowing your ancestor feels safe and welcome. Speak to them as you would were they bodied.
Fan your deck. Let your fingers be theirs, and choose a card, two or three.
Upon turning the cards to reveal their images, let them spark stream-of-consciousness journaling or speaking, practicing to let the information flow without judgement. Alternatively, watch or photograph the smoke at your altar and note the shapes that appear in the swirls.
Self Ghosts: Our Spirit is Everywhere We’ve Ever Been and Ever Will Go
Here in Seattle, fall is classic, especially in September. The air crispens and the sky is still a bit bright, casting a hauntingly beautiful glow over the city. This is the most haunted city in the United States according to some, and I’ll be one of the first to raise my hand to concur. They turn off the lights, march down hallways after me, sometimes even moving physical objects, like bar glasses.
One time I was jogging past an old house in Seattle’s Central District that I and nine other queers used to live in. The house had held ghosts then. We even looked it up in city records: someone and his cat had died there, and we used to actually see and hear those spirits. As I jogged past it many years later, I paused to look up to my old window. I was startled to find myself staring at my own face in the window for a split second. I realized then that part of my own spirit haunts that house, though I’m still very much alive. The house had recorded me. And not just me – it was a traumatic experience I was reminded of in that moment.
Time is happening all at once. This is a convenient theory for us witches, because we are able to contact and offer healing to ourselves at any point in time. Tarot cards can aid in contacting our very own living ghosts. Using the same ritual preparation as described above with ancestral spirits, let yourself embody a point in time that still feels painful. Let the cards communicate the antidote to what ails your spirit.
I performed this ritual with myself at the incredible solar eclipse that happened in August. My teenaged spirit pulled the Death card, and I wept tears of knowing. I performed a ritual, wherein I “buried” my eating disordered self in my backyard garden. It was healing and beautiful, and my teenaged self now feels a bit more free to be.
Healing Land and Space with Land Spirit Communication
Reverend John St. Germaine of the Crystal Silence League mentioned in one of his podcasts that ghosts are recordings of what was once living, not necessarily a soul trapped in a loop in time. The Universe has the ability to capture energy just as photographs or computer chips do.
If there’s one thing Tarot cards allow us to do more effectively, it’s listening. If you find yourself confronted with a haunted energy, which can be anything from a funny feeling to full-fledged ghostly manifestation, remember that there is an opportunity for healing that becomes present in these moments.
It’s healing to make offerings to spirits and ancestors at all times of the year, but it becomes especially important during the fall, when the veil becomes paper-thin. If inspired to ground out haunted energy, perform the same ritual as described above with ancestral readings, then let the energy embody your hand as you pull Tarot cards. Let what you learn inspire an offering practice. Create a vessel for wayward energy, such as an altar space. Make a bed of botanicals, a bowl of warm water, whatever comes to mind. Remember, you’ve swept out ill will with your besom before beginning, and you’ve surrounded yourself in a circle of protective smoke, so you will only be working with amenable energy at that point.
As witches, we have inherited a healing practice and a duty to guard nature, the elements and the spiritual realm on Earth. Our work is never complete. It’s always a practice. Tarot cards offer us guidance in our craft.
Use your Tarot practice as an opportunity to explore and listen to your heart in connection with spirits all around and within you.
Blessed be, blessed be, blessed be.