In this blog, I will be discussing using the tarot with ancestral karmic clearing and healing, and I will share a 6 card spread I created for ancestral karmic healing. First off I want to say that I am not an expert on this subject matter. I have only been working on my own ancestral and karmic clearing for the past year. I will be sharing my experience and offering a few suggestions for classes you can take on this subject from practitioners that are more experienced in this area.
I took an online Ancestral Healing Tarot Course with Jessi Huntenburg through the Tarot Readers Academy. She is a wonderful teacher on this subject. I am including a link for her course at the bottom of the blog if you are interested. I am not affiliated with Jessie in any way, so I don’t get anything if you sign up for her course. I just really enjoyed the course and got a lot out of it and wanted to offer you that suggestion, if you are wanting to delve deeper into this subject. Also, I want to note that this topic may not appeal to everyone, and that is perfectly fine. If you don’t feel you need to do this type of healing, then this may be an area you don’t have to explore. I believe you will resonate with this discussion if this is the right time for you to take this type of healing work on. I kept encountering this topic in the spiritual community and had major resistance to it for a good year because I knew it was an area that would be painful, and I avoided it as long as I could. I kept feeling the internal nudge to start this work and started it and stopped the process several times. I was able to make some progress slowly over the past year and then I had a breakthrough about 2 months ago, and I finally feel I am pushing through the hardest parts of this ancestral healing.
As I worked through this type of healing, I started to associate some specific tarot cards with ancestral healing and karmic healing and release. For me, the main card that comes up more than others related to ancestral karmic clearing is the 10 of Pentacles (shown below).
10 of Pentacles from Bonestone and Earthflesh Tarot
This card represents family, family legacy, inheritance, family money, family lineage, and shared resources. For me, this card represents ancestral karma because I see that being passed down generationally just like an inheritance or estate would be. I believe that family trauma, experiences, and challenges can be passed down generationally in much the same way as genetic predispositions to certain conditions or diseases. This viewpoint will be different for everyone, so it may not resonate with you. I will speak about my own experiences so that I don’t step on any toes. I in no way want to influence your beliefs on the matter. As always with any of my episodes, please just take what resonates and leave the rest. We are all on our own journey, and I have great respect for that unique process that we all experience. Back to the tarot - So when I see the 10 of Pentacles this is a signal that I might need to do some more work on releasing some of the issues that have continued to live on in my family that need to be cleared.
Star card from Bonestone and Earthflesh Tarot
I look at the cards around the 10 of Pentacles in a spread for clues that it is indeed referring to healing or clearing. If I see the 10 of Pentacles with the Star card (shown above) or Temperance card (shown below) that also points to healing that is needed, specifically to family healing. Those two cards are my healing, balance, and renewal cards. They come up for me as a sign to start the healing process.
Temperance card from Bonestone and Earthflesh Tarot
And if the 3 of Swords (shown below) is present then this usually prompts me to work on healing wounds and working on forgiveness around family conflicts, betrayals, and grudges.
3 of Swords from Bonestone and Earthflesh Tarot
The Justice card (shown below) often says to me that I need to balance my karma or that karmic debts need to be paid. This could refer to my own karma, or it could refer to ancestral karma if it comes up in combination with the 10 of Pentacles.
Justice card from Bonestone and Earthflesh Tarot
The Wheel of Fortune card is my karma card, and often the message for me is to pay attention to karmic cycles that are repeating that need to be addressed. Often that advice is to break harmful karmic patterns to help me move out of that harmful cyclical rotation. Otherwise, it will continue to repeat causing me to revisit the same challenges over and over again until I clear that blockage or learn the karmic lesson.
Justice card, Star card, Wheel of Fortune and World card from Bonestone and Earthflesh Tarot
The World card symbolizes the completion of karmic lessons. I am always happy to see this card as the outcome card in a spread on this topic or to see this card start to show up after I have been working on clearing karma because it is a sign that I am on the right track and will most likely achieve success.
The Devil card could even possibly be seen as karmic bondage keeping me restricted. I think of this as being chained or bound to something or someone that is causing harm or limiting my potential. A lot of the time this is related to fear or anxiety.
The Death card (shown below) could be a symbol of the release of karma and the beginning of a new cycle, especially if it comes up with the Wheel of Fortune card or World card. Both refer to cycle changes and endings and beginnings.
Death card from Bonestone and Earthflesh Tarot
10 of Swords could represent a past betrayal that needs to be forgiven, especially in combination with the 3 of Swords. And the 6 of Swords is the advice to move on from the drama, the pain, or the toxic energies that are causing harm. To recap, for me the 10 of Pentacles is my main card for the need to clear ancestral karma, and the Justice card is my sign that karmic debts need to be paid and balanced. The other cards near these two tarot cards tell me which areas or themes to explore to determine what type of karma it is or what it is related to.
When looking at the healing that needs to occur with ancestors, I suggest that you start to reflect and journal on patterns within your family for clues. Look at both healthy and unhealthy habits and patterns. Look at the lessons you have learned from family and conflicts that haven’t been resolved yet. This could include disagreements, grudges, and divisions within the family or subsets of the whole family.
What runs in the family? – look at struggles in life, medical and psychological conditions, life challenges, and abusive cycles that repeat throughout generations.
Look at which family members have been ill or struggling. Specifically, look at whether these struggles occur on one side of the family? Then look at how you are connected in these cycles, and how has that impacted you in life? This method helped me to identify patterns in one particular subset of women in my family who share medical issues as well as spiritual gifts. This helped to pinpoint how to heal that ancestral line that ran through at least 5 women in our family spanning 3 generations. It is freeing to be able to find the root of these issues and then find a way to heal not only yourself but other family members whether alive or deceased. This type of healing can span generations in the past and future. You could help set off a chain reaction of healing that benefits not only yourself but a long line of ancestors and even your children and grandchildren.
When examining your family’s history look for patterns of poverty, alcohol, drugs, and other vices, as well as abuse, emotional issues, and abandonment. Which tarot cards would you assign to these patterns or your family members? Use the person’s characteristics or personality traits or even archetypes that represent them to help you choose cards for each family member. Choose a signifier for yourself as well. Then examine them to see which family member’s card is most similar to yours? That may hold a special meaning or message itself.
What tower moments have occurred in your family line? This can be quite telling as well. I was shocked when I listed pages of them for my family. You don’t realize how much you have dealt with in life until you sit down to document it all.
Here are some other key questions to ask yourself when exploring your family’s experiences
What major arcana cards would you pull to represent family patterns?
Which minor arcana cards would represent patterns, family conflicts, obstacles?
Who is the healer in the family, the black sheep, the enabler, the avoidant one?
Which suits are most representative of your family and the family conflicts/patterns you have identified? This helps you when making assessments and connections about the patterns unfolding over generations.
What would you like to release at this time?
What resistance comes up for you when you think about letting go or forgiving certain family members?
It is okay if you don’t feel ready yet for this healing work . You will know when it is time. If you face resistance when thinking about releasing an issue or forgiving a certain family member it might help to ask yourself why you think they acted in the ways they did and what wounds they might have been carrying around with them. This type of ancestral or karmic healing work may take quite a bit of forgiveness and surrender, which is not easy. This is the hardest work I have done yet on this healing thru tarot journey. Clearing that karma may require forgiveness of those that have harmed you or others you love. I faced much resistance to this - about 20 years of resistance.
When we are faced with forgiving someone who has harmed us we often get stuck because we don’t feel those people deserve to be forgiven. Some of us feel like forgiveness lets that person off without facing the consequences of their actions or behavior. The only way I have been able to work through this resistance personally is to start by forgiving at the soul level. If I can connect with their energy at the soul level and feel like they are a good person on some level, then I start there and send them loving energy to heal them from afar. What I found is that my healing work does not require that I have conversations directly about this forgiveness with that person. You are absolutely able to do this healing and releasing on your own internally.
In therapy, I often use the techniques of an unsent letter and empty chairing exercise. An unsent letter is when a client writes a letter to the person they have a grievance with, and they unburden their heart. But they never send the letter. I also use an empty chair technique where the client speaks to an empty chair in the therapy room as if it were the person they have unfinished business with. These exercises are cathartic and help the client get the emotions out of their body without the stress of having to confront the person they have a grievance with. Often this is enough to help the client move on emotionally from the hurtful incident.
Forgiveness really isn’t about the other person. It is about releasing yourself from the connection you have with that person and taking the power away from them to control or affect you in any way. I find that helps me to complete the healing work that is necessary to move forward. It is much easier to imagine severing the energetic cord between myself and the other person to free myself to go off and live a life of peace without them. This way I don’t have to focus on whether they deserve the forgiveness. I deserve a life of peace. Hopefully reframing it that way can help you work through any resistance that arises when you work on forgiving others.
I do want to note here that no one can tell you that you have to forgive someone else. This is something that you have to decide for yourself. If you don’t feel it is necessary or you don’t feel ready, then just go with where you feel led. If you are pushed into forgiving someone that creates another set of problems that end up taking more of your power away. My goal is to always empower you. So when I am suggesting certain techniques or spreads only follow the path that you feel will lead you to a feeling of empowerment. If it doesn’t feel safe, right, or good then follow your gut on that. You can always come back to this type of healing work when you feel ready. Like I said earlier, I started this karmic releasing many times before it felt right and when it did feel like the right moment then I started to feel the energy flow in the right direction. It is okay to take things slowly.
If you are ready for this type of work, this is the perfect time of year to do so. The late fall moving into winter is a natural time of year to release any baggage that has been holding you down throughout the year. I love working through the major challenges of the year, processing them and letting them go by the end of December. This way I can start the new year with new energy!
Healing Thru Tarot Custom Ancestral Karmic Healing Spread
Here is the graphic for the 6 card Ancestral Karmic Healing Spread that I created for this topic. You can use tarot or oracle cards with this spread or combine the two as I often do.
I included the questions about what should be honored and what was passed down to you by your ancestors as a way to help acknowledge the good traits, life lessons, and talents that many families pass on throughout generations. I thought it was helpful for us to look at a balance of the good and bad karma or legacy that lives on from generation to generation. Not everything should be painted in a negative light all of the time. Life is almost always a balance of good and bad at the same time. I found it helpful to find gratitude in some of the good traits and characteristics that were passed down in my family as I was breaking karmic cycles that I chose no longer to allow to continue. This part of the process felt very cathartic to me. Hopefully, it will for you as well.
I would love to see the photo of your healing spreads. Please tag me on Instagram @healingthrutarot and please use the #healingthrutarotancestralhealingspread
If you want to delve deeper into this ancestral healing work I highly recommend looking into the class I talked about earlier with Jessi Huntenburg. She provides several spreads on ancestral healing, family patterns, forgiveness, and releasing. She walks you through exercises using the major and minor arcana to help you unearth root issues and patterns present in your family, and she provides numerous lessons to help you unpack how all of this has impacted you over your life. It is a brilliant course. Here is the link to her class if you are interested - click here
Decks shown in this blog: The Bonestone and Earthflesh Tarot by Avalon Cameron and Ana Tourian, The Dark Mansion Tarot and Oracle of Echoes by Ana Tourian
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Rider Waite Smith Tarot Deck click here
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