Tarot to Explore Karmic and Ancestral Gifts


Many of us believe karmic issues or unhealthy family patterns can affect our lives. Yet every person’s soul and ancestors offer gifts that need to be integrated as well. We bring the wisdom from our past lives into our present lifetime. We inherit talents passed down by our ancestors through our DNA. Each of us may choose to be born into a specific family so we can enjoy this combination of ancestral and past-life gifts.

The following layout explores the connection between karmic, ancestral, and individual gifts. If you want to try it,  grab your tarot deck and flip over cards until you have drawn:

  • one Major Arcana card (cards like The Fool or The Empress)
  • one court card (Page, Knight, Queen, King)
  • one Minor Arcana card falling between Ace and 10

From left to right, place the Major Arcana card first to represent your karmic gifts, followed by the court card to indicate ancestral gifts, and the Minor Arcana card to explore the combination of both gifts in this lifetime. Since these are gifts, try to explore a positive meaning of each card. Let your intuition play with the symbols and trust that the important themes from your many lifetimes and ancestors will surface. You may remember family stories or feel drawn to a particular time in history. Then you can blend the important elements of the soul and ancestral gifts with the present lifetime card.

Here’s an example inspired by the Tarot of Dreams by Ciro Marchetti.

The Empress

The Empress

Karmic Gifts: The Empress

This card indicates the ability to nurture others by channeling nature’s healing energies. This person might have been a midwife, master of foods that heal, or herbalist and brings the love of nature into this lifetime. A person with this soul gift helps others to feel nurtured by the earth.

King of Cups reversed

King of Cups reversed

Ancestral Gifts: King of Cups reversed

In the system I use, reversed cup cards can relate to intuitive work. This person’s ancestors knew how to work with dreams, shamanic journeys, or pathworking to release trauma or heal the past.

Ace of Wands

Ace of Wands

Present Lifetime: Ace of Wands

How might these cards combine in this person’s present lifetime? He or she embraces change and values inspiration. This card has a connection to kundalini energy or coyopa (“blood lightning”). This person may use their intuitive gifts and connection with the natural world to release the past and inspire change in others. Or they might initiate others into a healing path. The work they do helps reconnect the inner and outer world of their client. A flower essence practitioner, shamanic healer, dream interpreter, or ecotherapist might have this combination of gifts.

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