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Author Archives: Anne Greco

About Anne Greco

Anne Greco is a non-fiction writer who writes about her life experiences and travels with humor, keen observations, and the hope that her words will remind us that “we’re all just walking each other home.” Her book, Serendipity: Chance Pilgrimages, tells the story of Anne encountering her places of power. As she reconnects with herself at each site, Anne also develops a deeper understanding and appreciation of her connection to both the seen and unseen worlds. Learn more about her work here: http://annegrecowriter.com.

Magdalene Mysteries, by Seren and Azra Bertrand

Magdalene Mysteries: The Left-Hand Path of the Feminine Christ, Seren Bertrand & Azra Bertrand, M.D.
Bear & Company, 978-1-59143-346-0, 525 pages, 2020

Magdalene Myserties: The Left-hand Path of the Feminine Christ by Seren Bertrand and Azra Bertrand is a deep dive into Mary Magdalene, viewing her from Biblical, historical, and mystical perspectives. This well-researched book invites the reader on a pilgrimage to the Rose by journeying through three portals: the Magdalene Chronicles, the Magdalene Codex, and the Magdalene Vision Quest. These portals form the basis of the sectioning of the book, with each portal offering in-depth exploration of the topic. The authors write that “a key to our journey into the Magdalene Mysteries is to understand the true left-hand path of the goddess; and that Mary Magdalene…was the lineage holder of this sacred tradition.”1

Before the reader enters the portals, the authors provide their “love letters,” each offering individual writings on their initiations/encounters with Mary Magdalene, with Sara writing of meeting Mary Magdalene and of the sacred masculine vision and Azra writing about the Holy Whore of Sophia. The book then proceeds to “explore a radical, forbidden version of Mary Magdalene as a priestess of the Womb mysteries.”2

I was drawn to this book to explore the multi-faceted Mary Magdalene. Having been raised a Catholic, I initially only knew of Mary Magdalene as the prostitute, carried into my teen years with watching Jesus Christ Superstar where she was again portrayed in this role. I later became an adjunct instructor of Art History, and again, my encounters with Mary Magdalene in painting and sculpture again had her portrayed as a prostitute. As I began reading sources other than the Catholic church (!) I was met by a powerful woman, a trusted apostle of Jesus. I needed to learn more, and this book provided a compendious accounting of Mary Magdalene. 

Portal One, the Magdalene Chronicles, details Mary Magdalene’s lineage, starting with the “ancient mothers” in Sumeria. The chronology includes mermaids and the primeval water dragons, Inanna, and Asherah. It was illuminating to read of this lineage of the powerful woman, the vessel, the womb. The authors then transition to Mary Magdalene’ story of the Feminine Christ, looking at the feminist ministry of Christ, whether or not Mary Magdalene and Jesus were married, and her place at the crucifixion and resurrection. The first portal concludes with churches linked to the growth of churches in Europe linked to Mary Magdalene. 

The main focus of Portal Two, the Magdalene Codex, is an in-depth study of the Ghent Altarpiece, created by Jan Van Eyck, from 1426 to 1432. The authors approach this work “as both a pilgrimage and Grail Quest.”3 I found this section fascinating. I was familiar with the Ghent Altarpiece and taught about it in my Art History classes from the typical perspective of the religious symbolism in the painting such as the lamb symbolizing the Lamb of God. I taught about perspective, the place of patrons present in the piece, the role of an altarpiece in a church, etc. The authors, however, offer a complex and compelling distillation of the altarpiece, focusing one’s attention on the positioning of images to create the “position of birthing and sacred sexuality.” (plate 15). I did need to sit a while with the intimation that Van Eyck inserted an heretical message in the work. 

The authors turned next to Leonardo da Vinci’s painting of the Last Supper. I will admit that I never “bought” the explanation that the feminine figure to the side of Jesus was John the Evangelist. I am in agreement that, after having read about the important place of Mary Magdalene in the life of Jesus, that this image was indeed that of Mary Magdalene. The authors write that da Vinci was also “connected to the underground streams of the feminine mysteries.” 4 I imagine that these artists kept the need of art patronage in the forefront as they created multi-dimensional works of art with levels of meaning. 

The belief that Mary Magdalene was seen as a “dangerous figure” threatening to usurp masculine power, led to her portrayal as a “less than,” a whore, non-starter. The second portal closes with a return to the Ghent Altarpiece, where the authors write that Van Eyck “presents an entirely new, and at the same time ancient, vision in which the feminine is restored.” 5 I found the second portal so very fascinating, given my background in Art History. It’s given me a desire to develop an art history course on Mary Magdalene. 

The Third Portal, Magdalene Vision Quest, focuses on the pilgrimage to the Rose through “stories, oracles, and personal rituals.” 6 In the chapter Honoring the Motherline, Mary Magdalene as the “spirit keeper of the womb” is investigated. Seren writes about her own opening up to the path of Mary Magdalene and the goddess path. A personal favorite of mine was her writing about her pilgrimage to Glastonbury in England, a place I was drawn to visit as well. It is hard to adequately describe the otherworldly feeling of Glastonbury, the multidimensional feeling of space and time. Sere writes about the chalice well and its red flowing water and Glastonbury Abbey built on the site of an ancient sacred site devoted to the divine feminine and “known in local lore as the ‘vagina of the birth goddess.’”7

Seren recounts how Magdalene directed her to visit Iona, a remote Scottish island in the Hebrides. I was beginning to feel a connection both to Magdalene and Seren as Iona is a place that I find myself constantly drawn to read about and to most definitely visit post-pandemic. She continues by writing about the ancestral wise witches and the death of her mother, the mother of her “birth womb.”8 She movingly describes the graveside service she led for her mother. “As my mother’s womb had birthed me into this world, now I midwived her back into the womb of Mother Earth, for her rebirth into the Spirit world.”9

The Third Portal section contains rituals that the reader can perform, such as a Rose Ritual or the Anointing of the Moon ritual, a Mermaid ritual, and a Black Rose rituals. The rituals all contain references to an element, a ministry (such as cleansing), archetypes (such as Aphrodite), colors, and sigils (like a chalice). I have not yet taken the time to participate in a ritual, though, but the moving descriptions accompanying each ritual will draw me in sooner rather than later.

The book concludes with an invitation to return to the “dynamic Wild Feminine” which is “not limited to the story of one person or priestess – it is a living, vibrant frequency within everyone, calling to be remembered and embodied.” 10 Seren’s prayers to Magdalene are the final pages of the book. 

The book contains numerous images and illustrations to support the writings, including prehistoric clay tablets and sculptures, rich reproductions of pre-Renaissance and Renaissance tapestries, painting, and sculptures, and 20th century art including the image of a stained glass window in Sheffield, England in which Mary Magdalene is depicted as holding her hands in the “womb mudra position.” 11

Magdalene Mysteries offers a perfect combination of historic information across millennia along with the personal interactions of the authors with Mary Magdalene. It is a book to be read over time, allowing the information to seep in. It reads as a pilgrimage, and like all pilgrimages, time should be taken to allow the path to reveal itself to you, to allow yourself to open to revelations and notice the changes that occur as a result of the pilgrimage. The book is a pilgrimage to the Rose, and as such, invites the reader to open up slowly to Mary Magdalene, much like a rose itself that slowly opens, moving from a bud to a flower in full bloom, layers of beautiful petals.  It is a comprehensive introduction to Mary Magdalene to those new to the subject and also a deep-dive for those wanting a deeper interaction with Mary Magdalene. I highly recommend this book and encourage the reader to walk the path of pilgrimage to the Rose with these highly informed and passionate authors.

Angelic Lightwork, by Alana Fairchild

Angelic Lightwork: Magic & Manifestation with the Angels, by Alana Fairchild
Llewellyn Publications, 9780738762692, 248 pages, 2020

It’s true, big things come in little packages. Angelic Lightwork: Magic & Manifestation with the Angels by Alana Fairchild is a small book (7”x5”) that packs a powerful dose of angelic love. I’ve read countless books on the angels, how to work with them, who they are, and how they communicate, but this book spoke words to me that I hadn’t heard until now; it offered insight that had never been presented to me.

I was drawn to this book initially because I am familiar with other work by the author. Her deck Mother Mary Oracle is one of my absolute favorites and it never fails to offer guidance that is spot on. I was interested to see whether her writings on the angels would also resonate so deeply. I can say with assurance that Fairchild fully delivers on her intention of the book stated as, “my intention in creating this loving little book is that you connect with all that divine goodness within and find comfort, empowerment, happiness, and freedom in doing so.” 1

I read this book as many challenges were creeping into my life — challenges that trigger those story-fondling monsters that threaten joy, faith, and peace. The statements found in the pages of the book offered a new way of thinking for me, a new way of understanding who the angels are, and insight into the ease with which one can interact with the them for manifestation of the highest good.

Lesson one: ahh, yes, I limit myself but the angles are limitless. Lesson two: think of connecting with the angels as more of “playing” with these lighthearted beings versus “working” with them. “It is not the divine nature that is the issue, but our own expectations and fears that prevent us from being able to bear unobstructed witness.” 2 As Fairchild reminds the reader, angels help us get closer to the divine.

Fairchild reiterates that there are limitless numbers of angels that can be called on to help; when we ask for angelic guidance we are not taking the angels away from another in need. The more we engage with the angels the more we open up the channel to the divine. “When your thoughts are on the divine energies of angels, you will be energetically broadcasting a beautiful light that will attract similar frequencies to your world….” 3

Conversely, she also writes about the concept of our free will. “They (angels) want to help humans, but because of our free will, they need to wait until we ask.” 4 Correspondingly, we can ask for angelic help for another being, but they have the free will whether to accept the angelic help. 

Throughout the book, Fairchild shares her amazing knowledge of the angelic realm in great detail. Part One focuses on “angelic basics” with sections on what angels are really like, the different types of celestial angels, some of the angels who want to help you, simple practices to connect with angels, and preparing for archangel work.  I particularly liked the questions she posed and answered, such as one about if one can ask for too much help from their angels. The questions are ones that I’m sure that most of us have as we work with the angels, and her responses serve to deepen our understanding of working with these beings of love and light.

In the chapter titled “Different Types of Celestial Angels,” Fairchild provides an in-depth description of the hierarchy of angels from the first through the third orders. Her descriptions of the angelic realms such as powers, virtues, seraphim, and thrones were enlightening. I had no idea there were so many strata of angels. However, while the book references guardian angels, it only briefly touches on this subject.

Fairchild goes into greater detail about individual angels in the chapter “Angels Who Want to Help You.” Included are the four archangels that she details in Part Two of the book, as well as other angels who are particularly close to humanity, such as Metatron, Sandalphon, and Camael. I find it so helpful to know the particular “specialties” of these angels to help me call on one in particular depending on the issue at hand. For example, Camael who helps those who need spiritual strength5 has been very helpful to me recently, as I face some obstacles in my personal life. She even offers specific ways to call in the particular angel and also provides information on the ways they are depicted in art and writing. 

The chapter “Simple Practices to Connect with Angels” also gave me a lot of insight into how I can better connect with the angels. In part of the book Fairchild offers ways to ready one’s self for receiving angelic communication from setting up an altar to finding a quiet space. I liked hearing that calling on the angels can be as simple as saying an angel’s name aloud. The book conveys that working with the angels can be any way that works best with our own individual lifestyle. 

Part Two focuses on what Fairchild calls angelic lightwork, “which is the art of creating healing, magic, and manifestation with angelic energy.” 6 She specifically details how to do deeper angelic lightwork with four archangels, Michael, Raphael, Gabriel, and Uriel. Since Michael is a favorite of mine, I chose to do the book’s exercises with Michael. I appreciated reading that I could work with Michael as often as I wished and that my practice with Michael would never become worn out. I have been using the book’s exercise to call in Michael often over the past few weeks and find that inviting in Michael’s angelic support is always met with a response. I release the need to control how, when, where, and why – and open myself for the response. As Fairchild explains, “when we focus on doing our inner work rather than trying to make outer circumstances change, we heal and grow spiritually.” 7

At the beginning of the book, just after the Table of Contents, the reader finds “Practices,” a section that is a quick reference to special practices found in Chapters 6 – 9 that can be used to work with these four archangels. Fairchild lists the specific topics and references the page on which they can be found. For example, there is a practice for healing through divorce (or the end of any relationship), manifesting money, and all the resources you need for peace and progress, prayers for good health, blessing a journey, finding the best place to live (and for the homeless in need of shelter), and protection for animals. There is truly a wide range of angelic practices detailed in the book, and I like that the Practice section gives quick reference.

The book continually reinforces the belief that “we still have our challenges in life to deal with, but we no longer have to feel that we have to do so on our own. We have powerful divine guardians to help us grow and heal through any experience.” 8 Doing the practices in this book and learning to work with the angels has certainly show this to be true. I already feel the guidance, love, and support from my angels deepening from the experience of reading this book.

I highly recommend Angelic Lightwork to all who wish to cultivate a relationship with the angels. Fairchild’s writings completely changed my mindset in working with the angels. It has been a healing balm that came at a much-needed time. Learning about these new method of working with the angels as given me many ways to invite the angels into my life. Having the angels nearby provides me comfort in knowing that I am never alone, and help can be just a whisper away.

Finding Home within the Heart of the Earth, by Eagle Skyfire

Finding Home within the Heart of the Earth: Creating a Harmonious Space with the Energy of the Earth, by Eagle Skyfire
Llewellyn Publications, 0738760067, 231 pages, November 2020

Finding Home within the Heart of the Earth: Creating a Harmonious Space with the Energy of the Earth by Eagle Skyfire felt more to me words to be practiced rather than a book to be merely read. It provides guidance to creating a “harmonious space” in your place of dwelling or working that works in concert with the earth’s energy. A trained shaman, Skyfire is well-positioned to share with the reader what she’s learned from Native American teachers with whom she’s trained – with their permission.  

To begin, Skyfire introduces the reader to the “Heart of the Earth” method, a way of living in harmony with the earth. The purpose of the book is to be a “hands-on, step-by step guide in order to enhance harmony, wellness, and overall greater sense of well-being in many environments.”1 To be clear, it is not a Native American interpretation of the Chinese practice of feng shui. Heart of the Earth is a system that Eagle developed which is a “synthesis of Native American spiritual principles and shamanic practices, current resources, wisdom gained from experiences in the field, and intuitive gifts.”2

I remember when I took Home Economics in high school (is that even still a part of secondary curriculum?) and the teacher advised us to always read the recipe in full before starting to cook or bake. It was a way to make sure that you had the correct ingredients and cookware and that you followed the steps in order to have the recipe turn out correctly. Just like my Home Economic’s teacher, Skyfire rightly recommends reading the book in its entirety to familiarize one’s self with the concepts discussed, the methods described, and the explanations behind the principles before beginning to incorporate the principles to design or re-design one’s space.While it was a bit challenging to hold off diving into the exercises, I did follow the advice. 

The book is divided into two parts. Part One is an introduction of basic concepts of why we need to connect with nature, universal Native American spiritual principles, energetic principles, and being aware of the lay of the land including physical features, human-made features, and nonphysical features. 

In this section, Skyfire encourages the reader to remember that we are children of the earth mother, that we are affected by the cycles of the seasons, and that feeling the “current of sacred energy and the cycles of natural time”3 is empowering. I recommend taking one’s time in reading Part One as there is a lot to digest and familiarize one’s self with, especially if one is new to these concepts, such as the Good Red Road and the Seven Arrows, as I was. These concepts form the basis of actually creating one’s space that is the focus of Part Two. 

Especially meaningful to me in Part One was absorbing what Eagle wrote about understanding that there is an energetic landscape that surrounds us, which we inhabit. Attitude and core beliefs play roles in how we view ourselves and the world. Change is the only constant in our lives as is true with nature. It’s easy to notice the physical landscape that surrounds us, but idea of an energetic landscape that one could tap into… of course! Why hadn’t I ever made this connection of the existence of an energetic landscape? I was aware of the energy contained within a physical space like a home or office – but not to an energetic landscape per se. 

This section also contained exercises to facilitate connecting with one’s inner child, remembering what made us excited and lit us up! She writes that “in order to know what you want to create for your well-being, you must understand yourself better.”4 This was a fun exercise to do – but also very revealing as to how far I’ve strayed from what truly excites me, buried beneath reason and adult obligations. Another exercise asks the reader to reflect on what truly makes you happy, discerning whether this happiness comes from one’s heart or mind.  Also exercise shared in Part One I enjoyed is the Waterfall Meditation, which I found very relaxing, receiving sacred Power in my heart and returning it to the earth, much like the cycle of water

My favorite chapter in Part one was the Lay of the Land in which Skyfire write about natural elements such as bodies of water (above and below the ground), trees (my favorite) and wildlife, stones, and crystals, and the air. She opens our eyes to man-made surrounding that the effects they have, such as buildings, roads, power lines, parks, and graveyards. Nonphysical features include sacred ancestors of the land, nature spirits, and one’s own sacred ancestors. Part One increased my awareness of my surroundings, made me look deeper within, made me look higher up, and below the surface, made me listen, and see, and feel energy.

Part One concludes with a guide to looking at the indoor features where one lives or works – the layout of rooms, whether they are serving their purpose (for example, is the bedroom relaxing?), and whether they are clutter free. Taking stock of the spaces, actually taking a physical inventory of what the spaces hold, and then identifying if the space is serving one’s needs was a much-needed eye-opener.

Part Two covers the actual creation of one’s space based on the evaluations taken in Part One using the Heart of the Earth method. There is a lot of information covered such as “the qualities of each of the directions…and the function of each room in relation to the five elements.”5 Ultimately, one will “learn how to set the Heart of your place, which sets the energetic tone and maintains the health of your home or workplace.”6

Eagle asks the reader to understand how one’s core beliefs provide a “framework of energy that causes people and things to be attracted to you”7 and that understanding your core beliefs is necessary to designing your space. She encourages one to “work with your nature and not against it. You need to embrace yourself for who you are and from that choose what you need in order to thrive.”8

Part Two offers “the necessary information to see what you are working with in order to build your space in harmony with your own desires, as well as those of the land you are on.”9 To realize that we are not separate from our surroundings and that our needs or wants do not supersede that of the earth mother is vital. The steps outlined involve notetaking, use of a compass, and organization. As Eagle points out, some of the initial steps are “tedious” as one advances to the more enjoyable activities that incorporate creativity.

Topics covered include “gridding” one’s space, use of color and light, how to set the energy of a space, and decluttering. To be most effective, one should do all of the steps and exercises. And, if you are feeling overwhelmed or out of your element with the concepts, I recommend taking a pause. Give yourself time to digest what is being asked of you – and then carry on. I found the need to take breaks and re-group before proceeding with the next step. As Rome wasn’t built in. day, please don’t expect to be able to absorb and then accomplish everything that the book offers in one reading or in a finite amount of time. Give yourself latitude and you will make great strides. It’s been about a week of me actively shifting this energy, and I’m only getting started.

The Heart of the Earth method is truly an agent of change. I highly recommend Finding Home within the Heart of the Earth as a way to bring “abundance, peace, and contentment”10 to your spaces. It puts you in harmony with “nature and your Sacred Self.”11 It can sometimes be a heavy carry to understand and absorb the concepts and principles outlined. The self-centered exercises are beneficial and if one is truly honest with one’s self, they will put you on the path of creating beneficial spaces. The steps provided to work with one’s space that involve instruments such as a compass or grid might take time and dedication. But all in all, the Eagle’s Heart of the Earth method offers the reader a path to harmony, peace, and abundance.

Goddess Love Oracle, by Wendy Andrew

Goddess Love Oracle, written and illustrated by Wendy Andrew
Rockpool Publishing, 1925924329, 107 pages, 2021

Goddess Love Oracle is an incredible deck that packs a lot of Goddess guidance into it. Measuring only about 3 inches by 4 inches, the deck and accompanying guidebook are easily portable. In fact, creator Wendy Andrew recommends carrying the guidebook in your bag or pocket and opening it if you need inspiration or a bit of direction. As both author and illustrator, Andrew brings the wisdom of the Goddess into our lives with her beautiful paintings and accompanying writings. Based in southern England, she writes that she first heard “Goddess whispering in the wind and vibrating through the land.”1

When I first received the deck, I shuffled the cards and pulled Radiance, a card that illustrated the Goddess Flora, ringlets of golden hair flowing down her back. A halo of purple and pink flowers surround her head as she tilts her face toward the light and warmth of the sun. Her guidance was spot on for what was going on in my life: “No more hiding in the shadows, no more silencing your voice and no more walling up your heart.”2 I was immediately drawn in by the warm colors and comforting illustrations, which all have a feminine sense of fluidity to them.

Another day I did a three-card spread that Andrew calls “Work, Play and People.”3 Cards fully shuffled, I cut them into three piles and magically, I pulled three cards in numeric order, Rebirth, Reflection, and Rest, all cards that encouraged inward thinking, restoring one’s energy, and stillness. Incubating periods versus outward growth. Again, the cards resonated, and I felt the Goddesses communicated with me.

I truly loved how Andrew approached the deck – simple but certainly not simplistic, uncomplicated but complex. In the guidebook she writes that “there are no hard and fast rules about how to use the cards; simply do what feels right and that will be Goddess guiding you. Allow yourself to feel the essence of Her messages as Her love enfolds you.”4 She continues by offering very easy ways to connect with the message of the cards – sit quietly and when it feels right, shuffle the cards. Although she writes that there are many ways of laying out a card spread, she offers only three. There is a single-card reading and two three-card spreads: one on work, play, and people and the other on body, mind, and spirit.

The back of the cards contains a circle of 12 winter-bare trees, their roots extending into the earth until they reach a circle of eight purple hearts. The trees appear against what reminds me of a purple-colored, star-filled night sky. Then every Goddess is richly illustrated, inviting one to go deeper into the meaning/communication by quietly sitting with the image. As Andrew recommends, put the drawn card on your altar (if you have one) or in place where you’ll see it during the day. Allow the image and the Goddess’s message to become part of your day. Invite in the Goddess’s love and wisdom.

There are 36 Goddess cards in the deck, each card offering a message and also a connected “Goddess-inspired daily practice” such as a guided meditation, journaling/vision boarding, or doing something that brings you out of your comfort zone. The daily practices are intended to “deepen the communication”5 from the Goddess.

Almost all of the images contain animals with rabbits/hares and foxes dominating the group. I use the term animal loosely, including those of the air and water. Only two cards do not contain animal imagery, Rati (Love Your Body) and Quan Yin (Compassion). Also present in most of the cards is the spiral of the Divine Feminine, sometimes obvious and other times very subtle. The cards foster a sense of connection to the natural world.

Named Goddesses do not appear on all of the cards but those that are represented by name include Rhiannon (twice), Brigid (twice), Lakshmi, Demeter, Freya, Arta, Flora, Iananna, Cerridwen, and Mellangell. Other cards simply reference a communication from “Goddess.” 

The two cards featuring Brigid contain her flame, her light. One of Brigid’s cards is Awakening, encouraging us to live in the moment. A swan appears behind her, its extended white wings seemingly giving her the ability to fly. Spirals appear in her orange flowing hair and also on her forehead. Five white stars crown her head. He is cloaked in a garment covered in winter snowdrops, the flowers that first poke through the earth around Imbolc. A hare stands near her as she cradles a flame in her hand, Brigid asking if we are “ready to be fully awake?”6 The Goddess-inspired daily practices asks the reader to ask one’s self “What would happen if I released rather than strived?”7

Another card that I was drawn to was Hope, reminding us that “out of darkness comes light.”8 The card features Demeter and her daughter, Persephone. The star-filled winter evening sky contains a crescent moon. Bare trees stand on the landscape. In the right corner of the image one sees the pink of the rising sun. Two birds fly around Demeter, her head crowned in brown flowers. Her arms open to surround her daughter who holds a brown hare. Although this reunion will be short-lived, Persephone brings flowers and the hope of rebirth. As Andrew writes, “Demeter comes to you now, saying: ‘I understand. I hear you when you call for help. I know that there are times when life can be hard. But I also know that the darkness is balanced by the light.’”9 The Goddess-inspired daily practice encourages one to find a symbol of hope to carry around. 

Perhaps my favorite card is Wisdom, the last card in the deck. Here we encounter Cerridwen, the crone, the “ancient Welsh Mother Goddess.”10 Cerridwen is cloaked in purple, her garment covered in spirals. A spiral also appears on her forehead. She holds a cat that tenderly strokes her long hair. In her other hand she holds an orange pumpkin, carved with leaves and tendrils. The pumpkin holds a brewing hot liquid, steaming rising from its center. Cerridwen stands against a purple colored night sky, a sky that contains stars and a crescent moon.

Andrew reminds the reader that Cerridwen is here to tell that “you came into this life as a wise being and you have spent much of your time forgetting and unlearning.”11 She writes how the Goddess will “come…at significant times during your life to give you special opportunities to rediscover your inner wisdom.”12 The Goddess-inspired daily practice is a guided meditation that brings one into the presence of Cerridwen where one is invited into her house in the woods. 

I highly recommend Goddess Love Oracle for those who want a colorful burst of Goddess energy in their life. It is filled with messages of warmth and love, of hope and inspiration, of tenderness and guidance. Wendy encourages us to be “alert to any synchronicities that may occur” as we use the deck for “these may not be mere coincidences by subtle nudges from Goddess to heed her message.”13 I’ll let Andrew’s words close this review as they embody the intention of the deck: “May Goddess bless you with clarity, enlightenment and love.”14

Ancestral Tarot, by Nancy Hendrickson

Ancestral Tarot: Uncover Your Past and Chart Your Future, by Nancy Hendrickson
Weiser Books, 1578637416, 202 pages, March 2021

Ancestral Tarot: Uncover Your Past and Chart Your Future by Nancy Hendrickson immediately drew my attention because it combined two interests of mine: tarot and ancestry. I have been working with the tarot for almost 30 years and have used it countless times for advice, guidance, and clarification. Ancestry has been a newer passion for about the past 10 years. I have an insatiable interest in learning about the different ancestors that live in my family tree, all of them coming from Southern Italy. It’s the stories of these blood ancestors that intrigue me – why they did the things they did and how they lived. I truly feel the blood of these ancestors coursing through my veins.

Hendrickson does an amazing job of illuminating how one can use the tarot as a tool for ancestral communication to: “identify and access ancestral gifts, message, powers, protectors, and healers… and use the tarot to discover ancestors you may not have known you had.”1 As one who has decades of experience in genealogy and tarot, she is well-poised to write on this topic.

In this book, Hendrickson writes that there is really no order recommended in which to read the book. While she understands that one might want to delve into issues around one’s family of origin for example, and start with that chapter, she does suggest doing the tarot spreads and journal prompts introduced at the beginning of the book to form a foundation for working with one’s ancestors

I automatically connect the term ancestor to my family of birth origin, or as she calls them, Ancestors of Blood – grandparents, great-grandparents, great-great-grandparents – on down the line. Yet I was immensely intrigued to read about how she broadened the term “ancestor” to include two other types: Ancestors of Place and Ancestors of Time. Ancestors of Place are those ancestors with whom one has a genetic connection and who lived in the one’s ancestral homeland a long time ago, but those whose names are not known. Ancestors of Time are ancestors from past incarnations.2 I have this inexplicable draw to Ireland and was hoping to have a “conversation” with those Ancestors of Time to see if there may be a connection.

The book is divided into eleven chapters. Chapters one through three contain an introduction to the three afore-mentioned types of ancestors. Hendrickson also writes about how those who are adopted can work with their ancestors. She provides tarot spreads to help one find an ancestral spirit guide for the journey as well as using the tarot to ask questions about the purpose of one’s walk with the ancestors. As she writes, “Chapter 3 will load you up with a variety of tools for the journey. I hope your backpack is super-sized – because you’ll be given a lot to work with!”3

I did the spread to help me determine what type of ancestors I wanted to work with initially – those of Blood, Place, or Time. While my head was pulling me to one column of cards – that of the Ancestors of Time because it was comprised entirely of Major Arcana cards, my intuition pulled me to work with the Ancestors of Place. 

The majority of my ancestors that I can trace come from the same province in Benevento, Italy. Ironically, Benevento was through to be the gathering place for witches, a place where they would not be prosecuted. I remember hearing about the “Evil Eye” growing up and was given an amulet to wear to ward it off. In fact, when my daughters were born my grandmother gifted each of them with their own amulet. I also remember hearing about great-grandmothers who knew how to do the “overlooks” that could remove the curse of the Evil Eye.

Looking back, maybe it was from my Ancestors of Place that I have inherited some of my interests in Italian folklore such as the Evil Eye and witchcraft. When asked how I could expect to benefit in my work with my Ancestors of Place I drew the High Priestess card – inner knowing seems to be spot on. Finally, when asked what message my Ancestors of Place had as I begin this journey, I drew the Page of Pentacles – learning how to manifest, being a voracious learner – and ironically, the astrological correspondence of the card is Capricorn – which is my birth sign. So much insight just from one spread, which as you can see really helped me to reflect on the unknown ancestors from this spirit of place and make connections to present day in my life.

Moving along, chapter four, “Meet the Family,” held information on using the tarot to work with one’s present family to reveal familial patterns. Then chapters five, six, and seven deepened the work with the three ancestral types. Chapter eight covers the importance of keeping a tarot journal for this journey of discovery. The final chapters nine, ten, and eleven offer ways to create “ancestral altars, sacred space, and crystal grids.”4

While I have provided an overview of the focus of each of the chapters, one should realize that there is a tremendous amount of information offered in each one — too much to digest in one reading. I came to understand that working with one’s ancestors is not a quick walk in the park, but rather a dedication to spending time with the ancestors, more of a slow, multi-leveled revelation versus a quick answer. I realized that I had to dedicate the time to do the spreads and journal promptings, to listen for the answers that bubbled up over time, and to put the pieces together to understand the story. From understanding the story and receiving the communications I could begin to work on self-healing and to experience hidden ancestral gifts emerge.

Hendrickson’s writing style is very straightforward and comprehensible. However, I feel that having an understanding of the tarot is beneficial before diving into this book. A tarot novice might easily be overwhelmed by the spreads, especially since one needs to use one’s knowledge of the tarot for insight into the cards as a form of communication with their ancestors. 

The only downside I encountered was in chapter nine, “Pairing Up,” she writes about using an ancestor’s birth date to calculate personality and soul numbers. Unfortunately for me, the majority of my ancestors were illiterate, and their birth dates are more approximations. Many of the church records that housed information on births and christenings were destroyed. However, I immensely enjoyed the final chapter, “Ancestral Rituals,” which covers how one can honor the ancestors through rituals such as creating altars. This has always been a meaningful activity for me. I truly liked creating an ancestral altar using items that “came” to me as I was meditating on what to include on it. 

The Appendices in the book provide additional information. Appendix A provides an overview of the tarot – or “Tarot 101”5 as it’s referred to. Appendix B offers recommended reading on the tarot and Appendix  C offers genealogy resources. 


I very much enjoyed working with the exercises in Ancestral Tarot as a new way to connect with my ancestors. Through combining tarot and ancestry, Hendrickson has opened a whole new realm of possibility when it comes to communing with our family and spiritual lineage from beyond the veil. I highly recommend this book for those who want to use the tarot to work with one’s ancestors and discover a connection to their ancestors beyond those of their bloodline. I nod in agreement with Nancy’s observation that “the search for ancestors is really about a search for self. Work with the ancestors and the person you find is you.”6