Review – Ancestral Grimoire: Connect With the Wisdom of the Ancestors through Tarot, Oracles, & Magic

Ancestral Grimoire:

Connect With the Wisdom of the Ancestors through Tarot, Oracles, & Magic

Author: Nancy Hendrickson

Foreword By: Benebell Wen


Weiser Books

ISBN# 978-1-57863-777-5

Grimoire: “a magician’s manual for invoking demons and the spirits of the dead” (from Merriam-Webster). Hendrickson’s path with “Ancestral Grimoire” is nicely summed up in this quote from her introduction: “We are born magicians, who have forgotten our magic.” It is a natural follow-up to her previous work “Ancestral Tarot”.

She reminds us that we all have ancestors that could work with the weather, dream the future, and use herbs for healing. They spoke to nature spirits, trees, animals, and the sea. Magic, and being magical, was an everyday part of their lives. The intent of this book is to show us how to use tarot, runes, pendulums, and other forms of divination to connect with our ancestors across the centuries. In doing this work, we chart our own magical future. In our personal Grimoire, we will be chronicling our own ancestral communications, divination experiences, magical traditions, and wisdom.

One very important note that Hendrickson has included in her introduction is that if the reader uses other magical tools than are mentioned in this book, they will add power to the work being done. Whatever you use – astrology, runes, numerology, angels – don’t be afraid to add it to this ancestral work.

At the beginning of the book the reader is told that they will need a deck to work with – that is a given. Then they are asked to answer two questions: (1) On this very first day of working with Ancestral Grimoire, I believe my most potent form of magic is … (2) Why are you here?

The book is laid out in two parts: Part I is Tools For Divination, Part II is Building Your Ancestral Grimoire. Part I talks about the tools that the reader will need, as well as the importance of how you set up your Grimoire (months, seasons, or sabbats). To create their Book of Shadows, it is suggested that the reader find a blank notebook that appeals to them. That they gather pens and colored pencils, glue, and at least one Tarot deck, one or two oracle decks, a pendulum, index cards, and something to cast.

The second chapter in Part I gives a very nice explanation of which cards represent our ancestors in the Tarot. This would be the people cards (court cards). The ranks and elements are discussed, as well as the shadow side of the court cards. (For example, The Queen of Pentacles upright represents a physical nurturer, while reversed, she represents smothering.) Commentary is included for each of the sixteen court cards, including their shadow side.

The third chapter in Part I deals with seasons, months, and sabbats. This chapter will give the reader a clue as to how they want to arrange their Grimoire. The names of each are given, as well as the dates they are celebrated.

Chapter Four talks about the Land of Tarot and entering each card through the magic of visualization.

Chapter Five features a very nice listing of Tarot decks under the heading of North America, South America, Africa, and Europe. This makes it easier, IMHO, to connect with the land that your ancestors came from and to connect with them. There are also suggestions on how to make a pendulum board. There is also a short commentary on using oracle cards, casting, and using sigils. Then there is the “sidewalk oracle” – messages received when you are out and about in the ‘hood. Runes, Rune decks, the Lenormand, and energy work are also mentioned.

Part II talks about working through a solar year with our ancestors. Essentially, the reader is taken through a complete year of work with their ancestors. This is definitely a personal growth period for the reader, as they are connecting across space and time with ancestors that they have never heard of.

In the first chapter of Part II, Hendrickson talks about visiting twelve realms in four areas of magic. The four areas of magick are Family, Personal, Elemental, and Celestial. Each of these areas has three months associated with it (for example, Family Magic covers (1) January – Inherited Magic, (2) November – Ancestral Magic, and (3) December – Magical You.

Each month is listed with the type of magick (January is Family Magic – Inherited Magic), tools (January’s tools are tarot, the pendulum, and sidewalk oracles), how to find out who your ancestor is, and practicing seeing signs. It is suggested that a daily card be drawn asking for messages that help the reader use their inherited magic.

Each month the focus is different, the tools are different, and the questions that the reader asks themselves are different. (I loved that Tarot spreads were also included.) The focus is on connecting without ancestors and better understanding the magic that they are gifting us with.

At the end of the twelve months is a chapter on our ancestors asking us a question. Essentially, the reader is putting to work the wisdom they have gained about themselves over the past twelve months.

The chapter that follows has the reader asking themselves the same questions they were to answer before they began their journey: (1) Today, I know that my most potent form of magic is … (2) Why was I really here?

There is a resource appendix at the end of the book, as well as charts on the Minor Arcana and Major Arcana Correspondences (element and astrological sign).

This book is for those that are willing to put in the work. It is written in a conversational tone and presents a ton of information in small, digestible bites. Anyone doing this work will learn about themselves and expand who and what they are through working with the monthly exercises, divination techniques, and rituals. Each Grimoire/Book of Shadows is personal to the individual writing it – it represents their ancestors and the magic that their ancestors are sharing with them.

(c) September 2022 Bonnie Cehovet

Reproduction is prohibited without written permission from the author.

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