Shapeshifter Tarot by Conway & Knight
Blessed Autumn Equinox. For some this is for celebrating the Mabon harvest festival but I wanted to share another celebration with its roots in Shinto: Shūki Kōreisai. Shūki Kōreisai has evolved in Japan from just worshiping imperial ancestors to honor one’s own ancestors and remember the dead (and had its name changed to Shūbun no Hi [Autumnal Equinox Day] when it became a national holiday).
The deck I chose for this was the Shapeshifter Tarot because in Japan folklore resides the Obake which are shape changers which some have said are tied with spirits of those passed on. Also many kami (gods and spirits in Shinto) also have this skill.
Spread: The Ancestors’ Shide
The spread I am using is based on the Shinto shide, the zigzag-shaped paper you see in temples or on wands for blessing and purification. The goal is to learn what wisdom our ancestors can give to help balance us, on this day and night in balance with each other. We start at the top, the concept/thing that is causing you to be out of balance and see what can be done to the center by connecting to our ancestors (both personal and divine) and the last card is what working with them is the goal.
- 10 of Fire – Ruin
- 13 of Fire – God of Fire (Lugh)
- 12 of Earth – Warrior of Earth
- 8 of Air – Swiftness
- 9 of Fire – Darkness
- IV – The Father
- 10 of Water – Happiness
Where We Are Now:
10 of Fire – Ruin
Right now a lot of us are feeling lost in the storm, and that storm has been 2020. 2020 has to put it mildly a s*** show for a lot of us and ones we know. We want to hide away, yell, cry, give in because through our eyes we see things that we have no control over. Instead of this feeling of dread, ask for aid to redirect that negative energy into a different direction. Even a small step is better than nothing.
13 of Fire – God of Fire (Lugh)
To aid you in taking this first step sometimes you need a person with some fire in them. Look to your ancestors and find that one who had a spitfire personality, but knew how to use it with focus so it never burned others. Ask how they got through their struggles and see what advice they can give you.
12 of Earth – Warrior of Earth (Medb)
When things are chaotic we are told to find grounding, but that does not always mean planting yourself in place, sometimes it means pushing back but not directly. Find your ancestor who could hold their ground, but gave just enough of a push to allow the burden to fall away as if it seemed effortless. The one that smiled no matter the hardship because in the long run this too shall pass.
8 of Air – Swiftness
We live in a fast world, information can wash over us like a waterfall, from many sources (some wanted some not) overloading our focus. In times when there is so much going on you think you need to move just as fast, but rather try being swift. Swiftness is not about pure speed, but also control and focus, like a bird catching a fish. The ancestor who was able to pluck out the exact moment to act quickly and decisively is the one to draw on now. Find how they were able to focus instead of just acting rashly.
9 of Fire – Darkness
Close your eyes. Now open them. Was what you experienced darkness? No. Again looking at the world we try our hardest to keep the darkness at bay. Because in the dark we can become the prey for something that can still see us. However we can also use the dark to our advantage if you are prepared. Seek an ancestor who understands how to embrace what makes us afraid, the dark, and understand how to work with it instead of fighting it.
IV – The Father
Father has a different meaning to each of us. It could be your biological father, the person that raised you, a spiritual leader, the divine, all or none of these. When you say father it has a different meaning than dad or pop; because, it is linked with the idea of the progenitor and not just a person. Look to yourself and see which ancestor has been there the most for you in that aspect of the progenitor father figure. See how they have helped shape you into who you are and seek out their aid in how to keep growing in these times.
After working with our ancestors:
10 of Water – Happiness
What we all want, happiness. It may seem that you will never make it to the end of the rainbow, but that does not mean you cannot find joy in the journey there. Let the teachings you have gained let you see through the storm around you and watch for that rainbow. It may only be a glint here and there, but know that that first step helped you see it.
At this time things seem pretty much at a low point. By looking and asking for help from your ancestors you should be able to start the journey forward. This might not bring you happiness right away, but it will be a step in the right direction.
From the Reader:
I wanted to pull back the curtain a little regarding this reading and my own thoughts. I decided to use my favorite deck, the one I used to read professionally with the most, and use it for a reading based around something you do not get to see much of in the pagan community, Shintoism. For those that do not know I lived in Japan, but even before that I was studying Shinto and how it fit with my Celtic beliefs. Unlike past readings I did this one on a tenugui (Japanese towel) to help focus the reading and connect the kami better with the cards.
This reading was not one I would have expected. For the spread itself to how the cards were laid out in it, I do not think I could have asked for a better start and end to it. Each of us will take a different journey depending on our own ancestors but I truly hope that this does help lead you to happiness.