By Yetta Snow
My mother recently distributed some old family jewelry to my siblings and me. I now have this sweet amethyst ring, which belonged to my great-aunt on my father’s side. The note is written by my grandmother in script I recognize with my whole heart. It reads: “Birthday gift to Belle Estelle Snow from her father on her 16th birthday. She was my mother’s sister and lived with us many years.” My grandmother was born in 1899.
The Snow family name did not come directly to me. It is my given name only because I gave it to myself. This ring was handed down the maternal branches of my father’s side, and links me, via my grandmother Mary Snow Norton, to my chosen namesake.
I am proud to claim my connection to these relatives. My grandmother was an artist and genealogist who kept great details of our ancestry. She inspired gravestone-rubbing excursions to small northeastern towns looking for members of the Snow, Norton and McIntyre families. When she died in 1987, I had just moved to Seattle from the Northeast. I was on a first date that turned awkward when I inexplicably burst into tears and felt compelled to tell my date all about my grandmother. Returning home that evening, I learned that she had died that same hour. It’s funny to become even closer to someone on the occasion of her death, but this is true about my bond with her.
And now I have a ring that she held, saved, and documented so carefully. Once I get it cleaned and checked for durability, it will become part of my tarot-reading rituals.
The best purpose of tarot ritual is to define your intention. It is to allow yourself to fully open to your consciousness while reading, knowing that when it is over, you will return to a normal level of skepticism and psychic protection. This is particularly important for empathic professionals who make use of their sensitivity, but also need to be able to turn it off. Come to think of it, I could have used a special ring in my Social Work days to protect myself from burn-out.
My rituals include keeping my cards wrapped in cloth and storing them on shelves higher than my shoulder. I do this to keep away the curse of losing my cards on cluttered counters. I use candles to remind myself and my clients to honor the space. I display a chakra-rainbow of crystals on my reading surface, and keep a humble garden rock in my pocket to help me stay grounded. This isn’t superstition. In my old work world, we would have called it “best practices” and put it on a PowerPoint slide.
So, thank you, Mom, Grandmother, and Great Aunt Snow for my lovely new gift. I promise to wear it well.
I see a Tarot Salon in your future! The Tarot Salon is an opportunity for tarot readers, students and enthusiasts to discuss and practice reading tarot together. Salons are held twice a month in my Southeast Seattle studio. Find out more on this page.