Regarding the Major Arcana

It is fairly easy to read the symbols on the Major Arcana in terms of their placement on the card. There is above and below, left and right and center and there is also the corners of the cards which the eye uses to focus and confine the images inside a border or boundary.

The way the images face and what direction they look towards is another layer of symmetry or pattern formation. As an example in the Chariot card all eyes are directed towards the left- both the eyes of the Driver above and the eyes of the horses below in the image. The Camoin-Jodorowsky deck shows a red center line which divides the card in half marking  the space of  firmament /stars and foundation/ soil and plant life- the celestial and terrestrial realms .

 

In the Devil card shown below the center of the card is marked by curved lines. Between the red curves is  a face on the stomach of a Devil  standing on a raised spherical platform. The world “above”  the center is marked by wings and overt breasts while the world below shows  male genitalia, eyed knees and two chained minions. The symmetry is present but the location is not the same as is shown on the Chariot card. There is white sky and water behind the figures and the minions do not stand on red soil but on black land.

In order to understand  Major Arcana scenarios the reader  has to juxtaposition sides, tops, bottoms and corners to ascertain the location in which energy is held. To see where energy  is being directed one looks at the eyes of the dominate/larger or central figure on the card face.

Another element in evaluation of the Major Arcana  is color and shading. In the Chariot and the Devil cards above we see the light blue skin tone is used to denote a non-human and an animal figure. In the Lovers the contrast of blue, red and yellow as bold colors adds “temperature”.  The red color can show us what is hot or active; blue what is  cool or inactive and the yellow what is neutral or not yet fully engaged, i.e. undecided.

The coloring and geometric placement of symbols dominates the Major Arcana just as the numeric  code is the power element in the pips of the Minor Arcana.

The use of keywords for the Tarot Trumps does not allow a reader the agility required to flow into the narrative and tell the tale. Keywords like borders on cards isolate and short-circuit the energies released in a layout.

In order to use the Major Arcana, a reader must announce the Game as it is being played, to read the cards as maps of current plays and moves made by  the teams /generations engaged with the world today. Time changes things and meanings…

Marseilles Starting Points

Camoin-Jodorowsky, Tarot de Marseilles

When starting on the Royal Road of Tarot where exactly do we begin? Most look at the numbers on the Arcana and start with 1.  As human beings in existence the place we begin is generally where we are.  People are not balanced at the beginning of any new endeavor. The old name of the Magician was The Juggler. Juggling  is a skill which has to be practiced in order to be developed.  So the Magician is not a starting point but a process.

Other’s may look at the numberless Fool and believe this is the place to begin. The Fool of Tarot was unnumbered and ungendered. In time it was assigned a zero or cipher. It is nowhere and everywhere,  shifting in space.  The Fool is best associated with oddities, synchronic phenomena, warning signs and things which like it’s rank in the deck cannot be classified.  One can think of The Fool as carrying all the X-files in his pouch, those things people see and blink at closing their eyes as their belief systems reject, deny or ignore the  unfamiliar usually  at their own peril! Again The Fool is not a firm or formed starting point in the physical realms.

Many will say why not start at the end/beginning or card 21 which is The World? The World card represents existence and all contained therein. However, this is a vast fluid plane, an entire playing field  and not all of its levels are mapped out!  The beginner can easily be overwhelmed at the outset by too many possibilities. Not to select a starting place is a choice as well,  one which delays the start of training.

The proper place in my estimation to begin study of the Tarot Trumps as a tool to self development is to be found within the book of the 10th Major Arcana – The Wheel of Fortune. This is where mankind finds themselves moving in circles/space  and cycles/time between their Beast of Instinct, Tyrannical Ego  and  Human Intelligence  around a center point of  Consciousness.

 

A Cool Breeze Came

 

Dumbledore’s Pensieve

Time to investigate a little bit of Tarot philosophy.  Tarot de Marseille was my beginning and still is my path. Though the way Tarot is used by Hermeticists and occultists differs from the way of diviners all can benefit from learning a bit of the  mystical anatomy of the system.

First things first. The Tarot is constructed in two parts. The Major Arcana which consists of  21 Trumps (1-21 ) and the Minor Arcana which consists of the Unnumbered Trump  or the Fool, the 40 Pips or numbered suit cards and the 16 Court Cards for a total of 56+1 or 57 cards.  57 + 21= 78

The two division terms Major and Minor often give people the wrong idea about Tarot. They believe the Major Arcana is higher in rank than the Minor.  Actually the opposite is true but we begin where we are…  In the metaphysical approach it is not a matter of  higher or lower but of Visible ( Major Arcana) and Invisible (Minor Arcana) or the realms of Classical Physics and Quantum Mechanics if you will.

Philosophic Tarot is often referred to as a Thought Experiment or a Gedankenexperiment, a term used by German-born physicist Albert Einstein. The Tarot’s purpose is to aid the mind in working with the abstract- i.e. The Fool;  the conceptual or the Pips and  the workings of elemental forces as exemplified by the Court cards.  Situations encountered by mankind while in physical incarnation are dealt with in the scenarios, their contents  and context which comprise The Major Arcana.

In philosophic Tarot the Trumps or Arcana are often confused with the word Arcanum which means secret. Each Arcana has within it a core an Arcanum  which is revealed by working with the images not as a divinatory tool  but as a repository of teaching left by those who came before us which is transmitted not in words but reached by introspection.

 

 

 

Hot Fun in the Summertime

The Oasis

It has been hot as Hades in Upstate New York. Been out and about and getting a lot done. Unfortunately, most of my work is not Cartomancy oriented… Give me a few weeks and a chill in the air and I’ll be back on schedule with a vengeance- I swear.

MW

Time Knots

Alex Chinneck Sculpture

It is the Solstice so  time is standing still or the amount of daylight has reached a peak  in the Northern hemisphere and will  for three days bathe us in long rays  before turning South and dimming day by day  into Winter.

Time is a factor in lenormand method.  This is not only about time lines and timing boards but  readings in general.  At first, as a newbie, I thought the time lag influence was just a process of letting the meanings of the cards sink into my thick head. Alas it was not!

The lenormand cards require:  1)  being placed on the table, 2) the reader seeing the images  3) taking  in a first impression of the layout; followed by a bit of a delay before 4) the final interpretation.

In other words instant reads do not “catch” or hook into the deck’s  energies or enter  into the deeper waters or layers of  meaning held in a layout.

The “time lag” is actually when the energies of the cards selected settle. Of course,  one is free to engage in speedier reading, but to do so would yield an immature harvest.  Some time is needed to consider…  No need to rush.

Happy Midsummer!

 

Above the Sea of Fog

“Wanderer Above a Sea of Fog” Friedrich 1818

In today’s Cartomancy  untutored users who self-identify as “Intuitives” are the majority.  They abhor tradition, so the rules which the Gen Xer   blurred  and bled over from one system to another have been completely cast out by  Millennials like the baby’s bathwater . Indeed, this is a double entendre for a Baby Boomer who started with Tarot  in the early 60’s!  I can attest from then well into the  70’s, the  Celtic Cross was the main layout used by US Tarot readers. No linear  reads. No directionality.

Kipperkarten like lenormand is read by directions. However, it takes direction out of the line to kick it up, down and across in a layout. The Kippers use a 3D approach in smaller layouts as well as in the größen Blatt,  the German name for the full 36 card layout.

In the standard deck of playing cards the Face cards have always expressed friendliness and enmity by what and who they face. Their line of sight is deck specific and does vary  these days in novelty and art card decks.

The Faces

Wii have already mentioned in a previous post the major indicator of direction in lenormand which is:

  • The Significator/s or  the Man and Woman card which represents the Querent.

There are four more levels of direction one can use to turn static layouts into active storyboard narratives.

  • The Child.  It is the third human figure standing and traditionally is an indicator of direction.
  • The Double cards (see the previous post)
  • The Animals of the deck, i.e. The Rider’s Horse, The Dog, The Fox, The  Bear,  The Snake and The Stork all give directional cues.
  • The Face cards on the playing card inserts are a final layer of directionality.  For example, The Queen’s line of sight can be used to define or fine tune the quality of relationship between female persons and the Querent. In the folklore of lenormand the Stork and  the Serpent are  said to be blood relations while the Ways and the Bouquet indicate acquaintance from a distance and close friendship respectively.

It helps to remember directionality as: who or what faces where. Such details are always deck in hand specific, hence the boons bestowed by using a traditional deck with playing card inserts (not emblem notations or codes) to learn structure (rank and ratings) and nuances  (visual cues) by exercises and practice before dropping cards for others.

 

Doubles Anyone?

Just as pairing enables lenormand lines to be read by the beginner, learning  to interpret  double cards in the deck marks the entry to the intermediate level by introducing the student to directionality .

Clouds Card- The Major Double

Dondorf Clouds

“Bubble, Bubble toil and trouble…”. This phrase always pops into my head  when the Clouds card appears.  It is the major malefic in the near and far method of reading lenormand. I fondly remember, when first  starting to handle the cards that The Clouds  constantly fell in pairs and 3×3 layouts in a statistically impossible manner during practice sessions almost as if it were daring me to read the cards!

One cannot ignore the “Trouble” card as I dubbed it,  no matter the layout choice. My first task though was to make the card’s code clear.  Which was the dark side and which was the light? Neither the Dondorf Clouds/ aka French Cartomancy deck  my first deck nor the Blue Owl my Master or working deck have images which are definitive on the card face of number six.   I darkened with a permanent black marker the area in front of the King of Clubs in the Dondorf deck. By so choosing I  had made my first commitment, even if it was not a “traditional” placement as I was to learn later. Thereafter, the King of Clubs politely “backed” off and my first direct acquaintance was made  in the Lennie deck!  It was also a definitive  first step onto the main highway of lenormand method’s directionality.

A 2011 Daily Draw

As for the other  Lennie Doubles, they are indeed a crew to be watched- very closely.  The Double Cards are not as I believed when a newbie ranked 11th, 22nd, and 33rd.  The negative rated cards indicate crisis points, traumatic events and opposition in the Querent’s life. They are the “reasons why” the reading is being done.  When discussing the so-called “Double Cards” they include all of the 7 traditionally* negative rated cards:

Clouds  dark/light
Coffin head/foot; draped undraped
Scythe handle/blade
Fox  nose/tail
Mountain snowy/sunny
Mice head/tail
Cross before/after

Plus 2 mixed or neutral rated  knowledge and wisdom cards:

Serpent head/tail and the Book pages/spine

Skipping over or shunning process and procedure in Cartomancy is to ignore  history.  The cards and the scenes on them have their roots in a cultural and  folkloric narrative, which is where their context or meaning is anchored.

There is no need to rush headfirst, to stumble on substitutions  or to fall on the sword point of  arrogance posing as intuition. Cartomancy is a methodology, without  knowledge of its procedures one will get either mediocre results or no results at all.  If the results are lackluster most dabblers will return the cards to their tuckboxes and move on in their quest for water, digging yet another shallow hole in the vast New Age desert of the unreal.  Those who double back to  start fresh by respectfully investigating traditions, learning  methods and engaging in a daily practice will in their season reap the rich harvest of  deep meaning.

*Utta Dittrich at  the Waldfee data base.

 

 

 

Neatly, Sweetly and Completely Over It!

In dealing with the Coffin card Lenormand differs from its baby sister Kipper and its Gypsy cousin.  Since most encounter the Coffin in a line this is a good way to start the investigation. The Coffin is either an ending or a state of illness.

The core meaning of the Coffin card is a permanent ending. The drape shown on some decks is used to determine if the ending has just occured which is the undraped side of the Coffin card or the grieving stage.  If the matter has been accepted it is coded by the pair on the draped side of the Coffin. In decks where the Coffin has a head and foot, the card touching the Head which is generally adorned with a wreath or a cross is the recent ending, whereas the card touching the Foot is an accepted ending.

In my Master Deck, the Blue Owl, The Coffin is actually a raised monument and represents a memorial to an ending. In order to  pair with the image, I use the left side where a knob is slightly protruding as the Head or the grief stage and the right side would be the acceptance of the ending.

When reading long lines such as a Line of Nine or the Grand Tableau, the direction faced by the Significator which they move towards comes to a full stop whenever they encounter the Coffin card. The cards on the other side of the Coffin do not pertain to their situation at all.

The Coffin as illness  is detailed in a health reading layout. Health is NOT read by readers in the US. In Europe and Brazil experienced readers use lenormand cards which have body part and illness codes, to investigate the physical, psychological and spiritual nature of diseases.

Significators on Edge

The reader of the Line of Five or Line of Seven, the “so-called” quick reads will find that there are times when the Significator card falls on the end of the line.  This may cause a moment of pause for a reader. What exactly does it mean when this happens and how can it be read?

As far as pair making when there is no modifier to the right of the Significator this means there is no description of the main card.   This is not a real problem in a short line! Since lenormand method is directional what is important is  to determine where the Significator is looking and what they are looking at.  In the top example the Lady looks at the 12-The Birds.  She is going towards or looking forward to a  conversation. She is  going to contact someone. The top line is read from left to right!

In the second line from the top, The Gentleman is on the edge. He faces right,  so this line is read from left to right. He is walking away from a genuine friendship (18-24).

The Gentleman in the third line from the top is described/ paired with the handle of the Scythe to his right. He is making a quick exit. However, the line actually begins with the Sun card and is read from  right to left.

In the bottom line The Lady faces the Moon. The Moon to her right can  describe her as fair of complexion and admired in a pairing.  However, is a Querent’s description important in a short Line of Five?  The  next pair 32- 07 describes another woman who is either a relative or a good friend ( Tail of the Snake touches Moon). Here The Lady facing the Moon connected to the Snake  means she is going out to see that woman  in the early evening. Remember , the Moon is a timing card in lenormand.

So when the Significator appears on the edge of a line  it functions as a prompt.  The direction an edge Significator faces determines  flow i.e.  how the line is read. If the Significator faces left then the line is read right to left. If the Significator faces right then the line is read left to right.

To illustrate this post the beautiful Wanderwust mini deck was used which comes with an additional Lady and Gent pair whose directions and numbers are reversed.

 

 

 

Throwing Shade in Lenormand Method

When working with lines of cards in the lenormand deck, one should know  the pairing formula or the AB set- where B the card on the left  is modifier to card A  which is the card to the right and the dominant card in an AB pair. This left to right interpretation applies to touching card pairs in any line.  In the Grand Tableau, pairs work a bit differently, the house is the dominant A of a pair and the card seated in the house is its modifier or B.

Card B as modifier sheds its core meaning and cast only a shadow, i.e. uses  its descriptive qualities and attributes on card A in the pair.  These are  secondary associations which add details to fine tune the meaning of the dominant  card in the pair.

The “Shade”

Here are some B card or modifier basics:  Clover is temporary;  Bouquet is beautiful; Child is a small quantity or what is short;  Tower means tall; while the Bear is heavy set brunette and the Fox  is thin and  ginger.

The folklore of the Lenormand deck  says the Birds card indicates a doubling, but this is only when the card in the deck shows two birds. So 13-12 can be two children. The Moon is a pale, white or silvery object.  So 04- 32 would describe a white or pearl grey house.  The Sun is a spotlight and makes its A card certain to be seen by all.  01-31 can be a well known local athlete . The Letter indicates  a 2D  flat plane or object when appearing as a modifier. The Star like  Tinkerbell’s wand  adds “sparkle” or lends  je ne sais quoi to its partner as a modifier.

 

Pairs

Using card number notation and the  imagery and directions of my  new Wanderwust mini, wii looked at a few. (Forgive the blurred photo). As directions are important your own practice must  be with your “reading deck”.

(A) 02- (B) 01 : Going out after a brief rest.

(A) 04- (B) 03: relocating across or out of the country

(A) 06-(B) 05: long-term troubles

(A) 08-(B) 07: a grieving  widow

(A) 10-(B) 09: cosmetic surgery

and so on…

In practice the interpretation of cards in a layout is not by  rote but approached according to  query (the core) and modified by the skill set of the Reader.