Kipperkarten Codes: The Core

The use of the Kipper core is the start of working with Kipperkarten. It forms the reading in most layouts but not all. It shows the reader the Mc1 or MC2, i.e.  the Querent. Since in this system the MC2 female faces right and MC 1  faces left; their cores cannot be exactly the same. Hence one places the core cards in a different way when beginning a read.


Unter der Person = Under

Hinter der Person =Behind

Über der Person = Above

Vor der Person= Before

The MC 1 and MC 2 both share the same vertical positions of 1 and 3. The Horizontal positions of 2 and 4 are reversed. See the diagram below.

The Kipper Core


Following the Numbers

What is under the MC labelled here as point 1 is their support or foundation; what they are standing on in the vertical present.  It is what they have a handle on or an innate understanding of as they are so to speak “in” the moment.

Moving from position 1 to 2 shows us where the MC “just came” from i.e. the immediate past. Some readers use what is behind the back as indicating an inauspicious relationship. Though this method may work well with Das Grosse Blatt when using the core I have found it serves me best to see the card behind the MC:  as the place, condition, or state the MC was in prior to the reading.  It is the door the Querent has just exited from.  This frees the card behind their back to show itself as being positive, negative or neutral .

Moving from position 2 to 3 shows us what is on the MC’s mind- their thought process at the present moment. I often see this space like a text balloon in a graphic novel.

Moving from 3 to 4 shows us phenomena  soon to be encountered by the MC on their “timeline” or horizon.

The clockwise and counterclockwise movement or flow when placing the cards around the MC1 and MC2  is the result of my own experiences with the universal sun symbol which has four distinct stages as well.

Mexican Sun Symbol

When I began Kipperkarten it was to look for smaller non-linear layouts.  I was to find many alternatives in this system to Das Grosse Blatt or the full 36 card spread. The Stop Card Method has become a favorite  of mine. To begin requires placement of the Kipper core. At first it was a struggle to get the rules of the supposedly older Stop Card Method stated clearly;  but  actual practice combined with patience eventually led to  an understanding which overcame my spotty  introduction. Kipperkarten does not require one be a “psychic” to get good results, only that its nomenclature and rules are known and applied – just as in Life!


Kipper-Karten Band II, Legetechniken, Hildegard Leiding-Heinz, Heppenheim, 1995

Note: Leiding- Heinz gives information on all 36 cards using the core setting in German but only from the perspective of the MC1. 



The Celestial Cluster

Stars, Sun and Moon, Lilies

The celestial markers in the lenormand deck are basically three: 31 The Sun, 32 The Moon and 16 The Stars.  In the Blue Owl-my master deck, card 30 the Lilies is clearly shown surrounded by nine golden stars and so for me becomes part of the celestial cluster or grouping.

In the German approach to lenormand the Sun is the Big Luck  or  Major Fortune card. The Stars card 16 is seen as bestowing boons as well.  Often it is commonly called a wish card not in the sense of making a wish but as bestowing one upon the card near it. The Stars actually represents precision and exactness, the clockwork of the cosmos.

Often people view the lenormand  Moon as they do in Tarot.  This is a misdirection as card 32 or the  Moon does not function and cannot be applied in the same way as Tarot in this system. The Moon does not pertain to emotions unless paired with or falling  near card 24, The Heart.  The Heart is the emotional card in lenormand method. In lenormand the Moon represents appreciation, honors, respect, reputation. It is the result of the Big Luck card or the Sun’s light of success being reflected in the affairs of the Querent.

Of course the Sun, Moon and Stars are timing cards. The Sun is noon, the Moon early evening and the Stars the middle of the night.

The Lilies are the only card in the Blue Owl “celestial cluster” which has a Court Card insert- The King of Spades. (Remember in lenormand the Spades suit is not  the most negative as that honor belongs to Clubs.) It is either an archetype or a  “persona” highlighted here. In my work with the cards the Lilies represents  ELDERS and ANCESTORS. Card 30 touches upon or opens one to the afterlife and the invisible energetic fields of the spiritual dimensions.

The King of Spades can at base level be a male relation or father figure to the female Querent card 29, as the Ace of Spades is the card associated with her.  Using the visual prompts of the circle of stars around the Lilies as a halo or an aura  which highlights the main theme of Elders or Ancestors,  the circle can indicate a revered living  older person who is  helpful or supportive or an Ancestor who is  well remembered such as a grandfather as well as a lineage head or an elevated heroic influence. One may think of the images of saints who had an aureola or nimbus shown  around their heads in their icons.

If one were to make a comparison, the King of Spades insert in the Lilies would function much like card 5, the Good Gentleman card of Kipperkarten offering support and advice, i.e. good news in an auspicious placement- but  if not well placed  being a serious warning of danger .

In the mystic folklore associated with  the lenormand cards, The Lilies is  said to represent the Spirit Guardian of the deck itself who’s voice  is decidedly a male one. In terms of a planetary vibration, The King of Spades is of a Saturnian nature. Saturn is a governing force. In the language of myth, Saturn is the Old Sun who ruled during the Golden Age.  The ring of golden stars around the Lilies can be seen as the sphere of influence or energetic enclosure lenormand readers connect to when using the deck as an oracular system.




It is no longer a question of imitation, nor duplication, nor even parody. It is a question of substituting the signs of the real for the real.” – Jean Baudrillard

“Is it live or is it Memorex…?” Things have changed a great deal since the advertising slogan for the recording tape company Memorex was created. We live in a digital, MP3, Bluetooth kinda world.  Reality is no longer what it “used” to be.

How do these changes affect a Cartomancer who uses cards much like their cartographer kindred  design maps?  What happens when as the French philosopher Baudrillard suggested ” maps replace  territories?”

Of course, most fortune tellers being linear readers perhaps prefer straight-forward highway markers as directions to a destination. It is not the job of a fortune teller to help a client “juggle” decisions, that responsibility falls on the  shoulders of the diviner. However,  what do left or right; up or down; even diagonal  movements across any chessboard mean when the entire territory it occupies is itself  unreal- a picture of a picture, a copy of a copy?

             Neo touching the mirror. Matrix I

No matter!  The mind  in this era of hyperreality is light years  beyond the border towns of analogy. If the eye can see the sign,  cognition gives temporal life to even the weakest apparition or signal and we proceed, coasting on fumes – taking  signs for substance, maps for territory and illusion for reality in the dystopian half-light of the Marketplace-  which being the only light available appears to some as bright as the Sun.


Simulacra – (singular) from the Latin means a likeness, or representation.  Simulacrum (plural) are copies of things which no longer have an original (or never had one to begin with).

“The Precession of Simulacra” .

Vertical Codes in Lenormand Layouts

The 3 x 3 layout introduces the budding reader to the vertical aspect of the cards which is continued in the Grand Tableau. These traditional layouts  allow the reader using the lenormand deck to use directions other than the forward and backward of pairing and simple linear layouts.

Originally, it is said the  GT was read by sighting  proximity, i.e. whether the cards were near or far from the Querent’s card or other “big” cards such as the Clouds, Tree, Sun.  There are more codes to read the GT as a picture;  such as the placement of cards above or below one another in the “frame.”

In the 36 card deck there are several cards which code vertically.  The nine cards shown above and listed below require one look at the cards above and below them in the GT to get more information.

05  Tree– card above Tree shows the visible state of the Q’s health; the card below- one’s deep roots or family health history

06  Clouds– above – a trouble yet to arrive ; below- a current trouble

10 Scythe – above -the axe about to fall; below-  just rewards*

19  Tower– above -expertise or ability; below – methodology

21  Mountain – card above -what was overcome by one’s effort; card below -an  issue about to blow up!

22  Road – above -a journey yet to take; below -a journey completed

31  Sun– card above -outward success;  below- inner happiness

33  Key – above solutions- below “hunches”

36 Cross – above- heavy burdens; below unshakable faith

The modern reading of Houses in the Grand Tableau  uses pairing where the house is the dominate “card-theme” and the card sitting in it the modifier; an approach  which adds more details to the Querent’s storyline or The Big Picture.  Today the GT  retains the  traditional 8 x 4+4 form but the 9 x 4 is becoming the more popular form perhaps due to symmetry and the use of techniques which turn the  GT into a chessboard.

Remember this list refers to the cards above and below the vertical coded cards in boldface above when they occur. The best way to understand is to arrange some cards in a vertical line using the 3 x3 or the GT to see how they “sign”. Text is a poor substitute and can be confusing , even to the one writing as it is a secondary report. Use and trust your own eyes in these matters.

*Again these codes depend on the images shown on the cards in one’s hands. The Scythe’s blade can be at ground level or upright depending upon the deck one is using.



Opening and Closing: The Key

First let’s look at two double cards. The combo 33-08 is in the Blue Owl code the open casket.  Yes, the Coffin can be considered as a double card. It has a head and foot or is shown with a draped side. In Blue Owl imagery, however we see an above ground tomb with an eternal flame.   Close examination will reveal  a knob like protrusion on the top of the left side of the locked coffin. In the old days coffins had keys and were locked after they were occupied. Today, the practice continues with the outer vault which may protect a coffin placed in the earth from decomposition.

In lenormand the 33-08 combo can indicate something is indeed over but the finality of the ending leads to a complete metamorphosis. This is an esoteric combination for it indicates that one has overcome certain restrictions by moving beyond them. It is the card of one who explores dark places others try to avoid.  It is also the code for Necromancy, i.e. the original Dark Art.

The lower combination 08-33 is the closed coffin . It is the card of seals- a   symbol of initiation into a closed order, vows of silence, unbroken oaths, of secrets taken to one’s grave.

Now mixing up a few  combinations with the Key we see:

33-19 – opening the Tower. In the middle ages the Tower was the jail. The bit of the key facing the tower functions as the cell being opened. One comes out of their ivory tower of isolation.

33-26- The mysteries of the unknown are shown by  the Book, a double card which bears a lock on the cover in the Blue Owl deck. Having the bit side of the key facing the page side of the Book  shows the locks on the “grimoire” have been sprung.  A great mystery is solved.

33-04- The key with the House shows at one’s residence doors are unlocked. This may show an “open door” policy hence one’s residence is not secure. Take it as a warning for your property and safety.  It can  be a referent to one’s “openness” as the House as home represents the vibration of the person/people who live there.

19-33- the door to the cell is slammed close. One is in isolation. Locked into a situation or a mindset.

26-33- the spine of the Book card shows partial knowledge. It is where the title of a book is shown and its author. The shaft of the key next to the spine shows that one’s information is limited to the obvious. One is not privy to the deeper levels of some subject.

04-33- the shaft of the key touching the house shows it is secure- protected from intrusion. It is the feeling of being “snug as a bug …” and of private family matters.

The Key: Facility With Function

Dondorf key
Blue Owl key

In learning  the lenormand system how one begins affects the entire journey. Lenormand  is a system where regular usage leads to different levels of interpretation.  One of these levels is that of function. Card 33, The Key represents in my experience facility with function.

At fully engaged levels of lenormand  the 36 cards function as “deck specific” notations, which is why as a teacher of beginning lenormand method, I recommend  a single traditional deck when learning the system.  One’s first deck has to be examined very closely.  The Dondorf user will have a different set of codes than the reader of the Blue Owl as the visual prompts on the double cards vary with each deck.

Double cards? Yes. As a newbie I thought cards 11, 22 and 33 were the doubles of the deck. However, in lenormand method a double is not numeric rank but a card which has two sides to it – each casting distinctly different  interpretations on flanking cards.  Again lenormand code is deck specific,  but in general as an example one can think of the Scythe’s handle and blade or the Clouds light and dark sides as examples of double cards.  At the intermediate level double cards are often referred to as “directional cards”.

As shown  in the Dondorf and the Blue Owl decks images above, the Key’s bit and shaft are situated in the same way, but this is not so  in the Piatnik version shown below. Please refer to a previous post on this blog, where the anatomy of the Key card was discussed, if the terms bit and shaft are unfamiliar.

Piatnik Key

The difference between the Piatnik imagery and that of the Dondorf and Blue Owl shows why image details are of primary importance!  The subconscious (Freudian term) or unconscious (Jungian term) works with pictures, not words. Thus the true language of lenormand has nothing to do with grammar or the  structure of verbal communication but has more in common with notation systems such as is found in Japanese Kanji or in the hieroglyphs of ancient Egypt where each image carries and triggers by a visual gate concepts which open to deeper archetypal rivers of meaning.

In lenormand notation images are non- transferable from deck to deck. Each lenormand deck being a distinct map of an internal terrain with its own “key”or legend.  The symbology  works only for the deck one is viewing.  Any list of pairs must be deck specific and should be self-generated.

A reader can work with more than one deck  but they will have only one  “master deck”.  For the dedicated lenormand reader,  their master deck  is simply the one they have mastered.  For a casual reader or dabbler,  the makings of their master deck is found in their first exposure to the cards which leaves an indelible imprint. Choose wisely.  It takes hard work with one traditional deck exclusively over an extended period of time to offset or override an artistic interpretation or untutored rendition of a trendy lenormand.

The Dondorf deck was my first deck but it is not my master deck. Thankfully it was a traditional lenormand and is graphically close to the  standard Blue Owl  which became my  master deck during the practicum. i.e. the first three years or 36 months of study in the lenormand system- one card each month.

The next post will examine the Key card in  a few patterns.


The Blue Owl Letter

The letter in German traditional lenormand decks is shown sealed. Usually a wax sealed letter was hand delivered  by courier, so it could be anything from a personal note, business matter or an invitation.

What is inside the envelope is unread.  What is known is on the outside of the letter and since the envelope is face down these details are not viewable on the card face.

Let us see how the Letter pairs up by looking at a few combinations.

10-27– In Blue Owl notation where the sharp blade of the Scythe points towards the Letter it shows a tool- a letter opener. Here the outside of the envelope is of no importance. The seal doesn’t even matter. A sharp blade has already opened the envelope. What is inside has been read.

27- 11 – Here the Birch broom and scourge become the instruments used to write the message. In the Old Days one could see 11 modifying 27 as a quill pen and ink bottle; the quill being dipped in ink over and over until done but today the broom and/or whip could represent fingers making keyboard strokes on a device such as a laptop or I Pad.

27-16– The Letter is always some type of message. When in proximity with the Stars it is often a dream.  Dreams written in the  symbol language of the astral plane can be as precise or as obtuse as any text.

27-19– Here the Letter with the Tower is a message concerning someone or something which is  at a distance or is from a person with whom the receiver has a tenuous connection or is estranged.

27-15– With the Bear an official letter of some sort is described.  It “bears” an insignia on the letterhead.  Could be from one’s employer or from some governing agency.

It is important to distinguish between the text aspect of the Letter (or the symbols of a dream ) and the voiced communication of the Birds, card 12.  In the period when these cards were created the Birds showed an actual face to face conversation. The Birds may  show  a neighbor  who comes in for coffee as well as in more modern times a conversation with the same neighbor over the phone.

The Letter may be a text message, an email as well as any traditional letter.  Times have indeed changed how information is received and sent as well as the speed of the process  but the intention of the Letter in lenormand code remains that it be a PRIVATE communication.

Information may also arrive via courier.  Any person who comes to one’s home or office door with  paperwork or property would be functioning as the Rider card- an intermediary who delivers to the addressee and  immediately departs.  The quick exit is a key to how the Rider differs from the Birds in practice. In today’s electronic dominant world the courier may be a motorized robot or even a drone!

Sharing news after it is received or the Letter has been read is another story which brings one to The Birds or the Rider, as the recipient may choose to either call another person or get in their car and  deliver the news they received in person.





The Clouds

According to Wikipedia, The Cloud may refer to:

  • a wireless network operator in Europe
  • a paradigm where computing resources are offered as a utility via the Internet, or
  • a metaphor for the Internet.

These are the techy picks, the public domain contains many references to and titles of  The Cloud;  however, our matter is plural. We are looking at the sixth card in the Lenormand deck, The Clouds.

My first encounter with the lenormand Clouds was the indistinct Dondorf/French Cartomancy version. Eventually after much frustration I ended up colorizing the card with a permanent black marker to give one side an obviously darker hue.

The Clouds card as shown above is more in line with the mini deck I use for quick reads – a Russian version of the standard Blue Owl deck. In this version  one cannot make an error – left or right are clear and the greyness in the center bottom reminds one how to judge the card in a 3 X 3 or a Tableau.  The Clouds overhead are a warning to whoever or whatever is directly underneath. It looks like rain, take heed and have an umbrella at the ready!

However, as the blog title proclaims we are not here for the troubles of beginning readers but for the development which comes  from “using” the cards for a time. As I approach my seventh year with the system the learning continues as to how the cards work on levels above and below the threshold of the obvious.

The Clouds in lenormand method has a connection to the Cloud as it is used in computing. The Clouds card is on the mental -causal plane. In a reading it speaks to the Querent’s  mental state. In proximity combinations with a card for the partner, child, siblings, parents, it shows their mind. Near  The Garden, the Clouds  can speak of a group or collective mindset or it can show the Vox populi  public opinion. Again this is interpreted according to the darkside  or lightside positioning of the cards.

Where there is no touching “people” card,  The Cloud shows the Querent’s mind.  The dark side  represents uncertainty,  fears and a general murkiness.  The clear side of The Clouds shows  more ordered thoughts and plans along with some degree of optimism.

In some oracle decks the mind is represented by the symbol of a mirror. In the Lenormand deck the Clouds card is like a mirror. The dark side of the Clouds is the back of the mirror or the subconscious “broodings” of the Querent; while the light side is their conscious thoughts which are reflected outward as their general perspective, Weltanschauung or world view.




What’s on Your Table?


When one reads almost all of the types of cards used  for the telling of fortunes and divination how does one pick? It is necessary, of course to know the difference between the two operations of telling fortunes and divining at the outset.

Blue Owl Lennies

For fortune telling beyond  linear restraints the Kipper cards excel as they require geometrics or dimensionality to express their energies. For quick line reads in tight quarters the 36 card Lenormand deck is best.  Wii rarely use playing cards for fortune telling these days since our  prefered traditional German Lenormand  decks incorporate  the same energy via the inserts.

Original Kippers!!!

For divination which actually is the reading of the Querent’s inner and outer situation without focusing on other people in their lives the Marseilles style Tarot deck is always the go to. Theme Tarot decks (lol), Tarot “style” decks with less than 78 cards or picture pips decks such as used on the Rider-Waite Smith Tarot do not work as well for divination purposes in mai experience.

My brand of Tarot

As to oracle decks, most are like mood swings! They come and they go, sort of like comparing a fashion trend to a classic look. However, an oracle deck such as the French Tarot d’Eltynne  a version of the Belline Oracle shown below has a connection to traditional Cartomancy via the number of cards used in the deck (52 +1) and shares the same symbol language. This type of oracle  can infuse a reader with a different view of things to break up habits and  reroute blocks.  My favorite fun Oracle deck is Paris Debono’s Gypsy Tattoo Oracle Deck which has 36 cards.

There is a caveat in the buying of any deck which wii have adopted. Other than a deckmaker card, trump or card  titles and  numbers of rank there can be no words on the card face. Text is very distracting, as at the subconscious levels of awareness all is  symbol  and color oriented and there is no literacy of wording at all.  Also when and where possible borderless card decks are much enjoyed!

Tarot d”Eltynne
Gypsy Tattoo Oracle


On mai reading table for fortune telling Kipper  cards are usually the first choice. For divination the Marseille Tarot reigns supreme. Decks which wii do not use are either passed on or sold.

Happy 2018

A new calendar year is upon us. As with all  Cartomancers there is a new year reading done. Many readers use a Zodiac style layout placing a card in each of the 12 positions in a circle using the traditional months.  A 13th card is drawn as a synthesis of the energy of the year and placed in the center.

The starting point or the placement of the first card for January on the Wheel  of the Year is usually consistent with the system one is aligned with.  There are no hard and fast rules. Wii do not use the placement as shown above.

The reading does not have to be done exactly on the first day of the year but the energy is strongest in the first 7 days or week of the incoming year.

Note:  The layout image in the post was taken from the Internet and has a copyright stamp on it.