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.
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.
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
“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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 quoito its partner as a modifier.
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.
I have bought and sold a few lenormand decks over the last seven years but not as many as most. I found early on that one’s first deck leaves an indelible impression and so most of my lenormand decks were traditional. The Dondorf style seemed to be best as I started with the misnomered French Cartomancy deck but other decks had their share of reading time such as the Mertz deck.
I happened to be on Etsy searching for a replacement for my small Russian Blue Owl which due to its flimsy card stock (originally given an application of clear acrylic before first use) is quite the worse for the wear! I somehow found the Wandering Oracle shop. They have a website as well: https://www.wanderingoracle.com
They make a reproduction called the Wanderwust in a full and mini size. I purchased the mini which came direct from their printer with no tuck box . It has as does their full size reproduction 38 cards by way of an extra man and woman card. The card shuffle is silky smooth, hard to achieve in a mini. Great cardstock is the key. The tweaking of the black and white inserts and touches of bright color juxtapositioned against the shade update the original images on an off-white background. Eye candy!
As they say readable right out of the envelope.
I was a bit disappointed as the full size deck is currently sold out but I am sure this is temporary. The Wüst I am happy to say is my new number two; while it can’t replace my master deck, it is close to being an ideal lennie! What would make it perfect? For me, all the changes made by The Wandering Oracle, plus the removal of the border lines. One can hope…
The use of 36 cards in the small Lenormand, Kipperkarten and the Zigeuner Wahrsagekarten aka The Gypsy Fortune-Telling Cards alerted me to look into the occult meaning of the number 36 early on in my study of the German school of Cartomancy.
The number 36 can be traced back to the astronomical pictograms of old cultures. In Astrology each of the twelve 30 degree signs of the Zodiac is divided into 3 sections. Each section of 10 degrees is a decan. 3 times 12 gives us 36 decans.
In the West the information on the Decans is approached mainly through the Egyptians but was most likely shared by all Old World cultures of star gazers who built high platforms in stone.
To some the Decans were seen as messengers of the Gods to others the Decans were the fingers of the Gods themselves. From this may come the Biblical and proverbial saying ” the handwriting is on the wall”. In our case as card readers the writing once on the wall of heavens and representative of “one’s natal Fate,” is now found on Earth in 36 images laid out on a table!
Of course on the magical side 36 is the number of Spirits or Djinn spoken of in the Picatrix, an Arabian grimoire eagerly grasped by early European magicians. The same methods used in the division of the 360 degree ecliptic by Astrologers were used by Adepts who personified the Decans as intelligent entities who could be held and questioned within the confines of the Magic Circle.
Is there a connection between the circles of Star groups, the hierarchy of Djinn and the 36 cards which make up the most “talkative” oracles of Cartomancy? I find this topic quite interesting. If you would like to investigate further check out the resources below.
A website intro to decans: http://www.darktarot.com/decans_tarot/how_the_decans_work.php
36 Faces, Austin Coppock. Three Hands Press. 2014
The Picatrix, translation by Warner and Greer, Adocentyn Press, 2011.
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.
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.
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 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.