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…
” Each card master has a bag of tricks. Some traditional and some riffs.”
Card systems have a tradition surrounding them which is based on the way things have been done over generations. Along side of tradition is the folklore of the cards. The folklore is passed along in the songs and stories which are part of the culture of the people. There exists an underground stream or current which refreshes the tradition by bursting up through to the surface to remind the tradition of what may have been lost or changed. It is the underground stream which nourishes the folklore of Cartomancy.
Many traditional users have found the Mouse/Mice to be a difficult card in any pairing. As a double card it is a loss to one side and a spoiling of things on the other side. If there are negative cards surrounding the Mice then all to the good, or so they say… However, the eroding qualities of the Mouse against the Mountain are very, very slow. The Mice don’t stop the Scythe but they do dull or rust the blade making a bad situation worse. When paired with the Coffin card the Mice as practice with the daily will show can produce a virus, discomfort or “the runs”.
So what is the control card for the Mice/Mouse in the lenormand deck? For this we leave the traditional and go to the folklore. This is not a beginner’s issue but one of the many tricks in the bag of the card journeyman as they ply their trade. The neutralization of the Mouse card is a bit tricky because it is both deck and direction dependent, one of those pair notations which can’t be written in stone as it must be eye-balled! It can be either 07-23 or 23-07.*
The Snake eats the Mice. All school children can support this and it is correct that the snake loves to eat rodents. In lenormand method the head of the Serpent card when it touches the Mice/Mouse card neutralizes its effect on the side it touches.
In the photo above the directions are shown from top to bottom of the Piatnik, Dondorf and Mertz decks for the pair Snake eats Mouse.
* In any deck where the Serpent’s head is vertical such as in the Dreaming Way Lenormand the swallowing effect of Serpent in the pairing cannot be applied to the linear read.