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…
There is first a need to define the concepts as used in this post. For the purpose of Divination wii define Spirit as a sentient energy meaning a form of awareness. Spirit can therefore be seen to be present on all planes. This definition sets it apart from the concept of a deity.
The Spirits in a Deck
Many people “name” Spirits; thus Spirits are called by their names using sound and/or images because as intelligent entities they can respond and engage in communication with a 3 plane entity or human being.
Within any deck there are certain cards which can by their symbology work as a mnemonic for a certain Spirit or energy. These linking cards are the Spirits in a Deck discussed in the folklore of Cartomancy. Wii think of the cards in a deck as “ calling cards”. The cards are not Spirits themselves but act as a link to a Spirit.
When cards are flagged by a Reader as being important, wii say they are the result of her or him having “guidance”. This means the sentient energy “announced itself” to the Reader either indirectly or directly. What is the process of a direct introduction? Good question! One can say it is when a certain card appears either over and over, or in combination echoes as a pair, triple or cluster which repeats with variations. This is the energy reaching out or trying to get the Reader’s attention as they work with their cards. Then the Reader addresses the combination as such and such- giving an abstract energetic principle or natural law a “name” as a concrete condition.
The Spirit of the Deck
The Spirit of the Deck is the energy of a deck. Each deck or variation of a deck is unique. Therefore the Spirit of the Deck is the collective voice of all the cards in the deck which with all the Readers who use that particular deck forms an Egregore. However, the Spirit of the Deck is not personified as an actual entity. It is not the spiritual guide of the Reader, but represents the deck as a unique world within the multiverse of Cartomancy.
For example, The Tarot as a divination device is twin spirited while playing cards and oracle decks generally have a solitary driver. So in an oracle deck usually there is one card which represents or “speaks” for the entire deck. Knowing which card it is is found by the three methods mentioned above. When known the Voice of the Oracle card, the cards around it and where it appears in a layout are noted for it gives a summation message for the entire reading.
So there are at least three ways to approach the Spirit of and the Spirits in a deck. One is via tradition or the folklore, or by the report of Readers who have walked this road before you. Another method is by the intercession of the collective Spirit of the deck which is much like having a formal introduction and thirdly – the direct method which is the consequence of working with a deck closely for a period of time .
Thus divination is about named formulae only instead of naked numbers as in Mathematics one works with Mythemes or fragments of archetypal memory as shown in scenarios on the cardface or by an assemblage of two dimensional symbol codes or emblems plucked out of a quantum field and placed in a pattern by a Reader with the intention they communicate or “speak”.
Being in extreme chill mode this Sunday, I decided to speak to Mildred Payne. I asked her to design a layout which she did and to address some issues for my audience here on the blog in terms of the current Saturn retrograde. FYI : the Saturn Retrograde 2018 started on April 17 at 9° Capricorn and ends on September 6 at 2° Capricorn.
The 13 card Asylum Layout
The bottom layer of six cards in this layout represents the “underground”. It is the inner earth, where activity hidden from the rational mind triggers a response on the subconscious level of both groups and individuals.
The level with four cards represents the space-time of our physical plane and what is happening around us which we can see if we pay attention but often may not be aware of or misinterpret.
The 2 card level is that of the “double,” the energy twin each living being has and the shadow form it uses to interact with the physical realm. The double after the death of an individual can be captured and placed in other vehicles. Mildred says “dolls” are often used for this but other objects can be vessels as well.
The card on top – the roof of the asylum is a spiritual seed . It is the hint of an incoming energy which is preparing to descend, i.e. entering into the process of manifestation.
The commentary which follows below uses the original 52 card Secret Pocket Oracle . My method of working the layout is from the bottom to the top. The rows are read from right to the left.
Controls are needed. Emotions are being worked up into a froth to rally negative forces. Spirits are using wild impulses and distraction as a ladder to climb out of the pit and spread insanity like an infection.
One needs to have firm boundaries and protections in place during a “purge cycle” which is what a Saturn Retrograde actually is! Give honor to Grandmother Earth so She may hold you inside Her web until the wanton destructive energy released during the Saturn retrograde passes.
BEWARE OF BACKSTABBERS! Motives previously hidden come to light. This is true for those around you, who act as projections of the shadow realm in your life and for your own bubbling internal cauldron of revenge.
What is being formed on the higher energy levels during this time of Saturn Retrograde is the seed of what is sure to come to pass. DO NOT PLANT DEAD SEEDS. Fight to maintain your equilibrium and alignment now so the energy after the retrograde event passes will flow positive, joyful and abundantly.
P.S. Blog readers please bear with my poor eyesight. I looked this post over many times and did not realize the layout as given by Mildred had 6 cards on the bottom level and hence 13 cards total.
“The symbols which live in your internal reality do not stand for external things, they are your internal manifestations of those outer things” ~ Robert Svoboda
The comment above is the subject of this post which is generic in that it can be applied to any deck’s symbology or coding. First off the quote says “equates to” or the concept of being ” the same as ” cannot be used in terms of symbols.
Symbols point to something but they are not the something which they point to! This has been said in many ways over human history such as “The map is not the territory.” Written words and images are 2 dimensional. A picture of a tree is obviously not the same as a living tree, neither is a film image or even a 3D projection of a holograph.
Human awareness goes to and fro between the outer realm of external forms and their inner psycho-mental ideation by way of symbols. Man as a sentient being can straddle the gap between the two worlds.
However, between symbolic representation and the thing itself; the two distinct ways of human knowing there is a gap. One can think of it as a window dividing inner from outer. Under this window is a deep trench or ditch which is the gateway to another dimension- the home of the Other.
The Other swims in a sea of free energies and does not interact or communicate with human beings by the use of symbols. The Other is aware of humanity and illustrates and orchestrates Its interest by use of a completely different method.
The sentient dweller below the threshold of human awarenesshas the ability to shape formless energies into sets of circumstances and hurl them into Existence like so many thunderbolts. Its messages are anomalous events, synchronicities and serialized phenomena which mankind calls The Uncanny. To be caught up in such an odd energy loop creates a fear response which is visceral. It can and does drive men mad.
The vignettes on the faces of fortune telling cards which depict scenes are regarded by some readers as mnemonic devices, reminders of events which were cast into Existence by The Other in the very distant past.
See the non-fiction writings of:
Paul Kammerer – The Law of Series
Charles Hoy Fort-TheBook of the Damned; New Lands; Lo; and Wild Talents.
and the Opera Omnia of fiction writers H.P. Lovecraft and Clive Barker.
And so we begin this post on decisions and directions with the Chariot. Take a look at this book. The Charioteer or central figure of the trump wears a crown and overhead is a canopy of stars. He also wears armor. The Charioteer’s feet are in his Chariot, only the wheels of the Chariot touch the ground. All of these symbols speak of the driver being protected (armor) and prepared (stars as right timing). The scepter in his right hand speaks of his control or his will. In some TdM decks the Charioteer holds a sword in his left hand. The esoteric lore of the seventh Trump card identifies the Charioteer with Hermes and the Chariot itself as the Hermetic tradition.
The trump says GO STRAIGHT, do not deviate as the horses – our natural impulses would. The driver is there IN THE CENTER to maintain control and keep the Chariot on course and moving in a forward motion. The Chariot is both like and unlike the card which precedes it, The Lovers. The Chariot is the solution to the scenario depicted on the Lovers card.
In Tarot, The Lovers trump shows a situation of selection. It is where the Querent is at – if the card is in a flagged position in a spread or in the center in a line of cards. The Lovers is graphically the same as the Chariot with some differences. In the Lover’s card shown just below from the Grimaud TdM, the central figure is barefoot. His legs are without hose under his doublet. His outfit is worse than that of the Fool! His empty hands are held close to his body and limited in motion by the proximity of two women. In trump six the women take on the role of the chariot horses by coding the different “turnoffs” or directions i.e. right or left which the central character, the Querent is being pulled in. There is an older Latin name for the sixth trump which is Bifurcatio, a fork in the road or a divide.
If the central figure corresponds to the Chariot in the Lovers card then who is the Charioteer? It is the cherub above who plays that role in the Lovers card. It is Cupid’s Arrow or the attractive force which will prompt the selection and the direction taken by the central figure. While in The Chariot trump the scepter is held by the Driver, in the Lovers the arrow is not in the central character’s hands but is aimed at him from above! This means the decision is literally “out of his hands”. What the central figure is calling decision or choice is actually a selection based on factors which he or she does not control coming down from a higher source. The term higher source can refer to the celestial hierarchies or star laws which operate literally over the heads of mankind compelling them in their season to act, as does every species of flora and fauna on the planet.
There is an additional implied third direction at the Lover’s fork in the road. It is the backward direction, the psychological equivalent of backsliding on regrets and doubts which first show up as being hesitant to select. While the time of making a “selection” appears to be in the present moment, prolonging the decision places a client in limbo. Limbo being the recurring or replaying of the present moment in linear time, the eternal return as a feedback loop in the mind which traps the client. As selection is somewhat pre-conditioned in the Lovers by so many factors NOT IN THE CLIENT’S HANDS, it often manifests as being different in external appearance but of the exact same essence or energy configuration!
In seeing a group of cards when a Querent is asking about an impending important decision The Lovers card alone offers no solution. Look to see if the Chariot is included in the grouping for it will indicate the Querent who is willing and ready to make a choice which puts them on the straight road out of Dodge or Oz.
Remember, pip cards hold the energies of the first ten Major Arcana and their suits indicate the four different stages of the invisible abstract descending into visible manifestation. Wands represent the energetic state; Swords – thoughts, a mental frequency rate; Cups the psycho-emotional “feelings” of attraction and repulsion and finally Disks which are symbolic of energy vortices* in the subtle bodies of mankind and the planet.
The presence of any grouping of 3 or more 6’s or 7’s in a reading foreshadows an approach of either a Lovers – Chariot situation for a Querent.
Note: *Vortex-1650s, “whirlpool, eddying mass,” from Latin vortex, variant of vertex “an eddy of water, wind, or flame; whirlpool; whirlwind,” from stem of vertere “to turn” (see versus). Plural form is vortices.
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.