Marseilles Mysteries


The Major Arcana or the Trump cards of  the Tarot deck are immediately recognized these days having a place in movies, graphic novels and popping up in art of all kinds which means they are firmly established in the collective or shared mind of Earth World cultures.

The word arcana in terms of the Trumps implies there is more to the card than meets the eye, there is a mystery involved with the meaning of the simple picture on pasteboard. The 22 Major Arcana of which 21 are numbered and 21 named represent impersonal processes or laws related to the cycle of manifestation and occultation. Now you see it. Now you don’t.

So where do we start? How about the Magician. When counting we start with the number one. This works well for me in Tarot. First we note where the central character faces which is to the left of the viewer. Next we notice the items on the table in front of the Magician. We see the tools used by one who does tricks or sleight of hand. In the hands of the Magician are a ball and a wand. The costume of the Magician is asymmetrical. His hat is in the shape of the sign of infinity, a lemniscate.

The Magician changes things, the positions of the objects on his table and minds. When reading Tarot in a linear spread, i.e. as a fortune telling device the card the Magician looks at, he is changing The card behind the Magician’s back can indicate a situation already altered.


The Guardian of the Oracle

I have been reading Tarot cards since puberty, now I am well into my sixties. One would expect that I would say I know what I am doing because I have been reading “X” number of years. I do not ever say this.

In the years of reading cards I have learned many systems in addition to the Marseilles Tarot I began with. What I have found is the secret to mastering any form of Cartomancy has nothing to do with the years one has been “at” it. The ability to read the cards comes with learning the basic techniques but understanding the essence of the cards is revealed, i.e. it comes out of one’s personal connection to their deck and the system itself.

A deck is a tool an oracular device. Oracles have guardians. These guardians are non-corporeal intelligences. When someone says they “heard” the Voice of an Oracle they are not exactly speaking in metaphors.

For those who are clairaudient the Voice of the Oracle is heard in the physical realm in their head with a distinctly different tonal expression from 1) their own inner conscience or 2) their personal ego.  These are recognized as the proverbial “higher” and “lower” selves shown more accurately in fable iconography as an Angel and  Devil who sit on the person’s shoulders whispering  in either their left or right ears.

The Voice of the Oracle in the the non-physical realms of the etheric, astral and mental is heard by the Seer as an actual voice. Think of the Fae-Rae tale of Snow White where a Mirror, the universal symbol of the astral plane speaks with an actual voice to answer the questions of the Evil Queen.

Again, readers who are not clairaudient will not hear a deck Guardian speak. However, each deck has a card to represent the Guardian. This is part of the folklore of the cards. The signature card is not a matter of choice to be assigned by the reader but comes from traditions associated with the deck. However, the caveat is one has to search out this knowledge on their own, as only then can it be revealed.

Knock, knock…..


The Lenormand Current


The reason why I am writing about intermediate lenormand is I have worked through and emerged from that stage. After years of intensive lenormand method I am still observing how lenormand readers of experience and various mother tongues / language have limited their reading technique choices. No so called ‘professional’ reader throws in every technique available including the kitchen sink in an attempt to “cover all the bases” and basically ignores the actual question asked by the client during their interpretation.

Keywords box a reader in. The core concept of the sign once grasped allows one to “plug in” the proper aspect or contour of the concept. This contour is not based on a sentence like structure but is a modification of the concept according to neighboring cards. A pat set of keywords becomes a dam which will not allow the lenormand current to flow in and assume different meanings based on the question’s context, the unique vessel that each querent’s query represents. Newer readers and older ones working with a Rolodex of keywords keep putting the same round or square pegs in their respective holes on a wooden board be it 3×3 or 8x 4+4, the resulting combinations become too stiff to give specifics. Mastery of lenormand requires the skill of a weaver.

Paired sign meanings in and of themselves do not an interpretation make! If one uses a series of cliches, no matter if you hail from Germany, the Netherlands, France, the Czech Republic or any historic bastion of lenormand divination sooner or later the pat phrases will suck the life out of the reading. Experience simplifies, it does not complicate, or exhibit stiff and rigid interpretations. Experience makes something look easy when indeed it is not.

It is known by traditional lenormand readers that reading a Grand Tableau can be done without learning one combination solely by using the basic meaning of the cards in the near and far technique. This method can and did hold up entirely on its own! The more modern Grand Tableau readers use combinations by house and seated card. All else is direction of the Significator and its environs . The pair combination style of left to right (or top to bottom) reading being shown and taught today is a beginner’s gambit most suited to the 3 X 3 form and lenormand lines.

Interpretation is where the rubber meets the road. An astute lenormand student can tell when going over a reading, if the reader learned their skill via family lineage/tradition, one on one with a mentor, by taking courses, or was self-taught from one or more books.

It is as Morpheus said to Neo in the Matrix film: “At some point you have to just let it all go.” One has to take that proverbial leap of faith. It is the signal that you as a student are ready to jump into the lenormand current. If you have kept your end of the bargain, you’ll read what you “see” and cease to care if you are wrong in your interpretation as you surely will be at times! Fortune tellers are not God and some people do exercise their free-will. Yet, letting go permits one to become open to the energies, principles, concepts, visual cues and playing card inserts that flow in the “lenormand current,” and to relax into the “gestalt” where all the parts are integrated into a seamless whole as the cards in the Grand Tableau come alive.

However, one doesn’t put the cart in front of the horse and not study any traditional meanings or methods of reading the cards and then label the untutored attempts at interpretation as “intuition.” Nope, I am not saying that at all! The letting go always comes after learning the basics by rote. The object of any training is to eventually move beyond the training. The object of lenormand method is to see what the cards are saying, to make the vignette of the Grand Tableau into a movie. It is letting go in spite of any fear of falling which opens one to the receptive state where acceptance of the lenormand current’s gift of grace allows one to put together a “free” interpretation which doesn’t rely on keyword strings, steps, or memorized pairs- the training wheels you used when you were first learning how to “sight read” or ride the Lenormand bike.

A masterful interpretation should not allow the casual reader or listener to identify or pull out keywords like one pulls shrimps out of a runny gumbo. It should be conversational in tone. Our concoction to use another cooking analogy should be more the smooth bisque where the flavor is delicious and delicate but the palette of the average taster can’t identify each individual ingredient used in the recipe or run off into the kitchen and whip up one just like it. Nor should a good interpretation contain excess repetition, like the best Lenormand decks the reader should keep their speech lean and concise.

This just to remind the serious students that just as sight reading i.e, ability to decipher pairs without lists marks the beginning of the intermediate level and directional reading is the meat of it, once over the threshold of the intermediate phase there is a different goal.

I first introduced the term lenormand current in 2011 and defined it as the transmission of knowledge passed from teacher to student in the old days. It is my belief that this current survives as an energy field which disciplined and committed users of the lenormand cards can link and connect to which bestows a level of interpretation which comes from the voice of the lenormand oracle, itself.

Written and originally  posted on my Song of Lenormand blog  5/27/2013 .

The Kipper Querent


The Kipper system  has two very important cards: the MC1 and the MC2. They are the main characters and represent the Querent, i.e. the person who is asking the question or the person whom the reader is being asked to read.

The MC cards are gender based as Kipper is a traditional system. So one must assign them based if not on physical gender, the preference of the Querent.

Kipper readings are directional so it is imperative one see the position of the Querent and what is before them in their line of sight i.e. where they are looking as well as what is immediately behind them.

This is the basic first step of all the Kipper reads I have learned to date.

When one encounters the techniques involved in learning a new system, there are many what if’s . Yes, there are numerous people cards in the Kipper deck of various ages and sexes but the MC1 or MC2 are the ONLY Querent cards. The other people in the deck are people in the Querent’s life. In psychological reads the other people cards may represent aspects of the Querent i.e. roles he or she plays  or assumes, but these people in the deck while acting as significators can never overshadow or completely take over the primary role of the Querent -the MC1 or MC2.

To ask a question without first placing or using an MC card first is a bad habit.  Why? The placement of the MC card happens BEFORE the reader shuffles. It is removed from the deck as one is asking and usually gazed upon by the reader.

The MC 1 and the MC 2 tell us how to place the cards and what direction we read them such as when using a Line of Sight spread where with the MC1 or the male we follow his gaze right to left and with MC2 the female we read left to right.

In the  MC spread or 3 X 3 the MC in the center determines how we place the cards to complete the layout.

To leave out the Querent card is to change the dynamics of  traditional Kipper spreads. Yes, there is a short 4 card “What It Is” spread used for newbies which does not use an MC card. The spread  is not a traditional Kipper spread. It can confuse students and in my opinion creates a bad habit which is hard to break.

Mixing traditional with modern spreads early on can come back to bite one in the rear further down the road for it allows beginners to interpret a group of cards without first placing the MC. So when students start replacing the Kipper MC card with other “people cards” or significators based on the type of question they are asking, it is either 1) a logical progression from their introduction to and  early usage of a non-traditional spread or 2) applying lenormand reading methods to Kipper cards. Nicht gut as they say in German- not good!




Lenormand or Kipper?

A legitimate question for a serious reader to ask is what is the advantage of  Lenormand versus Kipper cards? When is one a better choice than the other for a reading and why?

Those who have studied the German oracle decks will know they are related with the Lenormand being older than its Bavarian cousin.  I cannot speak for others reasoning but will share here my means of selecting what deck to use and when.

Lenormand is a symbol deck.

I use it primarily for issues related to dream work, checking energy evaluation and alignment in magical practices, interpretation of mental cliches such as daydreams and visions and in working with non-corporeal intelligences. Lenormand therefore is used by me as a divination deck,  a translation device, to interpret the signs seen in the physical and spiritual realms and express them in the concepts of human language.

Lenormand small layouts are limited either the lines of 5, 7 or 9 or the 3 X 3 Box Spread.  The Grand Tableau suits the lenormand deck best putting out all 36 cards.

Kipper cards on the other hand are situational.

They contain scenes which are part of mundane life which everyone can recognize. Kipper is a great selection for clients  who want their fortunes told, i.e. to see the causes and effects, motivations and directional trends of themselves and the people in their immediate environment.

Kipper has more variety in the number of traditional smaller card layouts which do not place all 36 cards.  It can use the Grand Tableau but due to alternatives is not as dependent on it.

Which deck do I use more frequently ?

The answer is the lenormand. This is due to my familiarity with Lenormand symbology, since I am prone to use a 5 or 7 card line when looking for an answer on projects I am working with.

A Directional Lenormand Read

Mini Russian Blue Owl Deck

The line shown above is 34-22-13-04-01. It was an actual query used to divine the source of a received “nocturnal message.”  The question was did the information originate on the astral plane or was it from the mental plane?

First how would one read the line? The Rider shows direction so the  line reads from right to left. The direction of the center card 13 confirms the direction as right to left. So: o1-> 04-> 13->22 | 34.

The Rider shows a journey undertaken taken to a place (House) or plane via a new direction  and road. The interesting thing is an actual road or path is shown in the Blue Owl on the bottom of all the cards from 01-Rider to 22- The Ways.

Card 22 curves the path up and away from Card 34 . One can see in the Ways Card (22) there is a water source along side the road and a bridge in the distance but the road actually curves away from the waters going up and out of the line.

Water is the symbol par excellent of the astral plane, so the new direction and road suggests the information was sourced from a plane which runs parallel to the astral and leads  towards the mental which is “above” the astral or beyond it being of a faster frequency.

Crystal Clear!




If Ya Don’t Wanna Know…

Miss Dolly reads the Gypsy Tattoo Deck by Paris Debono

…don’t ask.  Simple. Yet, in the online world of card reading and card readers this statement has gotten lost. People learn the basics and then in practice reads decide when the query is theirs the ratings of the Lenormand cards i.e. positive, negative and neutral don’t apply or the situational cards shown in a Kipper spread have changed their meanings and time frames.

New readers not only wear rose tinted spectacles, their glasses also have  blinders which obstruct peripheral vision. Teachers should strive to lay out and make the steps clear and not just say this is or isn’t the answer. Another non-productive approach is releasing information piecemeal in groups. A learning environment is no place for teasers nor should it be a  commercial for any product or service being sold. Such tactics cause confusion as they were never meant to be fully discussed in a public forum. To learn one needs to know the meaning of all terms used as well as the why of the process, i.e.  how do the responding cards in this layout or line give the answer.

Even in making things crystal one will find certain students who make what is fundamental more complex, that being how their personality functions. One doesn’t use logic or need flow charts to read card lines or layouts. The ability to interpret symbols in combination for diverse queries comes out of journaling a daily draw with an evening follow up entry -consistantly over time with lennies and with frequent practice reads in Kipperland.

So I’ve made myself scarce and stopped commenting because the obvious and the basic both seem to fall on deaf ears. There is a vast difference in the directions and intent of a fortune teller and a diviner. No need to suffer a concussion from all the flotsam and jetsam floating about in the fortune telling ocean, seems like the perfect time for this diviner to swim ashore and blog on my own beach.



Magic Afoot!

Zum Raum wird hier die Zeit ( Time becomes space, here)  

~Wagner’s Parsifal


When using the lenormand deck the triple combination Stars-Sun- Birch Rod (16-31-11) as a response to a query may signal magical involvment.

Most define magic as change. My definiton of magic is a shift in thought, circumstances or events by the intervention of a sentient being. So according to the aforementioned definiton, the triple combination 16-31- with 11 signs magical involvement in a short line of five or seven.

The Birch Rod  card 11 is one of control, repetition and ritual. If card 11 falls before the pair 16-31 the magic is being worked. When the Birch Rod falls after 16-31 the magic has concluded and the desired shift or results are manifesting in the circumstances of your Querent. The shift can be a subtle change in thinking or as overt as outside of the client’s control physical changes.

A triple of course means the cards are touching each other as described above but the presence of all three cards in a short Line of Five (which means that two out of the triple will touch) or even a Line of Seven where the three cards may not touch still foretells the “possibility” of outside influences being gathered to affect or sway the client.

In general the triple as a warning  will fall in queries where the context is not about magic.  An attentive Reader then is alerted to the presence of an undercurrent of energy in the affairs of the client and may then proceed to formulate their questions following a new tack.

Lennies Are More Popular

The lenormand deck it seems gets way more attention than Kipper cards. I cannot see why the more descriptive of the two sets of fortune telling cards are so routinely overlooked.

One reason might be the cards themselves. The traditional Kipper deck is dark and dated. However, the new artistic renderings in Kipperkarten by people not so well versed in reading the cards can hamper the new reader’s ability to interpret the cards in the traditional way.  What seems old fashioned about card scenes is quite charming, once one learns the history of the deck. Kipperkarten are certainly more modern than the Marseilles Tarot deck.

Secondly, a Kipper deck needs to be very clear on directions on each of the 36 cards. Ambiguity is caused by artists modifying the original card scenes which have the visual cues used by traditional Kipper reading techniques’ Without these cues Kipper becomes inaccessible. The Kipper cards are overtly directional whereas in lenormand the directions are covert.  The lennies use direction but not in a way which will impact the beginning lenormand reader.

The Line of Sight Draw above: MC2-> 34 Work-35-High Honor-18 A Small Child says the Lady works to learn something new. This was my approach to both Lenormand and   Kipperkarten- as a student learning the basics which allows skills to grow and unfold naturally during the process.



Kipper Money Cards

Top:  Left Card 11 -Win Lots of Money; Right Card 13- Rich Gent

Bottom: Left Card 24-Theft; Right Card 27 -Unexpected Money

It is simple enough to me, Kipper money cards are the cards which have money on them whether on a table, in a cupboard, a check in the hand or on the floor. The money cards show legal tender and have amounts written on the containers or wrappers which hold the currency.

Two of my German language sources* list Card 13, Rich Young Gent as a Money card saying it primarily represents the firm or company one receives their wages from. Wages are scheduled monies. The Rich Gent can be an accountant or anyone who works with money as a vocation. By extension with card 29, the Prison, it shows a bank employee.

Of course some will ask isn’t Card 13 the Rich Gent a person card? Yes, it is traditionally the card of the son when it appears with other people cards near the Living Room or the House. The assignment of the “other man” or a Lover usually involves other male person cards and not Rich Young Gent. In many Kipper forums, new readers are interpreting romantic involvements in lines where the Rich Young Gent appears when his forte is finance!

The next query may be- why do you list Theft as a money card? Duh… it definitely meets the criteria of having money in denominations on the card face. The scene clearly shows a reduction of funds by the removal of money. The person is not stealing food, jewelry, or someone’s affections. It is money in the thief’s hand.

Card 27 –Unexpected Money is the Merchant’s card. A merchant can’t say how much people spend and when.  Same for a business owner.  This is obviously a money card but it is often explained as money that is not earned as a wage like Card 13. In Card 27 one finds  variance in sales made, commissions, bonuses, winnings; cash which appears when it appears, monies one cannot plan or depend on.

Card 11 Win Lots of Money is accepted as a money card without question. It is a lot of money or a large sum.

However, to every rule there is an exception and here the exception is a female. Card 12- The Rich Young Lady is part of the money card complex by her title even though no money is shown on her card.  She is seen outside in a garden which represents her contact with the social world. In terms of finances she represents disposable income or consumer spending where funds go out of one’s hands.


*German Sources Used

Kipper-karten Band II Legetechniken. Dipl.-Ing. Hildegard Leiding Heinz

Das Geheimnis Der Kipperkarten- Band I, Ingo Michael Simon