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.