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Four calling birds: Four elements. It’s elementary, my dear Watson!

How could I not do at least one post talking about the elements? They are so integral to the way I read tarot, and the Playing Card Oracles, that it’s hard for me to not consider elements. The way elements are present or missing, and the way they interact with each other in readings, can enhance the picture of what is happening in the situation being explored.

That interaction is sometimes called elemental dignities. That’s a highfalutin’ term and a lot of people find the idea off-putting, but really, it’s just the way card “energies” as depicted by elements influence and affect each other.

And some good news: if you’ve always felt intimidated by elemental dignities (EDs), but you’ve learned Lenormand card reading, then you most likely have the skills necessary to learn EDs!

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Five Gold Rings: A triumphant gathering of precious metals.

There were a couple of things I had kicking around for this post. A continuation from the numerology post, where I left out a couple of things. Some talk of the i-ching that I omitted from my post about variety, or the related topic of Chinese five-element theory.

Instead, I’m going to go with my original impulse, which was inspired by thinking about how five gold rings reminded me of the Olypmics rings, which are a symbol of unity — or at least the gathering of people that the Olympics brings about.

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8_maids8 Maids a-Milking: Cow-nting (counting) those cows!

Pardon me for appearing to slack off on this series. A rare headache on Friday turned into a head cold by Saturday, which is where I am today. Thinking has been a challenge, let alone writing. I’ve been trying to prepare for Christmas, and this cold cancelled some anniversary celebration plans. Still, one must soldier on! As I noted last year, the Twelve Days of Christmas actually refer to the twelve days after Christmas, so it’s okay if I continue this series into early January. Phew!

Today’s topic is going to be a quick and dirty look at numbers in terms of reading cards. [After writing this, it’s not as “quick” as I’d expected, but I enjoyed writing it and hope you enjoy reading it.]

It all starts with the meaning of numbers, which makes some people think of numerology, a stand-alone divination tool that works by calculating numerical data to learn about people through the meaning of their numbers. I’m not too keen on numerology, because the generation of numbers seems fairly arbitrary with too much variance for my taste.

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11_pipersEleven Pipers Piping: Sometimes a new deck calls with a siren song; a lure like the Pied Piper of Hamlin.

In our materialistically focused society, people tend to like getting new things, and the New Age community is no exception. You can walk into almost any New Age store across the country and find a tantalizing display of expensive tschochkes, brick-a-bracks, collectibles and dust collectors available for purchase. People have always been hungry for shortcuts to heaven, or to ascension. It’s human nature.

There is nothing wrong with buying or having nice things, if a person enjoys them. I have collected various things myself over the years: miniature figures, books, video games, penguin items and — yes, tarot decks. The problem is when the collecting is for the wrong reasons.

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A few weeks ago, I did a reading about a playing card deck I own, to ask how it would work for me in reading. The deck is the Kosen yaoi poker deck, meaning it has sexy, manga-styled men for the court cards. The pips are in an art deco style. I’ve not used it for anything, and since I’ve been exploring the Playing Card Oracles lately, I wanted to see how that system would apply to a poker deck without the PCO illustrations.

This deck has two Jokers. I wasn’t sure how to treat them, so I thought I’d apply them to make a “changing” card that has both a positive and a negative aspect. Loosely akin to the changing hexagram lines one might get in an i-ching reading.

PCO reading - how will yaoi deck work

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While I’d love to say that’s the title of my new Edwardian thriller, it relates to a conundrum I’ve had for the last few weeks. I’ve been followed in my readings by the King of the fire element. It’s been the noble King of Wands in the Waite-Smith, the adder who is the Wildwood Tarot’s King of Bows, and the King of Spirits whose face emanates flames from the Dreampower Tarot.

Lo Scarabeo Tarot - King of Wands

King of Wands – Lo Scarabeo Tarot Deck

It’s been a variety of readings, from job and career to my recent Dreampower daily. I am not sure who this King represents but he must be significant to be stalking me. I generally treat the Kings (and Queens) as actual people in a spread. He could be an individual with a fire sign; or he could be a male with strong powers of creativity, charisma, influence or a big temper.

The handy thing about being a card reader is that you can always try to answer questions by doing readings. So that’s what I did! I used the Playing Card Oracles four-card spread, and asked, “Who or what is the King of Fire in my life at this time?”

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Can the cards pinpoint someone’s sexual orientation? For a decent reader, I expect they can. It’s arguably not so different than reading to determine the sex of an unborn baby. Of course, looking at it another way, it’s not so different than reading about anything else: have a question that matters, focus properly, set the correct intention along with a precisely worded question and apply carefully honed reading techniques. (Don’t forget to bring intuition along for the ride!)


Back in 2008 when I first discovered the Lenormand, I learned of such techniques which seemed more cut and dried than other cards. I was fascinated by the possibility that cards could be used this way. It promised to be a supplemental “gaydar”(1), and as a gay man I was intrigued that it was possible at all. But it’s not something I practiced, as it wasn’t something I needed in daily life.

This week I was curious about a man named Michael(2). Here is an opportunity to experiment with this reading technique! Since I’ve been enjoying my Playing Card Oracles recently, I opted to use them. However, I chose a spread I’ve been using a lot with the tarot.

I phrased my precise question: Is Michael gay? I further set an intention that the deck would show me by using masculine or feminine cards to show where Michael is coming from — that is, a masculine card would show heterosexual male interests, whereas a feminine card would show the opposite. This isn’t about behaviors, just sexual interests.

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I did a Playing Card Oracle (PCO) reading over the weekend for a woman I will call Deanna. Deanna is most anxious to be in a romantic relationship, and wanted to know when she would find a boyfriend. As I was just getting a feel for the PCO cards and system, I thought I would put them to the test and try out the Cat Spread. This spread incorporates timing, and it can show events for the next year — 52 weeks, since each playing card corresponds to one week.

Question: When will Deanna find a new romantic partner?

reading_PCO_Deanna8 of Spades (Stone Field), 2 of Clubs (Friendship),
King of Spades (Mardoc), 9 of Hearts (Gilles de Rais)

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We’re still big fans of the now-syndicated sitcom Golden Girls in this house. The woes and antics of Dorothy, Blanche, Rose and Sophia continue to feel relevant, and never fail to raise our spirits along with a good laugh.

The Golden Girls

The Playing Card Oracles

I’ve been dabbling with the Playing Card Oracles (PCO) again, a system authored by Ana Cortez that works best with her deck, illustrated by Ana’s father, C.J. Freeman. I’ve come to the system periodically over the years. I always find it’s too different from other methods I’ve used — whether for playing cards or tarot — yet every time I get a little more from it.

The PCO can be used with geomancy which is built into the core layout.

I have long enjoyed geomancy, and although I haven’t blogged about it often, I’ve always found geomancy to be very enjoyable and accurate. It adds a nice layer to interpreting using the PCO.

The Reading

So having picked up PCO in the last week, just for fun I did a practice reading about Blanche Devereaux. Blanche is the shallow yet good-hearted southern belle with a never-ending stream of sexual escapades and stories thereof.

“The woman has slut embroidered on her underwear!” — Sophia Petrillo

My PCO question: What will Blanche’s next date be like?

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Over in the Facebook Lenormand group, there is a minor debate about whether “charging” the cards is a valid technique. For anyone who doesn’t know, charging the cards means identifying significators in advance. This is most useful in identifying who the Man and Woman cards will be, and includes choosing a focus card when doing the “no-layout” method of reading.

The person that started the debate wrote:

I just realized that Lenny doesn’t care how you “charge the cards.”

I would like to point out that there is no absolute, one-size-fits-all technique for reading any kind of cards. Some techniques work for some people, and not others. Perhaps charging doesn’t work for this person, because on some level they didn’t like it to begin with it. That doesn’t mean their view should be applied to the Lenormand as a generalization.

Baartschi Whip

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