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Time to continue the gridding of a card. In my previous post, I started exploring this technique for reading a single card using an imaginary grid to provide a timeline. I used the Gods and Titans Oracle cards, and drew the card depicting Helios in answer to my question: Show me what I need to focus on at work this upcoming week.


I read a basic overview of the situation based on where the main figure of Helios fell within the grid. Please go back to Part 1 if you missed it. Otherwise let’s continue.

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Grid — or even gird — your loins, fellow card readers! Here’s a technique for wringing information out of a single card. It’s based on an imaginary grid overlaying a single card, and reading parts of the card in the context of that grid. This isn’t new, but I don’t think it’s commonly explored; and it’s not something I’ve tried before.

I used the Gods and Titans Oracle cards. The author and primary force in creating was Stacey Demarco. However, I must give props to Jimmy Manton’s artwork. (The more recent Isis Oracle that he illustrated has truly drool-worthy art, although it didn’t work for me as a reading deck.)

My question: Show me what I need to focus on at work this upcoming week. I decided in advance that I would draw the tenth card, as if I were looking at the final outcome in a tree of life spread. Even if one doesn’t wish to use that spread, I like the extra factor of randomization that I feel is added by not just taking the top card. Question and method established, I shuffled the cards with focus and intent — those favorite keywords of mine! —and dealt the 10th card, Helios, titan of the sun. (Click image for a larger view.)


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Someone at a forum was assembling card combinations in an attempt to cover every (or at least, most) eventualities that might arise in a reading, notably around people’s relationships.

I don’t think a reader can, or should, be prepared for every eventuality that is going to come up. Basic combinations of cards can be good to have in mind, and they help the reader learn the language of the cards. Most cartomancy books teach in this fashion, by including sample card combinations. Usually they aren’t exhaustive, but rather are meant to show the learner how the art of reading into multiple cards works. They are a valuable learning tool in that regards, sort of like training wheels on a bicycle.

Combination lists also suggest that life can be neatly compartmentalized, but life doesn’t work that way. Life is messy. It gets complicated. A romance could bring pregnancy, an infidelity, new friendships, ending friendships and a family reunion all in one fell swoop. (How does a swoop fall, I wonder? But I digress.) Read the rest of this entry »

My friends who regularly read certain oracle cards often get literal readings. This is a reading where the symbol depicted on the oracle card turns out to mean that thing, rather than what the symbol stands for. I’ve noticed this is somewhat common with the Lenormand, and especially the Gipsy (Zigeuner Wahrsagekarten), oracle decks. Yet it can happen with the tarot as well.

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A helpful exercise for getting better at any deck of cards is to work in reverse. That is, come up with the message or answer that the cards have to tell, then figure out which cards would say it. Over at Art of Cartomancy, we are currently practicing this exercise as a game, just for fun.

Here is an example of this exercise. You can certainly create scenarios with less drama, although they may not be as entertaining for others. 🙂 This question is on behalf of Monica, a woman who comes to you in tears.

“I just can’t take it anymore! *sob, sob* My office job is boring. I can’t stop eating cake. I’m addicted to soap operas. And I got a bad perm! *sob, sob* But I need to know the truth about my relationship with Brad. Are we heading for marriage?”

The answer for this poor lady is no, because Brad is two-timing her. He’s seeing one (or more) other women, and looking for someone he can take financial advantage of. A marriage proposal would be unlikely, and would only be for ulterior motives. Brad’s more interested in stringing his women along at this point.

You’ve heard the question and you know the answer. The challenge: say it with a line of Lenormand cards! There is no right or wrong here, as long as the basic answer is conveyed, along with any embellishment that doesn’t change the answer.

Yesterday I did a quick tarot reading for someone using a three card draw as a followup to an initial reading. It was a relationship question, and the three cards I drew were 7 of Swords, 5 of Pentacles and Knight of Wands.

This was a reading where I didn’t need to muse over the cards to understand their message. I instantly had a snapshot of the answer from glancing at these three. I don’t feel that these cards bode well for a relationship, going by divinatory meanings and the related imagery. I also noticed a lack of water element cards, which surprised me. That doesn’t seem like a good sign for matters of the heart, as it implies a lack of emotional consideration in the situation.

After the first few seconds, this reading was a matter of me trying to explain the cards to the questioner in a way that justified my initial gut feeling, by backing it up with details unfurled from this cluster of cards. This was an online, non-interactive reading; so I was not able to ask questions and clarify certain aspects of this situation. Regardless, I didn’t see a positive outcome from these cards, and this was an almost-instant flash of intuition.

Others have pondered this matter: that a card reading’s outcome is known on some level, at first glance. The reading process is simply picking through the mental chaff to pull little kernels of truth, which are woven into a cohesive story that delivers the knowledge the questioner seeks. This simple reading of mine really hit this idea home, and it makes sense.

An analogy might be reading the dust jacket blurb about a novel. One gets a fairly good idea of what to expect from the blurb, but reading the whole book is necessary to fully grasp the tale contained within.

Cartomancers, have you experienced this? Does it occur frequently, or rarely? What kind of cards speak to you this way? You know the drill: share your stories in the comments.

I had a rather disconcerting moment while doing some readings tonight. I wanted to get in some Lenormand reading practice and thought to do some practical readings about the move. I first did a couple of quick readings about two homes that my partner and I are interested in looking at, using the “No-Layout” spread as described by Sylvie Steinbach in her book Secrets of the Lenormand Oracle*. In one of these readings, which consisted of a string of five cards, the first card was the Mountain and the second card was the House. This immediately suggested some upfront delays or obstacles involved with at least one property. Coming as the first two cards in the spread, this was a pretty strong message.

I then wanted to practice the Grand Tableau, the full 36-card layout. (I use the 9×4 layout for this.) I was using the pattern techniques, the first of which I did was to use the system of houses. For those unfamiliar, this means looking at the “house” or position that represents the subject of interest, and seeing what card is in that position. Not unlike an astrological house, except there are 36, one for each card. Then this card is chained by checking it’s house, to see what card is there; and so on. It sounds convoluted but isn’t once you’ve done it or seen an example.

The first house I wanted to look at was position #4, house of the House; as expected, this is where to look for situations involving a home or real estate. Imagine my surprise (and if I’m honest, a little bit of dismay) to see that this position was occupied by the Mountain! Once again, a blockage related to the House.

I’ll have to see what happens. I’m still fairly new to this, so my interpretations have more room for error. But two readings with the Mountain affecting the House… time will tell!

* Ms. Steinbach’s reading techniques have their share of fans and detractors alike. I stick closer to the German tradition for card meanings, but I feel the No-Layout technique is a helpful tool in the Lenormand reader’s arsenal.


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