A Traditional Kipperkarten Primer

If you’ve been reading Lenormand awhile, you’ll take to Kippers like a duck to water – and the information in this blog post is actually enough to get you started reading. If not, I’d recommend a few years of Lenormand study and practice first, if only because there’s a lot more english language resources out there for Lenormand than there are for Kipperkarten. (I highly recommend the writings of Andy Boroveshengra, Rana George, and Caitlin Matthews.) Going straight to Kippers without first studying and practicing the Lenormand methods of proximity and combining cards tends to make neophytes attempt to read them with modern Tarot methods, and they don’t get the benefits of this wonderful system.

Something else to bear in mind is that this deck, while it shares a lot of similarities with Lenormand, is extremely visual – not in the “intuitive” sense, but in the sense that it seems to be designed to be read with a heavy emphasis on facing directions. A card can mean something completely different when it’s behind the significator’s back. So while you may find rules best with Lenormand (“The Scythe always cuts to the right” can simplify reading a Lenormand that shows two scythes crossed and pointing different directions, for example), Kippers should be read taking things into account like which card is on the other side of a door, or which card a figure is pointing to.

As always, use a traditional deck for learning. The choices are easy, since as of this writing there are only five major ones – and that is enough. The most traditional are the Original Kipperkarten (shown here, published by ASS) and the Salish Kipper. Ciro Marchetti’s Fin de Siècle is excellent – there are some changes, but they were carefully considered and Mr. Marchetti does not veer from the traditional meanings – some of his cards illuminate ideas that were rather cryptic in the old decks. The Leidingkarten are modernized, but true to the traditional meanings, and would still be OK for a beginner in my opinion. The Mystisches Kipper, like the Mystical Lenormand (both are by Urban Trösch), is a bit deviant. The art is interesting, though, and once you’ve got some experience under your belt it’s fine to use it. Like Lenormand, the deck has 36 cards (Ciro added a few extra to his deck), and they’re numbered, although there are no playing card insets. You can use the same spreads, (and, of course, any Kipper-friendly spreads that are included in the instruction book) and techniques like reflection, knighting, etc. Kippers look more scenic, there may be several objects or characters on a card rather than Lenormand’s one symbol per card, but again, don’t try to read them using modern Tarot methods, or you’ll get mud.

I’d like to expand this as time goes on, I’m always looking for traditional stuff on these, so if you find anything good (or just have questions), feel free to comment.

1. Main Person Male sig

2. Main Person Female sig

3. Marriage Card – Usually indicates relationships, bonds, or friendships – you need some backup cards to predict an actual marriage. Good when it’s ahead of the sig. Behind it, this card can sometimes mean separation, if other cards support this.

4. Meeting – Getting together – can be romance, friendship or business, see nearby cards to see who or what it’s about. Friends, good luck, harmony.

5. Good Lord – AKA “geezer”. 😀 Old guy, boss, relative. Wise, experienced, etc. Brings good news when close to the sig, with no bad cards near. In an affair, Card number 1 is the lover and no. 5 is the husband.

6. Good Lady – Same as 5, just reverse the sexes. If it lies ahead or above the sig, then pleasure is shown, in every respect. But behind the sig, she can be a troublemaking female relative.

7. Pleasant Letter – Contacts, news, letters, messages, calls, texts, emails, paper. Usually informal (no. 27 requires a signature). Generally, though not always, good. As always, pay attention to nearby cards. A pleasant message when this card is located ahead or above the sig, but behind it or otherwise badly aspected,  it can show defamation, grief and sorrow.

Timing: a week

8. False Person – Like the Fox in Lenormand, it says “WRONG”. Ramp it down and it’s a faux pas – a “false step”. Ramp it up and it’s flat-out deceit. Bad decision, deviousness, things that are hidden, or a dishonest person. Close to the sig, this card shows bad luck and danger; when far beware of loss, hypocrisy and betrayal.

9. A Change – A change in circumstances. With No. 21 Living Room, a move or relocation, and soon. Far from the sig, the change could be delayed.

Timing: 6 or 7 weeks

10. A Journey – Road trip, leaving something behind, transport or vehicle. With No. 24 Theft, a caution against loss or theft while travelling, or an auto accident. You really want good cards surrounding this one – Malkiel calls it one of the “Master Cards” and the cards around it can be somewhat amplified, in my experience. Pay special attention to the card that the driver points to with his whip.*

Timing: a week

11. Winning Much Money – Money other than regular earnings (lottery, inheritance, bonus, etc.), close to the sig in a GT or a large spread, a lot of money; far, the money is “out of reach” at best, losses at worst. When it’s not about money, it can describe a nearby card as “a lot”.

12. Rich Girl – A young woman, well-to-do girl, daughter, younger mistress, lucky life, no worries/being carefree. But with a bad card near it, family-related grief.

13. Rich Good Lord – Younger man, company/employer, money matters (usually positive), business. Always brings good news and favorable luck when no bad cards are near.

14. Sad News – Mildly depressing news, minor illness, weakness in general. The closer to the sig, the sooner it occurs.

15. Good Outcome In Love – Love or friendship (check nearby person cards). But near card no. 8, obstacles and dishonesty.

Timing: spring

16. His Thoughts – can be taken literally: what the person you are interested in is thinking. His thoughts are good when not surrounded by no. 8, 14, 23, 24, 29 or 30. Also, making plans.

Timing: 4 weeks

17. Getting A Gift – Joy, praise, recognition, profit, general happiness. Lucky card, especially near the sig, and it takes the edge off of nearby negative cards

Timing: Winter, or next holiday or celebration – Xmas, birthday, etc.

18. A Small Child – Something new, something small, a “little bit” of something, a fresh start. Card No. 36 Hope/Big Water + No. 18 A Small Child is the pregnancy combo. (18 + 36 is dreaming of/fantasizing about pregnancy). Bad cards near this one can bring anger, grief and sorrow.

Timing: Spring, or shortly

19. A Death – A “deadly” event, an ending. (Literal death only in certain combinations.) Close to the sig, a possible death in the family. If no. 21 is also nearby, it will occur suddenly and unexpectedly. A nasty shock. Above the Main Person, negative thoughts. Behind the Main Person, the bad time is past now. Under it, No. 19 says that they are going through a rough patch, but staying positive. Ahead, it’s a bad time yet to come.

The circular wreaths show the permanence of it – you can work through it, but you can never go back. The yellow wreath points to what caused it (the card on the left). The floral wreath below hovers above something that will be transformed rather than ended – the point of the coffin (bottom right) showing what will be affected. ***

Timing: night time or winter

20. House – House, apartment, real estate, land, yard/garden, home, stability, security. Near the sig, good luck and mercy in all undertakings. But in the center of the spread, all persons who surround this card are dangerous.

Timing: 6 months

21. Living Room – Your own personal space – home, apartment, sometimes even a motel room or office. Anyplace the world can’t intrude. Close to the sig, the events indicated by other nearby cards will happen very soon. (It’s “in the room”, i.e., close.)

Timing: 4 weeks. (Fiechter gives “24 hours to 4 weeks”, adapt for context)

22. Military Person – An official of any kind, when literal: cop, judge, etc. Can be a friend or relative. Can also be intimidating, unapproachable. But it’s often just an exclamation point describing a neighboring card: “It’s official!”

23. Court – Decisions, public affairs, public building. Neutral or unpleasant – literal court, tax office, negotiations, rattling cages, etc. Good news about legal matters when near the sig, bad when distant.

24. Theft – Loss or theft of any kind: money, goods, love, friendship. Ahead of the sig, you will recover your losses; when this card is distant, the loss is permanent.

25. Come To High Honor – Close to the sig, very favorable for recognition, promotion, achievement, and career advancement. Distant, what is shown by the surrounding cards will become reality. Usually business related. “Working smart” as opposed to menial labor. Work that requires knowledge. With 34, self employment.

26. Great Luck – Just what it says. Best card in the deck – unexpected good luck is on the way. Amplifies nearby good cards and reduces bad ones.

Timing: summer

27. Unexpected Money – Finances, formal contracts (signature required), speculation/investments, a little money, unexpected money coming in through work or a raise (check nearby cards), sudden and unexpected good luck, everyday money activities.

Timing: a couple of weeks

28. Expectation – Often referred to as “3 Months Patience”, but not literally 3 months. Longing, aching expectations. It advises waiting and letting things resolve themselves. Don’t act.

Timing: from a few weeks to a couple of months.

29. Prison (Hospital, in Leidingkarten) – Large building or corporation, being trapped in a relationship or situation. Fear, isolation, loneliness. No. 23 Court + no. 29 Prison, literal prison or jail time. Bad luck, a family secret may be revealed. Timing: A blockade. Time passes slowly.

30. Magistrate – Disagreements, problems, and stress, but also having someone to go to for resolution. Decision. Conversations. Judge, lawyer, doctor, etc. Close to the sig, unavoidable sad news.

31. Short Illness – Illness, addiction, problems, depression. With No. 14 Sad News, a serious illness, but with favorable cards only a short illness is indicated. Back of a person card, the back; above it, anything from the head to abdominal area; below it, problems below the waistline. Card No. 36 Hope/Great Water + No. 31 can warn of heart problems. This is also the “bed card”, so, sexuality. With 24 (Theft), an affair. With 21 (Living Room), intimate sex. With 22 (Military Person) it can get sporty. :D**

32. Grief And Adversity – Literally what it says. Also brooding, worries, obstacles, frustration, sometimes headache, fever, jealousy or rage, but things will come to a good end if no. 5, 6, 7, 15, or 26 are close.

33. Cloudy Thoughts – This one is always a warning, consider the surrounding cards very carefully. Many meanings including profound worry, rejection, deception, pessimism, confusion, lack of freedom. This card has a depressive quality, while 32 leans more towards a panicky state. Love and good luck will blossom, if it is close to no. 26; discouragement and misery if it’s far.

34. Work, Occupation – Usually (but not always) refers to working for a company, rather than self-employment (it only refers to self employment in combination with 25). Manual labor, hand crafting. Close to the sig, work, position, services or a good ending of an enterprise. Can be hobbies, but also drudgery.

35. A Long Road – Sometimes referred to as “2 Years Patience”, meaning a long time, or a lot that needs to be done, “a long road ahead”, “a long way to go”, a great distance. Behind the Sig, two years (or a long time) before, in front of the Sig, two years (or a long time) in the future.

Timing: a couple of years or a long time

36. Hope/Great Water – Dreams, fantasies, fortunes. No. 36. Hope/Great Water + (card) is a dream (or fear) coming true; (card) + No. 36 Hope/Great Water means it’s only a dream. Surrounding cards and positions are extremely important with this one. Hopes will be realized, if card no. 26 is close to it. It can also stand for a message from a far country or overseas.

Timing: summer

All versions of the Kipperkarten (with the exception of Ciro Marchetti’s) are available here http://www.esoterikshopping.de/Kartenlegen-Tarot-Lenormand-Wahrsagekarten-Engelkarten/Kipperkarten-Leidingkarten If you have trouble navigating the site (it’s in German), send them an email – they have some very nice bilingual people there who are happy to help!

The special edition of Ciro’s Kipper, the Fin de Siécle, is no longer available. You can order the USG version here https://www.usgamesinc.com/Fin-de-Siecle-Kipper/
And you can get a themed cherry colored wood box with a ceramic inlay, and/or a themed reading cloth at Ciro’s site http://www.ciromarchetti.com/#!kipper/c1irz

*Thanks to Malkiel Rouven Dietrich. Check out his NEW youtube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQ3xu6jyb-iYsoorBJS11-A

And good news! The Master Card Spread is back!

**Thanks to Kerstin Kolb

***Thanks to Toni Puhle for the information about the background objects. She says “its all in the cause and effect (like most kipper cards). i.e., where the cause is and what it affects”.

Most of the other info here was collected from the Original and Leidingkarten LWB’s, and various online card reading groups over the years. Thanks to all.


21 responses »

    • Hello, A reader gave me a reading for my Family Question and Gave me a very short description of ” everything is okay”with the Number 1 card, the Number 20 card and the Number 21 card. Can you help me with understand the meaning with all three of these card s together, besides his “everything is okay” status.

      • Male significator + House + Living Room – literally, “A man who is important to you is close to home.” I don’t know the details of your question, but the cards could be talking about a faithful husband or lover, a man who isn’t going to leave, a man who lives near you, or a man who will soon acquire a house. The only thing to be careful of in this spread is #20 in the center, but since the cards are good overall it could simply be saying he’s protective.

  1. This is a great post…tempting! I think I need more Lenormand experience under my belt before I delve into these. 🙂

  2. This place is just amazing. I’m new to Lenormand and can’t wait to explore kippers. Am just so impressed with your efforts!

  3. Thanks, Luisa! 🙂


    Alas, Malkiel has taken down his youtube channel. But here is the method for using Master Cards. The explanation and demo starts at about 36:29.

    And a demonstration of that 5×7+1 GT for Kippers that you often see in German LWB’s.

    Vielen Dank, Kelly!

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  6. Thanks! This is a nice post! Do you know where I can find more explanation about spreads in Kipperkarten? Thank you

    • Hi Bruna (and thanks) –

      Other than the Master Card spread shown in the video above, most people use the same kinds of spreads they’d use for Lenormand or playing cards – strings (lines of 3, 5, 7, or 9), box spreads like the 3 x 3, and the Grand Tableau.

      I’ve seen a few spreads with named positions, but these were probably Tarot spreads originally. I prefer not to use a single Kipper card for something like “what crosses you”, or “what he brings to the relationship”, but it works quite well if you use three cards for each position – that way you get more card interaction.

      The German readers who grew up with Kippers and know them best like to use the kinds of spreads I mentioned in the first paragraph. You can see them doing that on any given day at this facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/162246830482453/?ref=bookmarks

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