Category Archives: cartomancy

Andy’s Book: Revised & Expanded

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If you read this blog at all, you’ve probably heard of Lenormand Thirty Six Cards by now. It was intended as an introductory book, though it was quite detailed – I got a lot of benefit from it, and I’d been reading Lenormand for years already. Andy did a great job of filling in the gaps left by Treppner and the handful of others who had published information in english.

Since then, he re-opened his Cabinet course for awhile, including information that wasn’t available in the first edition of the book, and paying careful attention to the areas where people were having problems and how to explain things more clearly. (There is a human tendency to misinterpret certain statements and run with it – this is what he was mainly trying to remedy, I think. The man is infinitely more patient and accommodating than I am.) All of this – the course material and the teaching approach, have been added to the original book. Certain parts have been revised. And what came of all this is a book with roughly twice the word count, yet with the fat trimmed.

This appears, for all intents and purposes, to be the definitive Lenormand book. There’s really not much else you can say about the subject, the answers to virtually all of the questions one commonly sees are answered in this book. (Andy says it’s “intermediate”, I’m curious as to what he considers “advanced” – work through this book and internalize the information, and you’ve got Lenormand nailed.) Card and suit meanings, history, attendance, proximity, exercises, combos and more.

You can get more information here: http://boroveshengra.com/2015/07/01/lenormand-thirty-six-cards-2015-edition/

Order from Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/Lenormand-Thirty-Six-Cards-Introduction-Petit-ebook/dp/B00JHO7X8M/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=8-1&qid=1435760966

Or, if you prefer, from Createspace here: https://www.createspace.com/4913005

The Roots of Idiocy

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(No, not the things in the photo…read on!)

Comments are welcome, because I’m really, REALLY trying to find the root of this – so I can douse it with gasoline and enjoy the bonfire.

If you’ve followed this blog at all, you’ve seen many, many posts about learning Lenormand rather than pulling meanings out of your ass. And “new thought” vs. “new age” (AKA “sewerage”).

Now I’ve found this old thread http://www.tarotforum.net/showthread.php?t=98307 (pardon me if I don’t keep up with the purple shithole – also, profound props to you, Scion, whoever you are – eloquent and well put) on AT where some are defending a book by Arrien Angeles that is purportedly an instruction on the Crowley Thoth – with the caveat that she suggests ignoring Crowley (WUT) and goes on to give made-up interpretations of the images on the cards. (Crowley’s pelican, according to this dribble-of-misapprehended-symbols-by-someone-who-couldn’t-be-bothered-to-research, is a “swan” and “the ugly duckling”, the venom is “tears of the spirit”)

Look, if you want to learn the Thoth, read Crowley. The Book of Thoth, 777, and The Book of the Law at the very least. If you still can’t make sense of it, read Duquette. But not this Angeles fuckwittery.

The same goes for anything else. Read the real stuff, not the fake stuff. Jeez.

None of this is news, it’s been all too common since the 80’s. But what broadsided me and led me to mention it here, is that this execrable Angeles book came out in the late 70’s. The shitting down the throat of Lenormand – and all things cartomantic – has a precedent going back further than I previously realized. New age BS predates the 80’s. It snuck in when I was unaware of it, blithely shuffling my battered University Press RWS with Trapeze or BOC playing in the background. A lifetime ago.

Maybe Crowley was right (and not just yanking our chains) and we’re really in for another 500 years of Dark Ages. Say what you will about him, he was still a brilliant SOB.

ETA: Further digging has shown me that apparently, the pulling-meanings-out-of-your-wazoo school of reading goes ALL THE WAY BACK TO 1969 and the publication of “The New Tarot: The Tarot for the Aquarian Age”. The premise of this dribble is that just looking at the magic pasteboard unlocks wisdom in your subconscious, and is probably what set off this whole “learning is bad!” trope. It claims any idiot’s “insights” are just as valid as Waite’s, Crowley’s, Wirth’s, or anyone else who actually learned the cards. It was allegedly channeled with a Ouija board and published along with a hideous deck.

I can only conclude that the new agers and the Pat Robertson type wacky evangelicals are two sides of the same coin and we’ve gotten ourselves back to the Dark Ages.

Andy’s Book

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The expanded edition of Lenormand Thirty Six Cards will be available soon. This one goes a good way beyond the first edition’s comprehensive-yet-basic Lenormand 101, with material that was included in Andy’s last course. I’m hoping for a hardcover copy, after all, it’s a reference work and will get tons of use. My Book.

Resurrecting the Zauberkarten

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Die Zauberkarten is a deck first published in Vienna in 1855. It’s one of the Sibilla types that overspread the Continent in the 19th century and includes Italian Sibillas, French Sibyl decks (Sibylle des Salons, Petit Cartomancien, Jeu du Destin, Livre du Destin, etc.), Petit Lenormand, Petit Oracle des Dames…all of the old decks with an image and a playing card inset. There are different systems for reading each.

The difference between these cards and the more familiar Sibillas is that the other decks were continuously, or near-continuously, published, but the Zauberkarten seem to have died out, at least as far as I can tell. Caitlin Matthews acquired an antique copy in 2013, complete with the box and book, and sent scans to Lauren Forestell, who offered them for awhile, along with a slim volume by Caitlin, at her Game of Hope site.

It has images in common with Lenormand, like the Coffin, Snake, Ship, etc., but the meanings tend to be variant. There are some images I’ve seen in other decks, like the Merit Cross and Clasped Hands – but don’t relate it to your Whitman and Gypsy Witch decks just yet – the Pig, for instance, is disreputable rather than lucky. And there are other images that I’ve not seen anyplace else, like the Lightning Struck Tree, Overridden Horse, and Man Heaving Rock Uphill.

In other words, it takes some getting used to, and I haven’t had proper time for it. But the solution to “not having time” is to make time, so I did manage a series of dailies, a couple of which I’m posting here. My object was to see how viable the method, which gives different meanings to the cards depending if they’re on the right or left, is. Did the Zauberkarten die out because of the method? Or not – did the publisher simply fold? The cards do look very readable. Let’s test drive them.

DAY 1:
zaub1Man Clenching Fist, Chains, Sun

For the Man Clenching Fist, the book gives a general meaning of “Apparent reconciliation between enemies accompanied by falsehood. Inconvenience, annoyance.” But on the left, “folly”. Chains in the middle would carry the general meaning of “Loss of freedom. Scheming.” The General meaning of the Sun is “Honor and glory. Gift” and the right-hand meanings are “Gift, winning at games. Lucky in love.”

The synthesis for the left/right meanings, if you didn’t have any context, might be something like a silly attachment to optimism, either material or romantic.
But for general meanings, being unpleasantly bound to people who have an agenda, in hopes of improvement. “Making nice”.

What happened: I’m a day sleeper, but plumbers came to the house at 8 AM. We needed them, but they’re so annoying. Three loud, filthy plumbers. Of course they made a big mess taking everything apart before they figured out that the problem was OUTSIDE – which I could have told them, since it was EVERYTHING that had suddenly clogged.

So I think “folly” applies, but the general meaning is more specific. Plumbers virtually always fib about things in order to make more money, and it WAS inconvenient and annoying. Chains fits – I couldn’t escape, either by leaving or going to sleep. The “gift” of the Sun was me finally being able to sleep after they left and I washed everything down with Clorox. Even though it was only a temporary fix – they left a big trench in the yard with a main pipe draining into it and promised to return the next day.

On this day, the general meanings win hands down. In the case of the Man Clenching Fist, the general meaning overshadowed the left hand meaning (though folly was obviously at play, too.)

DAY 2:
zaub2Coffin, Anchor, Beggar

Well, ramping down for a daily, but the general meaning for Coffin is “Carelessness, recklessness, insurmountable obstacles, misfortune, death”. And the left hand meaning is “severe illness, danger, death”. Anchor gives “Hope, friendship with a woman” for the general meaning. Beggar is “Bad business, suffering of all kinds. Changes” generally, and “embarrassments” on the right.

What happened: The plumbers came back, right on time. They didn’t have to come inside this time. I was asleep but my daughter was up. While they were working on the pipe, somebody with the city was driving by and stopped and told them the landlord needed to get a permit in order for them to do that. Work stopped.

So: carelessness and recklessness in that they didn’t finish the first day (a Sunday) when the city employees wouldn’t have been out looking for opportunities to run their idiotic $60 extortion racket. As for illness, my daughter had a little stomach bug and I was working too close to the potting (a sealant) station, so my eyes got kind of raw. (With dailies, ramp down, ramp down…) The general meaning seems a lot more relevant for the day.

The Beggar’s “Embarrassments” fits because the trench looks trashy and Third World as hell, but this is small town Texas so it blends right in, and there is probably no one within a fifty mile radius that I care to impress. But we need to stay away from it as much as possible since the cards warned of illness. I have “Hope” it will eventually get fixed and filled in. Probably over the weekend, lol. None of the interactions I had with female friends that day stand out. Again, the general meanings seem more accurate and specific than the left/right meanings, but I can’t totally discount left/right.

Tentative conclusion: Learn all the meanings. Retain left/right, but only as a secondary consideration. It adds nuance, and it’s not totally unique to this deck (you see it with the Ring in Lenormand, and card order can be viewed as essentially the same thing, or at least similar). There is no need for modernization, only perspective.

This is why

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A good Lenormand practice group will limit the decks you can post to things like the Blue Owl, Carta Mundi, Dondorf, Glück, Mertz, Piatnik, and other reproductions of decks first published prior to 1950. To understand why, we need look no further than the very first card: the Rider.

The Rider is a well dressed man on a spirited horse. He looks well-to-do, and he’s hurrying to deliver some news himself, instead of sending a hired man, so it’s fairly important. His period clothing tips you off that the horse is his usual mode of transportation. What better to express the meanings of news, something tangible, a vehicle, speed, an athletic young man, a male lover, feet, knees, and ligaments?

In too many contemporary decks, this gets lost. Any person riding something will do, and you see jockeys, women, cowboys, polo ponies, people on bikes – some of the meanings are always lost, and in some instances the card isn’t even recognizable. I saw a deck recently that used a child on a rocking horse – it looked like a Child card. If you’re asking people to help you with a spread, at least use readable cards. And a kid on a rocking horse isn’t coming down the road to see you. A jockey isn’t going to leave the track on a million dollar racehorse to deliver your package or tell you Auntie Edna’s gall bladder surgery went well.

“But the Rider is fine in such-and-such deck” you say. And maybe it is. But if you go through the whole deck, there’s overwhelming odds that you’ll find some hinky cards. It’s not JUST the Rider! A lot of the new decks are cray-cray all the way through. And even if they get it right (there are a few that do), imagine the fallout when “Marilyn’s Lenormand” is allowed and “Carolyn’s Lenormand” isn’t. So best to keep it to old decks by deceased artists, lol.

Are all these old decks perfect? No, they’re not. I actually have one that shows a tank of goldfish on the Fish card. And that Mice card in the Glück – where are the Mice? But on the whole, old decks are a pretty safe bet for group discussion.

On the off chance you missed this

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Every card in the Tacheles/Adolph Engel deck is duplicated in the Gypsy Witch. In fact, the Gypsy Witch is just a Tacheles deck with the addition of the Shepherd, Bear, Eye and Lion.

Some of the art is so similar that you can see there was some copying going on.

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So if you wish you had a book about those crazy sigil decks, you probably already have one – a weird, unbound book first published over 100 years ago, no less! If you’re reading this, you’re almost certain to have a copy someplace – check the sock drawer, lol. If not, it can be purchased for about $7.

As for the sigils themselves, they’re purely for atmosphere. Like this old Myrna Loy flick. :D

ETA: Compare to Whitman meanings at Andy’s blog here: https://andyscards.wordpress.com/2015/02/24/whitman-old-gypsy-fortune-telling-cards-meanings/

Inner space: the final frontier

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Everything seems to be infested with misinformation these days, in an effort to make it more “user-friendly” (Read: “easy and dumbed down”). Much like googling “Lenormand”, the search term “scrying” will get you bunk, for the most part. And it’s a shame, really, because this subject is worthy of serious inquiry. It’s just too interesting to be left to the cranks and flakes.

Let’s look at the word “scry”: the Oxford Dictionary defines it as “Foretell the future using a crystal ball or other reflective object or surface.” This isn’t very helpful, since it leaves a lot open to interpretation (additionally, many – maybe most – of the things you see probably won’t “foretell the future”, but that’s another blog post).  It could be referring to a cold reader who uses the crystal as a prop, it could be referring to actual crystal visions, or it could be referring to something called pareidolia, a psychological term for the tendency to perceive a specific image in a random, ambiguous visual pattern. Pareidolia accounts for a lot of the stuff that comes up on google. The human brain is optimized to recognize faces, and we have a faction that views these things as Visits From The Great Beyond. The same line of “reasoning” that leads people to think that Jesus has returned on their grilled cheese sandwich:

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(I think it looks more like a Cocker Spaniel with something in his mouth. Or Hulk Hogan. I haven’t quite made up my mind.)

Don’t get me wrong, pareidolia is what’s used for reading wax melts and the like. There’s usually a reason that your brain interprets things a certain way, and seeing a knife in some random thing could be your instincts screaming for your attention. But that’s not what I want to keep running into when I’m looking for information on scrying. I consider it “another ball of wax”, so to speak.

If you would like to experiment with crystal visions, it’s best to go to the old sources, and/or people who are thoroughly familiar with them. While old books aren’t necessarily free of pseudoscience and misapprehended ideas, with a little common sense, you can get a pretty good working idea of what to do, and what to expect. Cat Yronwode has compiled an extremely helpful list of titles here http://www.yronwode.org/crystal-gazing-bibliography.html and it’s full of MUCH more effective search terms than “scrying”.

Many of these titles are now in the public domain, and can be had cheap or free. The authors often used pseudonyms for writing about something as shady as fortunetelling – among them were respected anthropologists, attorneys, folklorists, etc. I’m linking to a few of these books here.

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/26622/26622-h/26622-h.htm
The Project Gutenberg eBook of How to Read the Crystal, by Sepharial (Dr. Walter Gorn Old). An excellent book of instructions, highly recommended.

https://archive.org/details/clairvoyanceoccu00panciala

Clairvoyance and Occult Powers by Swami Panchadasi (William Walker Atkinson). The crystal gazing chapter starts at page 105.

https://archive.org/details/crystalgazingspi00dela
Crystal-Gazing and Spiritual Clairvoyance by L. W. de Laurence

http://www.amazon.com/Crystal-Gazing-Theodore-Besterman/dp/B000NP170E

Crystal Gazing by Theodore Besterman. “A Study in the History, Distribution, Theory and Practice of Scrying” from the author of Voltaire.

http://www.luckymojo.com/mojocatbooks.html

(NO, I’m not on their payroll. They’re just an excellent resource, something that’s extremely rare these days.) You can find Crystal Gazing: Lessons and Instructions in Silent Influence With The Crystal  and The Crystal Silence League: Personal Lessons, Codes, and Instructions for Members, both by C. Alexander, on this page. Or just order a crystal ball or palm stone here http://www.luckymojo.com/mojocatdivination.html#scrying and they’ll send you the second title free.

https://archive.org/details/cu31924028955875

Crystal gazing : its history and practice, with a discussion of the evidence for telepathic scrying
A wonderful 1905 book by Northcote W. Thomas, M.A., with an introduction by Andrew Lang. I liked this one so much that I purchased a clothbound edition from Nephilim Press https://nephilimpress.com/xstore/product.php?productid=17704&cat=0&featured=Y

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A couple of other items of interest:

http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs079/1105866064134/archive/1106148339903.html
The Crystal Silence League. This is a wonderful organization that carries on the work of C. Alexander, who used the crystal to send thoughts and prayers as well receive visions. Some archived instructions for various techniques with the crystal ball, including sending and silent influence. Don’t take this wrongly because it’s a prayer group – all religions are welcome, and of course all prayers are free if you request them. Besides, the archived articles are fantastic.

http://www.lmcradionetwork.com/
“Tuesday:
The Crystal Silence League Hour with Rev. Jon Saint Germain ​Spiritual guidance on the practical use of crystals and crystal balls in the development of mental concentration and mind power, silent influence over others, divination and scrying of the future, and telepathic contact with people and spirits. 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM Pacific​, 8:00 PM – 9:00 PM Eastern”

Additionally, Andy Boroveshengra has mentioned that he might do some blogging on the subject this year. That’s worth watching for, so stay tuned.