Category Archives: cartomancy

Get Yourself Sane

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One can’t be an effective reader while putting on an act.

And by “act”, I don’t mean dressing all boho. I mean being FAKE.

If memory serves, it was the Scots who called prognostication “the tongue that cannot lie” – even if it means being burnt in a spiked tar barrel, as was said to be the fate of the Brahan Seer. Whether this actually happened or not is debatable, but the point is that while there are a lot of liars out there calling themselves “readers”, real readers are not bullshitters. We learn to read cards, you pay us to read cards, we tell you what the cards say.

There are certain psych disorders that interfere with one’s effectiveness as a reader, and a big one I want to talk about here is the Martyr Complex. You’ve all run into them: those pagans who are always screeching about the evil Christians and “never again the burning times!”, those rubber room feminists who accuse every male who answers a simple question of “mansplaining” and paint all men as “the patriarchy”, or worse, “rapists”.

I run into these types often. Here is one who apparently collected over $27,000 from 374 backers and didn’t produce the goods, and is now attention whoring all over facebook and playing the victim. All the while blaming everyone but herself and libeling at least one friend of mine that I know of, which I don’t take kindly to.

This person is not a reader. This person is a fake. Don’t be this person. Study, practice, and above all – Be Real.

That is all.

Fin de Siécle: High Honor

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It has come to my attention that there is some confusion regarding the High Honors card in Ciro Marchetti’s Fin de Siécle. Some people seem to think that it’s a battle scene, and that the meaning is changed from No. 25 Zu hohen Ehren kommen (“Come to high honors”) in the Original Kipperkarten.

It isn’t. It’s exactly the same thing. This is made clear in the companion PDF, but I know that not everyone reads that before doing an unboxing video, and that it’s currently only available in english, which isn’t everyone’s first language. But there are clues on the card itself.

Let’s look a little more closely. The Original shows a humble little house in the foreground, with a castle on a hill in the background, the implication being that someone has risen from humble beginnings and achieved wealth and power. Kind of a Gatsby card, hopefully without the organized crime. Of course it seldom means you’re going to be THAT rich. It’s a card of recognition, promotion, achievement, and career advancement.

Now let’s look at Ciro’s version:

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The soldiers are in spotless dress uniform.
The cannons are lined up perfectly.
Everything is orderly.
This is ceremonial.
This is a gun salute.

Combat is chaos. Soldiers are generally hunkered down firing, or running. They’re dirty and disheveled. There is a hellish atmosphere that isn’t present on the card.

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Now, would you say that the card looks like the photos above? Or does it look more like this Royal Gun Salute at Hyde Park?

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Here is a wikipedia entry on the 21-gun salute in the UK, the setting for this deck (though the wikipedia entry talks about our own times, not late Victorian/Edwardian, it’s an old tradition). You can see that it’s usually done for Royals. The “people in the castle” shown on No. 25 from the Original Kipperkarten. If you feel like looking over the whole article, you’ll see that it’s done in many parts of the world. In most countries, it’s similar. It’s generally reserved for royals, high officials, and heads of state.

A lot of you may have seen a gun salute firsthand. If you’ve ever gone to a veteran’s funeral, you’ve probably seen rifles fired graveside. In the US, this is a three-volley salute. My dad got that for his service in WWII. It’s not 21 shots with cannons, but it’s still an honor.

So this card is showing cannons fired to honor someone of very high rank. A high honor, and still a card of recognition, promotion, achievement, and career advancement.

A castle on a hill, a 21-gun salute. Two ways of saying the same thing.

Do take time to read the PDF if you can. (And not just because I got to contribute. It’s seriously helpful.) And, because I haven’t ended a blog post with a song in awhile, I leave you this 21-gun salute for the rest of us.😀

Holiday card pull, 2015

Giordano Berti's Sibyl of the Heart

Giordano Berti’s Sibyl of the Heart

Greetings, and happy whatever-you-may-or-may-not-be-celebrating! LOL. I pulled a few cards for the coming week, and I wanted to share it here, as it looks pretty universal.

I used Giordano Berti’s The Sibyl of the Heart. I mentioned it in my last post – it’s taken from an old Rosicrucian text, and it uses emblems. Emblem books are one of the roots of Lenormand, Sibilla, and “Gypsy” type decks. Many have symbols in common with the Tarot as well. The interpretations vary, but they’re well worth any cartomancer’s perusal since they give you a sense of the old european mindset that these cards came out of.

The first card is No. 8, Balance. The heart is balanced precariously on the point of a pyramid-like structure. There is a rod through it, with a bell on each end. The slightest movement will set those bells to ringing.

The next card is No. 15, Temptation. A winged heart this time, with a demon in hot pursuit. Pretty self-explanatory.

And the last card is No. 1, Preparation. Hands emerge from a cloud and slide the heart into a brick oven.

Now, if Balance wasn’t there, I would say that these cards were a caution to walk a chalk line and be very careful. But with Balance there, I think they are simply saying not to overdo. Spend, but not too much. Eat, drink, but not too much. The Temptation will be there, but I should keep some money and energy in Preparation for the next phase. Something important may be coming up afterwards. Listen for those bells (Balance), don’t ignore them.

This deck is always reads very clearly. It tends to advise rather than just give a straight prediction, but the advice is in the cards, not just imagination telling you what you want to hear. I would like to know more about them (the background images, the buildings and landscapes, all of these surely have a lot of weight as well. I’d like to learn about them in the historical and alchemical context.)

It’s an heirloom quality deck and it comes with a booklet by our own Odete Lopes (Madame Sheyla). The cards come in a sparkly red bag, smelling faintly of aromatic resin incense, and the whole thing is done up in a box made to look like a very old-fashioned book, that ties with a red ribbon. Just superb. You can see a bit more on this video, there is a study group here, and it’s available for purchase here (clicking the “Buy It” button opens a page that gives you the appropriate email contact to use according to the country you live in.)

Needful Things: Tarot Talismans, Hallowstones, & Fin de Siécle

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(A nod to Mr. Stephen King for the title – tis the season!)
Just checking in with a quick mention of Carrie Paris’s Tarot Talismans, Professional Dreamer’s Hallowstones, and Ciro Marchetti’s Fin de Siécle Kipperkarten deck. I will be blogging more on each separately as time allows, they’re all fabulous.

The Tarot Talismans are pure genius. There is a charm for each Trump, and the rest of the deck has been reduced – you can determine the rest via four suit charms, a ten sided die, and four chess charms that represent the Courts. It’s all explained thoroughly in the free PDF download available here. The tin is beautiful and large enough to hold a few extra things, the charms themselves are in a small organza bag and more portable than all but the tiniest mini deck. You can toss it in a little sling pouch along with your keys, wallet, phone and a little makeup and be ready for anything.😀

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When it first arrived, I made a game of guessing which charms represented which card, and it was very easy. The meditating Kuan Yin makes a perfect High Priestess/Papess, the ballerina is obviously the dancing lady from The World. And a lot of them are literal, like the Sun, Moon, Star and Tower.
It can be purchased here, along with other Needful Things: http://carrieparis.com/shop/

The Hallowstones are Halloween/Samhain-themed, but I’m going to use mine year round – it’s my favorite holiday, after all!😉 They’re somewhat like those wonderful Crowstones, but distilled down to twelve symbols that still manage to give a nuanced reading. Robyn is just really, really good at coming up with these things, they always work well. Even the pickiest of us love the Crowstones, and the Hallowstones are equally good, I think. It’s another very, very portable casting oracle. And it comes with a laminated casting sheet:

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The whole thing is very cheery and playful-looking, but it will dish the dirt, too, if you need it to do that.😉 It’s available here, also with other Needful Things: http://tarotgoodies.webs.com/apps/webstore/

Now to get away from casting for a bit and talk about a deck. Ciro Marchetti has done a Kipper, not “Kipper inspired” or any of that, it just IS a Kipper, as much or moreso than Leidingkarten or Mystiches. It’s called the Fin de Siécle (pronounced “fon duh see-ECK-luh”) Yes, there have been changes – the cards are slightly larger to show the art, and the images have been done in a way that’s less ambiguous in many cases, and easier for beginners to understand. Compare the Original “Getting A Gift” and Ciro’s Gift card:

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It’s a lovely deck, somewhat more shadowy than other Marchetti decks, both in color values and subject matter – it has cards that convey some extremely gritty elements of life. The deck balances the Gilded Age lifestyle with the Dickensian poverty that went along with it and makes for a great spot-on reading deck that’s relevant today.

The stock is good, flexible and lightly coated. It comes with a printed satin bag and a personally autographed card. When you purchase, you’re sent a link to a downloadable Companion PDF that I’m honored to be a part of, along with Susanne Zitzl, Fortune Buchholtz, and Mr. Marchetti. The Companion Document contains cards descriptions, meanings, spreads, and Ciro’s commentary on the creation of the deck and the rationale behind the changes he implemented. At sixty-odd pages, it’s substantial. There’s also instructions for downloading a free app that’s a lot of fun – you point your phone at a card and it becomes animated – sound and movement! – and it shows you the card meaning (or, in the case of the Courthouse, the judge tells you!)

So it’s good value for the money. I’m told that US Games and Königsfurt-Urania Verlag have already licensed the deck, and we’ll be seeing that in a year or so, but I like these less-coated cards with all the bells and whistles.🙂

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It’s available here (and you can also see a sample of the app in action): http://www.ciromarchetti.com/#!kipper/c1irz

And here is a teaser video that gives you a good idea of the art:

And because some of the cards reminded me of this movie, here’s the incomparable Lon Chaney Sr. and little Jackie Coogan (who grew up to be our beloved Uncle Fester!) in 1922’s Oliver Twist:

Deck Review: Black Hand Lenormand

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Who is Shelley Barnes?
Was she in Andy’s course under a screen name? Or has she been outside the online community quietly soaking up books – the good ones, Andy’s, Rana’s, and Caitlyn’s?

I’m asking because she seems to know what she’s doing. This is actually a great little deck.

The art is wonderful. The tuckbox reminds me of title cards on silent movies – the kind of thing you’d see with Lon Chaney Sr. or early Clara Bow. The whole thing seems to have a 20’s-through-Noir feel, possibly the most modern feature of the deck is the Bettie Page bangs on the Lady.

But good art doesn’t often translate to a good reading deck, the reason being that the artist lets their vision override reading conventions and practical concerns. This is the part of the reason I stick with antique reproductions as a rule, (the other reason is godawful bad art) and tune out 99.999% of the new Lenormands that are constantly coming out. Lots of competent artists have made unreadable pretties. Not Shelley.

Does this deck have aberrations? A few, yes, but no more that you see in some of the old decks that have things like two scythes on the Scythe card. And in no way do they make the deck unworkable. Let’s have a look at them:

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The mouse appears to be dead or sleeping. Well, if you’re killing mice, it’s because they’ve infested. Or maybe he’s just taking a nap after he gorged on your food. Either way, it’s still loss. And very clearly a mouse. The Tree is a palm tree. Still a tree, still recognizable, same meaning. The Clover is encased in a glass pendant with a chain, but it still pops out at you right away. The Park has a statue of a naked woman predominating, but you can see the pedestal, you know it’s not the Lady. It’s a statue. Statues are in Parks and Gardens. The Cross is more symmetrical than usual, a little less churchy – so what? And the Tower, rather than an old structure guarding a border from invaders, is more modern. It reminds me of that famous shot in Baby Face, where the camera pans up the Gotham Trust tower to indicate that Barbara Stanwyck is screwing her way to the top, lol. OK, that has nothing to do with the card meaning. But I like it and it’s a readable Tower card, you can tell what it is right away.

Another oddity is that the playing card 2’s, 3’s, 4’s, and 5’s have been added. Would I shuffle the whole thing together and do a Lenormand/playing card reading? No, because Lenormand is based on Alemannic cartomancy, it’s a different system. Doing things like that will throw the whole thing off balance by giving you more than one card that means the same thing, or something very similar.

But I would shuffle it all together and do a playing card reading, ignoring the Lenormand symbols.

I would also use it as a gaming deck. (The Jokers double as extra Man and Woman cards. I don’t use those, since Rider and Snake are the Male and Female lover cards, but I won’t be storing these Jokers away to lie in state in the “extra Man and Woman card box”. since I enjoy playing games with wild cards.) So you have three uses in one – Lenormand, playing cards for reading, and playing cards for gaming. And it’s a mini. Keep it in your purse or pocket for spur of the moment readings, and quick poker hands to see who pays for lunch.

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I went ahead and ordered the deck with the palmistry card, because it just looks cool. I really, really like the way this woman draws, I’m even keeping the business card. I’m going to find a little frame for the hand. It has meanings printed on the back, some perfectly sound, some a little sketchy. But all in all, if you don’t want to use this deck’s version of the “LWB”, just do like me and frame the hand. Or get the deck alone. Or the deck and the pendulum.

Everything else is perfectly traditional. Check this out:

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Clearly split Crossroads with both a wide and a narrow branch. (Has she been watching Malkiel Rouven Dietrich’s videos?😀 ) Male Rider, blowing his horn and clearly hurrying along to announce something important. Two hectic, chattering birds.

And this:

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“The Snake biting the Fox’s tail.” Maybe she doesn’t know about that particular reading convention and it’s just a happy accident, but I wonder…🙂

You can order the Black Hand HERE, (for not very much money! The price is surprisingly low.) It will arrive quickly, in a well-padded envelope with doodley things on it in Shelley’s own hand. And yes, it’s good linen stock and shuffles easily.

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This is such a great deck. It may start a trend where people include playing cards to make 52 card Lenormands, but that’s missing the point entirely. It’s a great deck because it’s a good, readable Lenormand, and because it’ll make you feel like Joan Blondell on the midway in Nightmare Alley*. Can’t beat that!

*Nightmare Alley (1947) is a film adaptation of William Lindsay Gresham’s novel of the same name. In the book, there are 22 chapters, each named for a Tarot Major. There is also a graphic novel adaptation of the novel that was produced in 2012 by the great underground cartoonist Spain Rodriguez.
It’s a fantastic story, and not to be missed.

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.