THE LENORMAND HOUSES

Prompted by the inspiring questions formulated also as a way of very positive feedback to my sample reading of the Grand Tableau done recently, here are a few ideas about how to use the houses, not only in the Grand Tableau, but also for smaller spreads.

At the bottom of the post you find a list for house, health, and time associations.

My primary sources come from the French and Romanian contexts of fortunetelling. Colette Silvestre of France has written numerous books on fortunetelling, which I warmly recommend. She is a no-nonsense woman who doesn’t ‘invent’ things.

In my own readings I’m inspired to do what she does: Trust the creative impulse, but also develop it the rational way – that is to say, develop it according to my own god given common sense.

If we can agree that we are here to serve, then we can also agree that it is not useful to be imprecise about our messages to the ones who bother to come to us for an answer to their problems. We owe people to be coherent, to the point, and able to argue where what we see comes from, logically speaking.

Again, my own mantra here is this: evidence, evidence, evidence. You can only combine your analytical sense with your creative impulse if you can find evidence for what you’re saying in the visual material you are working with.

The best is to get neither emotional nor smart with a sitter. Your task is to listen and see things clearly.

The other source comes from the Romanian context. Among other orally transmitted traditional reading methods, there’s a little known book by Madame Clara, Secretele Tarotului LeNormand, unfortunately not available in print and not translated (my guess is that this is a plagiarized text – back in history one simply did this more blatantly than one does now – as some of the method/meanings list is conspicuously close to L’Oracle Parfait, itself also a ‘copy’.

Be that as it may. What I want to offer here is a concatenation of ‘traditional’ meanings for the houses (aka the master method of Sephariel) combined with what I believe is useful.

Since I am at it, I’ll offer as well health and time associations. If people ask health question, I prognosticate, and ofter deliver statements such as these: ‘It looks like it’s hormonal’ (Lily), or ‘the hips are not all right’ (Anchor), ‘act now’, or ‘wait a month.’

While I take my point of departure in tradition, I also have a rule: When in doubt, think of the function of the primary elements represented in each card. Then the inset, then the number progression, 1 is little 10 is a lot.

Thus, before I think, ‘hallelujah, marriage!’ when I see the Ring, I think first, ‘hallelujah, it’s a circle!’

What is the function of the circle? To unite separate ends. And how is this unification done? By the melting of points. What’s the consequence of this melting? That I won’t be able to see where the beginning or the end is.

So, while the Ring can mean marriage, or a contract culturally speaking, it can also mean that you’re in a rut, going around in circles and unable to break a pattern, psychologically speaking. Since you can’t distinguish between where your shit begins and where it ends, go figure how you’re going to solve that one.

This latter situation of melting is often not nearly as good as the first, unless, of course, the marriage thing can also turn out to be an awful thing instilling is us one desire only, manifested in a desperate cry: ‘Get me the scissors to cut this dreadful bond with.’

FIRST THE HOUSE

Now, how do we see the houses in the system of reading with the Lenormand cards?

To give a concrete example, let’s take a snippet of a conversation I had with Mary K. Greer, a historian and writer of books on the Tarot. As she was keen on learning about the Lenormand cards, she asked me to elaborate on the 4 cards at the center of the tableau referred to at the beginning of this essay. See this link. I reproduce here just the 4 cards.

camelia elias lenormand houses

Says Mary in the comments to the post:

‘You talk about reading the four cards at the center of the spread – 12+13 plus 20+21 – and examining them through cross-mirroring. How do you see these four in terms of their houses: Birds+Child and Garden+Mountain?

It’s interesting that these four refer to size and amounts: Two/Small/Many/Big. Could they express what’s worrying (Birds) when Children (new, creative ideas) go up against (Mountain) being expressed out loud (Birds), i.e., publicly (Garden)?’

My answer to her was this:

‘I see the houses in a dynamic process that tells me, for instance, that that which IS, BECOMES something more than IS. So it’s a being/becoming dynamics.

For instance, I see the card of the Birds as that which IS (a medium for distributing news, therefore also unstable, always in movement) BECOMING something else (in this case news about possessions and investments, which Birds as a house means – at least in the system I’m using).

So, sure, this example is a bit special, as the card of the Birds falls in its own house. But next to the card of Fish in the house of Mountain, I see the idea of a heavy investment done in good faith emerging, but one that’s not thought through (the Dog above in the house of Child).

This reading is made even more unambiguous, as the Letter in the house of Garden puts us on a track of considering the idea that some public statement, although flowing with the stream, seemingly, is under duress. (Fish in the House of Mountain).’


I liked Mary’s observation that we’re dealing with houses that emphasize sizes.

But I also emphasized that I would not read the houses first and then the cards in them. Mary clarified that what she was asking was about the house meanings of the four cards at the heart of the spread.

She wanted to know if, insofar as the cards in house positions 12, 13, 20 and 21 can be read together, they can also ‘suggest a certain group “theme” that would color the cards appearing in this “heart-of-the-spread” quartet.’

My take on this is that houses could mean something as a group, but given the general context in which we think ‘house’, I’d say that each house represents its own set of rules.

Here, I urge everyone to think of the function of house. It has walls, it has rooms, it has doors, it protects. Given this premise, logically speaking a house would not mean a collective – unless we’re in a kibbutz.

So, I’d say that what makes the houses different from the cards is also this aspect, that they are intangible, and above all stable. In other words, a house will not come together with other houses, as it were, to form anything together.

I think there’s a lesson in this, namely, that while the cards and what they represent can be flexible and change in what they mean next to other cards, the houses cannot. At least, that’s how I tend to reason when I ponder this relation.

Thus, while the houses are fixed in their meaning, they do color the meaning of the cards landing in them, so that at the end of the day, there’ll be a synthesis of meaning based on the pairing of the cards – as they are now colored by their houses.

My point is that we don’t get the meaning of the houses first, before we make up our minds as to what the individual cards mean – also already in connection with the other cards we want to pair them with. Think of the house as the foundation we don’t see.

First we look at the house, how it appears and where it is, its setting – we look at the neighbor – and then we ask, for instance, how is the Anchor in the house of the Rider, also underneath? But we do all this speculation after the first impressions we get from the cards.

The houses are the place we can go to. For me, the first house is about the querent’s project, so in the context of my reading sample, the house enforces even more the idea that the people involved in this reading are working on stability.

For instance, also in this context, the house of the Coffin is seen primarily as a form of ungratefulness, and even envy, and not ending – this is not a house that’s being demolished, finished, as that would defy the point of having a house – so here we can see how using the same meaning for the card of the Coffin – Coffin as ending – as for the House is not very useful. Coffin as a card, signifying ending is one thing, and coffin as a House signifying ingratitude is another thing.

In other words, if we look at the Child card in the house of Coffin we might say that one of the things preoccupying the people involved in the topic discussed, apart from hanging on to their phoney marriage, is managing their difficult and spoilt-rotten children (quite literally, one does rot in a coffin).


So, again, looking at the function of houses first and then at the symbolism tagged to them is crucial in the Lenormand grand tableau.

Depending on the different systems devised by regional differences (I myself use a concatenation of the French and Romanian) the houses, more often than not, differ in significance quite markedly from the cards they represent.

As in the example of the Coffin above or in the case of the house of the Fox being associated with love, or the house of the Key with negligence, it actually makes a lot of sense in a reading to have these ‘contradictory’ houses run counter to the meaning of the cards.

Try some of these meanings. Try to see the house of Man as associated with sadness and negative events, or the Key with not paying enough attention to things that deserve attention, and see how far you get.

THEN THE LAYOUT | TIRAGE-EN-LIGNE

But let us have a quick look at a tirage-en-ligne, or a draw of a line of cards, rather than the more popular among some people, the carré of 9, for which we can use the house system. Here, however, I should mention that the houses are only primarily relevant in the context of the grand tableau where you use all the cards and where the houses are fixed in numerical order from 1-36.

But for the sake of saving time, I’m going to do what others have called key’ing (see Tali Goodwin and Marcus Katz’s, Learning Lenormand).

Draw 5 cards at random and designate them as houses, and then draw 5 cards for the main story. You need two decks for this.

Traditionally I can mention that the tirage-en-ligne is also a preferred method among seasoned Lenormand folks. The reason for this is that they simply prefer the linking method to the pairing method.

Again, as emphasized in the sample reading that prompted this ‘method-theory’ post, linking cards and looking at what patterns emerge is a more efficient method.

In my opinion, the secret behind any good reader is found in efficiency and simplicity, rather than inventing random, and often not so inspired, synthetic blends. In my own teaching, I keep preaching: Keep it simple.

Basically what this means is that instead of teaching keywords and set phrases that fall neatly into someone’s correspondence boxes, I teach people to think.

I’m not interested in diagrams, tables, and endless charts packed with meanings. Too righteous for my taste.

My second mantra is this:

Look at the function of the thing represented.

Start with that.

Then make logical inferences about connectors. But don’t stop there. We can all make inferences, hundreds of them, even by using fancy formal reasoning, but without evidence all our inferences can turn out to be wrong.

If you can’t find evidence for what you’re saying, then don’t say it. Drop the first thing inferred and move on the next.

THE SIMPLE READING

So, let’s look at a simple tirage (a draw of 5 cards). Here I haven’t chosen a significator, and I do the reading from left to right. In the final analysis, however, I aim to see all the cards from above, as it were, and forming a central message, almost as a well rounded full stop.

But, according to your own wishes, you can do this with a significator, which you can place at the center of the line and then read thus: left of the center card is the place where the querent comes from (her thoughts and intentions) and right of the center card is the place where the querent moves towards.

You can also have 2 or 3 significators in the same line, all according to the nature of the question.

The context and the question here is this: A teacher, a colleague of mine, wants to know what challenges she is up against if she takes on private students.

I draw these cards, again, left to right.

First the houses: The Cross, The Moon, the Anchor, The Sun, The Snake.

Then the cards: The Birds, The Heart, The Ship, the Moon, The Key.

Remember I use 2 decks for this. Yet I’d insist that if you want to make the most of your Lenormand experience, plunge into the grand tableau and read randomly falling cards into the houses as these are arranged in their numerical order. Great orchestral work!

camelia elias lenormand houses 5-card

At first glance the answer is this: What you put your heart into will be talked about far and away in recognition of your talent. Ergo, no major challenges.

Here, before I plunge into a more elaborate discussion, let me make a point about time:

If you can abstain from making any kind of pairing and lose time with that, you will arrive at your answer in one second flat, as I did here. Guaranteed. Try it. This is a good exercise that teaches you the art of modesty, brevity, and simplicity.

Now, since this is a post about houses, let’s say something about how the cards fall into them. So, let’s try again, now with tagging the cards to the sentence:

What your put your heart into (Heart in house of Moon) will be talked about (Birds in house of Cross) far and away (Ship in house of Anchor) in recognition (Moon in house of Sun) of your problem-solving talents (Key in house of Snake). This takes me another second to arrive at.

Now we can think of the deeper implications here with the help of the houses. I say deeper because I think of houses as that which contains something beyond of what we see on the surface, the façade.

We say it again:

What you put your heart into (House of Moon as financial prosperity) materially speaking (usually a private tutor is paid for her work) will be talked about (Birds as first card indicating the future in a reading from left to right).

Even though there may be reservations due to anticipating ‘professional mishaps’ (the house of Cross is traditionally associated with professional accidents), what you’re doing comes from afar and will go far (Ship from exotic lands comes in) being well anchored in tradition and skill (the house of Anchor stands for influence and power and how to use your talents best).

As your good intentions stretch widely (here we link the Moon with the Ship and the Heart), the fact that you may not be able to anticipate fully what the outcome of your collaboration with private students may be (here we link the Moon to the Key) will not hold you back, as there are possibilities here for reciprocal inspirations (the Moon in the house of Sun indicates existing opportunity for creative exchanges).

The deeper learning can also come from making mistakes (the Key in the house of Snake). This takes me 5 seconds to arrive at.

We can go on, but I think that this illustrates the way in which houses as stable entities enter into relation with the more flexible cards. We can also pair the cards, but in my opinion it’s not necessary (not for this short string).

I bet you’ll arrive at the same conclusion if you did that. However, if you have a different take on this, you are welcome to let me know.

A NOTE ON TIME

As you can see from this 5-card line, the only card that indicates some speed is the first one, the Birds. As the Birds are roaming in the church or the cemetery, we can make the inference that what they bring, or announce, is a matter for the Heart to decide.

One thing is clear: The Birds are spiritually grounded in spite of what ominous message they bring, or what the Heart chooses to see.

Culturally speaking, as we associate the Heart with something romantic, we can infer that next to the Ship, the Heart does not know necessarily where it is going. If it’s sailing towards the Moon, then we can be sure that whatever the Heart’s project is, it’ll take some time.

Thus, if there’s a challenge here that our teacher may meet, then it is one of time. The Key lost in the winding path of the Snake may take some time to be found, but perhaps, given the nature of the project, to teach on a private basis, taking your time is in fact also the greatest luxury.

Not having to rush through wisdom, but being allowed to bathe in creative and illuminating light may just be the thing that a romantic heart wants.

So, you can see that by looking at the cards also in this way, you can arrive at yet another layer of interpretation that says more about the pragmatic nature of almost all questions.


About reading with the Lenormand cards in general, I always think of large spreads as going to a concert. But not to sit and listen.

Think of conducting. If you know the score, all you need to do is dance with the instruments.

Think in terms of going in and out of the cards. They each have a tone. Try it next time you get a grand tableau on the table. You’ll get a very clear sense of when it’s called for pairing the cards and when your narrative will fly if you go with linking them. That’s what I love about it.

Where small spreads are concerned, my advice is, don’t waste your time. Let the narrative flow all based on what story the cards themselves tell, independent of what symbolism we may have imposed on them at any one time.

Here’s a list of tentative meanings of houses. This list is based on my derivations from traditional meanings that I’ve encountered along my Lenormand paths, or the meanings we sometimes encounter in clever or ‘inspired’ books, here in the works by the two madames, Clara and Colette.

To each of the houses I’ve added a ‘slogan’ that emphasizes the function of the house in an ironic and irreverent way. We must remember that playing with cards is fun, fun, fun, and more fun.

Enjoy!

THE LIST: HOUSES, HEALTH, AND TIME ASSOCIATIONS

1. Rider: The present, what is in the querent’s mind, his projects. ‘Ride on high!’

  • Health association: Knees, legs, locomotive apparatus. Indicates recovery from all illness.
  • Time: 1 day, 1 week, soon.

2. Clover: Realizations, what can be achieved, based on present wishes and thoughts. ‘Sparkle in the grass and be found!’

  • Health association: Stomach. Small indigestions.
  • Time: 2 days, 2 weeks, soon.

3. Ship: Recognition of own’s efforts and realizations. ‘Sail and wave!’

  • Health association: Liver, pancreatic problems, incontinence.
  • Time: 3 days, max. 3 months.

4. House: Anticipation, that which one is waiting for to happen, but it doesn’t necessarily happen. ‘I’m here now’!

  • Health association: The whole body as a house, or temple. Indicates the general state of vitality.
  • Time: 4 days, 4 weeks, 4 months, up to a year. It’s not too fast.

5. Tree: Speculations, risks, especially financial. It shows if a person is lucky or unlucky. ‘Stand tall, screw them all’!

  • Health association: The Brain. Indicates the general psychic state, but also physical, depending on what other cards are around it.
  • Time: 5 days, 5 months, May.

6. Clouds: Wishes, dreams, and hopes for the future. ‘Now you see it now you don’t!’

  • Health association: Respiratory system.
  • Time: 6 days, 6 months, June.

7. Snake: Mistakes, injustice, and unfairness. ‘Talk ruins everything!’

  • Health association: The colon, the digestive system, the veins.
  • Time: 7 days, 7 months, July.

8. Coffin: ungratefulness and envy, including that of the querent. ‘I’m playing dead!’

  • Health association: The psyche, spine, heart.
  • Time: 8 days, to 1 year. Things stagnate.

9. Flowers: Contacts. Work, relations with colleagues and business partners. ‘Scent of a woman’!

  • Health association: Face, hair, ulcer, tumor growth, allergies.
  • Time: 9 days, 2 weeks, spring.

10. Scythe: Losses, but also obstacles that can appear. ‘Off with their heads’!

  • Health association: Fever, surgery, accident, skin eruption, dental problems, iron deficit.
  • Time: 10 days, 1 month, autumn, the past.

11. Whip: Personal problems, but sometimes also financial. ‘Snap it up and leave a mark!’

  • Health association: Throat, tongue, muscle, hands, nerves, joints. Chronic and painful illness.
  • Time: 11 days, 11 months.

12. Birds: Possessions, but also investments. ‘Give us an alphabet!’

  • Health association: nervous system, legs, and varicose veins. Shifting moods.
  • Time: 3-10 days, October.

13. Child: Joy that will come soon. ‘Child’s play, magic play!’

  • Health association: Germs. Childrens’ diseases.
  • Time: 13 hours/days, 9 month (if a pregnancy), soon.

14. Fox: Love. ‘I’m watching you!’

  • Health association: Throat, nose, ears, smell and hearing. Get a second opinion for hidden or potentially wrong diagnosis.
  • Time: 2-8 months, December, now is not the time.

15. Bear: Wellbeing, prosperity. ‘Come to papa!’

  • Health association: Obesity, stomach, baldness (or too much hair).
  • Time: 6 months.

16. Stars: Marriage or long-term relation. ‘Make-believe, or I told you so!’

  • Health association: Pigment, complexion.
  • Time: 4-5 months.

17. Stork: Worries and concerns. ‘Migrate, oh, migraine!’

  • Health association: Legs.
  • Time: 20-55 days, February.

18. Dog: Harmony. ‘Wherever you go, I go’!

  • Health association: Vocal chords, larynx, throat.
  • Time: 2 weeks, July.

19. Tower: Winning the lottery. Inheritance, or money received from others. ‘Sometimes a device for containing fair maids with really long hair who wish to escape through a window!’

  • Health association: Spine (illness difficult to diagnose).
  • Time: 19 days to 1 year, or more. Sometimes it indicates the past.

20. Garden: Fraud. ‘The grass is still greener on the other side!’

  • Health association: viruses, all contamination from the exterior (through water, air, food).
  • Time: Immediately. 1 week.

21. Mountain: Opposition. ‘Climbing to the stars to see the moon – what moon?’

  • Health association: Bones, skeleton, skull, rheumatism, arthritis
  • Time: 5 days to 2 months, January.

22. Ways: Gifts. ‘The gift of choice is like looking into the horse’s mouth!’

  • Health association: Circulatory system, veins, cholesterol, lymph
  • Time: 22 days to 8 weeks.

23. Mouse: The one close to you in friendship and affect, love/hate. ‘What else can we eat?’

  • Health association: Digestive system, stomach, vitamin deficit, parasites infections, nerves.
  • Time: 1-5 months. Right now.

24. Heart: Personal evolution. It shows what can be done to better a situation. ‘I say yes!’

  • Health association: Heart and circulation.
  • Time: 7 days to 4 weeks. August.

25. Ring: Cooperation. It shows relations of dependency. ‘What goes around comes around!’

  • Health association: Lymphatic system.
  • Time: 1 month to 1 year.

26. Book: Long term initiatives and projects. ‘When you’re done reading, don’t just sit and stare!’

  • Health association: Brain, undiagnosed illness.
  • Time: 2 weeks to 6 months. Marts.

27: Letter: Possible circumstances for change. Advantages and disadvantages. ‘The postman always rings twice!’

  • Health association: Hands and fingers.
  • Time: 2-15 days, max a month.

28. Man: Death, sadness and negative events. ‘What’s up with the patriarchy?’

  • Health association: Male sexual organ, erection problems.
  • Time: April

29. Woman: Recognition of one’s own work. ‘I did it!’

  • Health association: Female sexual organ.
  • Time: May

30. Lily: Disgrace, or quarrels with the negative person in your life. ‘Rhizomatic learning!’

  • Health association: Endocrinological and hormonal problems. Sexually transmitted disease.
  • Time: 6 months, immediate departure, winter.

31. Sun: Existing perspectives. ‘Warm adventures!’

  • Health association: The eyes.
  • Time: Summer.

32. Moon: Financial prosperity. ‘Cold thinking, condensed thinking – but it’s beautiful.’

  • Health association: The psyche, menstrual problems.
  • Time: 11 months.

33. Key: Negligence, or that which is not paid enough attention to. ‘Blue Beard in the Castle! Rustle’

  • Health association: The breasts, vitamins deficit.
  • Time: November, 3 weeks.

34. Fish: Gain as a result of own work. ‘Life Aquatic!’

  • Health association: Urinary problems, kidneys, drugs and alcohol related problems.
  • Time: 34 days, 10 months, less than 4 years.

35. Anchor: Influence and power or how to use your talents best. ‘Underwater digging!’

  • Health association: Hips.
  • Time: 10 days to 3 months. September.

36. Cross: Health, illness, or possible accidents, professional or otherwise. ‘4 winds, some witches are out riding, or some other such fated events!’

  • Health association: Shoulders, arms, joints, inter-vertebrate discs.
  • Time: 15 days to 6 months.

§

Please remember that such a list here is absolutely worthless without the context of the question. The question and the context lead the reading, not a random list.

Some of the above makes sense. Some of it doesn’t. So it is with received oral wisdoms. We take what is useful from them, and never just repeat words from a list for the sake of appearing authoritative. The only authority is your common sense as it aligns with what is possible and plausible.

§

Note on the decks: 

The Lenormand Oracle: Erwin Kohlmann / Oswin Volkamer, Verlag fuer die Frau, Leipzig 1982.

The Original Lenormand: facsimile reconstruction by Tarot Professionals (Marcus Katz and Tali Goodwin; art direction: Ciro Marchetti), 2012.

§

Looking for a Lenormand deck? Grab mine, sold as a talismanic object: A HELIUM POET LENORMAND. For a description of how I came to design one, read here.

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21 Comments

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  1. Camelia;

    Your house meanings are much like those listed by Sephariel in his Book of Cards and attributed by him to Mlle. Lenormand’s use of the piquet deck for divination. I never accepted the line-up of ranked card meanings with house designations in the Grand Tableau. Too simplistic and a bit lazy. I will examine this method when I next lay a full board. 🙂

    • Great, let me know what you think. About the similarities between the house descriptions, I have to say that I’ve always suspected that all written work on this circulates by means of ‘lifting’. On the other hand, this is precisely what I like in the context of fortunetelling, that ‘tradition’ means the dissemination of knowledge by all means possible, and no copyright. Looking forward to your thoughts, and thanks.

  2. Excuse me the French piquet is 32 cards, a better designation would be the Germanic “Jass” deck of 36 cards. Jazzy!

  3. You beautifully demonstrate a very powerful way of working with the cards. I agree that a card combo is more than just noun and its adjective and more like a subject and predicate. I’m still not sure if I get the full import of Houses but it is beginning to make more sense to me. Time and practice will tell. Thank you for your list of House meanings, too. I plan on comparing them with the Master Method found in several old books on cartomancy. Thanks, again.

    • Many thanks, Mary. Yes, about the similarities between the meanings of these houses to some other sources, I’m sure that the Book of Cards must have served as inspiration for the Romanian source I was working with. I haven’t made a direct reference to the Master Method, firstly because I didn’t use it myself and secondly because I’m not so keen on rigid systems. In the list above I tried to offer an ironic take on ‘meanings’. Sometimes I find that knowing charts, and tables, and correspondences is good from the point of view of claiming knowledge, but often, as far as I’m concerned, I like to go one level down, and simply take the primary functions of represented phenomena into account. In other words, I try to remind myself that there’s more to it than knowledge. This is how I mainly import the meaning of the houses. I look at set phrases obliquely, and then I look at what stares me in the face. So it’s simple, really.

  4. Wow, can’t wait for my power to come back on to really dig into this. I have the sepharials book so will check that out for now.

    • Good for you. Remember, however, to do your own circular and spiraling around, think 3D, in addition to the structuralist thinking that’s prevalent in the occultism of early 20th c. Not everything is binary opposites. There’s a lot between the frames.

  5. This is a great list of additional meanings to the Houses. They give an entirely different perspective to the meanings I was taught beforehand, somewhat nice to know there are still new things to be learned & said about this style of divination. To be honest, I am now starting to get a more “clearer” view of what some cards actually meant! Thanks for sharing.

  6. Hi!

    I have been learning Lenormand for a while now, and have read several “experts” books on the subject. It is very aggravating how many different meanings for the cards you find, and how the methods of interpretation vary so greatly between them. For a beginner like myself, it’s nerve-wracking trying to wade through all the contradictions.
    When I found your blog and started reading, I was so happy that FINALLY, someone made SENSE!!!
    Thank you so much for taking the time to pass on your knowledge. You’ve helped my study immensely, and feel I’ve now progressed (quite quickly past those silly combos) enough to move on to the GT.
    Yours is the first article on the Houses Method that is A) clearly explained and B) resonates with me.
    I do have a couple questions though…
    House 15 is about Well-being, yet House 36 is about Sickness… This confuses me. Both speak of Health? Does one only speak of what makes you healthy, and the other speaks only of what makes you ill?

    Also, would you please expand on the relationship of the last four cards? I’ve read several times that they are “special” but each author says something a little different as to their meanings.

    If you’ve already gone over these, I apologize for asking. I am not good with the internet, or technology in general, so I’m not sure how to find this information.
    I would be more than grateful for ANY information and help you would give.
    I look forward to reading more of your blog, and thank you again for all your work.

    Many blessings,
    Steph

    • Steph, many thanks for such words of praise. I’m glad to hear that people find what I have to say useful. Basically that’s what I aim for, not fame and glory. Excellent questions you pose. Let me address the first one, about the houses that indicate health relations. As you suspect, they mean exactly that: House 15, the Bear, is a cheerful house with good atmosphere. Imagine a heavy card landing there, and with a few others next to it that indicate a form of deep psychological problems or depression, say, Anchor (in house 14), Clouds, or Coffin (in house 15), and Moon (in house 16). Now, taken this string as a 3-card reading, we’d say that what we’re dealing with here is precisely that, a deep, yet shifting low mood. But, with the Clouds in house 15, we could argue that this mood is in fact more a case of melancholia, than suicidal attitude, and which can result in something inspiring, or creative. So obviously the house of ‘well-being’ influences a card that otherwise would be interpreted as something we must deal with, action wise, by getting the sitter to understand that he or she must do something in order to get out of the rut.

      The same applies to house 36, the Cross. Say the Sun lands there. Depending on the question, if we want to know something about health, we would say that the sitter’s problems with his or her vision (the Sun is associated with the eyes) doesn’t stand the chance to improve greatly. So although we may rejoice at seeing the Sun ending a tableau, it is not always that we have good reason to celebrate.

      As pertaining to your last question on the final 4 cards at the bottom of the tableau, I don’t read them as ‘special’, but rather as a key to what we see mirrored above, and informing the axiom of balance: ‘as above so below.’ I may write a longer post about this, to demonstrate more amply. Meanwhile, go back to reading my method on the GT, The Happy Marriage. You can see how I go about precisely this mirroring.

  7. Thank you for answering my questions.
    I believe I understand houses 15 and 36 now.
    I’ve noted your explanations in my journal. 🙂
    Yes, I’ll go back and look over your gt on the happy marriage. In fact, I was able to print it out so I can have a hard copy next to me while I study. I hope you don’t mind.
    I absolutely LOVE Lenormand, so I look forward to any post you write on the subject!
    I had tried tarot many years ago, but couldn’t “get it”, and gave up. Then, I heard great things about a book by Dusty White a few years back, so I bought it and tried again. And failed again. When I came upon Lenormand last year I fell in love.

    Thank you once again for sharing and helping!
    Steph

  8. The house meanings for the most part seem clearly related to those in the 9×4 spread in L’Oracle Parfait, 1875, described therein as being ‘after Mlle Lenormand”, but actually being derived from “Etrennes nouvelles de l’horoscope de l’homme et de la femme” By M. G. D. R., published by G. Quinet, Libraire, dans la Salle du Palaise, in 1788.

    The names of the houses in the 1788 9×4 spread are:

    1 projet; 2 satisfaction; 3 reussite; 4 esperance; 5 hazard; 6 desir; 7 injustice; 8 ingratitude; 9 association; 10 perte; 11 peine; 12 etat; 13 joie; 14 amour; 15 prosperite; 16 mariage; 17 affliction; 18 jouissance; 19 heritage; 20 trahison; 21 rival; 22 present; 23 amant; 24 elevation; 25 bienfait merite; 26 enterprise; 27 changement; 28 death; 29 recompense; 30 disgrace; 31 bonheur; 32 fortune; 33 indifference; 34 faveur; 35 ambition; 36 maladie.

    Those in “L’Oracle Parfait” 1875, “after Mlle Lenormand” are:

    1, projet; 2, satisfaction; 3, réussite; 4, espérance; 5, hasard; 6, désir; 7, injustice; 8, ingratitude; 9, association; 10, perte; 11, peine; 12, état; 13, joie; 14, amour; 15, prospérité; 16, mariage; 17, affection; 18, jouissance; 19, héritage; 20, trahison; 21, rival; 22, présent; 23, amant; 24, élévation; 25, bienfait; 26, entreprise; 27, changement; 28, fin; 29, récompense; 30, disgrâce; 31, bonheur; 32, fortune; 33, indifférence; 34, faveur; 35, ambition, 36, indisposition.

    • Thanks, Steve for the French rendition. Indeed, after Etteilla many got ‘inspired’ to create derivates of Etteilla’s ‘scientific’ method. What I find fascinating is the way these derivate meanings function in the context of reading the cards. Most historical manuals in cartomancy are very good at creating lists of meanings, but not so good at offering examples of how we apply the lists to an actual reading in context.

      What’s more, in addition to having been inspired by Etteilla, Papus, and a slew of other ceremonial magicians of Masonic, Rosicrucian, Egyptian, and other such fancy bent, most cartomancy manuals are enamoured in also emphasizing the ‘argument’ that brings in heritage: ‘My Gypsy great-grandmother said do.’

      What fascinates me the most is this type of swerve from the ‘scientific’ to the ‘creative’ and the way historical folks participate in what I like to call the logico-creative discourse about divination.

      Historically, the story of divination is divided: when in books, it has one form, when in oral transmission it has another form. Meanwhile, there’s a ‘traditional’ system.

      My own contribution consists of looking at what others have said or who they stole it from (see my ref. to the Romanian translation of L’Oracle Parfait credited to one ‘doctor in philosophy’ in my post Etteilla Just for You) and then how the creative impulse takes over. Here, I like what Colette Silvestre does in her work, hence my reference to her books.

      Personally, I’m a semiotician of sorts. I like to read signs. That’s what excites me. Where cartomancy is concerned, I like to figure out the thought-process behind applying this or that model to an actual reading of the cards in context. In that sense, I’m also an anthropologist interested in practices of divination, the production of ‘spiritual’ texts, and the conditions under which such productions are forwarded. History for me has a marginal interest when related directly to how we use the cards for divination.

      • I forgot to give the link to “Etrennes nouvelles de l’horoscope de l’homme et de la femme” By M. G. D. R., published by G. Quinet, Libraire, dans la Salle du Palaise, 1788:

        https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=Bmg8AAAAcAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=inauthor:%22M.+G.+D.+R.%22&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiQwujpkq7KAhXKXRQKHXvaAbIQuwUIJTAA#v=onepage&q&f=false

        If you compare it with L’Oracle Parfait, I think you will agree L’Oracle Parfait is basically a copy, wiith a few amendments/paraphrases, of the Etrennes nouvels […].

        I made an error in my previous post — house 17 in the second list should be ‘affliction’, same as the first list, not affection!

        There was also a book called ‘L’Oracle Parfati’ in 1802 by d’Alby, that also used as extended piquet set of 36 cards, however it is somewhat different to the 1788/1875.

      • It’s interesting to see, that despite the houses being subsequently named after the Petite Lenormand cards, they have still largely retained their 1788 meanings. One might expect, that through a simplification process, the houses would have taken on more of the meanings of the cards they became named after, but the differences in meaning between house and card seems to have been maintained.

      • Yes, I like that, but I have noticed that largely in practice not many Lenormand users use these house meanings, now also associated pretty much with the Master Method. I use them to the letter, but I have found that I’m in the minority. I like the interplay between the house meaning and the card, especially when they contradict each other. It gives me something to think about in the larger context.

  9. Do you give a reading special significance when multiple cards land in their own houses? I’m a fairly novice reader and I’m comfortable understanding single cards in their own houses but I recently threw down a GT with focus on career (new job/promotion prospects over the next two months) and clouds, snake, sun, and fish all landed in their own houses. I can’t stop thinking about this reading – I feel like it’s shouting at me but I’m a bit conflicted by the vast differences in the positivity of those cards.

    • I don’t get excited. I just read them as I would if only one card fell into its house. But this approach may be different for others. I come to the cards from the position of maintaining perfect neutrality and cultivated balance. To get to excited would mean to go against my core practice of detachment.

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