As of late, I’ve been thrown into some discussion about French cartomancy in regard to reading with what is called the Lenormand cards. Although reading with these cards has been around, both in continental approaches to cartomancy as well as in Eastern Europe, the American card readers are catching up and many are enthusiastic about it.

What one would like to see, however, is that more would approach reading the grand tableau without apprehension and with more verve and nerve. What I mean by this is that I’d like to see people reading the grand tableau with a sustained focus, and with an eye for how the first sentence based on a few cards can be validated by the larger set.

As it is, most of the writing on the grand tableau around gets lost in details that often end with small and local conclusions, such as, the money seems stable, the love so and so, the woman is confused, and so on.

While this type of reading can be revealing in its own right, I find the ‘being all over the place’ approach less enticing. There’s little challenge in that, and one may just as well revert to doing a 3-card reading if this is all that one can extract from the larger picture.

As far as I’m concerned I like to see how we get from A to B, what the overall claim is about the what the tableau suggests, and how the argument is advanced in relation to A and B. Having discussed some of these ideas with a fellow-cartomancer, Fortune Buchholtz, we decided to take the grand tableau for a ride, and give here a wilder, and hopefully more fascinating, account of what the tableau can do for us, both at a conceptual level as well as a pragmatic level.

We both did a reading of a cast I did in connection with our decision to lay low in a study group where a few people expressed animosity related to engaging ‘academically’ with the Lenormand cards. Fortune followed the German school and I the French.


To begin with, Fortune wanted to know why I prefer the grand tableau and my reply was that it’s because I want to see how things fall into place symmetrically. I like to start with the symmetrical relations that resist me, and in fact also seem not to be symmetrical at all in the beginning.

I love to see if I can produce an argument based on evidence from the concrete level of the image that may support my ‘forcing’. I get this from logic and mathematics, especially the branch that is associated with complex analysis, more specifically, set theory. Here ‘forcing’ is a method employed to prove consistency and independence results in a set.

In layman terms, and where reading cards is concerned, what I’m interested in is how to formulate a sentence that is consistent with the results I get from reading smaller areas of focus, such as the carré of 9 cards around the significator card, reading horizontal and diagonal lines, looking at knighting positions and mirroring, and so on.

The idea is NOT to arrive at reading the tableau and conclude 10 different things based on smaller narratives that we derive from these focus loci, but rather, to say one thing that reflects the larger picture.

Again, other ‘advanced’ techniques of reading the grand tableau are offered in various places in cyberspace, but I find that almost all fail at staying focused. In other words, while people may make some sense in reading the 36 cards by the book – or some book, anyway – they end up with insignificant messages. The one elegant sentence that reflects what’s going on is missing.

Fortune was quick at picking on my idea and grievance on seeing that very little attention is devoted to what’s most fascinating. In good mathematical style she asked: “Let me ensure I understand – I think I’m hearing some modal logic here, right? – So your goal is to create a sentence and seek to show that it is consistent with another that also exists within the set, specifically by enlarging the set (that is to the entire GT from reading just a pair, line, or square of 9).

And to create these ever larger sets, which you seek to validate one after the other, you choose various geometries (lines, squares, spirals) to set the boundary or space?

But to continue to the end, you are selecting finite pieces of information (2 cards, 3 cards) and need only validate the consistency of these against the larger chosen space. So we know both the smaller piece and the larger space is true by consistency and the compactness theorem? I think I’m hearing the compactness theorem here? Just to be sure.”

My response to all this was: “yes, thank you, for bringing in what’s beautiful here. The idea is to make ALL the cards validate the consistency of those first ones, or rather the consistency of the sentence formulated on the basis of these first.”

Then Fortune wanted to know: “Let us say we have some generic square of 9 around Lady, which we read. Of the many possibilities of spaces that could be chosen from there, what will dictate the choice of the next larger space? Is there a choice pattern or algorithm?”

To this what I had to say was that, yes, there is a pattern, but it’s randomly chosen or dictated by the geometrical lines I see immediately at work.

But the crux of this exchange was in Fortune’s next question, when she really brought an interesting idea to the table. Said she: “when it comes to set enlargement, I think it’s a very interesting consideration on the practice of mirroring.

And what would you say should you find the enlarged set is not stating the consistency you had expected?” Here I was presumptuous enough to declare that, so far, I don’t think I ever had the problem. All my tableaus seem to just go ‘bang’. A weird thing.

Fortune then replied: “I believe there are some known best methods for searching for these larger sets. I wonder if the shapes these methods make might coincidentally overlap with some of the common Lenormand practices. At least, it is an interesting notion on the level of the language game as to why Lenormand might ‘work.’”

Given this setup and exchange we decided to attempt a joint demonstration, albeit not one that formalizes the relations as we find them in math – we may do that at some other point – but one which may give us a sense as to what else is there in terms of reading with Lenormand cards than endless pairing and uninspired solutions.

Our example here thus comes from a reading of a grand tableau based on my question related to my position vis-à-vis our cartomantic study group. My exact wording of my question was this: “what is my appropriate position (in) towards this group?” Coming from the German tradition, Fortune offered to give me her interpretation first, in order to see how it might match my French.

lenormand advanced


Looking at your GT was very interesting, from my perspective. I’m sure your interpretation will likewise be intriguing and insightful. I look forward to reading it.

“Your question: “what is my appropriate position (in) towards this group?”

I take you to be Lady and the group to be Park. This is why we both did the laughing earlier about this, because, of course, your position towards – is to have your back to it and be walking away.

As for your position in, well you are not; none of the common lines connect you to it; you keep a safe distance! At arm’s length so to speak, an appropriate distance. To be more direct – Lady+Bear+Book, you must always trust only in the strength of your intelligence, don’t let them get to you. Otherwise I feel you may find the outcome there stressful and perhaps feel a bit isolated (Tree+Lily+Scythe+Tower).

The corners are of interest as well, I think. Lady+Mountain+Child+Birds – You are a bit frustrated with this situation. Apparently there are other projects or interests you can benefit from by attending to for a little while.

Looking at the square of nine around Park, you are considering a decision (Paths) to end (Coffin) your relationship to it because it can be burdensome (Cross). Anchor suggests to me a work project could also benefit from taking some time away from the group. Park itself in the house of Child, maybe it’s a bit immature, and the group will mellow out with time.

The center 4 cards you like to look at to me seem to echo that ending/taking a break from (Coffin) a burden (Cross) is an event (Park) you might take heart from. Or alternately it could free you to hang out with another crowd (Park) more often, one you may find more congenial (Heart).

If we were to look at Coffin directionally, the uncovered side that welcomes things in would usher in Key, which brings with it all these great things: House, Ring, Book. All good.

You knight to Key anyway, right? No need to care about any passing weird confusion elsewhere (Clouds).

I must say, apropos of nothing, that the Man here really is “in the clover.” Just a nice set of lines, and placed fortuitously in the house of Paths, or by your system, I think that house may mean Gifts. Either way, all good for him. His lines are so strong I’m not so worried about his knighting Mountain at all, in this context I ascribe it to winter. I’d say good news soon about something he wants to finish this winter.

Thanks for this opportunity, it was fun and straightforward. Comparing your take will be really great, so until then!


My reading also began with a first sentence that sets the tone of the tableau, as derived by the first 3 cards. (For a step-by-step method of reading see my post here). So here it goes:

I possess strong and solid knowledge that gives me satisfaction – Woman in the house of Rider indicates an awareness of a present project that involves the dissemination of knowledge (Stork in the house of House) plus satisfaction (Bear in the house of Clover).

I have to make a decision, but lucky me, it will be the right one that will involve a new project (Paths+Clover+Child). This is all good news as I’m involved in setting up a new program at my university, which, to keep the focus here, is directly related to cartomancy.

So, if a random group on Facebook gives me a headache, ahem, there’s another Park where I can park the exact same knowledge that I was trying to disseminate in the other context. So Fortune nailed this one nicely.

The corner cards tell me this: I encounter opposition in the study group which is due to immature chatter. (Woman to Mountain and Child to Birds – the Child being in the house of Coffin which stands for ingratitude, suggests that what is being resisted to is the form of communication that I stand for (the Birds are in my vertical line in the house of Ring which is associated with kindness) – at the other end there is ingratitude.

As we are not on the same page, alas, perhaps where the communication goes wrong is in our making the wrong assumptions about each other. As the claim goes in the Lenormand group, everybody wants to keep it simple, yet as far as I can see, and as far as Fortune can see (she is also a member, or has been until yesterday) the claim to simplicity is made at the expense of ditching nuance.

I go with Einstein who said the following: “one should make things as simple as possible, but not any simpler.” So we are not on the same page. This is clearly indicated by the central 4 cards: Coffin+Park and Heart+Cross.

It’s pretty clear that this network gives me grievances in spite of my desire to contribute some knowledge. The Heart in the house of Park, which stands for treachery or fraud, indicates that this is not the place where I should let my heart linger, an idea enforced also by the Coffin in the house of Birds above it. So the Birds card becomes significant here as it tells me something about the context of ending a relationship with a network that doesn’t work for me.

My diagonal line tells me that I’m the master of the House, and soon I’ll be concluding a deal that involves cutting the Snake out of my life. The Snake in the House of Man (the dead man’s house) followed by the Scythe in the house of Fish indicates that cutting an unjust relation is a way of doing myself a favor (the house of Fish means just that, favors).

The last 4 cards enforce the idea that there’s no way around it, and that if I want to maintain my peace of mind (Tree+Lily) I must cut out the ‘school’ (Tower) that doesn’t accommodate thinking that differs from dogma.

Pay attention to how the sheath in the Scythe card becomes the Tower. So what is natural in a harvesting bundle, becomes a straight jacket made of bricks. The Scythe and the Snake are also related in their proximity in the diagonal line, and here we can also observe how, this time, the Snake becomes the handle of the Scythe, almost winding itself around the sheath. In what I call the ‘final logical mirroring’ this pair mirrors the Book, so it’s clear that we come full circle in our understanding precisely of what the message is, the famous sentence that we must begin with and arrive at by deduction: “keep your knowledge to yourself, and get out of there.”

This message is also enforced by the famous Key, which in my vocabulary has a lot to do with our desire. As I knight to the Key (Woman to Key in the house of Whip) I’m tempted to say that what I must find a solution to is how to bury the study group in the garden (Key+Coffin, Book+Coffin) and let it stay there (Anchor). Conversely, reading the second line, I could say that I have things to offer from my own private wealth (Stars+House) but giving it to the zombies would be a rotten waste (Key+Coffin+Park).

My diagonal line ends with the Scythe, but if I follow the line back up again (a procedure I haven’t seen others doing, and one which I like to call as part of my dynamic geometry) I find that a friend is well disposed towards me (Dog+Sun+Rider) and he will soon hand me a letter to sign regarding a new project (Rider+Flowers, Letter+Child).

This project involves the administration of money, which I won’t regulate myself (I’m far from the Fish card), but in which I have a determining vote. How do I know this, if I didn’t know this already, and how is this consistent with the larger set and the overall message? Look at the intersecting line between the Woman and the Park.

They meet in the Paths. So, my decision to leave the group alone so that it can restore its universe without too many academics in it gives me other work to focus on (Paths+Anchor) which is a bit lucky given my heartache. The interesting thing about the Man is that following the intercalation of the lines above from the Scythe upwards and ending in the Child with a back view line to the Paths, which is the clench card, we can argue that the Man helping me has also been there where I find myself now, in this relation.

Where ‘belonging’ to a group becomes more of a hassle than joy. As I knight at the Clouds too in the house of Dog, with the Dog card right below the Man, I can make the inference that we share the overcast Tuesday.

His diagonal line for his past ends in the card of Lily, but bending it upwards again we realize that it goes to the Stars in the house of Flowers just below me and through the Clouds. So there’s unambiguous evidence that we do share the clouds, but also that they are passing in the face of the gift of Flowers, which he ‘accidentally’ knights to.

So, all is well, the system is consistent, the larger set confirms the sentence: “keep your knowledge to yourself, and get out of there”, and the compactness theorem works beautifully.

To arrive at all this, it really only took me no more than 1 minute and a half, so we can’t get more compact than that, metaphorically speaking. Symbolically speaking, it really does us good to remind ourselves that in the world of representations, a moon is never just a moon, nor is a cigar just a cigar.

When dealing with language, we are dealing with a system of differences. Doing a grand tableau this way – one can of course stick to one’s own ways – is a beautiful exercise as it enhances all that which we are all capable of, and without even mentioning a single philosopher.

Good speed to you all, Lenormand enthusiasts. The only rule is this: pay attention to what deserves attention.



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


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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  1. mamawhodun says:

    Lyrical Lenormand Interpretation of your GT ( German tune playing)

    A woman who shines. Your influence will last a long time. Strong woman your knowledge is built on old stories, An escape route is on your mind. A brief stay in a group comes to an end (Got to get away) A new opportunity appears on the horizon. Time spent in pleasant company is the prescription for a new mission. Have cards will travel. Respectful conversations, discussions with readers across the seas who live in other nations.

    In a house of wood is an old key which you will find shortly. A way to connect old and new. Many will benefit because of what you have yet to do.

    Brilliant exchanges with an important guy are much more important than the deceptive manipulations or fake relations. If both friend and enemy were to be lost – you would still remain writing your philosophic discourses, of course!.


    1. cameliaelias says:

      Thank you for the poetry. That’s how I see all oracles. Poetic. In the poetic realm there’s no race for ‘who is to be master’. We all sit back and listen. Perhaps in the house in the woods. Listen to nature and what it tells us. Pay attention to the breath of the earth. Let all there is to come to us come. Thank you.

  2. cameliaelias says:

    UPDATE: While Fortune left the above mentioned group at her own free will, and this is the Lenormand Study Group on Facebook we are talking about, I didn’t. But today I got thrown out it. One of the administrators decided to wipe out my presence there, and thus enforce the group’s policy of ‘openness’, but obviously only to some schools of thinking. Any critique is not allowed. Nor any knowledge that rises above the mediocre. It’s a shame, as I’m sure that some 700 other members there may not share the view of the few, who, well, they must know themselves why they’re doing what they’re doing. But it’s clear that neither logical thinking nor grace is part of their world.

  3. Paul Nagy says:

    I am sorry to hear of your removable from the Lenormand Study group on FB. Even social networks should allow exploration of various methods of interpretation. But may well not be the venue for exploring innovation.
    I am particularly interested in how these mathematical insights might also beef up tarot readings as my own focus on tarot has precluded a serious study Lenormand at this time.
    Still I had a thought that might apply to your set-readings of the Grand Tableau that I call ‘sphering the plane’.
    Let all edges of the tableau be continuous to their opposite edge and read that way: right to left and top to bottom or vice versa.
    I do not know if this is a practice in use or not.
    Anyway keep up thinking.

    1. cameliaelias says:

      Paul, no one is crying. The ones involved in throwing me out did the right thing. Principally, of course, they did the wrong thing, but then, hey, when was the last time we’ve seen principles in action? It was made painfully clear that the academics talking ‘psychobabble’ were wasting the group’s time – well, some people’s time anyway, as I didn’t hear any complaints from some 700 other members. The funny thing is that no one was asking the academic psychobabblers whether they have any reasons to complain about wasted time. We all plodded along. The funny thing is also that while some felt entitled to tarnish the academics, the academics were not allowed the same privilege. Methinks there’s a problem of symmetry here. We ain’t having a symmetrical relation here. So, let us all get on with the program, each on our ways.

      About your sphering the plane, now we’re talking. And yes, if you must know, what you’re talking about almost sounds like Cantor’s continuum hypothesis. What a beaut. To stretch a line to the longest infinity – for you see, there are several types of infinities and not all have the same length. In Cantor’s world you cannot map the natural numbers or the rational numbers onto the real numbers. There is no one to one relation. The distance between 1 and 2 on the real numbers line is so infinite that you’ll never get past it and thus on to the next natural number, such as 3, 4, 5, and so on. Therefore, the real numbers line is longer than that of the natural. Think fo the implications of this for tarot. You have 78 cards, or 36 in the Lenormand deck. Imagine what stuff you might find in between the numbers. You know, Enrique and I have been squeezing our brains on what’s between the frames. A lot, man. A lot. A lot more than symbols and pairing, and methods, and schools, and what have you. What we have there is the silent discourse. The best. I see it, you see it and we both go home with the lesson learned. If we can get there, then we’re masters. All of us, reader and querent alike. So next time you do a reading, think about the stuff between the numbers. It’ll keep you in awe. It’ll make you listen. It’ll make you humble, and grateful. I want that from the cards. And nothing less.

  4. mkg says:

    I’m very sorry to hear that Fortune left and you, Camelia, were removed from the Lenormand Study Group. As soon as I heard, I protested it. To my mind any negative things you said were either in frustration at not being heard or the result of applying the card keywords as directly as possible in the reading in this post. I don’t see it as abusive but completely honest.

    I am distressed that things I said led to both of you no longer being in the Study Group as I feel you have a lot to teach us. I am ashamed of any part I played in it. It’s obvious we all experienced a huge language gap (an abyss), and both sides were incredibly frustrated.

    In my defense, I spent first an hour and then a day reading everything I could on the terms and people mentioned by both of you and came away more confused than ever. I admitted then and now that I don’t have enough grasp of the specialized vocabulary to understand what you were saying, much less respond intelligently and cogently. But, that’s my problem! Essentially, a day of research did not make your arguments any clearer to me. I also realized I do not want to do the dedicated study necessary in that area of philosophy right now. I figured others might be in the same boat but reluctant to speak up, and so it was best to be honest about it – since it was a thread I started.

    I’m truly sorry that you and Fortune saw this as a personal affront as it was not meant to be. What I meant was to bow out of discussing your material since clarification was still beyond me. I am just not knowledgeable enough. It seems that my attempt at honesty was perceived as nastiness and deception (Snake). You really don’t seem to get that many of us don’t understand the terminology and references you used in that discussion or when responding to my requests for definition.

    It is unfortunate that my lack of understanding was perceived as rejection. As I see it, you are speaking what amounts to a foreign language, but one that can’t be translated via machine but only by listeners learning the whole language, philosophy and culture from scratch. This should be obvious from the fact that neither you nor Fortune were unable to communicate these perspectives in a language that can be understood by the unstudied. The terms you used are specialized; you employ them precisely because they are short-hand for vast conceptual realms.

    Some of us came to Lenormand looking for simplicity, directness and relief from the psychologizing and occult systems and philosophies of Tarot (even when we love them!). I’m fascinated because Lenormand represents a folk tradition carried out by often-unlettered women who utilized very simple instruction sheets, word-of-mouth and experience as their way of learning. Personally, I’m not just ready to turn it over to Lacan and Zizek, nor make them my objects of study.

    On the other hand, I love your example readings, Camelia, because I learn much from your method. I’m not rejecting you, just unwilling to take the time to uncode your philosophical discourse right now.

    I hope that both you and Fortune will return as your perspectives are very enriching ones.

    1. cameliaelias says:

      Dear Mary, thank you for your comment, spirit of solidarity, and protest. Being thrown out of the group on the grounds of a post I wrote on my own website and which references no one in particular seems to me an extravaganza that one of the administrators has decided to allow herself or himself without even issuing a warning first. Last I’ve checked I didn’t use calumnious or inappropriate language about anyone in the group, so the fact that someone must have been put on the spot, and perhaps identify directly with the zombie who doesn’t think in my post, already reveals a lot. Where you are concerned directly, let me tell you straight off that my literal reading of the cards did not refer to anyone in particular. I’m too old to make any assumptions. To me, in this context, the Snake refers to a person who suffers from misunderstanding things for the sake of misunderstanding. I let the ones who feel put on the spot again reflect on that – there must be a reason why people feel put on the spot, psychologically and pragmatically speaking. (On a formal level, I’m glad that you call my readings literal, as this must be the goal of any serious Lenormandist – or so the claim goes).

      I take your point that people got frustrated with Fortune’s ‘academic jargon’, but then, as it is customary in a forum, such as commenting on people’s updates on FB, last I’ve checked, people are still free to skip the irritating comments and move on to the ones of more interest. Lord only knows, I’ve done that myself.

      About my philosophising: if I said something that people perceived as difficult, I made an effort to explain if asked for it. In fact some of the group members today sent me private messages to tell me just that – how they appreciate precisely my style of explaining what may appear as difficult discourse, and how sorry they are to see me vanquished. About other references, not once did I sent people to the library to check on this or that theorist. I’m too old to presume anything.

      In connection with the group’s claim to openness, it is clear that that is only a figure of speech that is performed for the sake of pluralism. In reality it is also clear that what the group favours – or most of the voices I’ve heard there – is Treppner’s ideas. Actually, I find it rather odd that, given the preference for the German school, we never get to hear about Johann Kaspar Hechtel, or read about his biography, and about how he came to design Das Spiel der Hoffnung. Rather, people go on and on about madame Lenormand who, as has been established by historians, was using plain playing cards, at best a form of a Tarot de Marseille. So, why am I mentioning this here? Because I want to stress the fact that I found it disheartening to hear Stella, who people look up to, and you, who people look up to even more, suggest to a newcomer that he “threw out every book on French cartomancy” (your words) because “at best, they are only good as support under the leg of a wobbly table” (Stella). I don’t find such comments conducive to knowledge, and they reflect poorly on the long Lenormand cartomantic history.

      About my tone in my post: I can assure you that it was not fuelled by anger, not even frustration. I am also too old for that. It was driven by my desire to restore the balance, call it a sense of justice. What I want is this: that we are all treated with respect, and if rejection of our ideas must come for whatever reason, then it must be built on some basic commonsense. Having to listen to how awful the academics are, and how dangerous that we now try to infiltrate the simple folk’s game is rather discouraging and calls for not much else other than the conclusion that what we are dealing with here is not so much people who want to learn, but people who want to appear authoritative. It became clear to me that there seem to be more teachers in this group than there are students. Coming from a fairly competitive field myself, and being tired of seeing where eagerness for self-assertion leads to, I have to say that, personally, such endeavours in the context of game and play do not fall into my taste.

      Mary, I appreciate it that you want to speak for the value of true learning, and I think that the group is doing a good job at showing enthusiasm, but it takes integrity and devotion to what deserves attention to make a large crowd work. Giving people only what they want to hear leads to polarization, and polarization leads to exclusion. QED.

      1. mkg says:

        I agree we should all be treated with respect and that a few people were rude. I felt frustrated with both. I did try to express honestly that I was lost and couldn’t even understand the explanations offered by you and Fortune. I do understand your sample GT readings and find them brilliant. I love getting a different perspective on reading the cards and hope to learn more from you.

        I’ve looked back through the archives and have been unable to find where I said that Hechtel “threw out every book on French cartomancy.” (At that time, c. 1798, only Etteilla and a few of his followers had written on cartomancy.) What I did say is that Hechtel seemed to use an even older German set of divinatory meanings for the playing cards (rather than French meanings), which were found by Huck and Helen Riding.

        Hechtel has been discussed quite a bit on the list but more in the past than recently. We’ve also explored the relationship between the game and Biribissi (Birribi) Boards, etc. and the whole development of race games, roulette, lotto, Mexican lotería and bingo. These discussions go in waves.

  5. mkg says:

    One example: I kept reading the “economy of desire” as “abstemious desire” rather than an economic philosophy — a “Desire Economy”. Once I realized it was *code* I googled the term “economy of desire” – try it!

  6. cameliaelias says:

    Mary, about Hechtel, you misunderstood me. I was referring to a thread started by a new young man in the group who wanted to know what books to read. But thanks for telling me about fact that the group did discuss Hechtel’s work. It’s only fair that he should get some attention. Hoffman has some interesting theories about a presumed German set of meanings supposedly derived from 15th c. fine engravings (Fortune knows more about that), but where the style of 18th c. readings in the German context is concerned, that’s all French.

    1. mkg says:

      Ah, I was agreeing with others who don’t like the book that comes with the Lo Scarabeo deck called “French Cartomancy”. It’s that particular booklet that I was objecting to. It doesn’t accord with any system I’ve ever seen for the Lenormand cards. He mentioned he had that deck (the deck itself is fine).

  7. melancholy aeon says:

    “Still I had a thought that might apply to your set-readings of the Grand Tableau”

    My interest here Paul is mainly to answer the question posed to me by a lovely friend and very nice intuitive reader who works on a lot of tarot projects. He expressed suspicion of lennie because you don’t read every card. “How do I know that other part you don’t read might not contradict what you do read?” And also being a well-educated person, he is aware of the power of narrative, pattern and symbol at the level of the dialogue game. 🙂

    We’re always interpreting when we are reading, and he felt lennie and its reading style failed to acknowledge that very thing that he (and many other tarotists) understand to make tarot “work.” Picking approved keywords from the approved book to him felt very close to a Barnum-style reading. I think a lot of the Reluctant Tarotists may also feel this way. 🙂

    So then the question returns to this examination – how much of the set do we need to sample to prove that any sentence will be consistent with others and not contradictory? Maybe we could get better answers by using different GT techniques. Or perhaps the GT’s common practice is a very good method. How would we know? Is this, as Girard says, a damnably objective process, or should we admit the daimon will sometimes appear and we have to halt? End of game. 🙂

    1. cameliaelias says:

      Indeed, melancholy aeon, these are all very pertinent concerns. But let me point out that among the routined Lenormandists, what others call the ‘literalness of the cards’ does not revolve around approved keywords from approved books. A serious Lenormand card reader would laugh her wits off at the idea that in Lenormand we’re not dealing with representations, with narrative and the power of seduction by implanting suggestions in one’s stories. Ha, ha, ha. The sticking to the ‘book and method idea,’ the insistence on ‘building up vocabulary’ all comes from supermarket approaches to the cards. If we disregard those, we discover that there’s absolutely no difference at all between the way in which a clever reader reads tarot and the way in which she reads Lenormand cards. A clever reader proceeds from the descriptive level of the cards and their function in relation to context.

      About the sentence and the set, we can do what the scientists do – test, though, let us not claim ‘accuracy’ for what we find. For what are we measuring exactly? Just people’s norms against the background of the available positions to them – the positions that are dictated by each person’s own history, cultural and economic capital. If the set proves consistent with our initial sentence, then it will most likely be so because we have set the boundaries. What is interesting to note is how we ‘tend’to the margin, where the interesting stuff happens (here with a nod to the way in which what is called the ‘weird’ infinity in math behaves).

  8. KatrinaW says:

    Dear Camelia and Fortune,

    I love your dynamic exchange as you contrast styles and traditions. This approach to sharing and teaching is helping this beginning Lenormand student learn powerful ways to relate to this oracle.

    As you introduced your topic my intuitive mind was seeing a holographic approach, much like the impression I received from your post on this weblog exploring the GT in 1.5 minutes. It opened my mind to the importance of having the entire spread echo one message, albeit in more detail. Current post solidified this understanding in a “simple” complex of shades on the theme.

    As with Tarot wisdom…the more I learn, the more I realize there is to learn.

    I too was inspired to create a new weblog post (Why My Work is Not Popular) as I wrestled internally with the way some people express their limitations as projections upon the other. I was identifying with being the one who is not always understood, in my case due to my academic and psychological leanings. This fringe experience also appears in the Tarot spirituality realm for me. Fortunately for me, my spiritual approach values unity and diversity, which trumps any perceived division.

    And now two of my peers are gone from one of my favorite FB groups. I am selfishly sad over this. I value this group for the spirit of learning and sharing. I understand and will honor their “crossroad.” I hope to continue to learn and grow like a “tree” with you “ladies” knowing it will be a beautiful “garden.”

    Love and hugs,

    1. cameliaelias says:

      Thank you for that, Katrina. And thank you for catching gracefully what I was trying to put forth, namely the simple and beautiful ‘holographic’ reading. It’s ironic that so few others in the group – or at least those objecting – have seen the truth of this simplicity as something else. But I understand that some have not seen the light yet, and that’s all right. Not all can do that.

  9. Valerie says:

    Hi Camelia,
    I would just like to say that I really enjoy your blog and I’m sorry you were removed from the Lenormand Study Group. I found your GT example to be one of the most interesting ones I’ve ever seen posted, and as far as I know, no one has made the Romanian house meanings available in English before. I only glimpsed your exchange on the Lenormand Study Group page. It was beyond me, academically, but I was still interested in reading it. Unfortunately, by the time I came back to take a closer look at it, it had been removed. It’s a shame – I’d love to see some more varied discussions on the FB page. I wish you the best and will just keep following your blog.

    1. cameliaelias says:

      Many thanks, Valerie. I’m glad to hear that you like my readings of the grand tableau. This in itself testifies to the fact that, obviously, what I’m doing here does not ‘fly over people’s heads’ – and my argument still stands: where the internet is concerned, if there’s something that disturbs us, we skip it. It’s also interesting to hear that the thread in which I commented is gone. So, I must really have offended the righteous ones. It makes you wonder, however, what right they have to do so. Those words are still my intellectual property, and if anything, I should have the rights to either keep them public or remove them. But then so it goes with censorship, thoughts of supremacy, and fascism – the group did vote for the implementation of closure, something that I find questionable.

      Generally, I find the conduct of the group’s administrator(s) quite disgusting as it reminds me of my totalitarian days in Romania, something I never want to return to. I have no problem with self-imposed authority, if the self-imposed authority can legitimize its acts. Be that as it may, if you need some advise, here it comes: don’t stand for being trampled on by those who project all their fears unto those who are able to call their bluff, and those who are old enough to not be so impressed with mediocre claims to knowledge. I’m glad you want to keep reading here. I shall make an effort not to disappoint, and if disagreeing ideas arise, based on what I write, I welcome a respectful debate. All best to you, and good luck with your studies.

    2. mkg says:

      The discussion is here: http://www.facebook.com/groups/LenormandCardStudy/permalink/485265814841660/
      There is also a discussion of the “Master Method” or “Lenormand’s Nines” (as it is known in English) which is very similar to the Romanian Houses. So far, Caitlín Matthews traced it back to a French work, _L’Oracle Parfait_ from 1875. Of course, the important thing is how it works in practice for those who become skilled in it. You can find the discussion in the later comments here:

      1. cameliaelias says:

        Thanks, Mary. Also for posting the link. I’m, however, unable to see what Caitlín wrote and perhaps offer an opinion, as I’m unable to access the link, which goes fort the people who read this blog but are not members of the group. Alas, another consequence of closure, which I myself objected to at the time of voting. But I’m sure that what Caitlín says is probably correct. I made a similar point myself in my other 2 posts, on the Lenormand houses, and the grand tableau, actually in the comments section on the post, when the issue was raised.

      2. mkg says:

        My apologies, Camelia. I forgot that the group is now only open to members, which is to protect those doing readings containing personal information. Basically, we just listed several 19th and 20th century works in which the “Lenormand/Master Method” of Houses appears. The Prof. Foli book on _Card Fortune Telling_ (c. 1904/6) is an easily available English-language source, although I believe Minetta preceded him.

        Camelia, you are the only modern person I’ve come across who uses these meanings for the Lenormand Houses. In the discussion most people said a House system using the card meanings (by number) made more sense to them, although I think it is mainly a matter of familiarity. Your approach makes me think more deeply about the Houses and finally made sense for me regarding the Master Method.

        I really hope you will eventually decide to come back.

      1. cameliaelias says:

        Thanks for that. I think it’s only fair that they are still there, in case some want to go back and assess what was was going on, and what exactly made people so worked up against us.

  10. cameliaelias says:

    Mary, thanks. And thanks for wishing me back. About the houses, as I stated here on my website and a few other places in comment form for the group, it makes no sense to me whatsoever to have the houses mean the same thing as the cards. I’m quite happy with the master-method here, or derivatives thereof. Of course, this idea also met a lot of resistance, without people actually trying it out for themselves to see whether there was any reason to resist it. Well, obviously what I was saying was not in a modern book, so therefore it was no good. So much for the claim to go back to traditional schools. But I’m glad that you’re thinking about it. You must let me know about how reading with such meanings in mind changes your reading experience on the general plane. I’m convinced that it will.

  11. Valerie says:

    Sorry, I was indeed mistaken! I can see the discussion now when I click on the link Mary provided. I look forward to experimenting with the Romanian, or Lenormand Master Method house meanings. And I also hope that you will decide to come back to the study group. Best Wishes!

    1. cameliaelias says:

      Thanks, Valerie. It’s a good idea to experiment with as many ideas as possible. That’s the whole point of learning. Art comes when you’ll be able to distinguish between essential and inessential information, who passes it on, and for what purpose.

      I’d return to the group if I didn’t think that, at this time, the agenda is dictated by a few voices who like to be against those who don’t sound like them, with the obvious consequence of exclusion. If I were still a teenager, when I used to be interested in fencing, the good old style French fencing, I’d relish the fact that I didn’t even have to identify the ‘rival’ here. The one throwing me out of the group did that all on her own. But I don’t compete anymore. As it is, I find the lack of self-control, tact, and diplomacy deplorable, especially when this lack is exhibited by ‘leaders.’

      I’ll be posting here next week something on the suits – something very, very easy – to be considered by beginners. So, keep following, and thanks for your support.

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