Here is a quick post about the use of significators in a spread.

The following can apply to divination with all the standard cards (playing-cards, tarot, Lenormand, Sybillas), though I’ll take my point of departure in playing-cards here, as they have inspired throughout history on how we look at the other cards.

In the case of the Lenormand cards, apart from the cards of the Man and the Woman as standard significators for persons, depending on the question, we can assign ‘person’ qualities to the other cards representing animals.

For instance, if a man wants to know if his wife cheats on him, then the two female significators will be the Woman and the Snake. If a woman wants to know if her husband’s boss will sack him, then the significators will be picked accordingly: Woman, Man (her husband), and the Bear (her husband’s boss).

We should note here that these are all cultural stereotypes, not logical choices.

Make your picks exactly as you fancy.

I’ll also take a standard question, one of love, as this type of question remains an unchanged classic. For instance, what used to be a very frequent question about inheritance some 200 years ago, is now more a question about winning the lottery.

You will find that there is vey little practical value in what some old cartomantic manuals prescribe – not to mention the heavily loaded bourgeois symbolism of the Lenormand cards – for the way in which we relate to money and property issues today. So, therefore, let us look at the perennial love question instead, as otherwise we would need to do some serious cultural adjustments.


I bet all readers get this one a lot.

Now, what interests me is how we make clear who is who in a spread, what they do to whom, how, and why.

Let’s look for now at the popular square of 9.

Here I have two options: To pick the significator card and dump it in the middle of the square, or pick it before hand, but let it stay in the deck.

If it pops up in the spread, we can read all the relations around it according to where it lands. If it doesn’t pop, then we must decide with ourselves that all the other court cards that may fall on the table will relate indirectly to the significator.

Court cards are generally seen as either family, helpers, or enemies, all according to their suit and the way in which they interact with the cards surrounding them.

So, the other court cards landing in our spread will not be seen as aspects of our significator representing the querent, as one often does in Tarot readings, but rather as others who are with you, against, you, or neutral messengers.

Which card in the center?

Now to a first dilemma that beginners often confront. Let us have the question again?

Does he love me?

camelia elias

Insofar as HE is the subject we must place the card representing HIM at the center of the spread. Not the other way around.

I’ve seen readers placing there the card of the woman wanting to know in the center, but surely she is the object of the man’s interest, not the subject, so it’s a fallacy to think that the cards must answer a question about HER when all she wants to know is HIS thoughts.

We must always think of what we’re saying.

For my spread WITH A SIGNIFICATOR above, I picked the card of the King of Spades.

Since this is a tutorial, I let the cards determine.

The female significator, which we must also decide on in advance, did not show up. In this context here she is the Queen of Spades (though we don’t need to create consorts; another Queen can also do, as we pick the significator according to physical characteristics).

From this we may infer that the answer to the question, ‘does he love me?, will address more the ways in which the King of Spades loves or loves not the Queen of Spades, rather than the direct contact between the two.

As it happens this spread turned out quite beautifully, with the first card, the 9 of Hearts, suggesting two things: The heart’s desire – traditionally the primary meaning of the 9♥ is to express the heart’s desire – or a change of heart – the nines stand for change; with the heart, a change of heart.

Sticking to our simple rule: red good, black bad, we can say the following:

The K♠ wishes strongly to love the Q♠with whom he communicates and exchanges love messages in public via the electronic media (9♥ 8♦ J♥), but he decides not to (9♥ J♦ A♠).

Now this is quite interesting, for it seems completely contradictory to the intent. Either you love or you don’t.

A look at the first row and then the first column discloses, however, painfully clearly too, that while the King loves the virtual love messaging, in person he delivers crap (9♥ J♦ A♠).

I actually know someone who does this, so I’m beginning to wonder what the cards are telling me. Be that as it may. Let us keep this strictly as a tutorial.

There is also another interesting aspect to the 9 of Hearts moving into the Ace of Spades.

If we assume that this is about the heart’s desire, then we must conclude the following:

In spite of the King of Spade’s desire TO DECIDE NOT TO love the Queen, he can’t help himself.

The 9♥ moving into the A♠ simply means that your wish will not not be granted.

Logically speaking, based on this alone, we must infer that the answer to the question is YES: The King loves the Queen even though there seems to be a strong indication that he decided not to.

Is this a moron we’re dealing with? See, that’s the question, the reader’s question, I might add.

And why on earth not, one might ask, or the Queen might ask?

Remember that the Queen herself didn’t show up in the spread. In fact we have 4 males on the table, out of which 2 are either children or messengers. As there are no 3♥ in the spread, which would indicate that the Jacks are children, we must go with the messengers.

The first Jack is clear, as he enters our sentence unambiguously.

The heart wishes (9♥) to communicate (8♦) a message of love (J♥).

The second Jack initiates the string in which two Kings face each other.

Here we could say that the King of Spades MIGHT wish to cut a deal with the King of Clubs.

The J♦ here indicates a message of negotiation, which, however, is desired to be passed on indirectly (The Jack faces away from the King of Spades).

So we can infer that the K♠ is thinking (8♣ below him) of how to get through to the other King or how to get past him (J♦ K♠ K♣ ).

Looking at the 2 nines in the significant diagonal relation, we could say that the love of the King of Spades for the Queen of Spades is conditioned by an exchange of place (9♥ K♠ 9♦ modified by K♣).

From this we can infer that the reason why the K♠ desires not to love the Q♠ is because she may already be in a relationship with the K♣.

Ergo, there is love, but this love is conditioned by a change.

For a bit of variation here, we could say the following: Given that the 9♦ is associated with finery, perhaps the Q♠ represents a trophy that two Kings are in indirect exchange about.

Though it looks like the K♣ is winning this one (he is in the future column), simply because the other one decided to give up (A♠) and love from the distance.

The surprise card, the 6♦ tells us precisely that. Tough luck.

No significators

Now, let us look at the same question and use the exact same pair, but this time I will let the cards fall on the table without getting the significator out of the pack.

I also want to mention that before I proceeded I had decided in advance that although I was going to shuffle for each instance, I was going to see how the two spreads may speak the same message.

So my expectation was that the 2 spreads are related closely or that the second can be seen as a commentary on the first, while at the same time telling us something about the dynamics of reading with no significator on the table.

camelia elias

Now, we saw how in the first instance the love of the King of Spades for the Queen of Spades was conditioned. The King had decided not to wish to love the Queen for whatever reason – here probably because she is with another.

In the second spread, neither of the significators showed up. So they remain in the background of what story emerges here. What didn’t show up either is a single heart card.

This is always very telling. In a question of love usually hearts pop up for better or worse.

Now we want to know: Why such insistence on ‘no heart’ involved?

We get an idea already by looking at the first card, the 8♠. This is a card of extreme negativity.

With great pressure nearby (10♣), and an insistence to find a new opportunity (A♣), a story emerges already very nicely.

So we can say the following: The King of Spades succumbs to his negative thoughts (8♠) and obsession with the Queen of Spades (5♠) with whom he is in a mental relation (2♦).

He moves away from it (10♣) because another Queen is in sight, occupying center stage, and who offers an invitation to partner with her and her enterprising child (2♦ Q♣ J♦) (Clubs indicate work relations; 2♦ almost always an invitation or a call, and the Q♣ indicates a pragmatic woman; Jacks can stand for both boys and girls.)

Here it seems also that a ‘fix it all’ Jack of Diamonds facilitated the encounter (J♦ with A♣ above and 2♣ below ).

We can even say see that this was his/her idea (again, A♣ above and 2♣ below the J♦), and that the young person has done this before.

The 2♣ represents repetition and a doubling. A plausible situation, as I know that many single mothers experience that their children want nothing more than to see their mother find a man to marry.

So, with the new Q♣ on the table the K♠ moves from being depressed to changing his situation (mainly financially, however) and accepting a new deal.

The surprise card here, the Jack of Spades tells us, however, that there is lot of suspicion involved in this whole set up.

The Jack of Spades may, on the other hand, be the son of the King of Spades. So, the K♠ relinquished his agency to the young ones, and went off with the new woman.

Now, however, how does this answer our question?

Does the King of Spades love the Queen of Spades? The cards insist on not telling. We would have to have some hearts in this spread for that question to be answered unambiguously.

What we got here is an indication that the K♠ MIGHT love the Q♠, but she is not in the picture.

Also, the ‘bad’ cards we got here refer more to the mental state of the K♠ (8♠ for negative thoughts and bad communication, and 5♠ for the afflicted body), rather than his emotions.

With pressure culminating (10♣) and the inexperienced ones cutting deals (J♦), we could say that the K♠ is left rather emotionless.

One might be tempted to say that with these cards on the table the K♠ definitely does not love the Q♠, because as established before, he decided. But also before we established that his wish was not granted.

So, if there are no hearts in this equation here, it is because the cards show us beautifully the consequences of going against the heart’s desire.

You go against the heart’s desire, there’ll be no heart left for you to feel.

Again, tough luck.

On the other hand, if pragmatism is desired, then good luck. Not all of us need to feel the sublime anguish of the heart in love. Being normal and getting down to business is also a kind of happiness.

As we can see then, it pays off to think very clearly about how we delineate the significators, and how important it is not to go with the temptation to say things like, ‘but that court card can also be me, as I’m also like that.’

Nor indeed to say that a situation, just because it looks familiar, is about something else entirely different and not connected to the context of the question.

There is no need for embellishing beyond what the cards tell us and show us.

Good luck with reading cards, before reading relations, wishful thinking, or some other, external to the cards, negotiations of desires.


Note on the deck:

Dondorf, Klub Karte or also known as Judenkarte, 1870.


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