The Fox Outsmarts the Bear: Lenormand and Career Readings

The Fox Outsmarts the Bear: Lenormand and Career Readings

A recent review of our book, Learning Lenormand, criticised it for referring to the original “Game of Hope” cards in 1800 from which the Lenormand is copied. The reviewer stated emphatically that the Lenormand was “certainly not the game of cards” to which we referred often, as if understanding the origins of the deck in no way was useful to learning.

My personal opinion is that appreciating the context in which the deck was developed – and why it (out of the many possible variations) survived, is essential to my reading. I’d like to give one example, of how appreciating the history adds to real interpretations, in this case with careers.

When the Game of Hope was first used as a parlour game, the tale of Reynard the Fox would have been common knowledge – as we cover in the book. The Fox in the deck of images would have instantly been seen in this light; as the trickster and master manipulator, looking after number one.

Here is an image of Reynard at the Ways.

Reynard at the Ways

Reynard at the Ways

In the original instructions for the game, we see that the “cunning fox leads the player astray”, actually taking them back to the woods (Tree)! So it is a somewhat tricky card when appearing in our reading, for both good and ill, depending on its context.

We should also look at the Bear in career readings, in this context, as a powerful boss, employer (company), or already established power. The relationship between the Fox and the Bear, for me, comes from the original tales of Reynard, where the Bear features as an active character.

The Fox and the Bear in the tales of Reynard are recognised as self-interest versus the establishment. Reynard tricks the bear in a number of different ways, always taking advantage of the bear’s self-confidence and single-mindedness. The Fox works by indirect methods, manipulation and controlling the communications between the various parties, to his own ends. The Fox (unlike the Snake in the grass) is an enemy in plain sight – just in that they look after “number one”.

We can have some sympathy for the fox though, as he is also employing his self-interest to look after and feed his family back at the den. In some Lenormand decks we see him stalking the chicken who is totally unaware of their role in the natural pecking order.

So when someone asks me about career in a Grand Tableau, I always think of the context in which players would have played the original Game of Hope, and the stories they would have told each other from those images. These would have been informed by their own experience of the tales of the time, including Reynard the Fox.

So, as some example combinations:

Fox + Moon: Self-Promotion
Fox + Bear: Conflict with Authority
Fox + Fish: Self-Interest leading to Gain

And as a general rule, when looking at career questions in the Grand Tableau, I always consider where the Fox and the Bear are positioned relative to each other, and the cards between them. Is the Fox able to overcome the Bear to secure his own position? Is the Bear bringing a Cross and Coffin to stop the Fox in his ways? How can the Fox get round the Bear, if the Bear is in the way of the Fishes …? Considering these two cards as the querent and the established power in their career, and likening them to the tales of Reynard, really helps me make sense of a reading.

Of course, it may not always be a negative situation – there might be a Bear underneath the Fox, supporting their self-employment or innovative ideas (Child). This would signify a powerful supportive person, particularly if the Bear is close to the Fishes (resources, money). The Fox may be close to the Tower, a place of authority and structure (it symbolised a border post and watchtower in the original context of the game), hence at a threshold in their path.
When weaving a tale of the Fox and Bear, we can see archetypal stories and characteristics of those animals written into (and out of) us. They play out in real life as self-interest versus establishment, and this is most noticeable in career aspects of a reading.

So I would say to anyone who does not consider that the original game, its instructions, and historical context, have anything to do with Lenormand reading, consider too that they may be missing a big part of the heritage of the cards.

Tali x

Ten Ways to Learn Lenormand

Ten Ways to Go About Learning Lenormand

1. Read Books. The more the better, and the more in different languages that you can, the better. Many readers across Europe learnt from books, or books have written down what other readers have used in their readings. In writing Learning Lenormand, we spent two years purchasing and reading French, German, Portuguese and Brazilian books. Although it can be initially complex, dealing with ambiguities of language and contradictions (sometimes within the same book, never mind between different authors), it soon pays off – your readings will be deeper, more flexible and fluent as you create your own accent of the literal Lenormand language.

A small selection of Lenormand Books.

A small selection of Lenormand Books.

2. Study the History. The Lenormand has developed over a shorter period of time, and in a more constrained way, than Tarot, for example, until recently. It makes it far easier to trace the development of the lexicon and grammar of the card meanings, starting with the Game of Hope. We can then range through cartomantic meanings and associations, and symbolic systems such as dream interpretation and coffee-grind readings, etc. This will again widen your ability to appreciate the symbols and create readings.

3. Practice. There are many online venues, such as our own LEARNING LENORMAND study group on Facebook, where you can practice with others. All will be dependent on the people creating, joining and contributing to the group, so find the best place for you to practice.

Reading the Grand Tableau

Reading the Grand Tableau

4. Read what experienced readers have to say on their craft. Whether they learnt from their “grandmother”, or picked it up over four decades of reading from their home, making it up from what worked, everyone has an opportunity to share their methods and styles.

5. To start, don’t get too carried away with deck-purchasing unless you are a collector or enthusiast for different decks. Whilst we promote the innovative and beautiful new decks now appearing on a weekly basis, for a beginner, we recommend the Piatnik, Dondorf, Blue Owl, our own “Original Lenormand” (from the original 1800 game of Hope by J. K. Hechtel), or whichever deck appeals most to you. Once you have got reasonably confident in one deck out of maybe three or four you have purchased, then dive into the cartomantic ocean waiting for you with many possible new decks!

Lenormand Decks

Lenormand Decks

6. Take Courses. As with any subject, you will learn differently with different teachers, no matter what the content. It is important you find someone who teaches in a way that works for you. There’s nothing more frustrating than good content presented badly, or in a confusing manner. If you are paying for a course, then check whether you are getting value compared to “free” content online. A paid course should be so because it features an experienced teacher in the subject, high quality research or material, or high production values – or a combination of those things, which cost money to produce.

7. Ignore anything you might read about “tradition”. Stating that there is a definitive singular tradition (whether based on language, geography or teacher) is a very difficult thing to prove. There is a lot of ongoing research into this, and until it is published, there will be a lot of “noise” about “THE German tradition” or “THE French tradition”. It would be fantastic if we could get ten different (and isolated from each other) readers in Germany, speaking German only, each of whom we could demonstrate learnt from several generations back. We could then interview them, and their parents and grandparents. We could then compare their lexicon (card meanings, i.e. FISH = MONEY), and grammar (card combinations, i.e. FISH + CLOVER = Luck in Money). We could then check that all 36 meanings and any combinations were IDENTICAL across all ten readers, and their parents and grandparents. We could then ensure that they were NOT identical to anything published, or had consistent variations. THEN we could begin to suspect an entirely separate oral tradition, belonging to a particular language or geography – and we could then look to trace any written source, such as cartomantic manuals in old German dating back to the last several centuries. A big job …

8. Stick to one set of “rules” or meanings. Read left to right, or right to left, read the Bear as Money, a job or mothers, but only one of those things (meaning you’ll need another card for the other things), and so on. But stick to one set. Read, practice, and over time you’ll calibrate that to your experience. As an example, one reader (in tarot) always read the 5 of Pentacles as “poverty”, but consistently got financially comfortable people for whom that card was coming up. He started to ask them about their situations, and soon discovered that the card was more about “deferred comfort”, that’s to say, people investing for the long-term, going on an expensive course so they couldn’t enjoy the comforts of life, etc., planning for the long-term. So now, for him, that card means that, rather than “poverty” as he started using. Just test one set of meanings until it snaps into place.

9. Use as many cards as you can. In Lenormand, I feel, I learnt best by starting with the Grand Tableau, even though I only read a few cards in it to begin with. I then branched out, rather than got frustrated with trying to make sense out of two or three cards. It was avoiding what I see often with beginners, “Oh, I am doing two cards for my daily draw, and I got “CLOVER + FISH”, lucky money, or money bringing luck, any other ideas?” Well, that’s it, really! I’d be more interested then to know where that was coming from, how I could recognise – or indeed – encourage this situation. And I’d need more cards to tell me; where’s the Fox, the Bear – is it an opportunity at work? Where’s the Mountain, the Snake, the Cross – anything to stop it happening? And so on. At least with starting with the Grand Tableau you have the opportunity to read outwards as and when you can, and with context.

Reading the Cards

Reading the Cards

10. Have fun, explore, take your time, and bring your own voice to the cards. We feel the Lenormand has a unique “literal Lenormand” language in the world of cartomancy. It will be a while before the current interest settles into longer-term usage in a wider audience. Some things will re-surface and be taken up by a lot of people, other things will remain peculiar to just one reader. Some teachers and decks will flourish, others will falter. There are still new discoveries and insights to be made, and this will take time. Don’t waste it by doing anything other than enjoying your own personal studying and reading of the cards.

A Busy Year

Well it has been a busy year since I last wrote here in January, and it is the Lenormand to blame for this frantic pace. When we devised our “Cards of Antiquity” project in 2011, and the year prior our “Rose Key” project, we were not to know how these would go viral. It has been incredible to see how the cartomantic streams of Lenormand and Etteilla have come into the spotlight this last year, and how much more is still to follow.

I hope everyone who is now aware of our Rose-Key Secret has been discovering how many Rose-Keys are out there, and how long the “Dallas Ritual” took to plan, and how it has rippled back in time. We chose the Lenormand deck almost three years ago now to create that event, and it has sort of taken over!

In the meantime this year I have been delighted to meet so many other readers at our Tarosophy TarotCons, in the Lake District, UK and Dallas, USA. Next year we have TarotCon events in Sydney and Singapore, commencing the year, so it will be fantastic to see even more new ideas in Tarot and Cartomancy emerge.

Here is a 20-minute selection of video clips from our events over the last couple of years, although it is always difficult selecting representative clips as the speakers are so diverse and wonderful!

It really has been an incredible year for Tarot and I look forward to blogging my way through next year with you.

Tali x

Tarosophist of the Year 2012

We are delighted to open for nominations the Tarosophist Awards 2012. In its fourth year, we have extended the categories, and implemented an Awards Panel. You have a few weeks to consider and make your nominations, and ask questions here. If you are unsure of a publication date for your nomination, please check the publisher site, Amazon, etc. All nominations are anonymous and the decision of the panel final. We traditionally announce the winner – winners, this year – on Christmas Day, December 25th 2012.

This year our categories are:

1. Tarosophist of the Year (for outstanding service to Tarot this year, 2012)

2. Young Tarosophist of the Year (for any individual age 18-29 who has made a significant contribution to Tarot over this year)

3. Deck of the Year (for any Tarot, Oracle or Lenormand deck published in 2012)

4. Self-Published Deck of the Year (for any deck self-published, also via Kickstarter, Indigogo, etc., 2012)

5. Book of the Year (for any Tarot book, fiction or non-fiction, published in 2012)

6. Self-Published Book of the Year (for any Createspace, Lulu, or otherwise self-published Tarot book over 2012)

7. Tarot in Media Award (for any use of Tarot in film, documentary, music or performance during 2012)

8. Tarot Art of the Year (for use of Tarot in sculpture, fashion, art, mixed media, etc. during 2012. Need not be a complete deck creation.)

9. E-Tarot Award for outstanding e-version, iApp or other online/virtual use of Tarot during 2012.

Make your nominations prior to December 21st at:

Golden Dawn Tarot

Well we were happy to announce our big research project at the TarotCons in the UK and USA this year. We have been working on it for over a year, and it has been a tricky process. We are happy to announce that we are to publish over 50+ original Golden Dawn tarot manuscripts and illustrations, from the original documents, which we’ve been working with for 18 months.

The publication will be called A NEW DAWN FOR TAROT and feature a commentary on the images, many of which are from the members of the Golden Dawn and the founders, particularly W. W. Westcott and S.L. Macgregor-Mathers. We also discovered some unpublished Tarot work by Florence Farr which I hope to work upon for publication.


It has been a beautiful experience to hold and read these papers, and really connect with the spirit of the time. We were also delighted when – after several months of work and presentations, meetings and panels – the owners of the archive approved our approach and presentation of the material. We think it was our work with the Waite-Trinick Tarot that helped, to show we could present this material in a sensitive manner and with due respect to the original vision of the content. We hope to live up to that vision in sharing this material with you.

The book should be published in the second quarter of 2013.

Lighthouse Spread (Imbolc)

In today’s Tarot Timetravel, we use the Lenormand Oracle (or any other oracle deck) to get a balance between our past and future, in a one-off spread to be used only on Imbolc. We also see how to read positive oracle cards in negative positions, and negative cards when they appear in a positive position.

At Imbolc, February 2nd, it is a pivotal time between the seasons, and we begin to see the first light of Spring and Summer to follow. We have a brief moment to reflect on what we have learnt in the often quieter time of dark winter, and what we wish to take into the light. In effect, now is the time to consider our resolutions, not at the artificial start of the calendar year. So let us time travel to the seasonal time, rather than our calendar clock time, and align ourselves for the future.

As this year we are re-discovering the “Tarot of Antiquity”, particularly such decks as European decks including Kipper Decks, Lenormand Oracle decks and the Marseilles and Swiss IJJ, I am going to be featuring a lot of the Lenormand type of decks. Today I am using the Lenormand Blue Owl deck, although this spread will work with any oracle deck. An oracle deck is often better for this method as the cards are usually more literal and mundane – Marcus Katz prefers his Psycards deck for this one.

Let us imagine we stand on a rock upon the coastline, inbetween the sea and land. Ahead of us is a great lighthouse, with two beams rotating into the early dawn light. We stand for a moment inbetween time and space, past and future, here and now.

Shuffle your deck and consider your past and future. How has it been, where do you want to go?

Then pick out 7 cards and layout the spread as below, as a lighthouse with two beams of light coming from it:


CARD 2 – CARD 3 – CARD 4                                                           CARD 5 – CARD 6 – CARD 7

The first card is laid out at the top and this is the lighthouse or beacon card, its power crowns the spread, the light splits in two and radiating its energy left and right, each card depicts the nature of steering towards or away.

There are three cards laid out in a row (or you can lay them out in a column) on the left and three on the right. The left is indicative of what you should steer away from, the right is what you should steer towards. You can read them together, or break the positions into the following context.

These cards are also signposts – you should learn to see that if you go past one card, you will reach the next. This gives you at least three levels of warning before making bad decisions, or three levels of “warmer – hotter – found it!” on the positive side of the reading.

On the left (negative/past) side:

The first card on the left column (2) represents the tip of the iceberg. This card shows what will show up first when you are going the wrong way in the future, based on the mistakes of the past.

The second card on the left column (3) represents the shallow reefs. This card shows what will start to happen if you miss or ignore that warning. You know what this card means, as it as probably happened before.

The third card on the left column (4) represents the Sirens. This card shows the final last-chance warning you will receive before committing a bad mistake in the future. Ignore it at your peril.

Now on the more positive side, we have the three cards representing the signs we can follow in our future that will guide us to our safest dock, our home, and create destiny from our fate.

The first card (5) on the right column represents the coastline. This is the card that tells you what to look out for, even if it appears not to be important, as part of your souls quest of return.

The second card (6) on the right column represents the Harbour. This tells us what you should expect to see in your life if you are heading the right direction.

The third card (7) on the right column represents the Dock. This final card indicates the nature of our destiny, and suggests what will be happening when we are closest to our own true path.

To illustrate the deceptive power of this spread when conducted on this one sacred day, here is an example which I conducted for someone last year:

The Beacon/Lighthouse: 34 (The Fishes)

Whilst most see this traditionally as a card of material gain, to me this card is about spiritual self-discovery, taking the opportunity to rise to the call and look to a new adventure.  The fish are very much in the forefront of the card, the water symbolic of the emotions that we wallow in. This is Neptunian realms of emotions; we are motivated by emotional stimulus. It suggests that rather than being a lighthouse, your call is to follow the tide of your emotions – trust them and they will lead you to where you need to go – a true sense of “going with the flow”. In this position the card bodes well, for there is little struggle suggested in the year ahead – you have learnt to trust your tides.

We then look at the warning signs to be heeded in the year:

The Tip of the Iceberg:  19 (The Tower)

The Tower can be used as a look-out post, the presence of this card in the spread counsels to be aware of impending risk or danger that you may be exposed to. You need to plan for any outcome good or bad. Build up a defence system around yourself, protect yourself from negativity. Imagine that you are safe and protected behind the walls of this tower. This is also a card advising getting a better perspective of a situation that has arisen, look at in a more objective manner, be practical about this, do not become too subjective or over emotional, rise above the situation and figure out a solution! You will know you are at the tip of the iceberg any time you feel defensive. This is when you should bail out, retreat, or make your way around the arising situation.

The Shallow Reefs: 18 (The Dog)

When you feel trusted, or called upon to give trust to someone, this is a further warning – you are being drawn into the shallow reefs. Whilst usually the most delightful card of the oracle, here it shows that your trust has led you astray in the past, and will be a sign in the future that you are going astray again. Be more of a fish than a dog, then!

The Sirens: 4 (The House)

Again, a most stable and positive card here is in a position which is negative. It shows how the house can be a prison – a stable environment has suffocated you in the past. If you find yourself too comfortable this year – you are perilously close to losing yourself to the siren song. It may even be too late, so be aware this coming year that every moment you are “out and about” is keeping you from your doom. Get out there!

Then on the future/positive beam from the lighthouses beacon:

The Coastline:  9 (Flowers/Bouquet)

When people are praising you, when giving you gifts or compliments, do not run away! This is the welcoming coastline that beckons you closer. You may not be used to this, having been away from this shore for so long. Perhaps you have not gained or been given recognition in the past, but that is about to change. Whilst it may seem counter-intuitive to you, seek the limelight more often, be the happy centre of attention. When you open your arms, flowers will follow.

The Harbour: 8 (The Coffin)

A negative card, perhaps, in an entirely positive position. So here, like we saw with our positive cards in negative positions, the poles are reversed again. The coffin indicates that our safe harbour is to be found when we put things in the grave – when we bury what is outworn and obsolete. When we dig deep and discard all that we do not want to carry into a new life. This is a sign, then, that our harbour is waiting for us. Following our course to the coast, we have opened ourselves to others and been changed – it is then up to you to bury your old self. When you find yourself thinking of loss, this can be taken as a sign you are even closer to the dock of your future.

The Dock: 30 (The Lily)

How will you know that you are on your path, that you have learnt from the darkness of the year and are making your way to the light of the future? The Lily shows a certain sense of purity and virtue – a clean spring feeling of light. It indicates that you will sense a great clarity as you hone in on your own path, a quietness, even a calm so profound it feels empty. After you have buried your old self, your new self will seem fresh and clean – waiting to be gifted again to the world. You will know that you are on the right beam of the lighthouse every moment there is clarity – avoid confusion or being overburdened. The answer lies – for you this year – in pure simplicity itself.

I hope you have enjoyed this spread and the use of the Lenormand deck, and I look forward to any comments if you decide to try it yourself – use this method as an excuse to dust off an oracle deck, or use a new one! Safe sailing until our next time-travelling instalment!


The Musings of Madame Lenormand

This year we announce our theme of the “Tarot of Antiquity”, taking the tagline of ‘Tarot out of Time’. We will be teaching and encouraging the use of Lenormand, Kipper, Marseilles and other traditional (often European) decks, as well as contemporary Oracle decks such as Ciro Marchetti’s “Oracle of Visions” and Dr. Art Rosengarten’s “Tarot of the Nine Paths”. Across the whole of this year, you will discover with us – and indeed, in the spirit of Madame Lenormand herself – a range of new and old oracle decks to extend your practice. This is the year of tradition reborn – a return of the oracles themselves! Now let us listen to the words of the Madame herself …

Allow me to introduce myself from beyond the veil – I am Madame de Lenormand, who first became known in France during my life between 1772 – 1843 and yet became even more famous following my passing from this plane, as I myself predicted. It seems I am to make a return in this year of our Lord, 2012. As the most famous of cartomancers, of course, it should be I who take centre stage at this time of great change and anxiety. A time of re-revolution, such as the High Tower in my own deck – or at least, one of the many produced after my name.

Lenormand Tower

Lenormand Tower

When I first commenced my practice, it is said that I “found the troubles of my times, which unhinged the minds of all around [her], and filled them with alarm and anxiety, very propitious to [her] views”. Now, you may say that indeed my time has come again, for everywhere I look I see the same revolutions as I did back in my own day – indeed, my distant biographer went on to say, when speaking of the great crowds that gathered at my readings, that it was because of an “alarm[ed] at the rapid progress of events, and rendered superstitious by their fears”, that the people of France flocked to me. [p. 209, Remarkable Women of Different Nations and Ages, pub. Boston, 1858].

I should say  “plus ça change”!

Whether it was the Russian campaign or the to-ings and go-ings of those of Luxembourg, my cards never lied. I was honour-bound to speak truth, at great personal cost, for I was incarcerated a number of times for my plain-speaking; judged by some heresy, by others, treason. Yet always the Knave of Clubs haunted me – speaking of those who would imprison me and yet also of those who would released me.

Even my own brother’s death came to me in my sleep – it was a time of tears and wars – and in the midst, my little library sat at the heart of the nations. I was forced to call my profession “librarian” for reasons of prudence, and yet this suited well my boudoir, with my kabbalistic texts and oriental décor. I, myself, made much of my own small stature, being broad and ruddy, decorating myself as clients would expect, with flaxon wig and rouged cheeks.

When a client visits me, I shuffle the cards and ask questions that appear to be of little value; their favourite flower, the animal they find most obnoxious, and more. This allows me to intuit their whole life, in some manner unfathomable even unto myself. Perhaps it is written in the very movement of their eyes, the fluttering of their hand, a nervous gesture caught by the corner of my own eye as the shuffling draws me into a waking sleep.

Of course, I also used Greek Sticks, Tharots (a deck of 78, including the Fol, Devil and Death), and was an expert in the nineteen points of Tharot. I was one of the few skilled in the use of the divining basin, with bay and verbena, and salt.

My Masters included the famous Olivarius and of course, my dealings were often with the “Le petit home rouge”, the “little red man”, who caused so much controversy and yet protected Napoleon himself. I will speak no more of these things for now.

[A Wicked Pack of Cards, Decker, Depaulis & Dummett, pub. New York, 1996]

A great change is coming, and I will be here to guide you through it again. Be with me here again shortly when I will cast my first cards.

Taking the Leap

How does the Tarot teach us to take a leap? Whether it is into a new year, a new life, a new job, life is full of change, and Tarot holds the keys to make the most of that change. It is the Fool who shows us how to take this leap, and in this article I’d like to share with you different Fools and their ways of leaping, so you can choose the leap most appropriate for your life – this New Year, adopt a Fool and take his journey into 2012.

All of these Fools have been following me in my own research for the forthcoming Tarosophy Tarot Deck; the Tarot of Everlasting Day™. I have been working through a large library of Tarot encyclopaedias, academic treatises and online repositories of Tarot images to inform Marcus Katz and Janine Hall in the tradition of Tarot. I’ve been lucky to see lots of private collections and archives, with decks too numerous to name, and I’m now attempting to make sense of all that the Fool encounters on his journey.

Flornoy Fool

Flornoy Fool

In the earliest depictions of the Fool, in the Marseilles decks of Jean Noblet, Jean Dodal, and Nicolas Conver, there really is no cliff – the Fool is a vagabond simply trying to get down the road, whilst a dog nips at his buttocks. In fact, in the Noblet version, we get a hint of more of the Fool’s, er, “equipment”, and that is fairly wince-inducing.
This situation for our hapless life, full of trials and setbacks – or perhaps they are “opportunities not problems” – is seen even more in exaggeration in ‘Le Fol’ from Le Taro Sacerdotal, 1951. I found this one in The Encyclopaedia of Tarot Vol. I, (Stuart. R. Kaplan, p. 218).

Here the card depicts the trial and tribulation of the Fool as he journeys onwards. We see that a crocodile has munched off his leg and is holding the severed limb in his jaws. The Fool appears very blithe about this trauma, and we see him stride on as if all is well and he has not a care in the world. One interesting aspect of this hand-drawn deck is that the fonts used in the verses on each card reflects the nature of the card, rather than being standardised across all the cards. It is these design choices that I am researching most thoroughly – the decisions made when creating a deck.

In the meantime, spare a thought for the single-legged Fool, although I get the idea that Crocodile will follow him, bearing his leg, for when he might need it. It may even be that the creature is bringing the Fool his leg back, for the Fool has not yet realised he is incomplete.

The Fool also has to encounter all the other cards before he makes his leap into the void. In ‘The Devil’, in The Painted Caravan, (Basil Ivan Rakoczi, The Hague: L.J.C Boucher, 1954) we see a rather strange encounter. In this unusual and rare book depicting the nature of Tarot as a “gypsy” device, there are very garish and striking Tarot images throughout the text. It was the Devil card which attracted me here, as he is depicted as getting rather up close and personal to the hapless Fool, who appears on the card and gives the impression of being reconciled to being a mere plaything.

Painted Caravan Devil and Fool

Some other decks do tend to go for the Fool as a puppet, with strings held by a divine hand – perhaps this is our first question, and the eternal quest of the Fool – what is freedom?

The text barely touches on this relationship of the Fool and the Devil, however goes on to speak in guarded tones about the mysteries of the Templars, the gypsies, the witches Sabbath and Freudian concepts of neuroses. Heady stuff! I do feel for the Fool though, on his journey he has had his leg chewed off and now is supping with the Devil.

On the other hand, it reminds me of the scene in The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (Gilliam, 2009), where the Fool leaps off the cliff and is caught by a fishing hook, as the Devil himself is fishing just underneath the cliff edge. As the fishing hook is a literal meaning of the Hebrew letter/word Tzaddi, and is a symbol of faith, who knows what mysteries are described by the Fool and the Devil dynamic …

So, how do you approach the edge of anything – a change in your life, a threshold, an initiation? The Fool tells us all the ways we have of making that leap into the new life.

We can ascend and master the void, as a Shaman, or we can simply give in, as in the macabre and terrifying Giger “Necronomicon” Fool, or perhaps it is best just to take the leap!

Whatever Foolishness you choose to adopt into the New Year, I wish you all the brightest blessings of a full deck, in which every moment is a new card.


Waite Trinick New Information

Hello All

We have some new information on one of the photos in the Waite-Trinick Tarot book, Abiding in the Sanctuary. We have also been receiving some wonderful feedback from those who have now started to receive their book. Everyone is delighted with the speed of delivery, the quality and the presentation, so we are now waiting on considered reviews of the content.

We have put up a new site where we will be updating erratum, and other points with regard to the book:

That’s where you’ll also see that new – somewhat brilliant – piece of extra information about one of the photographs.

Here’s some of the feedback we have received so far:

“Abiding in the Sanctuary awaited me when I arrived home from a long working day away. It glowed through the carton in a strange white-silver misty festive light (like the halo of old gas-lamps). I am lost for words. The images have an entirely unique quality, they are definitely not meant for cards…. I will write more, when I have regained myself.” S.

“Oh my. Oh my. Oh my. Abiding in the Sanctuary has arrived at my home this evening. I can hardly believe I have access to it. WHAT a gorgeous book it is, well worth the (short) wait and well worth the money. I cannot review it as I haven’t yet read one word of it, but I can assure anyone who hasn’t seen it yet that it’s stunningly beautiful and the contents look incredibly promising. Some of the illustrations have already brought tears to my eyes.” M.

“I just cannot believe how quickly this book arrived at my house – just as Tarosophy did a few months back. I am thrilled with it. Am forcing myself to read it front to back so have just gotten to the start of the Trinick biography, and haven’t yet done more than flip through the amazing images at the back–I want to get to them in order and read the background first. Have enjoyed hearing about the synchronicities involved in the research and publication. This is truly a treasure of a project.” M.

“…this book is stunning! It arrived today, and I have just begun to lose myself in these amazing images. I look forward to reading it this weekend. The book is beautifully produced, too. I am thriled to have a copy of this important historical work. It will be a cherished part of my collection.” R.

“Abiding in the Sanctuary arrived today. A profound, sacred work …. having the tracing boards by Frieda Harris included was a nice surprise. Looking forward to immersing myself into this.” T.

“Got it 5 minutes ago…. Abiding in the Sanctuary has arrived! Super fast delivery, excellent packaging! The quality is second to none! The pages are full of fabulous! Stunning, every bit! Sumptuous Read. Absolutely Exquisite. I can feel the ‘Work without lust of result’. All focus, Love of research for this project…. It is felt.” G.

“OMG…. it’s just arrived and I am swooning… did a ‘sensing’ over it before opening and got some amazing pictures… Wow. I’m hibernating now so I can go cover to beautiful cover with it. I absolutely know the layers upon layers upon layers of existence …. actually, they are in moving conical swirls on the pages. Magic is as magic does. The respect and honouring of such material is booming out of the pages. I am so so so glad I have a copy … Words are not enough.” C.

“I just received my copy of Abiding in the Sanctuary in the mail. Oh Joy! Oh Bliss!

Awesome. Transcendental. Mind boggling. Exquisite. Beautiful. Thought provoking. Enlightening.

I love the back story on Waite, Trinick, Pippet, et al. I learned more about Waite and got introduced to the others. The material sets the context of the illustrations that follow. 

Wondrous. Beautiful. Mystic. Inspiring. Emotional. 

I could not stop staring at the images. I reviewed them quickly for an overall first glance, and then I reviewed each one of them slowly and quietly. They were amazing. I wish that these had been produced as a final deck of trumps. We can still wish…

To think that these images have been asleep for decades, just waiting for the right person or persons to awaken them from their slumber. I’m so happy and thankful that Tali and Marcus took on the task of doing so. I can’t imagine the thrill and excitement they must of experienced when they first laid their eyes on these images. The love that they put into their work, however, is quite evident, and I’m glad they brought them forth into the Tarot community as they did.” M.

[All testimonials are genuine and can be sourced on our Facebook Wall]


Waite-Trinick Tarot Book


It is with delight I can announce the historic publication of the Waite-Trinick Tarot book, Abiding in the Sanctuary.

Abiding in the Sanctuary
The Waite-Trinick …
By Tali Gooodwin &amp…
Book Preview
Photo book

Abiding in the Sanctuary: The Waite-Trinick Tarot, A Christian Mystical Tarot (1917-1923) is now published and available in a limited edition hardback copy of 186pp with over 80 full-page colour and b&w photographs, illustrations, charts and tables. There are only 250 copies of this historic book available and it is likely to sell out quickly. It includes a preface by Mary K. Greer, biographies and backgrounds on Waite, Trinick, Pipppet and H. M. Duncan from my research, and a commentary on the images by Marcus Katz, with a double-page spread of the Tree of Life and the correspondences of the images and Hebrew letters. The book also contains two methods of working with Tarot published for the first time, Lectio Divina (“Divine Reading”) and the Formula of Paradise, both of which are ways of working with sacred texts – or in this case, images.

Whilst I complete my article on “Waite’s Women” for our Tarosophist International magazine, issue 13, which is available free for all members of Tarot Professionals – and for purchase by the public – I thought we could time-travel today to the year 1557, the year in which Anne of Cleves, the last of Henry VIII’s wives to die, passed away, and the year in which Mary of England and Philip of Spain waged war against France.

In 1557, Catelin Geofroy of Lyon, France, created a fanciful Tarot deck in which we see the earliest ordering of the Majors in the “Marseilles” fashion. The four suits are Lions, Monkeys, Pheasants and Parrots.

Also in that same year, 1557, Jerome Cardan , a 16th century mathematician, wrote De rerum varietate and included in it a strange symbol for the planet Saturn.

And finally in 1557, in Venice, Peregrinaggio di tre giovani figliuoli del re di Serendippo was published by Michele Tramezzino, “a tale of the three Princes of Serendip” (the Persian name for Sri Lanka).

How these three latter events come together is in the nature of serendipity.

It was Horace Walpole (1717–1792) who coined that term, serendipity, referring back to his memory of the Persian folk tale of the three princes. In the folk tale, the Princes use seemingly random clues to find a camel, which they deduce is lame, blind in one eye, missing a tooth, carrying a pregnant woman, and bearing honey on one side and butter on the other. It turns out in the story that this apparently ridiculous conclusion is true, and their sagacity is rewarded.

In research, the presence of serendipity brings “happy accidents” in its wake. One goes looking for a birth certificate for one person, only to accidentally find a war record for another – and then, to later recall that name because it turns up again in another context. The art of the Sage is to connect the accidents, for there truly are no coincidences when following a calling. The Waite-Trinick project has been blessed with serendipity throughout and it is a pleasure to bring it to publication.

So what of those three events in 1557? Well, the ZOSO symbol used for Saturn in 1557 became embedded in Marcus Katz’s unconscious mind via Jimmy Page’s usage of it, only to emerge again as the embedded O-S-O symbol in Tarosophy. It there stands for Saturn, meaning Tradition, the old within the new. The tale of the Three Princes written in 1557 gave me the title for this article, as I was thinking about writing about serendipity. The creation of that particular Tarot deck in 1557 gives us a comparison about the ordering of the Waite-Trinick Tarot images, which we explore in the book.


Abiding in the Sanctuary by Tali Gooodwin & Marcus Katz MBA, M.A. Preface by Mary K. Greer | Make Your Own Book


In every year, like 1557, some seeds are planted, and others are nurtured. In every year some seeds, long buried, come to their fruition. We rarely know when we are creating something that a century later will be read, studied, looked upon or researched and sometimes we find ourselves called into the field to do some digging.

I hope you enjoy the fruits of our labour on the Waite-Trinick book and find within it a renewal of the mystery, majesty, and marvel of Tarot, a never-ceasing story of serendipity.

I look forward to more time-travelling Tarot with you again in the future!



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