The next question is how to calculate the quintessence. In fact there are several ways of doing this.
Let's take an example to make things clearer. The first option is to add up the numbers of the playing cards. Here, for instance, we have the Ace (1) of Hearts, the King (13) of Spades and the Nine (9) of Spades. This adds up to twenty three, or the Mice. This could also be reduced down to five, the Tree.
If your deck doesn't give the playing card associations or if you just prefer to try something different you can also use the Lenormand numbering in this way. In that case you add twenty eight (28), thirty (30) and thirty five (35) to give ninety three (93), which breaks down to twelve, the Birds. Reducing it further adds up to three, the Ship.
Whichever way you choose to calculate the quintessence, what do you do with it?
One option is to consider it as you would the base card in a tarot reading or a jumper card. It could be seen as the underlying message, a message from spirit, or as the overarching theme of the reading. Another lovely variation suggested by Caitlín Matthews in her Complete Lenormand Handbook (Healing Arts Press, 2014), is to create a blessing based on this card.
So, what would this look like in terms of the example given here?
The basic reading might be that calm action (Man/Lily) brings harmony to a work situation (Lily/Anchor). Taking the playing card quintessence as the Mice and the Tree, we could say that not finding a peaceful resolution will undermine our health: too much stress! Or it could be that the undermining of our health is the reason why we need to take calm action to create a more peaceful workplace.
Thinking about Caitlín's blessing, this could be: I release attachment (Mice) to this situation in order to honour and support my well-being (Tree).