Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Expanding Your Readings Beyond the Nine Square

While the Nine Square may be both traditional and extremely versatile, it can be exciting to start spreading your net a little wider, without going all the way to a Grand Tableau.  Most of the reading techniques that work with the Nine Square, and those that work with the Grand Tableau, will also work with a 5 by 3 pattern.

For example, you can read the central card as the heart of the question, and the corners as the theme.  You can read each of the three rows as a line of five, giving some positionality to the top, centre and bottom rows.  The columns can be treated as distant past, past, present, near future, more distant future.  And you could also bring in diagonals, mirroring, and knighting, as well as Houses and following a thread, if you wanted.

Let's take a look at an example reading.  This throw was done for a woman who is struggling with marketing her business.

At the centre is the Chickens: social communication.  The corners (Heart, Holly Tree, Mountain, Letter) speak of emotional endurance of written obstacles.  This fits with an issue that she has had in the past with social media.  However, as a theme this suggests that the lesson here is to overcome these issues, because networking, social media, and just getting her message out there really is fundamental to marketing her business.

In support of this, the central line (Key, Book, Chickens <Birds>, Ring, Stars) suggests that the key to this project is committing to social communication, particularly online.  Mirroring tells us that although this is about business, if she maintains her commitment to following her spirit, she will find far deeper insights: it's not just about the money, which doesn't show up anywhere in this spread!

At a more head-based level (top row: Heart, Flowers, Rider, Man, Letter), she needs to find a balance between emotion and logic in the creative messages she sends out, using writing as the way to express these.  Mirroring here says that while her writing needs to be emotional in its content if it is to move anyone, she also needs to temper her creativity with strategy if she's to make her messages as powerful as they can be.  While this may be more of a stretch for her, it is vital to moving forward, with this "male" energy apparent in both the Male Rider and the Man in present and near future positions.

Yet, what lies under her control (bottom row: Mountain, Cross, Storks, Anchor, Holly Tree) is the ability to create progress and change through dealing with life lessons that have blocked her in the past.  She has the capacity to find a way to work that will be growthful for her business and leave those past issues behind.  This may take work over time (Anchor, Holly), which supports the message of the Ring just above them.

In the present column (Rider, Chickens, Storks), social messages really are the way to create change and progress.  In the two future columns we have (Man, Ring, Anchor) committing to a rational way of proceeding with work and (Letter, Stars, Holly) taking a long view guided by writing down her plans. This is something she has shied away from in the past, working intuitively, rather than strategically.  The last column also suggests online writing, such as blogging, as a way to draw together all aspects of herself and her business.

Overall, the message here is that she may need some support to deal with the emotional side of things which has been stopping her from moving forward.  She has all the capacities she needs to overcome these now.  To do so, she needs to put social communication at the centre of her focus, take a strategic perspective, and get writing!

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

A Skeptic's Traditional Nine Square Reading

Corners - Theme
This week's technique was the way I first learned to read a nine square.  At the time, I was told this was the "traditional" (only) way to read it.  I'm glad that my evergrowing Lenormand library put paid to that idea!  Still, it is a good and interesting method. 

The four corners are read together as the theme of the reading, then the central cross is read as what brings movement to the reading.  The reading here was done at a Christmas party, with a skeptic who asked for a reading after I mentioned what I do. 

The theme of the reading is Hill Fort (Tower), Letter, Storks, Heart: an institutional prescription for a change of heart.  I wasn't sure where I was going with this when I said those words, but she looked a little shocked.  Turns out she's been working in war zones, and has been put on official leave while she has therapy for the trauma she suffered.  

Complete Reading
Looking to the central cross, we have Fish, Key, Dog, Birch Rods, and Meadow (Garden).  Staying faithful to the flow of insight around social cleansing.  At this, she got very still, and just nodded. 

I then looked at the cards in the top row: what's on her mind.  Tower, Fish, Heart: funding for an emotional institution.  She disagreed with this, she isn't concerned about how her therapy is funded. 

Reading the middle line, where she is now: Key, Dog, Birch Rods.  The key to clearing her own emotions lies with a friend.  A nod again, here, and a little smile.  She says the best thing in her life is her partner, who is very grounded and supportive.

The bottom row, what she can control: Storks, Meadow, Letter.  Changing social views through writing.  Another nod: she wants to write about her experiences.  I think that might be very healing, too...

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Happy Holly Days!

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For this blog hop our wrangler, Arwen Lynch Poe, invited us to a Tarot Holiday Office Party.  Like the office Secret Santa practice, she asked us to create a Winter gift for the blog hop readers, and suggested it could be talking about the card that most reminds us of Winter (amongst other options).

In the Celtic Lenormand, I chose the Moon card to represent Yule, as it is the longest night.  However, I've posted about the Moon card before (notably here, here, and here).  The other card in the deck that is very appropriate for this time of year is the Holly card.  This represents the Tree in Winter, and the Holly King.

In pagan mythos, the Holly King is the consort to the Goddess in the dark months of the year.  He is at his most powerful at Yule, fighting with his counterpart the Oak King at the equinoxes (some pagans see the swap over at the solstices, but that doesn't make sense to me, nor in terms of agriculture/nature, which is one of the prime foundations of paganism).  The Holly represents Winter because it is evergreen, staying verdant throughout the year.  This is, of course, most noticeable at the height of winter when most other trees are brown, bare and dead-looking!

Not only is the Holly green when many trees are not, it also bears bright red fruit that helps many birds and small mammals to survive over the winter.  Its thick, waxy leaves provide protection from the snow and rain, too, for creatures huddling under its boughs, and the cast off leaves of the previous year create a warm bed.  And the spikes on its leaves provide protection of a different sort, persuading many animals not to munch on this oasis of green in the winter landscape. 

So, the Holly is a beacon of life in the depths of Winter.  It protects itself, but also nourishes and protects small creatures that will help disperse its seeds.  A fine tree to choose as the King of Winter.

As well as sharing the image and inspiration for this card in the Celtic Lenormand deck, I also want to share a spread.  Of course, you could also do this drawing three tarot cards, but my intention is for it to offer an alternative way to read a Nine Square. 

The top row (or first card) represents the spiky leaves: how can you best protect yourself?

The centre row (or middle card) represents the green aliveness of the Holly: how can you best express your aliveness?

The bottom row (or last card) represents the red berries: how can you best share with others?

Top row: Bardess (Rider), Shedding Snake, Bard (Rider)

I can best protect myself by maintaining clear boundaries that I express to others.  I don't need to listen to other people's messages, staying with my own process of transformation.

Centre row: Lady, Clouds, Woman

I can best express my aliveness by acknowledging and accepting my dual nature: having a spiritual and a mundane side, a home life and business projects.  While I may sometimes feel ambivalent about one or the other, this duality exists, and being able to sit with the ambiguity will allow me to be more truly alive, more whole: both, rather than this-or-that.

Bottom row: Clover, Anchor, Mountain

In terms of sharing with others, perhaps I can provide a little stability in the face of life's challenges.  Firstly, through being reliable and upbeat, come what may.  Secondly, perhaps my work will come at a serendipitous time for someone, be that in the form of a spread or reading that helps them with a particular issue, or the offer of support in facing and overcoming obstacles through Magical Life Coaching...

You could also then read the spread more traditionally, to give insight into your situation at this time.  For instance, the corners suggest that messages which were blocked now become opportune: appearing in synchronicities and messages from all directions.  The central cross highlights that the temptation to focus on my spiritual life obscures the practical work I also need to do.  Moving forward (last row as future), intuitive messages can help overcome obstacles.

Now, let's see what other gifts await in this holiday party hop!

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Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Reading On A New Love Relationship

My thanks to M for permission to publish this reading.  She asked about a new man who has recently come into her life, and I share here the reading, which demonstrates applying a Past-Present-Future framework to a Nine Square.

Past: Book, Clover, Girl

M has a teenage girl, who has been slacking at her studies (small studies - Book, Clover).  However, true as this may be, the reading was asking about M's new love relationship, not her daughter.  This triplet can also be read as happiness around secrets opening up.  The relationship is still very new, and M observed that they have been having those deep, into-the-small hours conversations, opening up about their lives.

Present: Bardess (Rider), Anchor, Home

There are two sides here.  On the one hand, M not only works from home, she also works with family (both Anchor, House).  However, her new love has just had news from his work (Rider, Anchor) asking him to move (Rider can be movement as well as news).  If he moved job, though, he might be able to stay.

Future: Owls, Stars, Letter

Advice here suggests M and this person having a conversation about their direction (Owls, Stars), and perhaps writing a list of pros and cons that will help them achieve some clarity (Stars, Letter).  A secondary message here is to get some wise counsel, possibly in writing or in some tangible way (Owls, Stars, Letter).  For M, this could be about consulting with some of her family, who are in the business of providing guidance. 

The advice for the future felt practical and helpful to M, focusing on what she and her love can do, as well as on what she can do individually.

This way of reading the Nine Square is good for taking a broad overview of a situation.  It may be especially appropriate in a face-to-face reading where you want to include the client in the process, even if they don't have a lot of knowledge of the Lenormand system.  Creating a brief sentence from the keywords and asking the client what those words trigger for them can work well, and it keeps things simple enough not to overwhelm them.

What do you think of this way of reading the Nine Square, and where or how might you use it?

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Erna von Drösbecke's Nine Square Method

Droesbecke's 9 Square Layout
Erna Droesbecke von Enge is a Dutch writer and artist, and the first person to have a book published in English about reading using the Lenormand cards (though admittedly a translation - Sylvie Steinbach's book was the first actually written in English).  While Droesbecke espouses the near and far method of reading with Lenormand cards, she also gives examples of smaller throws with positional meanings, such as a past-present-future three card draw.

Following on from the last two posts, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at Droesbecke's method for reading the Nine Square.  I've shown here the numbering she assigns the cards, and the positional interpretations are as follows:
Nine Square Reading using Droesbeckes' Layout

1) Past - Book
2) Present not under you control - Clover
3) Future - Letter
4) Present you can control - Mice
5) What you can influence from the past - Dog
6) Past karma - Mountain
7) Future karma - Meadow (Park)
8) How you can influence the future - Moon
9) Final result - Flowers

So, let's take a look at how to interpret this.

The Book in the past indicates a project.  With the Mountain above and the Dog below, it's one that weighed on my mind and required a lot of dedication - yep, I know what that is!  The Clover as the present not under my control emphasises that luck and synchronicity are not mine to command: I can only try to be ready to grab any opportunity that presents itself.  Here, the Mountain and the Meadow are to either side: this is a social opportunity that will help me overcome past obstacles.

The Letter as the future suggests a lot of writing needs to be done.  The Meadow and the Moon suggest that the writing is published to gain recognition, or is to do with public visibility: blogging and social media spring to mind!  The present I control is the Mice: what can I choose to reduce?  The Dog and the Moon suggest I can reduce the emotional and cyclical nature of my dedication to projects: greater consistency sounds like a good idea!

What I control from the past is my faithfulness to projects, even when they feel like they are draining me (Dog, Book, Mice).  My past karma is a bundle of obstacles around those projects, which may have all been small, but added up (Mountain, Book, Clover).  My future karma is to have some opportunities to publish my writing within my community (Meadow, Clover, Letter): I have just been looking at a number of guest blogging opportunities :)

How I can influence the future is by writing about emotional undermining (Moon, Mice, Letter): things like doubt, lack of self-worth, and guilt.  And the outcome of it all?  Creative writing projects (Flowers, Book, Letter) that I can gift to my community to help them overcome obstacles and emotions through staying faithful to their own creativity (Flowers, Mountain, Meadow, Dog, Moon, Flowers).  Yep, I have a couple of those in mind!

So, what do you think of this way of reading the Nine Square?  I think it adds a slightly different flavour to the interpretation... :)

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Nine Square In The Round

The Nine Square, as well as being a very common and traditional medium sized Lenormand spread, is also incredibly versatile.  Last week's reading took an approach looking at the columns and rows.  This week, I'll be reading the spread 'in the round'. 

For reasons that have disappeared in history (or that I'm just not aware of), this way of reading starts at the middle left hand card and goes around anti-clockwise.  The centre card is either placed beforehand as a significator, or read as such, giving the theme of the reading.

In this case, I allowed the cards to choose the theme: the Lilies.  A reading around establishing harmony...

And straight away I see the story here: an emotional (Heart) discussion (Birch Rods) about health (Tree) requires a commitment (Ring) to listening to each other's instincts (Fox) and being open (Child) to each other.  Making a list (Letter) will help ensure a happy outcome (Sun).

My partner and I disagree about how to deal with a health issue our son is having.  However, if we're to make a decision, we'll have to find a way to open to each other's perspective.  The Heart at the outset reminds me that although this discussion may feel "heated", that's only because we both truly care, even if we have different perspectives. 

Following the advice of the Letter, I will try writing out my reasoning, to get it clear in my own mind and so I don't forget something when we talk it through.  Not that I think my way is the one that must win out, but at least if I'm clear about what bits are most important to me, we can find some kind of compromise.  As the centre line suggests: harmonising our emotions will take some skillful footwork (Heart, Lily, Fox).

Reading the diagonals reinforces the message that harmony and happiness require us to work together, to commit to our partnership in this matter (Sun, Lily, Ring).  And that we can have a discussion about our son without it becoming an argument (Birch Rods, Lily, Boy)!

I'm glad to have a focus on how to deal with this, and the reminder to consider my partner's feelings in all of this.  We are partners, united in the love for our child (knighting Heart, Ring, Boy).