UNDER THE COWRIE MOON blog (tarot blog)


Shortly after starting my Lenormand journey, I realized how different this system is from Tarot. The differences are vast, and I am not going to bore you with all of them. But one of the things that struck me early on is the methodological significance behind the amount of cards chosen for a reading.

After 20 years of card reading experience I could give a profound and lengthy reading based on a single tarot card. On the other hand, I had many readings where I continued pulling cards from the deck, letting Spirit weave its stories of prophesy along many pages of colorful archetypes. Though I had my go-to spreads, like the Zodiac spread, many times I followed my intuition without limiting myself to a set number of cards.

Not so with the Lenormand. Traditionally this system isn’t used with a single card — there must be at least two cards in a sequence — which means that the lowest number of cards in a spread will always be two. One of these cards is the noun, representing the matter at hand, so to speak; while the second card is the adjective that describes the first card. The way I read is the card on the left is described by the cards following it on the right.

Being a chronic immigrant and a triple Gemini, the linguistic nature of Lenormand makes a lot of sense to me. I relate the necessity of at least two cards per reading to the basic requirements of a sentence structure in English. For instance, we cannot have a sentence by just using the word “I” or the word “am” — however together they are a complete, though very basic, sentence — I am.

Although I have practiced extensively with the two cards spread in the past, today I use it mainly when in need of a super focused snapshot of a situation, or when I am really out of time. Sometimes I use this layout for Yes / Noreadings too.

My most used type of draw is the 3-card spread, however. Not only that I use it for clients, I also religiously pull three cards for myself and three cards for my husband every morning, on our way to work. I keep a notepad in the car where I record our daily draws and my predictions. On our way back from work we get to discuss the main events of our work day, comparing it to the cards we drew in the morning. This turned out to be an uber beneficial practice learning the way the Lenormand system communicates in general, and the intricacies of my personal processing of the cards’ dialect in particular. A 3-card spread seems to be the perfect amount of cards for my personal daily draw. It captures just enough information without giving me more than I can handle, especially so early in the morning.

Another of my regular cartomancy practices are the weekly overview draws. These are usually performed on Sunday nights in my altar room. I pull five cards from one of my Lenormands, alongside cards from various tarot and other oracle decks. I often end up topping this card “salad” with some bone and curio sprinkles.

A 5-card Lenormand draw is a bit more advanced form of fortune-telling because it not only uses more card, hence more meaning permutations; but also because more complicated techniques — like mirroring — are used with this spread.

Following the timeline trail, the next logical prediction stop is the monthly draw: which brings us to the 9-card spread, or the 3X3 as it is often called. This is a lovely layout that is easily replicated with tarot or other oracles that can potentially be combined with the Lenormand. The 9-card draw not only clarifies the main issue at hand, but it also gives us solid root and background causes. In addition, the 3X3 allows for a Past+Present+Future perspective.

The 9-card draw is indeed an advanced kind of spread. But when you know your way around this block of information, it brings you so much closer to mastering the mother of all Lenormand layouts — the Grand Tableau!

The Grand Tableau (GT) uses all the 36 cards in the deck. Some people arrange the deck in four equal rows of 9 cards; while others place the cards in four rows of 8, with an extra bottom raw of only four cards. No matter which way you choose to lay out the cards, the amount of information in this spread is quite overwhelming.

All major areas in one’s life are outlined in the GT, giving us not only a current and accurate snapshot of what is, but also shares profound information of the past and the future. I use this complicated spread to look into several upcoming months at a time — usually six months to a year. It is a fascinating and multilayered layout, and it  takes several hours to complete.


Madame Nadia


I am honored to be again a guest on the longest running conjure radio show, The Lucky Mojo Hoodoo Rootwork Hour — alongside my good friend and mentor, Ms. cat yronwode, and one of the most talented and elegant rootworkers of our time, ConjureMan Ali.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the show: The Lucky Mojo Hoodoo Rootwork Hour is a real, live call-in show where the general public gets a chance to ask about actual problems with love, career, and spiritual protection, and we recommend and fully describe hoodoo rootwork spells to address, ameliorate, and remediate their issues.

I am planning to divine with the Lenormand cards, and with a self-made version of the upcoming The Book of Knowing playing cards oracle by Ana Cortez.

I hope you can tune in, and join us during the show in the chat room or on the phone. The show starts at 5 PM CST — 6:30 CST.

See you there!



Madame Nadia


I thought some of you might find this post by Golden Mousedeer valuable, so I am rebloging it.

Golden Mousedeer

Hi Friends. Here is a table which I find valuable when learning about the Grand Jeu Lenormand cards. These are not mine but found it in my notes. I got it from the net a few years ago. Unfortunately I did not take note of the website I got it from😦 . My apologies to the owner. Credit goes to him/her.

These are how the cards look like:

Please Click on the Tables to see a clearer view


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I drew from various oracles to foresee what’s coming up during the month of August. Here are a few images of the various sources of wisdom and the messages that came through for me. I am still working on deciphering what it all means.





Yesterday I stayed home instead of going to work. I terribly needed rest. My body felt like it has been hit by a truck. During the past 3 “epic” weeks of severe sciatica problems — during which my toddler went through a mega stomach virus — I also had to deal with my own sinus infection, and an ongoing saga with a root canal that is still unfolding. With not enough sleep and unexpected financial blows relating to electrical and plumbing; and culminating into a nasty storm that forced us to leave our home and stay in a hotel for several nights while clearing up uprooted trees from our back yard during the days, my nerves and my muscles needed a time out.

So yesterday morning, while attempting to lay down low and actually rest after my husband left to work and the baby went to day care, my mind started making plans of all these things I wanted to accomplish because I stayed at home. A classic, right?

So I pulled a few cards to see what kind of a day I’m going to have. And funny enough, all of the different oracles had the same message:

Girl, chill out! You might spend a lot of time in your head planning and dreaming, but not much chance for executing these ideas of yours today.

And boy, were the cards right?

I pulled 2 cards, Luck and Expectation, fromPepi Valderrama’s upcoming Kipper cards first. (I guess due to a Mercury Retrograde mishap I am the only person in the world owning a copy of this edition besides Pepi)

Then I drew card number 10 from King Solomon’s Oracle. This card came out reversed.

I also drew 7 of Cups from the Romantic Victorian Tarot.

And finally, I also pulled Kitchen Table from theDirty Tarot oracle that tied all the information together, reinforcing the idea of bonding and downtime vs. practicality.


* Disclaimer: Loads of profane language in this post.


Once in a while I feel really, really, REALLY down. My whole being drops into some sticky darkness that can get quite suffocating. There I dwell on my own nature, my mistakes, and everything else that seems imperfect in my life. My shadow-self progressively grows until it seems much larger than me. After a while volcanos of anger begin to erupt from within this darkness. The tension rises quickly, and the bubbles in my steaming brain begin pleading: “I’m a fire cracker, baby — You better fuck off while you can!”

Times like this scare my therapist, who right away goes into a spiel about the newest designer anti-depresants on the market. I value pharmaceuticals quite a bit; nonetheless, I spend half an hour reassuring her that though right now everything totally feels jacked up from the inside out, it’s actually a good kind of jacked up. Looks like she ain’t buying it, so I continue:

“In order to be fertile,” I go on to tell her, “earth must be moist and dark.” Among the ashes of self-loathing, layers of muscle and bone, and pools of hot blood is fermenting a tiny seed of self-descovery and reinvention. To find it we must dig in the dirt of our past until we’re blue in the face and thoroughly finished attempting to clean the proverbial dirt from underneath our fingernails. “Can the spiritual ever be manicured?” I ask rethorically.  I think clean spirituality is a trendy capitalist fabrication designed to upsale the blissed-out, and lululemon-clad Yuppies, making the “guru” market a fabulous milking cow.

When it’s time to get down and dirty I prefer a coffin on a yoga mat… fuck you very much!

So I accept the glove. As I descend into the darkness of my internal morgue, I turn up the volume on my demon radio. A Persephone of sorts, I slip into an elegant pair of chewed up combat boots — and dual myself — Fight Clubstyle. And I take my fucking sweet time with it too. And then it’s quiet.

Eventually I leave the underworld anticlimactically. No Boddhisatvas, no unicorns, and no models with secrets inside their designer bosoms raise me into sainthood with an ease of profound mythical advice. I just feel done, and ready, and able to kick self-pity in the gut and move on. It usually happens when I finally feel absolutely and utterly sick of myself!

And then I make a cup of instant coffee, and lay down the cards.


The Dirty Tarot isn’t really a tarot deck, though it is sort-of dirty in a deliciously entertaining kinda way. If asked for my opinion, I’d rather call it an oracle — but, Dori Midnight, the creator of this pack, refers to it as a deck of divination.

While crisscrossing NOLA’s French Quarter past June in search of unique spiritual supplies and vintage glamour fashion , I stumbled upon this gem at Voodoo Authentica. In a little decorative glass case, on a pink wall across from the register, I spotted the Heart and the Tattoo cards, shining in their rockability amongst more traditional decks on display.

The long-haired and expressionless register girl shared that the cards are made by a local reader who is originally from San Francisco, Bay Area. Being firstly a card collector (fiend), and secondly a Bay Area dweller with an 11-year-long tenor prior to moving to cornfield kingdom along the CST zone —  I quickly parted with $35 + taxes, picking up the last copy they had in stock.

The deck comes in a satin black bag with an instructional booklet. I find the card stock to be of perfect stiffness, which is admirable compared to the usual flimsiness of self-published decks. The 40 cards constituting theDirty Tarot are printed on double-sided glossy paper, and measure 5’4″ by 3’4″. The colors are vibrant, and the art style is childish and quite amusing; especially when adorable images likePretty Pony, Roller Skates, and Cheese Puffs are juxtaposed with cards like Whiskey, Pussy, andCheap Fuck. Miss Midnight is clearly keepin’ it real!

Although I bought this pack as a souvenir to remind me of a true U.S. Sin City, the readings I’ve got so far with this deck were right on. I ended up reaching for the Dirty Tarot very recently, while emerging from underneath many layers of emotional funk. I feel the cards not only cheered me up, but also gave me a profound reading.

Past — Boat: Navigating an emotional journey. Charting a course. Working with the elements, surrendering to the winds. Seeking. Emotional Passage.

Present / Conscious — Cock: Manifestation. External. Fathering. Producing seeds. Firm muscular impulse. External reactive energy.

Present / Unconscious — Horn: Clear golden blast. Illumination. Enlightenment. Wake up and listen closely. Resonance.

Future — Road Trip: Get perspective. Spaciousness. Liberation. Wilderness of life. Distance. Moving forward for the sake of seeing the landscape change.

Finally, I leave you with this powerful song by Peter Gabriel, which tends to come to mind when major emotional shit hits the fan of my life.

And on this gentle note, dearies, I’ll take a bow and go bye bye.