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The Wacky World of the Heron LWB

Heron Tarot de marseille booklet

The other day, I read the booklet that comes with the Tarot de Marseille published in France by Heron hoping to find some traditional card interpretations. Instead, I found myself in a topsy-turvy world where the Star card means death, the Death card indicates marriage, and Temperance can predict disasters of a sexual or marital nature. (Temperance with the Ace of Batons means an illegitimate child, and reversed Temperance means a man will kidnap a married woman.)

The card meanings are evidently derived from a traditional cartomancy system where fortune tellers aren’t squeamish about predicting death (Star and Ace of Cups). According to the LWB, if the Five of Swords with reversed Emperor turns up in your spread, a relative will drown. The Star next to the Ace of Batons means the death of a child, and the Star and World together predict the death of a beloved pet.

SickAn invitation to dinner is fraught with so many pitfalls that even the hardiest soul will want to consult a card reader before venturing out. The Seven of Batons with the Fool means you will be invited to a banquet. If the Seven of Batons is accompanied by the Wheel of Fortune, you will eat truffles; but with the 5 of Cups, watch out for bad mushrooms. The Four and Five of Cups together warn that the wine will be sour, and the Nine of Cups with the Queen predicts that a woman will force you to drink alcohol. If you survive long enough to bid your host farewell, with the Page of Cups and Judgment in your reading, someone will have stolen your overcoat!

Just for laughs, I laid out a row of seven cards then interpreted the cards according to the booklet, modifying each card with the one to the right of it.

My week starts out inauspiciously with the Four of Swords reversed: bankruptcy, catastrophe and misery. Force reversed adds disgrace to the mix. Next comes Five of Cups which tells me I’ll receive an inheritance from a remote country, but I’ll have to waste a lot of money to take possession of it (the catastrophe of the previous cards?). Then, after I get my inheritance, I’ll either have a disagreement or have to share the money (Two of Cups) with the cunning Bateleur, who is modified by the evil and jealous Queen of Swords reversed. The spread ends with the practical Eight of Coins. According to the booklet, this card next to a Queen means that even though the queen wants to harm me, she’ll end up benefitting me in spite of herself.

HeronSpread2Update a week later: No calamity, no inheritance, no evil queen. It was a fun exercise, but I think I’ll look elsewhere for my card meanings.

6 Comments Post a comment
  1. Sherryl #

    When I interpreted the spread illustrated above my own way, I learned it was illustrating a psychological truth I can certainly relate to.

    I was struck by the symmetry of the spread: The first two and last two cards show a reversed female figure facing a card that can indicate stagnation or blockage.

    The Five of Cups is a revival of passion or creative energy after feeling uninspired. The Two of Cups describes falling in love with life, or your creative process, all over again. But the Magician seems to be casting a critical eye on the Cups. If the inner critic is allowed to have his way, you cycle back down into self-doubt and negative thinking and end up against a brick wall.

    What do you see in these cards?

    March 12, 2014
  2. Joseph van Loon #

    Dear Sherryl,
    I know you love to work with the TdM, but in that case, why using reversed interpretations? For some cards it is impossible to see what is the top and what is the bottom. Personally I never use reversed interpretations, When top and bottom are clear, I always put the cards oriented in the way they should. When I read a book, I never turn it upside down, in that case I cannot read it. So why should I read some Tarot cards upside down? I prefer using the position and the influences of the neighboring cards to see if a card should be interpretated having positive or negative influences. I never use booklet interpretations, for me the trumps, suit symbols, courd cards and numbers give me all the clues I need. For me a Tarot reading is always positive. Tarot does not predict disaster or misery, it gives me advice how to handle certain situations.

    March 13, 2014
    • Hi Joseph,
      I agree with you, I never use reversals with the TdM, I use dignities to determine whether a card is being weakened by its neighbors. I did this spread for fun. I used reversals because some of the reversed card meanings in the booklet are even weirder than the upright meanings. One reversed combination says “you will be courted by a hunchback and it will not make you happy.” Another says “you will hire a dark haired servant who will save you from a wild dog.” I was trying to get as much humorous mileage as possible out of the booklet before putting it back in the box.

      March 13, 2014
  3. I just found your wonderful blog a few days ago, and this post made me laugh until I cried. Could you tell us more of the divinatory delights to be found here? I just found the deck on eBay; I’ve always wanted it due to its loveliness, but with the added incentive of this miraculous LWB, now I must have it!

    May 30, 2016
    • I’m so glad you’re enjoying the blog. I apologize for taking several days to approve your comment so it would show up here. By way of making amends, let me give you a quick reading, referring to the deep wisdom of the Heron LWB.

      What does Kitkasmom need to know about her upcoming week:
      Devil, 8 of Coins, Empress.
      (Keep in mind that I picked out the worst of all possible interpretations from the LWB.

      This week you will spend a fortune dealing with a serious mental illness. Your friends will desert you because they fear becoming responsible for you. But eventually a healer comes along and restores you to normality. A dark-haired lady will make you spend money you regret (your healer?). A woman will make a confession that will clear up any gossip or slander about your illness.

      Have a nice week! I’d love to hear what you think of the deck once you get it.

      June 6, 2016
  4. Peter Alexander Thorne #

    It is an interesting exercise. I agree with you, but I much prefer “fortune telling” predictive meanings to psychological mumbo jumbo.

    December 14, 2017

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