Advice From A Dowager Countess, Pt. 1

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I am a fan of Downton Abbey, and an even bigger fan of Maggie Smith. I loved her as the sarcastic, demanding, cranky Dowager Countess. Who didn’t? She got the best line of every episode! Often when I am working with the Rider-Waite-Smith and the reading is particularly no-holds-barred or so spot-on it’s a touch mean, I think of Downton Abbey and the Dowager saying something like “Don’t be defeatist dear, it’s terribly middle class,” or “I won’t take sides, but I am hardly neutral.” The Rider-Waite-Smith readings always have a level of specificity in them that her lines demonstrated.

The specificity of any reading is turned up a notch when you couple it with a Lenormand deck. I’ve known this and worked with two decks before, but never felt like the Rider-Waite-Smith played particularly well with any of my Lenormand decks. Until now. Pixie’s Astounding Lenormand is a deck with images sourced almost entirely from the Rider-Waite-Smith itself, and so my tarot deck can’t help but be flattered and play nice.

Anytime I combine these two decks I think of it as getting Advice From A Dowager Countess. Any spread works for this, as does any question, but given the specificity of the Rider-Waite-Smith and Lenormand in general, it’s the best choice if you want pin-point accuracy.

Given this, I wanted a more fortune-teller type spread for this demonstration, and picked a particular situation and question. I was recently invited on a business trip by an institution, all expenses paid. It was last minute, and I didn’t think I knew the person who invited me well enough to be on her radar for such a perk.

I used a spread called The Travel Spread from (the appropriately titled) Power Tarot: More Than 100 Spreads That Give Specific Answers To Your Most Important Questions by Trish MacGregor and Phyllis Vega. I drew all the cards at once, but read the tarot cards first as if the Lenormand wasn’t there.

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Card #1: Surrounding influences  for your upcoming trip.  4 of Wands(R)

The 4 of Wands, Reversed suggests the invitation was due to less-than-nice networking – both a failure of a relationship and a forced conversation. That’s really true – I saw her at a breakfast meeting and later that day she e-mailed with the offer. I bet someone else backed out at the last minute and seeing me at the meeting reminded her I was a possibility.

Card #2: What you need to know about this trip, things that may be hidden. Knight of Cups (R)

Ah-ha! I bet this is about the new boss in her office. He’s liked and respected, but leads from his heart. At least that’s what I’ve heard. Anytime there is someone new in this kind of role there is a bit of chaos. (Hence the reversal.)

Card #3: What you will learn or understand as a result of this trip. 9 of Swords

Ugh. Worry. Not something I want to see. Perhaps I’ll learn something about this Knight of Cups that’s less than desirable – the figure on this card is facing him, after all. And really, who wouldn’t be up at night after starting a new leadership position?

Card#4: Outcome. 6 of Coins

But it will be all right in the end. While this is a coin card, it’s not about wealth, but exchange. This implies that whatever I learn will be of help to someone else – I hope so! That’s the whole point of these trips. It could also mean that I’ll be able to help this Knight by offering feedback on the trip or the institution that’s helpful as he assumes his new role.

So, even with just a four card tarot reading I’ve gotten my answer. I’ve been offered a trip last minute because someone backed out on the trip and I was in the right place at the right time. I’ll see that the trip has been orchestrated by a person who is seeking to do a better job then they have been doing, and has some worries to share. But in the end it will be all right, I’ll learn a lot that will be helpful to another.

Curious to see what the Lenormand cards have to add? See my next post…

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