Lire cet article en français ici.
Here is a spread that I designed specifically for “Madame Endora’s Fortune Cards”. Just like any other spread, it can be performed with any deck, but it really fits the atmosphere and the structure of “Madame Endora’s Fortune Cards”.
This spread aims at exploring a situation beyond what the eye can see. It sheds new light on what the Querent knows (what they see, what is shown to them) on the one hand, and on what is hidden from them (what they are not aware of) on the other hand.
How to proceed
Shuffle the deck, cut and spread the cards before you in a fan. Draw nine cards and spread them as follows:
The Significator (S): the Center of the Mirror. Being the Center of the Mirror, this card represents the situation, the reason why the Querent ask their question. It can thus show the elements that trigger the Querent’s questioning the oracle. It can be either a reflection of the situation as it is or of the way the Querent sees it. If the question is about a person and their intentions, this card symbolizes them.
Card 1: the Mask. What is shown to the Querent. The way things look, what the Querent sees.
Card 2: Behind the Mask. What lies hidden, voluntarily or not. Things the Querent does not see, what they ignore.
Card 3: the Tree. The way the Querent sees the situation (or the person). Their perception. This card may reveal a small problem the Querent is aware of.
Card 4: the Forest. What the Querent is about to discover, an aspect which is yet unknown and hidden by the Tree.
Card 5: the Path. What the Querent expects, the logical evolution of things according to what is known to the Querent when they question the oracle.
Card 6: the Surprise. What the Querent does not expect. This card is about an event or a person the Querent will meet on the path. This shows something that (or someone who) will play a crucial role in the situation, helping the Querent or obstructing their way.
Card 7: the Star. What the Querent wishes, what they would like to come true.
Card 8: the Anchor. What brings the Querent down to earth, back to reality. What they need to know, the truth. This truth may be about the potentials contained in the situation or about the intentions of the person if the question is about someone).
The structure of this layout is defined by several horizontal and vertical axes. The horizontal axes respectively show cards 1 and 2 (the Mask), 3 and 4 (the Tree and the Forest) and 5 and 6 (the Path and the Surprise). Through them, a linear reading of the different aspects of the situation under scrutiny is performed. There also three vertical axes. They comprise cards 1, 3 and 5; 7, 5 and 8, as well as 2, 4 and 6. The axis 1, 3 and 5 shows what is visible, what the situation (or person) looks like. Here are the elements that are submitted to the mirror’s evaluation. Once they pass through the mirror, these items become axis 2, 4 and 6, which reveals the hidden aspects of the situation/person and what remains hidden to the Querent’s eyes. The central axis does not go “through the looking-glass” in the same manner as Alice does in the novel, but from top to bottom, passing through the Significator. This indicates what influences weigh on the situation. These are due to the Querent themselves: the Star shows what they wish for whereas the Anchor brings them back down to earth (reality).
The different positions were named so the cards placed on the horizontal axes echo each other and show complementarity. Therefore, the two sides of the Mask are considered, then the Tree with the Forest that is hidden and remains unseen behind it, and at last the Path unfolding before the Querent, with its lot of unforeseen events. The central axis is built in the same way, with the Star and the Anchor helping the Querent in finding the right balance regarding the situation. In addition, these two cards synthetically picture things as they really are.
What does the Royal Court represent?
Being the first of the five groups of cards, the Royal Court hosts eight characters. Each one of them can embody someone who has a strong impact on the Querent’s life, or advice that the Querent should take into account or pay attention to, or attitudes which should be adopted in order to make significant changes in their life. They can also represent the aspects of the Querent’s state of mind or the tempers of the people around them.
If those cards are drawn regarding a specific situation, they mean that this situation affects the Querent deeply: either the issue is part of their main preoccupations, or it will have a significant influence on them.
Those characters are:
Some of these show complementary aspects and will be gathered in order to be dealt with together in the same article.
Since “Madame Endora’s Fortune Cards” are published in the United States only, there is no French edition of the deck, so that it remains little known around here in France. Even when they eventually manage to get those cards, French people are often limited by the language, for (most of the time) they do not understand or speak English very well. That is one of the reasons why I decided to publish articles about “Madame Endora’s Fortune Cards”.
Ever since I bought this deck, it has always fascinated me: on the one hand, the illustrations have such a peculiar spirit about them, and on the other hand, this deck is really great for everything concerning spiritual and self-centered, inner matters. Could it be love at first sight? Yes, indeed! Little by little I have learned how to use it, and the more I use it in my readings, the richer it is in the messages it delivers! The possibilities of analysis can be very deep, provided you know how to decipher its many symbols and relate them to the given situation you are exploring.
Despite its apparent complexity due to the many traditions and systems it displays, this deck is not very difficult to read. This is a very good reason to look forward to being able to use it to its full potential!
In fact, I see this deck as an exception in my collection, for it seems it has taken a very special place in it. Indeed, it looks like no other thanks to its illustrations and atmosphere: it really has something special compared to the other decks I have. That is why I decided to write a whole series of articles about these cards and to publish them here. First, I will study the cards in the details, with the booklet and the authors’ opinion as a starting point, and I will develop the analysis by studying the items and symbols pictured on the cards, as well as the different cultural borrowings. This will allow me to go further into the meanings of the cards, so that the interpretations will be adaptable to any context in a reading. Then, I will introduce several ways in which those cards can be used.
Please note that what you will read here is only my opinion and should be read as such. These articles thus reflect my ways of dealing with this deck and are here only to inform the readers. I encourage everyone to adapt their content to their own ways and build their own methods, for there are as many different methods as there are card readers!
This article also published at Aeclectic Tarot, August 12th, 2011
Publisher: Monolith Graphics (2003)
Illustrations & instructions: Christine Filipak & Joseph Vargo
The deck comes in a cardboard box, with a little white book. Since this item is published by a small structure in the United States, the little white book does not include any translations into other languages than English.
The structure of the deck
There are 48 cards, divided into five groups:
- The Royal Court (8 cards): characters embodying the people who have a strong or direct impact on the Querent’s life. They can also be incarnations of the main forces that influence the reading.
- The Realm of Fable (10 cards) shows creatures belonging to several mythologies, folklores and ancient traditions. They represent forces that are independent from the Querent, things on which they have no grasp and that have a strong impact on their fate.
- The Bestiary also has 10 cards. It holds (or releases!) creatures about which many popular stories, legends and superstitions have spread throughout the years. They embody the “primary” instincts of the human being, its qualities and faults/flaws, of which the Querent will need to learn in order to improve their condition.
- The Treasury has 12 cards. Each one of them pictures a wondrous object. Those “mystical treasures” either help the Querent or get into their way to prevent them from reaching their goal.
- The Elements (8 Cards) give precisions about the energies that prevail in the spread. They are the celestial bodies and forces of nature influencing and guiding the Querent and everything they undertake.
Roots and aesthetics
As can be seen through its structure, this oracle deck is deeply rooted in mythologies, folklores and esoteric concepts that belong to various traditions. Indeed, elements from Ancient Egypt, Celtic, medieval, classical, pagan traditions, as well as Qabalah, fairies and universal symbols can be found side by side here. All these items from different horizons could lead to a sort of inconsistency in the deck, considering the great difficulty implied by the gathering of so many cultures which (apparently) do not have much to do with each other. However, everything works fine as a whole and the various references to cultures that seem so different the ones from the others speak for themselves during the readings.
Indeed, taking into account the origin of the symbols depicted on the cards enables the reader to avoid a certain number of misunderstandings. For instance, in oracle decks like the Belline (very popular in France), the cat is considered as a trickster and a figure of evil. It embodies treason, lies, a deceiver, a hypocrite, etc. This concept comes directly from the Middle Ages, a time when the cat – especially black ones – was associated with the Devil and thought to be the perfect familiar for “witches”. Being able to move slyly, it was an ideal spy for the witch who wanted to know what was brewing here and there. Due to this bad reputation, many black cats were thrown from the top of belfries and towers because people thought they were the Devil. Even nowadays, some people still have such prejudices about them. As a matter of fact, the cat had quite another reputation in Ancient Egypt where it was sacred and considered as an embodiment of the gods on earth. This particular aspect was chosen by the artist in the “Madame Endora’s Fortune Cards”, for the black cat sits upright, facing the reader, just like Bastet in common representations. It does not hold any good or bad news, but rather announces that the Querent’s luck is going to change.
In the same way, the elements, symbols and archetypes that illustrate the different notions depicted in the cards were picked by the authors in the cultural system that seemed the most appropriate to them. This gives the deck a very particular depth, for choosing the best elements in several traditions requires a thorough knowledge of the ideas and concepts they imply. The Greenman thus embodies the forces of nature while the Golem refers to someone who acts on the Querent’s behalf.
At this point, one thing has to be admitted: if one could have expected some inconsistency due to the many influences that can be found in this deck, the impact of all these traditions is in fact quite the opposite. Indeed, the messages delivered during the readings are all the more precise and deep.
The many cultures represented in this deck also reflect the many faces of the world. Just like a tarot deck, an oracle deck is designed to show the structure of the world and the forces that rule it. This is exactly what can be found here, through the objects/characters/concepts/forces that are depicted, as well as through their origins. This universality thus appears on several levels: that of the immutable forces that the world is made of, and the cultures and periods that influenced what it is today, which is an aspect usually rarely dealt with. This reflects the humane level with everything it holds. This means that in this deck are shown both the sacred/divine plane, which is untouched by time, and the earthly/human plane, where changes are possible in accordance with the will or the qualities of the human being.
Visually, the cards are simply magnificent! The black background enhances the element depicted on the card, adding a touch of mystery to this deck. The general rather dark tone gives the reader the impression of getting in touch with realms unknown and sacred. Each illustration was carefully made, and contains no unnecessary detail, which makes the reading more intuitive, for each symbol has a definite purpose.
Despite the involvement of many different cultures alluded to earlier, the style adopted by the artists shows a general unity and consistency. During a reading, the eye thus remains undisturbed when cards with Egyptian and medieval motifs come up in a same spread. This is a very good point, for there is nothing worse than attempting to read cards with a deck that has no visual consistency whatsoever!
Last but not least, human qualities (“good” or “bad”) are depicted as coats of arms, as if they were representations of ourselves that we carry as flags as we walk the path of life. This makes readings even easier.
The little white book
A thirty-page booklet comes in with the cards. It is divided into two main parts. In the first one explanations about the general structure of the deck and about the meaning of the cards can be found. The second part displays six different spreads, all very interesting.
Though they are presented in very few words, the meanings of the cards allow the reader to go deeper into the analysis and to be more specific about the interpretation of the captions situated at the foot of each card. Needless to say, explaining all the meanings of the cards in a five-line paragraph is simply impossible, but the explanations given in the booklet are very fine starting-points. Enlarging this fan by conducting complementary research about each card is then up to the reader.
The spreads presented in the little white book are in tune with the general atmosphere of the deck. They are quite original compared to what can usually be found in booklets, not giving cross or Celtic cross models but spreads created specifically for those cards. Very interestingly, the spreads exposed here rather concern self-exploration than the classical “answering a question”. Answering a question or exploring a situation with “Madame Endora’s Fortune Cards” is indeed possible, but the main concern of this deck remains – in my opinion – self- and spiritual exploration.
Though certain spreads – such as “the Seer’s Fan” – allow health and material issues more space, the readings are rather oriented towards emotions, the forces surrounding the Querent and spirituality. Asking the cards about health and material issues remains among the many possibilities, but the main meanings of the cards will then need to be transposed and adapted from what can be seen in the card, read in the booklet and learnt from personal research and knowledge.
I just love the spreads included in the booklet, for they are in direct line with the mythical, mystical, esoteric, poetical and dreamlike tone of the cards. However, if they are set in poetical terms, the messages delivered by this deck remain strong and very honest. This oracle deck is as beautiful and honest as Fairies are beautiful and terrible.
Uses of the deck
Just like any other tarot or oracle deck, the “Madame Endora’s Fortune Cards” can be used in many different ways: answering specific questions, exploring a particular area in the Querent’s life, looking at the forces that influence their situation, etc. However, I think that this deck is especially appropriate for inner and emotional issues. To my mind, this deck is a very good mirror of what makes the World and the human being. As a way of consequence, it is the perfect tool for exploring the relationships between the one and the other.
One must also take into account that even if the booklet contains very interesting suggestions to help the reader using this deck, its limited length does not allow it to show all the possibilities. It is thus up to each reader to build their own ways and relationship with the deck!
Because of the “dark” tone of the illustrations, this deck is very likely to trigger some reluctance from some people. However, the messages delivered by the cards are quite luminous.
I love reading with this deck, for I find it appeasing and pleasant, as if I were in good company with a friend. Indeed, just like with any other deck, there are some cards which I do not like to see in my readings, but those too are necessary! With some practice, I realized that those “bad” cards were not so bad after all, because even though they look “negative” at first sight, they always contain something “positive” to restore the balance. In fact, seeing beyond their “frightening” aspect enables to seize the deep meaning of the messages they have to deliver.
Where can this deck be bought?
To this day, I have never seen this deck in any shop in France, either on the Internet or in a “real” shop. If you want to buy this deck, you will need to go to www.amazon.com to directly to Monolith Graphics.