Les oiseaux rapprochés: courtes difficultés. Oiseaux plus éloignés: bon voyage annoncé

Jeu Lenormand © Carta Mundi

Two turtle doves will show thee
Where my cold ashes lie
And sadly murmuring tell thee
How in tears I did die  

Dead Souls, Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol

In May 2016, I authored an article on the twelfth card of the Petit Lenormand: the Birds. In that article, one considered the basis of the card’s association with moments of disquiet and commotion focusing on birds’ behaviour.

An ornithological interpretation is, however, unattractive to the dominant myopic and derivative perspective. Nevertheless, it cannot be underestimated that much of divination arises from observation of the natural world. If one considers the Serpent it becomes quite evident that the ‘traditional’ meanings derive from vipers’ venom.

Let us look again at the Birds card. What do we have? Usually, two birds of either the Columbidae or passerine classification.

What do we know of these? The latter has the most control over its syrinx that allows it to emit a broad range of vocalisations. Several passerines can divide their syrinx which enables them to issue two different callings (sometimes this is more perfunctory sounding) simultaneously. Neither Columbidae nor passerines are songbirds.

So, we have noisy birds.

Birds’ vocalisation represents an essential part of their behaviour. As they are territorial, birds use these vocalisations to claim and defend territory. Their duets identify friends, whereas birds will also vocalise alarms. Such alarms can be understood cross-classification and species – which encourages “group” singing.

Such communication is continuously in flux, unstable and nervous led. The vocalisation heightens in pitch and resonance becomes noisier. Subject to the relevant threat, birds will then exhibit defensive behaviour and then scatter or occasionally mob.

In a reading, the Birds mob our space and feathers become ruffled… There is an emphasis on noise; different people chirping in your ears. And then they scatter.

In terms of engagement, or near and far, the farther away the birds the less aware we are of their chatter. They have flown; perhaps you will, too.

The three cards below (the Garden, the Birds, and the Cloverleaf) are an excerpt from a reading using the astrological wheel. They were dealt in the tenth place, which governs our work-life and career.

In terms of employment, the three cards indicate that the department would undergo a brief period of tense discussions and changes. The Garden, in the tenth, shows the Lady’s department or place of employment. The Birds are the disturbance, which the Cloverleaf indicates relates to changes but is transitory and will last no more than a couple of months.

The client’s employers announced some changes, with some employees being transferred elsewhere. She, fortunately, was able to negotiate to remain in her current role. However, it was a tense period for everyone, with a lot of upsetting discussions which affected interpersonal relationships.

Consequently, one does not reject the common idea of Birds’ card and communication. It should be clear that the exact opposite is true. However, instead of focusing on the general idea of vocal communication, we appreciate the nature and function of that birds’ vocalisation and translate that too.

Such reflections should not be discounted. Especially for the reader tired of keywords. From the perspective of both essence and function, the divinatory dividend is far higher.

Let us consider two other contentious issues…

It is often contended that the Birds’ card is one of several ‘double’ or ‘two’ cards. Within the folklore of the cards, there are cards that are held to be quantitative – some by iconography, others by their numbers.

The Birds is of the former as often the card is illustrated with two birds. It is not, however, universal; there are Birds’ cards with a solitary passerine (Leipzig), and a few are illustrated with three or four (Wüst). Thus, attention must be paid to the number of birds on the card. If there are three birds, you cannot ignore one and say ‘two.’ The quantification is a descriptive function provided by the ‘B’ card in an ‘A’ – ‘B’ pairing.

If the card does not show two birds, it cannot be a two. In addition, if the question does not support the need for quantification then the cartomante does not utilise such interpretations.

Below is an extract from a Grand Tableau. The Lady falls in the domicile of the Birds and the Lord in the house of the Stars. The chain – that is the three cards that fall between them – describe the relations or events occurring between the Lady and the Lord.

The Lady in question had enquired about a new relationship’s future. The chain – compromised of the Heart, the Birds, and the Key – tell us of that both parties have burgeoning feelings for each other. Here, the Birds’ quantify the Heart card with the Key opening-up their feelings.

Turtle Doves Scan by NYPL [Public domain]

It is precisely from the ‘two’ birds that one can see the two people, usually read as a couple or lovers in the appropriate context.

A typical illustration model is to show the two doves nesting or sitting in branches with a twig in their beaks. The so-called Leipzig Lenormand is illustrated with one bird and its two squabs. Thus, there is a reasonably prevalent stylistic emphasis on breeding birds.

We thus arrive at the basis of the association of the Birds’ card and pregnancy and Eastertide.

Below is a line of five, done for a friend of mine who was struggling to conceive. Her question was why she had thus far been unsuccessful.

The cards dealt was the Serpent, the Cloverleaf, the Fishes, the Birds, and the Mice. Here, the cards indicate that nutrients and vitamins were an issue. The Serpent is a viper, and with the Cloverleaf, indicate a deficit or imbalance of vitamins and minerals, which are reducing her fertility (shown by the Fish, the Birds, and the Mice).

Here, the Birds indicate the ability to conceive, which is taken by the Mice.


An association between the Stork card and gravidity has become de rigueur in Anglo-American rhetoric. Of course, such an association is easily explained through cultural traditions. Few, however, consider the difference between conception and delivery (the storks’ traditional role). Also, if one looks at the traditional examples, card 17 is rarely shown with nesting storks. The dominant motif being a wading, single stork often eating a frog (which is why it neutralises the Serpent).

Obviously, if the cartomante desires to associate birds or owls with telephones and the stork and pregnancy that is her right. It is, however, important that cartomantes take time to understand the nature of the emblems at an essential and functional level. Symbolic representation is vague and subjective because it relies on could-be. It is only through such periods of examination that the cards’ nature as eikons can be understood.

The Petit Lenormand © abCartomancy 2010 – 2020


Featured Image, S. Rae from Scotland, UK [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D.
Cards, Daveluy Le Petit Jeu © A. Boroveshengra; Petit Jeu Lenormand Dondorf © A. Boroveshengra;
The Lenormand Oracle © Verlag fuer die Frau, Leipzig 1982; Jeu Lenormand © Cartamundi (1982).

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