Tirage du Chien de Pique is a straightforward and popular draw from French cartomancy[1]. In addition to the week-ahead, it can be used as an ‘opening reading’ with a client or for the month-ahead draws. The title refers to the dog, once commonly depicted on the old valet de pique cards:

Traditionally performed with a stripped Bésigue pack, we will use Colette Silvestre’s variation described in Le Petit Lenormand.

We utilise the appropriate significator (the Lord or the Lady) and four master cards: the House, the Hound, the Bear, and the Child (chien de pique). These four cards describe one’s homelife, social life, activity and career, and a surprise, respectively.

The draw is done as follows:

1) After shuffling and cutting[2], begin dealing the cards in twos, e.g. the Boat and the Sun, the Cavalier and the Moon, the House and the Stars, et cetera. You are looking for a pair containing either a significator or master card. So, of the three pairs mentioned above, you would retain the House and the Stars.

The cards you discount must be kept in order – I suggest putting them in a little pile – you will use them later on.

Continue drawing until the consultant’s card and the four master cards are arranged in front of you.

2) Once you’ve gone through the deck, you will have something that looks like this:

From time to time, you will get two master cards pulled together e.g. the House and the Bear, or the Significator and the Child, et cetera. These should be placed on the table, but you will not interpret them[3].

3) Now the cards are laid before you, you begin the reading. The master card provides the context, and the card it is paired with describes an event or occurrence. For example, the Hound with Boat is a trip with a friend(s).

You can develop the reading further should you desire. It can be useful if two master cards are paired. However, it is not always necessary.

Should you desire to progress the reading further, take up the discarded cards. Do not reshuffle them. Fan them out and draw one card for each master card and the significator card.

You will end up something that looks like this:

Ordinarily, one does not indulge in either daily or weekly draws. If I read for myself, it is with a specific question or aim. However, having no example to hand, the present author spread the cards on Sunday (October 20) to see what the week would bring.

The cards as they fell:

I always start with the significator and then read the left and then right pairings.

  • Lilies – Lord say that one will feel quite calm and collected.
  • FlowersHouse show a focus on domestic furnishing.
  • HoundRing reveal an agreement with a friend or relative will be made.
  • ChildBoat show sudden travel.
  • MoonBear indicate working late and busy evenings.

As you can see, the reading is somewhat prosaic and general. I then fanned the remaining cards and drew one for each master card.

The cards as they fell:

  • Lilies – Lord + Stars show better focus and also sleep (Lily – Stars = sleep hygiene).
  • FlowersHouse + Birch Rod a clear-out.
  • HoundRing + Fishes a financial agreement with a friend.
  • ChildBoat + Cloverleaf sudden excursion.
  • MoonBear + Book evening studying.

That is it. The second card just adds more specification to the first reading.

These were drawn for the week commencing October 20. My sleep pattern had been erratic but settled that week. I did have several busy evenings, with seven horary consultations, and I also finished reading Dr Dykes’ new translation of Abu Maʿshar On the Revolutions of the Years of Nativities. I also registered to start learning Arabic next year. The Ring – Fishes transpired as paying for a friend’s lunch, as his card was declined. I cleared out some more of my father’s boxes (Bouquet – House – Birch Rod) and had to take a train to Leicester, at short notice, for work (Child with Boat + Cloverleaf).

The Petit Lenormand © abCartomancy 2010 – 2020


Cards: Le Jeu Lenormand © Carta Mundi


[1]The draw is most commonly done with 32 cards: King, Queen, Valet, 10, 9, 8, 7 and the Aces. The master cards are the Ace of Hearts (the home), the 7 of Clubs (thoughts), the 9 of Clubs (work), and the Valet of Spades (surprise). The consultant card will be either a King or Queen (for those aged 25+) or a Valet. It is often limited to just Hearts (fair) and Clubs (dark).
[2] I do not like to tell students how to shuffle, cut, or draw. The traditional instructions for this spread advocate drawing from the top, to preserve the order of cards in case you need to fan the deck out. When doing this spread – as well as the GT and Grand Jeu du Destin – I deal from the top. Otherwise, I prefer to draw from a fan. Please do whatever you feel comfortable. Following someone else’s rituals etc. will hinder you rather than help you.
[3] On such an occasions, it often indicates those two areas engage or are not particularly active.

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