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Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Lenormand Study -- Cross

Mystical Lenormand AG Muller 2005
The traditional meaning of the Cross is a burden, a necessary evil--something that is unavoidable, that you must work through, that you cannot escape. Because of this sense of inevitability, the Cross is often said to mean 'fate'. The card has strong feelings of something that can't be avoided, but that doesn't make it 'fate'. Many traditional cards go so far as to actually have the word 'Misfortune' printed as a title. I don't see it that way, either. For me, it's more of a 'bummer' card, or a 'sh*t happens' card, in the sense that it represents those unpleasant things in life that we all just have to go through. Some of those things are more intense than others, but none is  'fate'. And most certainly not  'karma'. Why?

Well, karma is the result of your actions--something you get based on what you put out. Karma is action that brings certain inevitable results upon you, either in this life or the next, and can be either good or bad. If you do something good, you get something good in return. If you do something bad, you get something bad in return. Karma, then, comes from within a person, based on his or her choices, and is thus attached to free will. Fate, on the other hand, is something that unavoidably befalls a person, something which has been inevitably predetermined, for reasons that have no connection to free will or human actions. And 'fate' has strong implications of something negative--death, destruction, ruin. But wait? What has either to do with the Cross?

 Let's be frank, the Cross has culturally been a Christian symbol, so we need to look at this card from the culturally accurate point of view, despite the fact that the Mystical Lenormand uses the reappropriated 'pagan' Celtic cross for its design. Karma and fate have nothing to do with the Christian story of the cross.

Apologies, but to get to the root of this card's meaning, you do have to think just a little bit more about Christianity. It's cultural. (This so obvious I can't believe I feel the need to say anything about it.) Stay with me. Now, the Lenormand oracle was designed with common symbols and images for ordinary people, so I believe this card is meant to trigger the most mundane and ordinary association that a common person in the 18th and 19th centuries would likely have with the cross, which would be the saying, 'We all have our crosses to bear.' First, I'd like to point out that this common saying is based on a teaching of Jesus found in Matthew 16:24, Mark 8:34, and Luke 9:23--'If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.' Obviously, the phrase 'We all have our crosses to bear' comes from this teaching. Secondly I'd like to emphasize that in common parlance, this phrase  means bearing the burdens that life presents you, and NOT particularly those which result from obedience to the Saviour, as implied by the writers of the Gospels in the verses cited above. So, even though the phrase derived from a Christian teaching, it became a secular phrase, and thus it seems best to avoid religious, spiritual or Christian sentiment in interpreting the Cross card. Now we have come full circle.

Clearly, to me, the Cross card signifies bad stuff happening that we just have to go through. We have no choice but to 'bear this cross', as the alternative would be to be squashed flat by it. (In fact, one source suggests that the traditional 6 of Clubs cartomantic meaning is to 'take responsibility for a situation and do whatever is necessary to encourage success'--that sounds a lot like the secular meaning of bearing one's cross. Of course, another source says the 6 of Clubs means 'a sure portent of success based on a trusted friendship'--so much for playing card meanings, then!)

So no, I don't think this card means fate or karma! It means unpleasant stuff that you can't get out of. That could be absolutely anything from the most mundane annoyance to something deeply tragic. 


  1. Hi Carla,

    This was really useful: your exploration and conclusion make a lot of sense! I may learn this system yet :)

    Hope your day wasn't/won't be too burdensome.

  2. Well, when combined with the Stork card, it wasn't so much a burden as an new beginning that can't be avoided. And when I got to work, I found out my colleague's wife seems to be in labour of some sort (she's pregnant). Eager to learn the outcome--he left work to go to the hospital with her. She's only 34 weeks so fingers crossed all is okay.

  3. Hi Carla

    I read your full post with much interest because I'm going through some of those unavoidable patience-testing times. I second you on the thought that Cross does not represent karma. These responsibilities are not a result on what you do and then it comes back to haunt you. I will rather want to see Tree with cross for emphasizing that its something from past lives.

    Just my thoughts.

    Thank you

  4. Identity_concealed, I'm always happy to have your thoughts! (And you too of course, Chloe!)

  5. Interested to read the above all of which seem to be based on the sh*t happens scenario. I've picked the 'Cross' card for this upcoming November and have used the tarot to try to gain a little clarity on what lies ahead. All tarot cards drawn are overwhelmingly positive and centre around money. I'm confused but hopeful of a positive outcome.....If the outcome is positive and around money it will be a result of rewards for past efforts (karma?). Will keep you informed.

    1. Did you try another Lenormand draw to gain some clarity on the Cross card? Perhaps lay out the Cross card and do a Line of 5 around it? :)