Under the Roses

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This is a simple Feng Shui trick you can do to increase cash flow, bring windfall luck (like lottery winnings), and general protection.

Pi Yao, also known as Tian Lu or Pixiu, is a mythical beast in Asian culture. The legend goes that he lived in the Palace of the Jade Emperor. He had a huge appetite and was always eating, eating. One day he ate so much that he accidentally messed on the floor. The Jade Emperor got angry and sealed his rectum so nothing could come out. He also declared that from that day forward, Pi Yao could only eat gold and silver. Wealth is his staple diet! It goes in but never comes out. So symbolically, it means money coming in, but not flowing out - you know the feeling when you finally get paid but you owe it all for bills? Pi Yao can help prevent that.

He brings these eight blessings:

1) Brings fortune and good tidings,
2) Producer of good Feng Shui or Earth luck,
3) Attracts wealth and prosperity,
4) Safeguards the home and the residents in it,
5) Exterminates evil, adversity and obstacles,
6) Summons windfall luck,
7) Protects from accident during travel and
8) Appeases the Grand Duke Jupiter (Tai Sui)

What you will need is a statue of Pi Yao, or a pair. You can find them in many materials like stone, metal, resin and glass. Jade is a very good choice, but if you need an inexpensive one, that will also work. Make sure your Pi Yao has a single horn! There is another variety with two horns, but those are said to be tomb guardians - you don't want them in the house! Oh, and don't think of it as a purchase - it's traditional to "invite" Pi Yao.

If you invite a Pi Yao from a business with a resident Feng Shui master, you can have him do a ceremony called "Open Eyes", and advise you on placement. But if you just order off the internet, here's some advice:

You will need tea oil, Yin water and Yang water. Yin water can be simple bottled spring water. For Yang water, collect an equal amount of rain water, or if you don't want to wait, just boil some spring water and allow it to cool. Mix equal parts of Yin and Yang water and soak your new Pi Yao in it for three days. Then remove your Pi Yao and towel it dry.

Tea oil is just the skim that you see on tea if you leave it in a glass overnight. Get a little on a brush or Q-tip and dab it on Pi Yao's eyes. Now his eyes are open, you should be the first one he sees. Inform him who you are and ask for his help. Treat him like a living pet - talk to him, tell him you need money coming in every day.

Pi Yao is very loyal, so your Pi Yao won't work for anybody else. If you want to give somebody a Pi Yao as a gift, invite a new one for them. Don't pass your old Pi Yao to other people!

Now place him somewhere at least three feet off the ground, but lower than eye level of the tallest person in the household. There are many theories about placement, and those can change from one year to the next according to astrological influences, like the location of Tai Sui, but it's generally agreed that Pi Yao statues should not be placed in the bedroom, kitchen or bathroom. The living room is best - some people put him on a table, some on a windowsill - especially if there's a bank nearby, lots of money for him to grab! Some of the things you read will contradict, since there are various schools of Feng Shui and differences among Feng Shui masters, but it's generally considered good to have him facing the front door. Sometimes finding the right placement can be confusing, so if you still have questions, give me a call.

Pi Yao is a heavenly creature, but not a god. Nobody prays to him, but he does like a little incense. It's traditional to offer him water, too, just put a small glass of water beside him.

Pi Yao is a loyal pet. If you have a very small statue, nobody should be allowed to touch it but you. You can get a larger one to work for your whole family, and they can touch - but no one else! Pet your Pi Yao every day, talk to him, tell him what you need. A happy Pi Yao does the best work.

Pi Yao is also worn as an amulet. The same rules apply, except you take him off at night and put him on the nightstand beside a glass of water. (It's fine to have the jewelry type in the bedroom, or anyplace you happen to be.) Wear him every day, touch him often. Just take care of him and he will help you. Not just with money - there are many stories of Pi Yao amulet wearers miraculously escaping a catastrophe (e.g. car accidents, earthquakes, etc.) unharmed, but with their Pi Yao amulets mysteriously broken or damaged. When this happens, it is believed that their Pi Yaos have borne the brunt of the mishap and sacrificed themselves to protect their owners.

As you can see, there are several things at work here: The Pi Yao itself, your own daily efforts, and the combined belief of many people. That's what makes Pi Yao much more effective than, say, finding a lucky penny.

And remember the Chinese saying: "Touch Pi Yao once, good luck comes; twice, money rolls in; three times, promotion all the way up.”

Some of us are reclaiming the title "fortune teller".

The current vogue is for people to call  themselves "diviners", "spiritual coaches", or similar. This is an effort to set themselves apart from the scammers who told clients that they were cursed, and it would cost hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars for candles to take the curse off. The diviners sometimes say that these types are "fortune tellers". Such people do exist. But they're just as likely to bill themselves as "diviners"! Or "readers", "reverends", "psychics"...anything, really. Additionally, for those who are interested, there are plenty of ethical people out there who will burn candles and do curse removal if they deem it necessary. This service can be a part of rootwork, curanderismo, and other traditional folk practices, and the price is generally quite reasonable.

Sometimes the people railing loudest against "fortune tellers" can be scammers - and worse - themselves. There's a woman out there who is part of a pyramid scheme that offers pricey sham Tarot certifications. She has a blog (not on Keen) where she writes about "gypsy crime rings" and "neon gypsies" (a reference to the neon signs used by "storefront psychics" - according to her, anyone who reads in a shop is a crook). She states that the way to avoid getting ripped off is to go to a reader who is "certified" (by her organization, of course). She's using racism to sell her "services".

Some of us are sickened enough by this kind of behavior that we reclaimed the title "fortune teller". 

The dictionary defines "fortune" as "a hypothetical force or personified power that unpredictably determines events and issues favorably or unfavorably", "something that happens by chance" and "prosperity attained partly through luck". And those are the things people ask about the most, they want to know their fortunes. As a rule, I don't get people asking about their Inner Child, Jung or where they are on the Fool's Journey. They want to know if they'll get a better job, if their lover will commit, if things will get better.

So, the title a person uses to bill themselves is no guarantee of ethics, for good or ill. The best way to tell if you've got a good reader is to try a short reading. If the reader answers your questions and doesn't try to give you a hard sell, and the reading is accurate, you've found a good one.

There's a LOT of readers out there - how do you choose one? What does it take to do it?

One requirement is years of study and practice. Even a natural trance medium needs training, otherwise how do they know who they're really talking to? And things like cards and palmistry have to be learned. Even a simple looking deck, like Lenormand, requires from 5 to 7 years before the reader becomes fully fluent. Intuition on its own is not enough, and that word gets bandied around a lot these days as a euphemisim for "pretending to read cards!" Actually, intuition is something your brain does so fast that you don't see the process. You get a "flash" that turns out to be correct, and it can seem very mysterious, but there's nothing paranormal about it. What intuition isn't, is people making up meanings for card combinations they never bothered to learn. So look for readers who have studied their craft for a long time.

Another requirement is life experience. Don't misunderstand me, a young person can be a very good reader as long as they're familiar with the subject matter, but would you expect them to have a grasp of law, real estate, human nature, etc.? Let's say the questioner went to an ATM to withdraw money, and their account was debited but the money wasn't dispensed. They called the number on the machine and got a runaround, so they called a psychic to see how they can get their money back. They can't afford a lawyer. They want to know how to get their money back! The psychic drew cards talking about "a phone call to the authorities". A young, inexperienced reader might say "Call the police", but the police won't do anything about these things! An older reader with more life experience would know it meant "Call the State Attorney General's Office"!

Some intelligence is needed too. If a readers listing is misspelled and childish-looking, their reading will probably be childish and full of mistakes as well.

And of course, there's a non-judgemental attitude. A good reader has seen it all and isn't shocked or offended by anything people do in private with consenting adults. A big part of our job is putting ourselves in your shoes, and on your side. People need answers, not a sermon.

A good card reading requires two things: that the reader has put in the required years of studying the reading tradition, and intuition. The reader should have a good working knowledge of the traditional card meanings and the methods of reading and combining cards. The intuition comes in when deciding how all this applies to the client's questions.

The problems come in when people start using words to mean something other than what they actually mean. In recent years, there's been a flood of people calling themselves "intuitive" readers. Now, all card readings are "intuitive", but they're using the word as a way of saying they didn't think it was necessary to study the card reading system much, if at all, and that they just look at the pictures and make things up.

Recently, I caught a woman who had copypasted the text from my Keen listing, and was using it to sell her Lenormand card "readings" at various websites on the net. She stated that she discovered Lenormand last August, and the wording of my text was from several months ago, before I made some minor edits - so what this woman did, essentially, was to purchase a deck, copypaste my Keen listing, and IMMEDIATELY go in business - BEFORE learning how to read the cards! She didn't even know how to write about them in her own words, but she was selling readings!

Of course I sent her a Cease & Desist order and made her take my text off of her listings for her horrible fake readings. But it really drove home the point that we all have to be careful - both readers and clients!

I've been reading Lenormand for ten years, and I'm here to tell you that it takes at least five years of study and practice to become fluent enough to offer readings commercially with any degree of honesty and regard for the customer. It doesn't matter how fast you pick things up, it's a language that has to be learned and that doesn't happen overnight, or in a few months, or even a few years. So beware people calling themselves "intuitive" readers - there's a good chance they're beginners! There has been a surge of interest in Lenormand over the past two years, and a lot of people have started to use it, but while there's a lot of experienced Europeans, very few Americans have studied it long enough to be any good with it yet. 

When a person reads traditionally, not "intuitively", and can back that up with time-stamped blog posts, etc. dating back at least five years, it shows that they've actually studied the deck they use. You're getting a real card reading. ;)

A man and his dog were walking along a road. The man was enjoying the scenery, when it suddenly occurred to him that he was dead. He remembered dying, and that the dog walking beside him had been dead for years. He wondered where the road was leading them.

After a while, they came to a high, white stone wall along one side of the road. It looked like fine marble. At the top of a long hill, it was broken by a tall arch that glowed in the sunlight. When he was standing before it, he saw a magnificent gate in the arch that looked like mother-of-pearl, and the street that led to the gate looked like pure gold. He and the dog walked toward the gate, and as he got closer, he saw a man at a desk to one side. When he was close enough, he called out, 'Excuse me, where are we?' 'This is Heaven, sir,' the man answered. 'Wow! Would you happen to have some water?' the man asked. 'Of course, sir. Come right in, and I'll have some ice water brought right up.' The man gestured, and the gate began to open. 'Can my friend,' gesturing toward his dog, 'come in, too?' the traveler asked. 'I'm sorry, sir, but we don't accept pets.' The man thought a moment and then turned back toward the road and continued the way he had been going with his dog.

After another long walk, and at the top of another long hill, he came to a dirt road leading through a farm gate that looked as if it had never been closed. There was no fence. As he approached the gate, he saw a man inside, leaning against a tree and reading a book. 'Excuse me!' he called to the man. 'Do you have any water?' 'Yeah, sure, there's a pump over there, come on in.' 'How about my friend here?' the traveler gestured to the dog. 'There should be a bowl by the pump,' said the man. They went through the gate, and sure enough, there was an old-fashioned hand pump with a bowl beside it. The traveler filled the water bowl and took a long drink himself, then he gave some to the dog. When they were full, he and the dog walked back toward the man who was standing by the tree. 'What do you call this place?' the traveler asked. 'This is Heaven,' he answered. 'Well, that's confusing,' the traveler said. 'The man down the road said that was Heaven, too.' 'Oh, you mean the place with the gold street and pearly gates? Nope. That's Hell.' 'Doesn't it make you mad for them to use your name like that?' 'No, we're just happy that they screen out the folks who would leave their best friends behind.'
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This card was drawn especially for any blog readers out there who are experiencing problems that seem overwhelming. The image is from the Victorian Flower Oracle, a deck made from the art of J.J. Grandville's 19th century book Les Fleurs Animées (The Flowers Personified). The language of flowers was popular method of communication at the time, when people used flowers and bouquets to communicate coded messages that might be frowned on if spoken aloud. It's a fascinating study.

In our own times, we think of marshmallows as those sugar and chemical laden processed things in the supermarket, but the marshmallow plant was once famous for the medicinal benefits it provided. References to marshmallow root's healing properties are found in Homer's Iliad, written over 2800 years ago. Uncooked roots were used the same way that teething rings are today, because they were soothing to a baby's gums. Mallow root can combat inflammation of all kinds, and is helpful for colds, ulcers, and kidney stones. Culpeper wrote that the roots are "full of a slimy juice, which, being laid in water, will thicken, as if it were jelly." In the early 19th century, this was whipped and sweetened to create marshmallows. Sadly, there is no marshmallow root in marshmallows these days, it's been replaced by gelatin. But you can see the roots on the lady's skirt in the card image. And since marshmallow can do so much good on the physical level, it's also reputed to repel evil spirits.

The keywords given on the card are "Sickness and Health", but in Victorian flower language, mallow flowers actually speak of all forms of mildness, kindness, beneficience, and nurturing.

The message in this card is All Good. It's an especially nice card to get if things are not going well for you, because it assures that you're on the road to improvement and healing, whether physical, emotional, or financial. The central lady on the card cares for the helpless sick. It's "just what she does", with no expectation of reward or acknowledgement. She neutralizes poisons and afflictions. The other lady removes poisons. She's pictured as an old woman, to symbolize that her function will soon no longer be necessary - she's "on the way out".

If you're worried by illness, injuries or problems, the protective energies of this card surround you with a natural healing energy. Release what harms you and let these natural energies work their magic.

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Myrna Loy, Clark Gable, and Jean Harlow in "Wife Vs. Secretary"

If you want a clear reading, it's very important to have clear ideas about what you're asking. I get a lot of calls from people who want to know if someone is cheating, and the cards are very good at finding these things out.

The problem is, people have different definitions of cheating. If you've ever seen those daytime TV shows where a man passes a lie detector test even though he's definitely done things his wife ABSOLUTELY considers cheating, you know what I mean.

Generally, when I ask the cards if someone is cheating, I'm thinking in terms of outside-the-relationship sexual contact that someone is having, who has promised NOT to do that. If they haven't committed to being monogamous, it won't show up as cheating. If it's "just talking", it's technically not cheating. And an open relationship being open isn't cheating, so it won't show up in the cards. The word "cheating" itelf implies lying and sneaking, and if the person hasn't made any promises, there's none to break.

The trick is, no matter what kind of relationship you're in, no matter whether you're male, female, married, single, gay, straight, or bi, if you want to know whether someone is chatting someone up with the intent to have sex, or flirting online, it helps to word the question that way, since the actual cheating hasn't happened at this point in time. Same thing if there's no blatant dishonesty, and you just want to know if someone you've been seeing casually for awhile is seeing anybody else - ask!

Being specific will help you get a spot-on reading every time! ;)

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Some people read cards. Other people pretend to read cards, and give people give vague advice, like you get from the scale shown above. The scale is fun, but it only costs fifty cents or so to use it. If you're paying for a reader, you should get a real reading.

Today I saw a "Tarot reader" on an online social network who had a client ask where and how she can get a job. He told her to "proactively seek and develop opportunities", and started harping on her about her diet, which he doesn't approve of. And he's getting comments like "You're a reader - not a career coach. If she wants a career coach she should go to one of them."

What do they think a reader is for, rattling off newspaper horoscopes?
Client: "Where can I find a job?
"Reader": "Guard your health and make the best of your opportunities."

That's a total rip-off. If you've been burned this way before, please realize that we don't ALL act like fortune-telling scales.

A real reader would have looked at the various options, and used the cards to see which was most likely to give the client a job with good pay and a happy work atmosphere. Then the client would know where to concentrate their effort in order to reap the best results. That's the information this client was paying for and had every right to expect.

We're out here, we exist. Give us a call!

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Keyword: Phone calls

Another communication card, this one usually indicates vocal communication like telephone calls but it sometimes comes up for other types of contacts like emails or texts. Sometimes it's any kind of talk that travels through the airwaves, you'll see it come up often for people who work in radio. Occasionally it can stand for gossip, so it might be a good idea to take things with a grain of salt. Sometimes it just means a hectic phase, passing stress or annoyance. This is actually one of the oldest meanings, there were no phones when the first Lenormand decks appeared. Card meanings evolve over time and adapt to the current era. It can mean thoughts, as well.

As a rule (but not always), this card shows two birds, so it's another traditional symbol for pairs: usually an older couple (especially if you favor a deck with owls) or siblings. And since there's often a nest pictured, I've heard of people using it as a pregnancy card, though I don't do it that way myself. This brings up an interesting point, by the way - there's variations from deck to deck, does this alter the meaning of the card? From the standpoint of tradition, no. Birds or owls, nest or no nest, one, two, or several, it's the same meaning. But you can - and should! - flesh out the narrative with your own impressions.

whipz smwhips

Keyword: Conversations

The Whips card is sometimes called the Birchrods. The card above from the Dondorf Lenormand pictures both a flogger and a bundle of switches. Judith Bärtschi's Lenormand Whips gets whimsical and a bit kinky, but it has the same meanings and she's holding the traditional flogger and bundle of birch switches. Whips can be good or bad, they often indicate speech and language, passionate exchanges and heated debates, which can be constructive or playful on the one hand, but lead to arguments, strife and estrangement on the other. They can also stand for dancing (think of the movement), writing tools and signatures. It can sometimes mean pairs of things: Whips - Ring could mean two work contracts OR a broken marriage, so please pay special attention to context!*

Whips - Letter can be a document requiring a signature. Whips - Coffin can be someone who has a speech defect or who doesn’t speak your language very well. Whips - Garden is usually dancing, since the Garden stands for a public place where people gather, usually for pleasure.

As a person card (there's a Jack) it usually stands for someone thin and talkative.

*"Context" is why I always ask people if they have a particular question. I'm not fishing for information, I'm trying to give a better reading.

Dondorf Lilies

Keyword: Sex

The primary meaning is sex, but the Lilies can also stand for harmony, winter, and social welfare. Or a man, sometimes older, with a stable temper, a lover, boss, patron, family member or doctor. You can tie all these together in your mind if you think of a male elk caring for his herd of females and babies. This card reminds me of what the Lakota call an "Elk Man", magnetic, somewhat polyamourous, but caring.

Iris Treppner says in her wonderful Lenormand course that the best way to pick out the meaning of this catch-all card in a layout is to think about your question and what's important to you at the moment. Are you planning a romantic evening? Do you want to know if someone will support your project? Will your family relations be harmonious? The Lilies can answer all these questions and more, it's a fun card.

In a general reading where no question was asked, look at the neighboring cards. With the Snake, it's a woman and her lover. With the Sun, it's sexual bliss. With the Moon, you're supported by an important man. But with the Garden it might be a strip club or brothel, and be careful if the Lilies fall next to the Tree, Coffin or Mice...those combinations sometimes indicate STD's!

Dondorf Mountain

Keyword: Obstacle

Something in the way. The Mountain doesn't derail your plans, but it can cause a delay...think of having to climb over a mountain, or go around it, instead of making a beeline to your goal.

In some cases, the Mountain can be seen as a protective barrier if it's between a good card and a threatening one. In other cases it might be literal, like when it shows up for a person who is taking a trip to the mountains.

But more often than not, it just makes things difficult and frustrating. If it's above a card, it's "pressing down" on it...squashing the event indicated by the card. Above a card that represents a person, it shows that the person feels burdened, they have "the weight of the world on their shoulders".

If a person card is above the Mountain, they've completed the uphill climb...there's more work to do, but it gets easier since "it's all downhill from here". Some cards can neutralize the Mountain. Tradition has it that the little Mice can eat away at it and reduce it to nothing, and in my readings I've found this to be true. :)


Keyword: New

Something just beginning, a new start. Can also mean "a little bit", you really don't want it after the Fish since that would be "a little bit of money" - poverty, essentially. Child - Anchor: literally a new job, but Anchor - Child, a part time job or temp work. (The new thing ends up being work in the first example, the job ends up being "little" in the second.) Can be an actual child...with the Moon, pregnancy. A young woman (yes, the inset shows a Jack, but Jacks are a bit like the Pages in Tarot, they point to someone young or "minor" of either sex, and most Lenormand decks feature a little girl as the Child) sometimes a rival, or someone short, naive, carefree, immature or childlike - generally, any of the qualities that children possess.

Dondorf-style Anchor

Keyword: Work*

The Anchor stands for work, since when a ship reaches the harbor and drops anchor, the crew begins unloading it. Also because jobs often tie people down, "anchor" them to a place. When someone asks about their job or career, look for the Anchor in the spread and see what's around it. If the Mice are facing it, possible job loss or hours cut. With the Stork, a new job, or changes at work. With the Birds, things could get hectic, with the Ring, an employment contract.

Some alternative meanings are stability, ones homeland, the seashore, a refuge ("safe harbor") and being tied down. Again, context is everything, look at it in light of the question and the surrounding cards. You don't have to memorize every meaning and combined meaning, just learn the basics and free associate. ;)

*When I started with Lenormand, I was faced with having to choose the French, Belgian or German method. The German method seemed to yield the best results and fit the cards like a glove, since they have a very no-nonsense sensibility about them. They can be blunt, almost brutal at times, like the Runes. I suspect they originated in Germany, in spite of the marketing strategy that attributes them to Mlle. Lenormand (who used playing cards, and later, Etteilla Tarot) All the French oracle decks I've run across have been "busier", more rococo, usually with multiple characters enacting a scene on each card. Never just an anchor, dog or tree. So I am posting the German attributions, which assign "work" to the Anchor, not the Moon or the Fox.

Blue Owl Fish

Keyword: Money

This is the main money card in the deck and the cards that surround it will tell you a lot about the persons finances. With the celestials (Sun, Moon and/or Stars) it's very good news and could indicate a windfall.

But sometimes it's no big deal, context is everything in Lenormand! Some secondary meanings are liquids - water, alcohol, etc. - the sea, or even literal fish. Just think "flow", whether it's cash flow or liquid. As a person card (King of Diamonds), it's a businessman. So if you're doing a health reading and it's got not-great cards nearby, it might be alcoholism or a hangover, nothing to do with money. Another meaning is "abundance", so it could also be overeating and obesity. Pay attention to nearby cards if it's next to the Heart or Ring, it could mean anything from marrying just for money to an abundance of loving feelings. So you want to be a bit careful with this one.

All in all, this card has a very Taurean feel, with just a touch of Pisces. ;)

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