In honor of The Burning Serpent being sent off to the printers, I did a reading for the deck itself, using one of my favorite spreads, the Nine Card square or grid.
There are various ways to read the 9 card spread, but I am going to focus on the ways specific cards work together. The very first thing to notice is that the title card appears in the center. This was not pre-determined, but the result of the shuffle. Because The Burning Serpent is quite literally the subject–the center–of the reading, we do not have to interpret it, the same as when the card of The Woman appears in the center of a reading for a women subject.
At the same time it forms a triangle with the bottom row, and these cards are part of what I might call the “mythological” strain the deck hints at. The Path shows a shrine to Hecate, Greek Goddess of crossroads, and thus a figure important to divination. On the Scythe card we see another goddess, Demeter, goddess of the grain, holding the scythe, and some harvested wheat. In the myth of Demeter her daughter is abducted by Death to be his bride–the poisonous aspect of the Serpent can represent this–and it is Hecate who tells Demeter what has happened. One of the meanings of The Owl and Mouse (“Birds” or “The Owl” in traditional Lenormand decks) is conversation. Usually the conversation is light, not always.
Stars–upper left corner–can signify the internet, and when we add Owl and Mouse can we get social media, the primary way we have been presenting The Burning Serpent Oracle to the world. This is reinforced with the middle line, Bouquet, Burning Serpent Letter. Bouquet means an invitation, with the Letter a suggestion of sending out messages (Stars + Letter can be email) and we have invited everyone to join us in launching The Burning Serpent Oracle.
Another way to look at the bottom row: The Path usually means a choice but we also can see it as two people’s paths uniting. Similarly, the Scythe normally has a negative quality, something cut down or ended, but it also can mean harvesting. Robert and I followed two paths–art and text–to create the Oracle. Now we are harvesting our work by bringing it to the world, as a farmer brings the grain grown with great effort and dedication. In between, the Owl and Mouse represent our many many (!) conversations about the project.
If we look at the top left corner we see the Voyage (Ship in traditional decks), with the Letter below it, and the Book of Life to the left. In a number of readings regarding projects, especially writing or art, the Letter means a project in development–a manuscript–while the Book signifies the finished, published, work. The Voyage often means something positive, as when we say a person’s “ship has come in.” Here it is extremely literal, for the actual copies of the deck and book will be arriving by ship!
There is MUCH more that can be said about this spread (for example, looking at all the lines, vertical and horizontal and diagonal, or looking at the corners, or the four that form a diamond around the middle), but I will stop here, and offer a Bouquet of invitation to others to add their comments.
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