La méthode des Treize is a classical cartomanic draw. It appears in several texts by the well-known French author Colette Silvestre, including the brilliant Le Petit Lenormand.

After shuffling and cutting the deck, the cartomante draws thirteen cards and arranges them either as shown below or in a simple line.

Rather than interpreting the cards in sequential order, the cartomante employs a count of five. ‘Counting’ was a common feature in classical cartomancy. Once a card is selected, it is read as ‘1,’ with the next card being ‘2,’ the next ‘3,’ and so forth. When the cartomante reaches the designated number of the count, that card becomes the new ‘1.’ The counting concludes when the cartomante returns to card from where she commenced.

In la méthode des Treize the client chooses the point of departure. Depending on your preference, you can ask the seeker to select a number from 1 – 13 prior to shuffling.

Otherwise deal the cards face down and have them indicate a card.

In practice, I find it helpful to turn over the indicated card and the first and second ‘fifth’ cards from it.   That way, you can continue to read the cards in cycles of three: 1 – 3, 3 – 5, 5 – 7, 7 – 9, 9 – 11, 11 – 13.

Each card counted will elaborate on the card beforehand. Consequently, one builds a narrative. For this reason, la méthode des treize can provide a description of unfolding events.

Silvestre states that the draw can discuss events up to three months in advance; however, the present author would halve such an estimate.


The client asked whether she would meet someone in the near future.

The cards as they fell:

On turning over the third card, we discovered the Cross. We then proceeded to count in fives, turning over each fifth card in turn.

The cards responded thus: a painful intersection will remove (Cross – Road – Stork) a toxic association for good (Serpent – Hound – Coffin) bringing a healthier environment (Boat– Tree – Cavalier) and access to new people (Cavalier – Key – Park) and an opportunity in good time (Cloverleaf – Lilies).

There is no indication of a new relationship. Thus, one advised the Lady that such a development will occur within the next six weeks or so.

The Lenormand Oracle is a Sibilla-style deck (playing-cards with pictures). We can thus note repeating values:

Two sixes (Cross, Cloverleaf) reveal malicious actions, which connects with the three queens (Road, Stork, Serpent), that show a female rival. Looking further, we find two eights (Park, Key) that bring concord. It seems clear that this initiates the positive move indicated by two tens (Hound, Boat). Two nines tell of a small sum of money, which does not seem to connect directly to the above.

Going Deeper:

Let us look more closely. The Cross card is a time-card denoting the immediate present. So, what came before is done; and whatever follows, is emerging. Contrary to popular opinion, the Road is not just options: it is the direction and critical intersection points in our journey. With the Cross, we have a Via Dolorosa. Fortunately, the Stork is a migratory bird, so the Lady will soon find herself moving on.

We then hit something quite interesting. Lots of cartomantes see the Hound and think of a faithful friend and devotee à la Lassie Come-Home. Sadly, no. Dogs’ behaviour is a consequence of breeding and training; however, these animals are still members of the canis-family of jackals, coyotes, and wolves. Thus, the Hound is more our entourage, employees (it traditionally shows as a guard-dog) or the people we move with. Consequently, we can read the Serpent as a person that can sometimes translate into a frenemy. With the Coffin, we can see that this is being put to bed.

At least this lets the client move forward, which will bring a rejuvenating effect. The Cavalier, the classic chevalier servant, appears to be a stimulus for opening (Key) up new vistas and people (Park) rather than a new love. It is, however, the opportunity needed to meet someone (Lilies/King of Spades) with whom one can cherish a special bond (Cloverleaf – Lilies). This is confirmed when we note the Key is adjacent to the Boat.

The Lilies has high ideals and establishes mutual respect and the sincerity of feeling. If one comes from such a place, there is soft tenderness and indulgence which brings a sense of real fulfilment. However, such fruit never ripens overnight. The roi de pique is traditionally seen as the Hebrew King, David. So there is someone – its just not happening overnight.

When I performed this reading, the seeker was adamant that the Serpent – Hound had occurred. Her ex-boyfriend had moved on with a mutual acquaintance. The presence of the Cross, however, assured me that this was something shortly to happen.

Even in a line, the Cross indicates the present. The cards before being done now, and those after being tomorrow.

I learned after that this woman had reached out to the Lady. After meeting, the Lady has terminated all connections, including changing gyms. This brings me to an important point: if the cards place a past event in the future, it means that the event will be revisited.

Now, as the Lady moves down her new route she is approaching calmer territories. The Coffin has been sealed.  Trust your cards.

The Petit Lenormand © abCartomancy 2010 – 2020

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