In the several articles that form this section, you will learn how to develop key combinations. Before jumping in, let me first offer a few remarks on linking cards.

Giving students lists of combinations is not something I believe is useful. Other teachers feel differently. Yet, all too often, such “combo lists” become cookbook definitions rather illustrations.

Secondly, such lists are often written with an assumed context. You can often see this with combinations written for Renard or the Anchor cards were career, as a topic, is inferred. But what if it is a location or timing reading?

I thus prefer to help students build their own combinations in their own readings.

Over time numerous techniques to form combinations have been both developed and popularised by cartomantes. Most, however, can be grouped under three or four categories:

  • Through the cards’ proximity to the Significator or other important cards.
  • Through the cards that are touching.
  • Through the cards’ correlation to each other.

Proximity:

Proximity – sometimes referred to as near and far – is a spatial understanding of cards’ nature determined by the distance from the Significator. The farther away a card is, the less directly we engage with it or experience it.

For example, let us say that five cards fall between the Significator and the Fishes. Such a formation tells us that the client (Significator) does not have easy access (the distance) to resources (Fishes).

Attendance:

The next form of combination outside of proximity is when cards fall side-by-side. That can be horizontally, vertically and diagonally. I refer to this form of combination as attendance and divide it into two parts: narration and specification.

If proximity reveals emphasis and the degree of engagement, then attendance reveals the circumstances and situations. Cards that fall side-by-side combine to describe a course of events or development of a situation. I term this narration.

The cartomante will fine-tune the narration through pairing, or specification. The specification uses the second card as a description of the first card in the pair. For example, if the Letter falls after the Fishes, we can talk about banknotes or bills.

Directional clues form part of attendance. Direction indicates nuance.

Correlation:

Correlation creates combinations through association. Standard methods of correlation include counting, mirroring, knighting.

However, it also encompasses techniques or associations based on orientation to the Significator or other key cards. An example of this is cause and effect or above and behind the Significator card.

Building Combinations:

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