The Dame’s Nowl is a traditional cartomantic operation that first appeared in the late nineteenth century. Like the Celtic Cross, it’s an evolutionary spread; charting the past, the present and the future while also identifying challenges and remedy. It thus grants the cartomante a thorough examination of a specific situation or circumstances.

“The Fashionable Fortune-Teller”

Between 1896 and 1913, “Minetta” authored two books on cartomancy and one on tasseomancy. Minetta also conceived a Bésigue-style deck, specifically for cartomancy, and also provided the instructions for a Petit Lenormand published as the Gypsy Bijou Fortune Telling Cards.

Minetta’s identity has never been established, and several names have been proposed. Caitlín Matthews has suggested that Minetta was Cicely Kent.

There are similarities between Cicely Kent’s text and Minetta’s; although they are not without differences. However, there are also differences between Minetta’s 1896 and 1913 books. Although both manuscripts utilise the same readings, their is however some difference in interpretations, and Minetta gives different definitions for multiples in the two texts. It thus the current author’s feeling that two different authors might have written under than penname, one quite possibly being Cicely Kent.

The Dame’s Nowl or Star of Fortune:

Minetta’s Star of Fortune appears in both her books, but is titled method II in 1896. As I know another spread with this title, I refer to Minetta’s as The Dame’s Nowl.

Such “star spreads” of varying sizes are common throughout cartomancy. In her 1896 text, Minetta states to:

Place two at the head of the Significator, two at the feet, two on the right, two on the left, one in each corner, and one on the Significator, making in all thirteen cards.

What The Cards Tell (p. 26)

In Card Reading, Minetta states the specific order, as indicated in the diagram below.

The Dame’s Nowl

Both Cicely Kent and Sepharial adhere to this order. As you can see, Minetta deals cards 1, 2, 7 and 8 horizontally. I forgo such practice.

Minetta’s instruction for reading the spread is:

Those cards which crown the Significator predict the near future; those at the feet, the past; those to the left, obstacles; those to the right, the distant future; the top corners, present details; those at the feet, the past details; the card on the top of the Significator, the consolation.

What The Cards Tell (p. 26 – 27)

Minetta removes the significator before shuffling. It is placed centrally, with the thirteenth card placed upon it.

Adhering to standard sinister (left) and dexter (right) conventions, Minetta sees cards to the left as challenging and problematic. Those to the right can advise on remedy and assistance. These become more pronounced in her 1913 text which includes a table diagram.


This reading was done just before Christmas 2019. Stacey is young woman and wanted a general look at where her life was going.

The cards as they fell:

At the heart of the star, we find the Stork. Change is afoot. We will bear this in mind as we examine the cards’ different combinations.

We will start with the bottom section as these describe the past circumstances. Keeping the Stork card at the forefront of our mind, we see that there has been a difficult transition (Cross Boat) in Stacey’s life.

With the Cross crowning the Boat card, we know that this will have been a significant shift in Stacey’s circumstance and marked a milestone.

Looking to the left of the Cross, we see the Hound card which sheds some light. Stacey has relocated (Cross Boat), which has meant that she has lost her familiar surroundings (Hound Cross). The presence of three tens further emphasises that.

Unfortunately, this has left Stacey feeling out in the cold, and a period of disquiet has ensued (Birds Lilies). With the Lilies on the left and the Cross and Boat at the star’s feet, one was sure that Stacey had moved away from her family.

Both the Birds and Hound cards are near enough to the Lilies to be read as persons, but one was not seized to interpret them as specific individuals. However, the two queens and two kings do denote male and female acquaintance. With the Hound on the sinister side of the star, and the presence of two sixes in the spread, it is clear Stacey has struggled to form new relationships, and this has magnified her discomfort.

Moving upward, the Anchor’s orientation poses a dichotomy. Stacey’s attempts to find a sense of place will continue to prove difficult and keep her moored to her present feelings. Fortunately, the Tree and the Stars bring a soothing solution.

Over the coming weeks, she will take some time out (Tree) and focus on herself and where she feels she needs to be in life (Tree Book). We note the Stars are the Tree’s roots in this spread, and they seem to be guiding Stacey back home. But the Book falls adjacent to the Stars and crowns the Significator. Stacey is urged not to rush into any decisions which seem to have been the case in the past (Road).

Further, into the future, Stacey will find herself moving into more comfortable times (Lady and the House). With the presence of both the Tree and the Lilies cards, it likely this is a move back to familiar surroundings. Coming back to the Stork we remember that it is a migratory picture: Stacey will go back home.

Stacey was in her first year at university but was not enjoying her surroundings and her course.  After some reflection Stacey decided to transfer to a new university in her hometown.  Due to the lockdown Stacey returned home in the Spring. That fits with the Lady looking to the House card (last week of spring).    

The Petit Lenormand © abCartomancy 2010 – 2020

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