Snake, is a sign of misfortunes, which is gauged by the distance of the card to that of person, but always brings hypocrisy, betrayal and loss.

Original Instructions

A divisive card, many see the Serpent as the deck’s greater malefic. Others hold the reserve. Neither are views I subscribe to.

Most older patterns seem to show either a Vipera aspis or Meadow Viper. Such snakes cannot strike or hurt a person unless in close proximity. All traditional “negative associations” levelled at the card (adultery, betrayal, et cetera) all infer a closeness and personal relationship.  The Serpent cannot deliver her poison unless you encroach on her. 

It is for that reason the Serpent itself is both a neutral and a warning card rather than one of the malefic cards.

Any danger posed by the Serpent can be ascertained from the card she faces. It is here that she will strike. If it is a person-card or social card, the danger comes from an individual (male or female). Otherwise, it will be the topic signified by the card.

Overall you should treat that card with extreme caution. Keep a cool head; do not take the silly risks. Otherwise, you risk unwanted repercussions and entanglements. Remember the Farmer and the Viper.

Of note, however, is the following combination:

Here, the Serpent’s venom is directed at the Mice. The pairing neutralises the Mice’s before they have purloined the seeker.

Otherwise, the Serpent keeps her belly to the ground and knows the terrain well. Her forked tongue is a classic metaphor of wisdom and being able to perceive information lost to others (see Die weiße Schlange).

In matters of Arte, the Serpent can, from time-to-time, denote the Familiar Spirit (not to be confused with the Bid). In this guise, the secret language is revealed à la The White Serpent. Rarely, she may be Fate herself. However, most often, she acts as a caution or warning of danger or influences.

The Serpent is also the Queen of Clubs (dame de trèfle), titled ‘Argine.’ That is thought to refer to either ‘Regina’ or Argos, the centre of the cult of Hera. Hera herself is a goddess associated with snakes (see Hercule and Tiresias). Regardless, the card can be read as a woman.

When read as a woman, the two well-known associations are the ex-partner and the mistress. Both are valid. I also use the card as the same-sex partner card for women.

However, the Queen can stand for any woman with whom there is a complex if not tricky connection. In discussion with students, I say that she is a woman with whom one exercises some caution but offers respect. You do not trifle with this Queen. Again, you will need to examine the cards around the Serpent for information.

Of note, if you suspect the Queen is up to no good, the card Queen of Clubs faces away from can be used to ascertain what she withholds from you.

The Serpent at a Glance

Essence: Deviation.

Playing Card: Queen of Clubs.
Polarity: Neutral.
Category: Warning Card. Person Card.
Keywords: Repercussion, Entanglements, Deviations, Toxic, Intelligence, Dame.

Pace: Steady.
Timing: Within two months, sometimes August.
Health: The intestines, especially the large bowel and down into the rectum. The Serpent can warn of toxins and other contagions.

The Petit Lenormand © abCartomancy 2010 – 2020

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