How to read someone’s mind using Kipper cards

The mere idea proposed in the title of this post seems a bit too “out there” to be true but, contrary to its somewhat theatrical premise, is a realistic possibility. Being able to peer into the depths of someone’s thought process – especially of someone you have a romantic interest in, or perhaps a person you are about to do business with – is a wish many of us have had throughout our lives. The truth of the matter is, many divination systems allow us to do just that – not just foretell what is most likely to pass but also gain insight into the ideas and intentions of the persons involved in the matter. Still, Kipper is perhaps the only method that strips it to its bare bones and offers us exactly what we need – to read someone’s mind.

The process is actually quite straightforward and is something that you have perhaps already done without even realizing it. Anyone who has any significant degree of experience with Kipper is very familiar with the card called His thoughts which, at its core, carries the meaning of person’s inner world. What many don’t seem to catch is the fact that this particular card can also be used as a significator, an “anchor” card for a reading regarding someone’s thoughts and emotions.

This can be done either as a part of the Grand tableau reading or as a stand-alone spread of nine cards, much akin to the usual Portrait spread. Either way, His thoughts should be the main focus of the reading and the cards surrounding it on all sides, eight of them in total – three above, one on each side, and another three below – will allow us to weave the story of the person’s inner world, their emotional trials and tribulations, opinions, plans, aspirations and, ultimately, thoughts and ideas. The cards above the significator tend to represent more abstract ideas and those that have not yet been fully formed, while those below are more likely to point towards actual plans, aspirations and future actions the individual is likely to perform. Often, the reading will be at least in part focused on you – on the person’s opinion of as well as their intentions towards you. This will prove very helpful in determining your own course of action.

Even if this particular fortune-telling procedure initially requires a certain dose of suspension of disbelief, it is well worth a try as it might bring about some surprisingly accurate results that will aid you in future decision-making and social maneuvering. And while the moral aspects of such an “intrusion” may raise an eyebrow or two, this is not something that any effective form of fortune-telling concerns itself with. Cards are a perfectly neutral tool and it is up to you in which way you will use them (and how successful you are likely to be in whatever aim you’ve got).

The Grand Tableau in Kipper

The Grand tableau is without a shadow of a doubt the most elaborate of all spreads, utilizing all the 36 cards of the Kipper deck. Most beginners are scared to death of it but the truth is, if you have learned the basics outlined in previous blog posts, you should have no problem in utilizing your knowledge in deciphering the currents and the patterns of this large yet intricate puzzle. Card combinations, storyboarding, directionality and context are all paramount in the process. But let’s start at the beginning.

The Grand tableau consists of four lines of nine cards, forming a rectangular shape and very likely taking up most of your desk. First, we begin by locating the significator – the Man or the Woman card, depending on the sex of the querent. This image will serve as your anchor, as the core of your reading and will be the one you will return to over and over during the course of the session.

Taking the directionality into account, everything that is positioned in front of the significator will be their future while what is behind will represent the past. What is above will stand for their thoughts, plans and dreams, while what is below is to represent the real world they dwell in and the foundation on which the situation rests. Since every card is allowed to assume a perfectly random position, the significator itself may land at the very beginning of the tableau, at its very end, or anywhere in between. In case of it being positioned in the last line and thus giving the impression of having no future to look into, the whole layout is discarded, the cards are gathered together, reshuffled, and spread out again. There is absolutely no point in doing a reading that tells us next to nothing of what is to pass. Using Kipper is, after all, fortune-telling.

Once we have our significator determined and the orientation of the grand tableau with it, we can begin to read. Usually, the first step is to look at the four corners, allowing the cards so positioned to tell us the “frame” of the story. After that, we move again to the significator, first reading the cards directly surrounding it as a separate 9-card spread and only then proceed to reading those that are further from our imagined core of the layout. The farther away the card lies, the less influence it has on the querent’s life at the present time and, the closer it is, the more potent its impact is to be. This is called the “near and far method” and is also prominent in Lenormand. Of course, we also need to pay attention to the cards in line with the significator and especially those that represent the future. Those form the nucleus of the story and will tell us the most about what is likely to become of the situation.

If there are separate topics we wish to address such as love or health, we can turn to individual cards that cover them (i.e. High honors for work, Good outcome in love for interpersonal relationships, Short illness for health etc.) and, by observing the surrounding images, determine the state of things and in which direction the situation is likely to develop. At first, treat each of these as a separate 9-card spread Рthis will make the whole affair a whole lot easier and your experience with the Grand tableau a lot smoother.

In the end, it may be important to note that the method described above is actually quite similar to the Grand tableau as practiced in Lenormand. There actually exists another, unique to Kipper, but this more advanced technique will be left for a later post. Stay tuned.

The nine-card Portrait spread in Kipper

Sometimes referred to as the “portrait spread”, the nine-card layout consists of three rows of three cards, forming a rectangular shape and one of the most effective ways of reading Kipper cards. This method however is hardly unique. It is to be found among many other types of cartomancy and even appears as a template for Rune casting. Its practicality and usefulness has stood the test of time and is the basis of the knowledge of any cartomancer worth their salt. It also happens to be a building block needed for constructing a Grand tableau – but more of that later.

In Kipper, the significator is usually pre-selected, picking either of the two main character cards, depending on the sex of the querent. This image is positioned in the center and the other cards are laid out around it in rows – the first three above the significator, the fourth and the fifth on either side of it in the second row and, in the third row, below the main card, three more in line.

Following this, the cards are read as they normally would be, with the first column, behind the significator representing the past, the one in the middle the present, and the one in front the future. Again, this is where directionality comes into play and reading for a male will be the mirror image of reading for a female, as it is dictated by the positioning of the characters. Thus, the Woman’s future is to our right, the Man’s to our left. Just pay attention to where each is facing and you should be fine.

One thing that remains a constant are the top and the bottom rows. The one above represents the querent’s thought process while the one below is their cold hard reality. But wait, aren’t we reading the same cards – namely those in the corners – twice or three times over now? Yes, we are.

Don’t be afraid to use the same card twice – once when reading the individual column and once when reading a horizontal line. This is where card combinations come into play and each is read as a part of a whole – no matter what whole – and not as purely individual. This “layering” will appear a bit awkward at first but is something one gets used to and, over time, it becomes second nature.

If additional clarity is required, diagonals may also sometimes be read -from the upper left corner to the lower right and from the lower left corner to the upper right – for the female – and the exact opposite for the male.

It is essential that you spend some time practicing before you move on to larger layouts. The nine card spread is excellent preparation for what lies ahead but must be mastered thoroughly before further steps are undertaken. The layout itself is likely to answer most of your pressing questions and is probably the one you will turn to most often but exploring farther and wider will also give you immense pleasure and open up your intuitive powers even more.

The ultimate problem-solving Kipper card spread (The Path of Seven)

The so-called Path of Seven is perhaps my absolute favourite aspect of Kipper. Finding about this spread was a definite turning point in learning the system. Until then, I was on the fence whether I should plunge into a new method so soon after getting a grasp of Lenormand. I was afraid the two would mix up in my head, creating more confusion than clarity, and actually make my readings worse instead of more insightful. Still, this problem-solving spread solved the problem for me. The second I realized what it was about – I was in!

So what is the The Path of Seven? It is a Kipper spread, obviously consisting of seven cars, which offers you advice on how to best go about solving your problem(s) and making your dreams come true. What is it that you wish for the most? What is it that you are working towards the hardest? That is what the cards will tell you about and that is what this spread will help you achieve. Isn’t that brilliant? On top of it, it isn’t that hard to do either.

You put your significator (the Man or Woman card) or, alternatively, a card that best describes your current situation on one side of the table. Then, you put the card that best outlines your end goal, your dream-come-true scenario on the side opposite. Between them, you spread a line of five cards that are to describe what you need to do to get to your destination. It is as simple as that! It is such an easy and straightforward concept, one so rarely seen in the metaphysical labyrinths of Tarot. You want something? Here’s how you can get it. Reading it is like telling a short story.

If you take the Woman as your significator and High honors to represent your goal of a promotion at work, the cards that will fall in between will describe your road to success. Assuming that you’ve pulled Meeting, Journey, Prison, Work and occupation, and Great water, Hope – the basic idea of it would be that you are expected to focus on your social skills and creating more allies on the business arena (Meeting), especially those that come from other companies and other lines of work (Journey). This may feel like serving a sentence for a while (Prison) but will over time improve and your current job (Work and occupation) will blossom into a long-term career that is to prove fulfilling both emotionally and financially (Great water, Hope).

Again, doing such readings is all about exercising your imagination, your intuition, and not being afraid to say the first thing that comes to your mind. Sometimes, the most obvious interpretation is the most accurate.

How to read Kipper cards: Context

Context is the element of divination that is overlooked far too often even by professionals. People randomly pull the cards but don’t even bother to properly formulate the question. Then, they expect to receive an accurate and concise answer but they haven’t even set up a clear line of communication between themselves and whatever sort of force is trying to send them a message through the cards. This is a grave mistake.

Context is key in interpreting any answer that you may receive. The tighter it is, the less you will have to work on what the cards really trying to say. If you ask about love and you pull Win lots of money, all of its financial and business traits will take a back seat to more emotional overtones due to the already well framed question. Thus, the card will signify a lucky streak, success in love, rather than small lottery winnings or striking a favourable business deal.

In the same vein, if you ask about your prospects at work, the State of marriage will signal a secure, long-term contract while a Good outcome in love might stand for a raise or a resolution of a conflict in your favour. In a reading on the topic of health, the Court of law will likely represent a hospital and the Court official will stand for your doctor. Inquiring about your marriage and pulling the Prison card will then warn us of a gilded cage instead of actual time behind bars.

Much like in all other aspects of Kipper readings, it is important to let both your imagination and your intuition free rein but also not be afraid to go for the most literal meaning, even if it sounds a bit silly. Only by letting go of fear will you embrace your gift.

How to read Kipper cards: Directionality

Now that we have covered the concepts of storyboarding and card combinations, the next technique employed in reading Kipper cards is that of directionality. This method has perhaps found its most robust stronghold precisely in Kipper. No other type of fortune telling cards – be it Lenormand, Sibilla, Zigeunerkarten etc. – relies so much on it as much as Kipper does. But what exactly is directionality?

Plain and simple, it is the emphasis put on which way each of the characters in the story (or rather each person card) is facing. The Man, for example, is looking towards our left whereas the Woman’s glance is directed to the right. Same goes for the Good lord and Good lady (left and right respectively) and the Young good lord and the Rich girl (again left and right). As a rule of thumb, what is in front of the character (i.e. in the general direction they are facing) is considered to be their future and of greater importance, and what is behind their back is likely to be a part of the past and thus of lesser impact to the current state of things.

In addition to that, what is behind a person can denote something they are making an effort to hide whereas what is in front is likely to be the face they are consciously presenting to the world. The cards above are their thoughts, those below their everyday reality.

Still, it is not only the people cards that are susceptible to directionality. Change, for example, has a very obvious left-to-right alignment whereas the Long road seems to be of the opposite orientation. God (or is it the Devil?) is in the details and, with Kipper, it is better to keep your eyes as well as your mind open, pay attention to the subtle hints the cards are offering you, and weave them into a unique story.

Sometimes, you can read the cards from left to right, top to bottom, as you would a letter but, in most instances, the weaving of the pattern will be a bit more elaborate than that. If you are, for example, bent towards interpreting a Grand tableau, you will start from your main significator and work outwards, determining both the current situation, its past and, most importantly, the future that awaits. As we’ve already noted, the Man and the Woman cards face the opposite direction and, if we wish to take that into consideration, the reading done for a male querent will be the mirror image of the one done for a female. This is something that obviously takes a while to get used to but is not an unsurmountable obstacle in the least.

How to read Kipper cards: Card combinations

As we have already mentioned in the previous post, Kipper largely relies on storyboarding to tell its tale. This is something that sets this system apart from that of Lenormand. What however makes them quite similar is the emphasis on card combinations to achieve their full effect. Individual images are rarely interpreted as such but are instead observed as a part of a much larger whole. This creates an entire kaleidoscope of meanings and gives Kipper a wealth of possibilities rarely found in other methods of divination.

In essence, the way to join cards together is purely semantic. It relies on patterns of language and is thus comparatively easy to get a grasp of. To put it in simple terms – a card is treated as a word, a string of cards a sentence, a succession of sentences a story. In its most basic form, the first card in line is taken as a noun, as the core of the sentence. The one following is then used to modify or rather to describe the one that came before. The third can then be considered a verb, the image following an adverb etc. Of course, this is just a very basic blueprint for the way Kipper (and Lenormand) works but should give you a pretty clear idea and a template on which to base your initial practice with the cards.

If we have the Rich girl followed by Living room, it will give us a mental image of a young woman aiming to become an interior decorator. If the Journey card is followed by the Long road, it more than obviously signals long-distance travel or slow-paced movement towards your destination. Good lord coupled with (or rather described by) Gloomy thoughts would normally denote a depressed older gentleman or perhaps even one suffering from a mild mental illness.

It is important to bear in mind that combining symbols is not limited to just two cards. In fact, it can stretch to five or six at least, if not more. Much like a longer sentence, it gives us more variables to juggle but also more room for creativity. Having the Woman card followed by a Pleasant letter, then Win lots of money and Court of law would mean that the female querent we are reading for is about to receive a notification of some monetary gain brought about either through legal matters (e.g. an inheritance) or perhaps dealings with a corporate institution of some sort (as the Court of law can and often does stand for a large company or other such institution). Thus, Win lots of money and the Court of law are used to describe the sort of news the woman is about to be informed of – each card essentially modifying the one that came before.

Much like in language itself, especially for a beginner, the possibilities can be overwhelming. Still, the semantics of Kipper are something that you are more than likely to get the hang of through diligent practice.

How to read Kipper cards: Storyboarding

Now that we’ve got all the basic card meanings covered, it is time to actually put them to work. If you come from a Lenormand background, the system will make some sense to you. Those who have focused exclusively on Tarot however, or those with no prior knowledge of cartomancy in general, will need a few pointers to get them going. Still, this is by no means a reason to get discouraged or, worse still, quit. Quite the contrary. Kipper is a comparatively easy and intuitive system which connects to the way our brain naturally forms thoughts and weaves stories.

These cards, much like most continental European fortune-telling systems, are designed to be read in large layouts. Pulling just one or two cards is not likely to give you a good enough answer simply because the individual images carry with them but a small range of meanings and are not suitable for deep philosophical thought. Their true power becomes obvious once they are combined into a Line of seven, a 3×3 spread, or the Grand tableau. Like pearls on a string, they begin to shine and come alive with meaning.

It is thus best to observe Kipper as a kind of storyboard, a series of pictures, each depicting a small but key part of the plot. Storyboarding itself is a very unesotheric method that was developed at Walt Disney Productions during the early 1930’s. The idea facilitated the outlining of the plot of a movie to be made and helped everyone involved understand the ultimate artistic goal more easily. This ease of comprehension is precisely what makes Kipper such a pragmatic system, one so similar to storyboarding in Hollywood.

Each image appearing in your spread is thus treated as a small part of the fable, a situation or a person that interacts with the images that come before as well as after it. All of these are supposed to seamlessly flow into one another, enriching each other’s meanings, forming a coherent whole and telling us a story. Each image is observed as a quick snapshot of the situation and the pictures together form a glimpse into the current state of things and into what is likely to transpire.

It takes a bit of effort, some imagination and, of course, a bit of intuition to get you going but the method is far from difficult. It connects very well with the way our mind naturally works and relies on a mechanism that we are already using in our daily lives whenever we try to describe an event that we have witnessed or a plan that we have. Imagine that you are telling a bedtime story to a young child. It is as simple as that. Apply the same playful and straighforward method to Kipper, put several cards in line and see what kind of story you can come up with. It’s literally that easy.

Kipper card meanings

Information on Kipper cards tends to be scarce on the English-speaking part of the internet. While using Google Translate to go through all the German texts that are available can be an interesting exercise in patience and mental endurance (something I myself have indulged in on more than one occasion), having it all presented in English is sure to make the knowledge accessible to a far wider audience. Below, you will find a list of all Kipper cards, each followed by a couple of keywords denoting their basic meanings. If you follow each individual link, it will take you to a separate page which will explain the symbolism of the card in more detail.

1. Main significator, Male – the querent, if male
2. Main significator, Female – the querent, if female
3. State of marriage – connection, agreement, union, marriage
4. Meeting – meeting, social contacts, camaraderie
5. Good gentleman – older male, father figure, mentor, “other” man, gay lover
6. Good lady – older female, maternal figure, “other” woman, lesbian lover
7. Letter – news, information, written correspondence, communication
8. False person – lies, deceit, betrayal, something wrong
9. Change – transformation, relocation, flexibility, restlessness
10. Journey – travel, movement, holiday, any type of vehicle
11. Win lots of money – financial gain, multitude, materialism, generosity
12. Rich girl – younger female, student, charming, employment in the beauty industry
13. Young good lord – younger male, ambitious, intern
14. Sad news – disappointment, sadness, being excessively emotional
15. Good outcome in love – positive outcome, minor success, friendship
16. His thoughts – thoughts, ideas, aspirations, dreams
17. Receive a gift – gift, recognition, attention, visit, help
18. A small child – infant, innocence, naivete, lack of experience, a new start
19. Fatality – ending, misfortune, bad outcome, grief
20. House – home, roots, family, smaller building, real estate
21. Living room – private space, feeling comfortable, intimacy
22. Military person – man in a uniform, athletics, discipline, rules, red tape
23. Court of law – legal institution, business corporation, large building
24. Theft – theft, loss, disappearance, abandonment
25. High honors – recognition, awards, fame, high society
26. Great fortune – happiness, fulfillment, dreams coming true
27. Unhoped for money – windfall, small amount of money, quick turnaround
28. Expectations – hopes, yearning, longing, patience
29. Prison – constraints, limitations, standstill, gilded cage
30. Court official – lawyer, judge, disagreements, moral ambivalence
31. Short illness – sickness, temporary problems, bed, sleep, sex
32. Sorrow and unpleasantness – despair, suffering, anguish, stress
33. Gloomy thoughts – sadness, depression, mental illness
34. Work and occupation – labour of love, drudgery, employment, hobby
35. Long road – path, great distance, long time, patience, nature
36. Great water, Hope – goals, spirituality, dreams, illusions, body of water

Of course, learning the Kipper card meanings is but a tip of the iceberg. In order to interpret them successfully, you will also need to be familiar with a few of the techniques commonly employed as well as a traditional spread or two. For all that and more, refer back to the Kipper section of my website and be ready to learn.

36. Great water, Hope (Kipper card meanings)

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36. Great water, Hope (Original Kipper Wahrsagekarten, Königsfurt-Urania, 2005)

Having such a dual name also means that this card has quite a dual or even multi-faceted nature. Even though its symbolism is close to that of the Anchor in Lenormand, it is nowhere near as stable nor as secure. Instead, while it does stand for the attainment of dreams and goals, of blessings and hopes turned to joy, of creativity and spirituality, it is also one of dreams that may or may not get fulfilled, of yearning, wishes and desires, deep emotions, visions and the more surreal side of our psyche.

Governed by Sagittarius, deeply spiritual and delicate, its nature is that of water and it changes rather quickly, at one time a beautiful dream, the next a psychedelic nightmare. It can stand for all bodies of water but also for alcoholic beverages, drugs, addictions and all that comes from such states of mind. Belonging to the realm of illusion, it warns us of delusions and of our expectations being too high.

On the other hand, in a romantic context, it is likely to signal a soulmate-like connection and can even be used as the main focus card for past-life readings. It can also stand for exotic foreign lands as well as an overall positive outcome.