While I welcome positive critique with a viable historic basis, I do not welcome critique for the sake of critique; or in other words, critique for the sake of ego. I also do not welcome critique for the sake of ignorance: there are many people out there “researching” the history of the Lenormand symbols who have no experience in art history and have no clue as to how to differentiate one source from another. The end product is a muddled mess of various theories without specifics.
My research into the Lenormand symbols is based on the imagery depicted on the cards alone. Image research, or the research of symbols and their meaning, has one basic requirement: the image. If an image is not present, it is therefore not considered a viable source. A more viable source is one that is both seen in a depiction AND is accompanied with an appropriate meaning. This is the only way to verify the source for an image.
Here is an example of how image research can become murky:
The remnants of a five pointed star carved in stone with the date “2014” is found in the country that was once called the USA in the year 3214.
A five pointed star found in the USA can have many meanings. Scholars would know it was on the nation’s flag. They could see the presidential seals all have five pointed stars. In researching the culture at the time, they would know it was in the revolutionary time of social media and the tech boom. They would know that the populous admired celebrity and that reality television ruled the airwaves. They would also know it was a time when New Age religion and holistic therapies were on the rise. Is it a pentagram?
Yes- technically. But why is it on a stone slab?
They found the stone slab washed up on the shoreline that was once the city center of Los Angeles, now sunken into the ocean as a result of a massive earthquake five centuries before. So they dig deep into the world’s historic Los Angeles archives to find what kind of stone slab from L.A. would have a star and the date carved into it from the year 2014. They could see that the symbol was greatly associated with celebrity.
But there was also an FBI headquarters nearby. Could this be from it’s building?
“Stars and stripes” is the patriotic heritage and mythology of the nation post- September 11, 2001. Was this a commemoration of their myth and history? Taking a sample from the stone reveals it is an amalgamate. What was this star?
The symbol has to have a meaning as its basis or else all is lost. We can speculate all we want about the myths of a culture, but how many cultures ignore contemporary issues in favor of ancient myth? The answer is NONE! People live in the time in which they are born.
The five pointed star on a slab of stone amalgamate was not a commemoration of American myth and patriotism. The amalgamate sample proved to cement mixed locally and that without a doubt this slab was from the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Now the issue of whether Krampus is a source for the Lenormand Whip card has been hotly debated on my blog. In no way did I ever say that it couldn’t be an influence in the culture, but I do strongly believe it is at most a secondary source. Why? Because people don’t usually go around thinking about an ancient mythological creature endemic to their society when they are trying to be creative and innovative in their own time. The everyday products that are created in our culture almost always reflect the contemporary, with contemporary meanings or materials.
As for my chronology of the Whip image as coming from the fasces and the Shen Ring hieroglyph or being framed as the primary source for the GOH, in no way did I ever write this. And in fact, I mention that people at the time had no clue as to what the heiroglyphs meant. If anyone thinks i think the GOH came from the Egyptian shen ring, then it is clear to me you either have not thoroughly read what I wrote or you have a leanrning disability. I include a chronology of the timeless image of the birch rod and whip, the crook and flail, and the fasces, known to the world over three millennia, as ARCHETYPES that are readily understood. ABSOLUTELY EVERYONE IN THE WORLD KNOWS THAT A WHIP AND A BIRCH ROD IS A SYMBOL OF VIOLENCE AND POWER. This is what Jung and Campbell refer to as “an archetype.” An archetype is a symbol so recognized and internalized in the human consciousness that we immediately have psychological associations with it. The Sun is another example of an archetype: we know that its golden rays warms us and brightens our days, so we have innately positive associations with this archetype. I could name many archetypes endemic to the human condition.
A symbol, however, is something specific to a culture in its time. The pink ribbon is now a symbol known for breast cancer awareness. The infamous triangle from the 1980s and 1990’s became the symbol for AIDS awareness in our time. If someone finds a triangle with the words “Silence=Death” six hundred years in the future, researchers will know that this is NOT the triangle referring to a calculus hypothesis, but from a time when AIDS claimed countless lives. Triangles are ubiquitous images. They are archetypes. They are symbols. The thing that differentiates one triangle from another is not that it is a triangle, it is that it has a totally different meaning.
Such is the same for the birch rod: yes it is a birch bundle. But we know many birch bundles in symbolism throughout the world. Yes- it is in Germany. But we know Germany had soldiers fighting in the Roman army for ages, traveling the world and encountering other birch bundles. Yes- it means violence and strife. So do all the other birch bundles in the world, especially in Britain. It must then come from Krampus.
NO! Krampus was a mythological symbol for birching children. It had been around since pre-Christain times. It’s far too old and far too outdated to be of any help to us in trying to define the time in which the GOH and the Lenormand symbols were born. We need then look at all the meanings of the Whip and Birch Rod to see the source. “Kinky sexuality,” “writing,” “two men,” “obsession” are all symbols associated with the birch in Lenormand. At the time of the Game of Hope, the Marquis de Sade defined every one of these meanings. Therfore we KNOW that the Marquis de Sade MUST be a primary source for the Lenormand Whip.
I include the history of the shen ring hieroglyph and the fasces for very good reasons. They provide the back story, that is, the deeper archetypal history behind the symbol that we have come to recognize as human beings. Once we know what the archetypal history behind the symbol is, it renders Krampus redundant. Now, Krampus could’ve had some cultural influence on how the Germans viewed the Marquis’s exploits. But we don’t know that for sure because we have no Lenormand card, and to my knowledge, no GOH card, that depicts a devilish imp. In order for Krampus to be a primary source for the birch rod, we either need a meaning closely associated with him (and that is “violence or strife”) or we need an image of him to be printed on an historic Lenormand/GOH deck. He is just like the five pointed star in the above example: too general, too mythological, and absent any other meaning for Lenormand. Just having a birch rod on a card is not enough to base a viable theory that Krampus is the primary source.
In no way am I saying he is not a cultural influence on the GOH. What I am saying is that we don’t know because there is no viable proof. The proof we have of the Marquis de Sade is that he fits the culture, the time, AND the meanings, so therefore MUST be a primary source for the birch rod in Lenormand. My inclusion of the fasces and Egyptian crook and flail are as chronology of the archetypes only. My purpose in including the GOH symbols is for background on the Lenormand. My primary objective is to document the history of the Lenormand symbols, not the GOH symbols. The GOH symbols, in my opinion, are secondary to Lenormand because Lenormand is my primary interest. The GOH is not.
So let’s get through the dark Clouds, shall we?