Although there are differing opinions on the subject, there are times when it just seems prudent to scrap a reading that has begun badly and start over, not because the testimony in the cards is unfavorable but because something about the circumstances of the draw was “off.” Last night I did two Lenormand Grand Tableaux, both of which experienced a “false start,” so we began again.
In the first case, the sitter felt distracted by background conversation (which was about a matter of interest to her) and wasn’t confident that the shuffle captured her full attention. The significator appeared near the right side of the layout, offering only a truncated outlook, so I had her shuffle again after the other people left the area, with a much more comprehensive result.
In the second reading, I inadvertently left a card in the box. With tarot it’s possible to keep on going in these situations (some readers say the card is “hiding” because it wasn’t meant to appear in the reading), but with the Grand Tableau all 36 cards have to be present. So we re-did the shuffle and the results were once again more instructive than the original pull (based on my preliminary scan of the latter since we didn’t get into the interpretation).
The classic case with the Grand Tableau is a significator that shows up in the extreme right-hand column such that there is no development possible in that direction. Once again, some readers interpret the spread anyway, but I will usually try one more pull, and if it happens again I abandon the reading. The same doesn’t apply at the other borders because, as bluesman John Mayall once sang, there is “room to move.”
However, there is another possibility in all cases: transposition. Caitlin Matthews has mentioned the idea of moving a card from the opposite side of a layout in what might be considered a further elaboration of mirroring. This maneuver extends the narrative reach for any card that lands at the edge of a tableau with no adjacent card on that side. I’ve explored this more fully in a previous post, in which I moved cards from the other borders to complete a 3×3 square centered on the “orphaned” significator. I then read it as any other 9-card array that is internal to the GT. Note that I only use this method with the 9×4 tableau because the 8×4+4 doesn’t lend itself to transposition of the cards in the 4-card “destiny” line.