If you are already a Kipper fan it is highly unlikely the release of Toni Puhle’s (a.k.a The Card Geek’s) Kipper book has eluded you. If it did, lucky you stumbled unto this review, right?! For years information on Kipper was sparse, and even if you could find it all materials were in German – not everyone’s favourite (or known) language. The long wait for a title in English, which would show not only card meanings, but a true way of getting to know the system on your own, has now ended: The Card Geek’s Guide to Kipper Cards is up for grabs.
Kipper came into my life about two years ago. I had already been looking into all the 36 card systems, but for some reason (luckily that has changed too) Lenormand didn’t seem to stick. And like most of you, I could not get enough info on ‘this interesting-looking Kipper thing’. When Ciro Marchetti released his Fin de Siecle it felt like a sign to dive into it once again. ‘If Ciro made a Kipper deck, there must be courses in English to really learn this system by heart by now too. Right?’ While one actually had nothing to do with the other, I suppose my new found enthusiasm led to success. I wanted to learn Kipper the traditional way and struck gold. Enter Toni Puhle, founder and CEO of World Divination Association (formerly known as WKA and WLA), and also: the teacher.
Despite a few of these excellent, eye-opening, extremely useful courses I – like many with me – still longed for some self-study and a way to dive deeper. I wanted a reference book, like so many good ones are available on Lenormand. And yes, that one is finally here. From the same person who made Kipper such an important part of my card reading practice. The Card Geek’s Guide to Kipper Cards actually touches on all three mentioned things above. It is a way to start learning the system on your own if courses for whatever reason aren’t an option, Kipper readers who already know a thing or two will find new things in the book, and as a reference guide it is ideal as well.
The traditional Kipper system
The book, a 249 pages counting large paperback, exists of several sections. Like most decent study books it will give you an introduction to the system (with a highly important message from the author saying “it is *not* Lenormand and should not be read as such or you’ll lose many important functionalities”), some background and history and a Where to Start. That tiny chapter (ch3) might have just a few pages, but it is already chockfull of very useful and necessary info. The Kipper system is – like the author said in her foreword – not Lenormand and that means you’ll need to get acquainted with what the system has to offer instead. Cue Stop Cards, Directional cues, Movement cards, Cause & Effect, Inauspicious placements, Eye to Eye and so on…
See little tiny stars already? Well, pretty much everyone who has ever done a Kipper course knows that the mind will boggle and the brain will explode…at least once. But it will do so in a good way because the results are astonishing if you use all those traditional methods. Much to my surprise Toni Puhle is able to transfer her sense of humour and way of explaining she has in the courses into the chapters of her book as well. And that is saying something. While being a huge fan of the Kipper system I would never say it is the easiest system. Not if you want to use all the options it has in store for you to get a detailed view of someone’s life and future possibilities.
Personal & character
The book is, in a way, highly personal. Toni’s personality – straightforward, empathic and funny – jumps off the pages and as a result the books reads quite different from most (let’s call them) study books. A good example is how she starts off the card section: a list of topical meanings for each of the 36 Kipper cards. When Toni was still writing her book she asked several members of her online and F2F social circle for quotes they use often and that are applicable to their own life or thought process. She then applied the ones that spoke to her the most to illustrate the meaning of the cards. You can read those in the Card section now.
It’s an extra personal touch that really says everything about the way this book has been written, with personal anecdotes as well as sayings and thoughts from the people she knows. I’d forgotten about this request completely until I ended up browsing through the cards. So…if you get the book, you’ll see I am in it (card 31 for Kipper readers) and chapter 7 Quotes will give you an understanding as to why Puhle chose to apply these particular messages to these particular cards. It’ll give you some extra insight on top of an already extensive list of possible interpretations. I love the fact that this important bit about me is now a component of the card-section, in a book on a system that is slowly becoming a shared number one with my first love, tarot. But of course that’s a personal thought. It matters to you because Puhle wrote the meaning sections in such a way that you will be able to create your own more extensive ‘interpretation list’ eventually. Those quotes open that up even more.
Interpretations and diving deep
When it comes to the interpretation part of this study book The Card Geek’s Guide to Kipper gives you one from several angles. First there are keywords, that are a necessity to know since all interpretations will be built on that, then there is the Quote, further explained. And of course – how could there not – every single card gets their own space. In this guide’s case: about 3 pages per Kipper card. I already mentioned the interpretations are linked to topics. With this I mean what the card could say on love, career, finance, health, spiritual, location etc. Little icons are used for each subject and every card is shown (her accompanying deck The Card Geek’s Kipper Deck) as well.
What I especially appreciate about this section is the fact that not only did she place the cards next to subjects to show you the versatility of a card, but she also mentions the fact what type of card it is (Connector, Movement, Stop Card etc), what kind of advice it could give, its core meaning and what surrounding cards to look for in a Grand Tableau, the importance of a certain position in a box spread/GT and yes, even example combinations. A great extra is for which card (and thus interpretation) it can be mistaken for, and a deeper look (Deep Dive) at the card based on her own experience. Perhaps the strongest part of the whole book, seeing how often we get love questions, is how NOT to mistake certain card combinations for cheating partners. With so many people cards in the deck it is a thing every Kipper reader should learn.
If The Card Geek’s Kipper Guide would have left it at all these interpretations it would have been a marvellous reference book, ideal for people who already know how to set up shop with these cards. But like I said: this Kipper companion, focused on the traditional way of reading, is a How To. And it caters to many levels. If you’re a beginner it is a great book to have in your arsenal. Unlike most companions, guides and study books the card section isn’t 80% of the book and then we get a few spreads. No, the card section ends a little before the half of the book – despite being extensive – and then it goes full on Teacher Mode.
Teaching methods & spreads
Everything you ever wanted to know about how to read Kipper and more is in the book. Every single possible spread is explained with examples and pictures and with possible interpretations for the cards. There are simple (practice) spreads, the Line of Sight, Der Siebener Weg (a 7 card line with a goal), the 3×3, an extended 3×3 (this one looks amazing!), Advanced spreads (with of course the Grand Tableau completely analysed), and if that wasn’t enough there is also a More Advanced section with large and complicated possibilities to look into goals and the future. Safe to say: I thought I knew all there was to know about Kipper and I obviously didn’t. Lucky for me the guide shows all spreads in a step-by-step way in easy to follow language.
While she uses her own deck to illustrate the book, which might be a little confusing for those not owning it (yet), The Card Geek’s Kipper Guide to Kipper Cards is simple to use with any other Kipper deck. It will especially read well with decks, like Original Kipper, since directional cues are used allover the book.
If I would have to name one minus for The Card Geek’s Kipper Guide to Kipper Cards it might have to be exactly the fact that she used a deck that is just out and not owned by many people. It might have been a better idea to use references to the Original Kipper here and there. While her deck has easy to follow imagery and titles are used often in some parts of the books the cards are shown very small. Due to the black and white of the print that makes them quite hard to recognise.
Other than that the only other thing I could come up with are the many typos and (some) grammar mistakes I found…But, the fact that I have to go searching for details like that means the actual contents are superb.
The Card Geek’s Guide to Kipper Cards is the book Kipper card fans have all been waiting for. Forget just the English speaking part of that: I think *any* Kipper reader around the globe will be happy to have such a great reference book, a way to practice easy, advanced and extra difficult spreads step-by-step and dive deeper with personal anecdotes and lessons. Toni Puhle not only honours the traditional Bavarian techniques, she makes them come to life. With this guide she can measure herself against the likes of Rana George who wrote one of the go-to guides for Lenormand.
Whether you are an advanced reader or are just starting out there is no other way to go than this excellent book that’s easy to read and adds a wink here and there. I once called Toni Puhle jokingly the Kipper Queen, but I do believe with this book she has truly made that title come true.
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