You can read an introduction to the light & shadow series and find links to its other installments >> here! If you aren’t yet familiar with my interpretation of the card in discussion you might want to read up on its meanings before you continue with this article.
I believe many Lenormand readers view the Mountain as an almost exclusively negative card. And it is easy to see why. The Mountain’s traditional meanings are all rather… well, problematic: “difficulties, problems” is the card’s main meaning after all! But only because we don’t like having to deal with problems, it is not necessarily unproductive if the card alerts us to one in a reading! Also, there are, at least in my book, quite a few more possible interpretations of this card (such as weight or presence, silence, persistence), which are more ambivalent. But let’s start with what’s indeed most obvious: with the negative / unproductive aspects of this card!
The Mountain represents many unproductive, negative, issues and goings-on. As I said above, having to deal with problems, with difficulties, is decidedly unpleasant. It’s highly unlikely we’ll be delighted if that’s what the card stands for in our reading. Especially if we didn’t expect challenges, if we (perhaps naively) thought things would go smoothly, the Mountain will not be a welcome sight at all. And if the Mountain represents difficulties of unmanageable proportions, it likely points to something even more unwelcome: towards the inevitability of defeat.
If the Mountain represents persistence, this will be negative, unproductive, if the persistence shows up in the form of unreasonable stubbornness – a spiteful unwillingness to budge when conceding would be the healthy thing to do, or an inability to move, be more flexible, even when we would like to.
Along a similar line of thought, silence can be highly unproductive, even devastating, if it shows itself in the form of giving someone the silent treatment as a kind of “punishment”; if the silence exists in the form of a cold refusal to communicate about something that desperately needs to be discussed; or if there is a general inability to express/address important issues.
If the Mountain represents weight or (physical) presence, there are several ways in which this can be a negative experience, an unproductive thing. The simplest example is that the Mountain can represent debilitating weight or size, obesity which is dangerous to health. It can say that something is too big, to heavy, in a metaphorical sense, too. And the Mountain can represent the elephant in the room – the unpleasant issue everyone knows but no-one talks about. And while the acknowledgement that there is such an elephant in the room might be the first step to finally addressing it (which would be a productive thing!), right now it is probably a very unpleasant issue to deal with, and it’s potentially also unproductive if we are not the person who actually has the right or the power to eventually address it.
So. Many of the Mountain’s meanings are negative in the sense that they are unpleasant. However. This doesn’t mean that the card’s presence in our reading will necessarily also be unproductive. This is because many things we experience as negative only become unproductive, unhealthy, if we don’t address them appropriately, if we sweep them under the carpet, if we suppress them. Yes, the Mountain might alert us to something negative (and thus the card might make us cringe instinctively when we see it) – but the simple act of acknowledging that there is a problem alone can already be the first step to solving that problem. The Mountain can thus be a very productive card to draw. Let’s look at this a bit more closely.
The Mountain can represent many productive, and even some positive, issues and goings-on. As I said above, having to deal with problems, with difficulties, is decidedly unpleasant. But without any challenges, we don’t grow. There are few experiences more exhilarating than finally overcoming an obstacle, than mastering a challenge. So while the problem, the obstacle, the Mountain may represent, is not in itself something positive, the Mountain still shows us that there is the opportunity to grow, to take up the challenge, and, eventually, to conquer.
I wrote above that persistence in the form of unreasonable stubbornness or an inability to be flexible is unproductive. But some situations do call for the refusal to give even an inch! For example, if the querent is being pressured, or manipulated, the Mountain can be taken as the very, very positive and productive advice not to budge! And even in less extreme cases: if we didn’t have a certain degree of stubbornness, we would be unable to wait for something that’s important but happening only very slowly, unable to wait things out that need to solve themselves before we can act – without a certain degree of stubbornness, we would back down much too quickly in situations in which backing down is not a good or productive option (e.g. someone tries to push us away only because they are suffering – here, a good dose of stubborn persistence might pay off!).
While actual silence, or silence in the form of non-communication, can be very harmful if used as punishment or as a weapon, both can be very productive, too. If the Mountain relates to a person who is overly impulsive, prone to putting their foot in their mouth, it definitely can be read as the advice to shut up for once and listen for a long time yet before they start commenting. While not communicating about important things can often be damaging, the Mountain could also be saying that it isn’t yet time to talk. Some things need a long time of silence before they are “ripe to be talked about” – especially if there are very complex issues at stake it might be better to first draw back and think about them for a good long while. And actual, literal silence – the absence of any noise – can be experienced as a true blessing if our life has been too noisy before. The Mountain can be a hint that it is time to go and find a place where it’s absolutely quiet.
And finally, if the Mountain represents (physical) presence, weight, there are several ways in which this can be a positive experience, a productive thing. A very mundane example is that for someone like me, who is always on the border of being underweight, weight-gain is a wonderful idea! Also, the Mountain can say, very positively, that something has a lot of weight metaphorically speaking; that it means a lot to us, that it is important. And if the Mountain makes us acknowledge the elephant in the room, this could be the first step to finally address the unpleasant issue. The Mountain might motivate us to speak out about it. And while this probably wouldn’t be a pleasant experience at first, in the long run it would almost definitely make things so much better.