Fog, disorientation, misunderstanding, uncertainty, dullness

About the meaning: All the following interpretations are inspired by the vision of clouds so thick, and so close to you, that you can see nothing but them.

Clouds / fog / cover-up / secrets: Yes, the Clouds could represent actual clouds, and bad weather in general. But this most obvious interpretation is, in my experience, also the least useful. The card becomes interesting for me only when I take its meaning figuratively. Then, the Clouds represent not veils of condensed water but figurative fog - they suggest that we are in a fog, that something (e.g. our mind) is fogged, or hidden from us or by us. The Clouds stand for cover-ups, smoke screens, pretence, and secrets.

Nebulosity / vagueness/ disorientation: Continuing from the last paragraph, the Clouds represent anything which is nebulous - for example, vague information, or an unclear situation. And along a similar line, the Clouds also represent disorientation. They could be saying that we are going astray, feeling lost, missing important points of reference, don't know where we stand, or can't see what our options are, what we should (or could) do. The Clouds can suggest a lack of guidance or guidelines.

Lack of understanding / misunderstanding / self-deception: Sometimes, a situation really is unclear. But often, a situation only seems unclear because we lack understanding. This is something which the Clouds often suggest: a lack of understanding, or confusion. In some cases they say that there is no answer, but most often they represent the fact that we are not able to find one. In interpersonal relationships they can suggest misunderstandings (mutual or one-sided). In regard to our self-image they often hint at a lack of self-awareness, or at self-deception.

Insecurity / uncertainty / despair: Whether a situation is actually unclear or whether we just lack proper understanding, unclarity often leads to feelings of insecurity. Situations we don't understand seem uncertain, maybe even unsafe, to us. And often, insecurity and/or uncertainty will also make us doubt. When we are insecure, we will doubt ourselves - we will for example doubt that we are able to deal with a complex problem. We will doubt whether it really is the way it seems to be, or whether other people involved are holding up smoke screens to fool us. And when things are unclear for too long, when we can't see a way out, when we have no guidance in uncertain situations, this often leads to hopelessness, to despair.

Numbness / dullness / indifference: When thick clouds cover the sky the daylight is dulled, and temperature drops. Everything becomes poorer in contrast, greyer, cooler. Thus, the Clouds can suggest a lack of input for the senses, benumbed sensation, even anaesthesia. Emotionally speaking they represent numbness, deadheartedness. And translated into a mental state, the Clouds represent indifference or disinterest. They can stand for dullness, and boredom. They can say that we're in a stupor, or obtuse. And sometimes they represent listlessness, aimlessness, or (seeming) purposelessness. The Clouds could be saying that we don't act because we think it would be futile.

See also the annakblogs article >> So, is the Clouds a purely negative card, then?

About the Image: When I discovered Lenormand, and read up on the Clouds' meaning for the first time, I was bewildered initially. For the clouds I had somehow automatically envisioned were fluffy white fleecy clouds, high up on a happy blue sky above a peaceful landscape. This vision conjured up ease, and freedom, not confusion, secrets, and despair. So at first the Lenormand Clouds' meaning seemed completely off. It took me a while to understand that I had just envisioned the wrong type of clouds. As soon as I pictured myself right in front of or even within towering, gloomy clouds, I got it. Now the symbolism was very strong, so unambiguous in fact that when I painted the card I decided to paint nothing but clouds. Exactly this, I felt, would convey the card's meaning better than any additional ingredient could. The clouds in my illustration are so close to the viewer, so thick, even encroaching upon the viewer over the card's frame, that the viewer can see nothing but clouds. They are given no clue as to what lies beneath or beyond them. The left part of the clouds is quite a bit lighter, though; and there is an actual silver lining where the clouds seem to be thin enough for actual (sun)light to filter through. Maybe, just maybe, there is the chance that some of the confusion is already behind us; maybe, relief is closer than we think.  
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