When exploring the world of divination, one quickly comes across a plethora of card systems, each possessing its unique character and methodology. It is easy to feel overwhelmed! Since posting my Tales for Tomorrow Lenormand, I have received emails asking - what is it, and how do I use it? When it comes to divination, there are oh so many decks to choose from, and every day, there is a new deck being born. While they may share some similarities in their richness and depth of symbolism and interpretation, each deck has its own unique qualities. Let's take a closer look at the Lenormand!
The Lenormand system is named after Marie Anne Adelaide Lenormand, a renowned French fortune teller from the 18th century. This oracle system gained popularity in Germany during the 19th century.
Regarding structure and composition, unlike the Tarot, with its 78 cards categorized into Major (22 cards) and Minor Arcana (56 cards), Lenormand decks are more compact, consisting of only 36 cards. Each card is numbered and features a specific image, such as a heart, house, or snake, and has a basic meaning, often tied to its depicted image. I found that this made it easier to remember the basic meanings.
Heart: Love, emotions
Fox: Deception, strategy
Putting it together: Deceptive love or a relationship based on ulterior motives.
A notable characteristic of Lenormand readings is the fusion of card meanings. Interpreted in pairs or groups, the meanings are intertwined to produce a message or storyline, and if you follow my work, you all know how I love using cards for storytelling!
For example, here are couple more combos to show you how the cards come together to tell a story or provide insight:
Mountain: Difficulty, obstacles
Putting it together: There might be some information or communication that you've been waiting for, but it's being blocked or delayed for some reason.
Clover: Good fortune, fleeting opportunity
Dog: Loyalty, friendship, trust
Putting it together: You might meet someone new who becomes a short-term but positive presence in your life.
Another question I receive from those intrigued by my new Tales for Tomorrow deck is, "How do I use it?"
The readings can range in complexity. I like using a three-card spread for quick insights or answers. Here is a list of basic spreads for the Lenormand.
Single Card: Answering a simple question or daily guidance.
Pairs or Triplets: For more detailed insights or understanding of context. For this one, I don't ask a question and instead like to let the cards tell me what's up. The cards that surface and their message strike very close to home regarding current issues or struggles!
Petite Tableau: A 3x3 grid offering a snapshot of the situation. (You will find information for using this spread at the end of this post.)
Grand Tableau: Uses all 36 cards for an exhaustive reading of one's current situation.
Something to consider when using the Lenormand are the significator cards, which play an important role in interpreting a spread. In Lenormand readings, these cards serve as focal points representing the querent or a significant person in the querent's life. They anchor the reading, providing context and direction. Understanding the role of the significator can shed light on its importance in a spread. Although these cards represent the gender identity of the querent or the individual they are inquiring about, they may not necessarily mirror the individual gender. For non-binary or gender-fluid individuals, the choice of significator might be based on the energy (masculine or feminine) they most align with or simply the card they feel most drawn to. In essence, Lenormand card reading is a blend of understanding traditional card meanings, mastering the art of card combinations, and honing personal intuition. Its directness and practicality make it a beloved tool for those of us who want more specific messages.
Since I created my mock-up deck - I have used my cards daily, and they never fail to feel relevant and, at times, awe-inspiring as the cards have a knack for reflecting what is happening.
Try your hand with the Petite Tableau!
Grab your deck, and while shuffling your cards, think of a question.
Layout your cards in a 3x3 spread, as in the picture above.
Card 5 (Center Card): Represents the central theme, the current situation, or the querent.
Cards 2 and 8 (Top and Bottom Middle Cards): Indicate what's on your mind and the underlying or subconscious influences, respectively.
Cards 4 and 6 (Middle Left and Right Cards): Represent the past and the potential future or the way forward.
Cards 1, 3, 7, and 9 (The Corners): Offer additional insights into the situation, surrounding energies, and potential outcomes. They can also be read in pairs for more nuanced interpretations.
For the picture above here is how the reading might look:
Individual Card Meanings:
House: Home, family, security, comfort. Mountain: Obstacles, delays, challenges. Birds: Conversations, chatter, possibly nervousness or anxiety. Woman: Represents the querent (if female) or a significant female figure. It could also represent feminine energy or qualities. Ring: Commitment, contract, marriage, repeating cycles. Rider: News, messages, something new coming in. Fish: Finances, abundance, flow. Heart: Love, emotions, affection. Cross: Burdens, challenges, destiny, or a necessary ordeal.
Top Row (House, Mountain, Birds): Concerns related to home or family are facing obstacles, possibly resulting in tense discussions or anxieties. These could be practical challenges or conflicts within the family. There may be gossip concerning obstacles going on at home or regarding the family.
Middle Row (Woman, Ring, Rider): The central card in a 3x3 spread often indicates the main theme or energy of the reading. The woman (possibly, depending on who is doing the reading) feels deeply connected to a commitment, contract, or relationship. However, news or a new element is coming into this commitment, which could bring change.
Bottom Row (Fish, Heart, Cross): Financial matters are intertwined with love or deep emotions. These emotions carry a burden or come with a sense of destiny, suggesting that financial challenges might affect personal relationships or that financial and emotional matters are deeply interconnected, sometimes feeling predestined or inevitable.
Central Column (Mountain, Ring, Heart): The core challenges (Mountain) revolve around a commitment or relationship (Ring) that holds deep emotional significance (Heart). This commitment might be tested or strained.
Diagonals often add extra layers of insight: House, Ring, Cross: A familial commitment or bond may bring challenges or burdens. Birds, Ring, Fish: Discussions or anxieties about a commitment have financial implications or relate to a flow of resources.
Can you see a story emerge here?
Check out my Tales for Tomorrow Lenormand!