Archive for the Lenormand Category

Contest — Winner

Posted in Cartomancy, Contest, Lenormand, Techniques on February 15, 2014 by Patrick

It was very hard to select a winner, because these techniques were all so useful and interesting.  I selected this one as the most original, interesting, and versatile.  If you try it, you see it straddles divination and meditation.  It also requires nothing more than a deck of cards, tarot or Lenormand, and it works equally well with both.

It was submitted by Maighdlin, who should contact me to arrange the delivery of her prizes.  Thank you to everyone who participated.  I found this a very valuable experience — even if I was slow getting off my butt as usual — and I think I’ll be doing something like this again soon.

I don’t know if anyone else has come up with this before. This is something I created on the spot one day and have been using it as an exercise for about 6 months. Basically I shuffle my tarot deck and deal them out face down into three piles. While shuffling I don’t focus on anything in particular. I just clear my mind. This technique is closer to using flash cards than it is for getting an answer to a specific question, but is does provide a tremendous amount of insight into whatever happens to be significant at the time.
Basically I flip over one card from each pile and interpret the three-card spread. This usually is whatever comes to mind first. It could be something very mundane or something very profound. When I’m done I move the cards aside and repeat. I usually do this until I go through the whole deck.
I use this as an exercise to trust my intuition with the cards. What each card means to me and how they relate with other cards in spreads. Sometimes I note which sets provoke a notable emotional response (or stump me) and meditate on them further.
Sometimes I consider reverse cards, but not always. That’s how I am with any other reading I do. Sometimes I consider the reverse meaning as being a more internal influence vs external, something that is present, but not utilized or acknowledged, etc. It depends on the card(s) really. Other times if the card is reversed I just flip it right side up and read as usual. I don’t know if this is the proper way to go about it. I’m basing this off of my 7 years of experience with my deck, but very little research on the tarot in general. I use the Thoth deck by the way.

Lenormand — if not symbols, than what?

Posted in Lenormand on July 21, 2013 by Patrick

Mary K. Greer has a post up about Lenormand cards, in which she asserts

The cards are not read symbolically! The narrow range of meanings, which are functional rather than symbolic, ensure there is little ambiguity about their significance.

I love Greer’s work and have always admired it, and the rest of her post is interesting (in fact, she has several very valuable bits of research on her blog for those interested in the Lenormand:  this post is particularly interesting, as it provides evidence that the Lenormand did not begin as a game afterall).

But I cannot understand what she might mean by this statement.  A symbol is “aliquid stat pro aliquo,” or “something that stands for something else.”  If I draw a Lenormand card –Mice, let’s say — and say “Busy, but without much profit, and maybe small annoyances as well,” I’ve read that card symbolically.  Even if I read it as “Oh, gosh, you have mice in your house!” I’ve read it symbolically.  The card isn’t a mouse: it’s a symbol of a mouse.  A mouse isn’t small annoyances; it’s a symbol of small annoyances.

Later on, she offers an example:

The cards are easily adapted to modern situations as long as the integrity of the whole is not broken. For instance, Stars (like the nodes in a web) is the internet and, along with Garden (the public), they represent social networking.

If this is not reading symbolically, I have to wonder what is.

Why I Love Lenormand

Posted in divination, Lenormand on June 28, 2013 by Patrick

My book on Lenormand is now available, and I thought I’d give you some idea of why I find Lenormand so much fun.

I, probably like you, come from Lenormand from tarot.  But Lenormand isn’t tarot.  It’s a system of 36 simple cards, each with a clear symbolic image, and you read them not necessarily based on position but on their relationship with each other.

You know how I feel about symbols, so it shouldn’t be a mystery why this appeals to me.

Let me give you an example.  To emphasize the universal nature of Lenormand, instead of showing you cards in these examples, I’ll just give you images, such as might appear on a card.  If you want your own deck, Lo Scarabeo publishes a nice one.

Take this image, forgetting that it’s a Lenormand card for a moment:


What do you imagine that this image means?  Yes, you’re right: whatever you said, you’re probably right.  A key opens things.  It gives access.  It is also metaphorically the important thing, right?  The key concept?

When you see a key, what do you think?  You’re digging through your junk drawer and you pull out a key; what is the first question you ask yourself?  “What does this go to?”  What’s it a key to?  Imagine you get, then, this image in response to that question:


What’s a tower?  It’s a high place, where you can see a long way.  It’s a kind of defense, but it’s also a place where important people live.  It’s a public place, a place of authority and elevation.

So if I ask: “Will I get the promotion?” and I get the key followed by the tower, what do you think that means?  Those people above me will give me a key, yes?  I’ll get the key to elevation.  If I ask, “how is my relationship going?” what do you think that combo means?  Could it mean “opening up to new perspectives”?  I think it could.

I love the Lenormand because it simple, clear, but not simplistic.  And, for those of us who read the tarot, it offers a new and helpful perspective, which I talk about in my book.

Learning Lenormand: Book Review

Posted in Book Review, Cartomancy, divination, Good Books, Lenormand on June 17, 2013 by Patrick

I recently read Marcus Katz & Tali Goodwin’s Learning Lenormand: Traditional Fortune Telling for Modern Life.  I highly recommend it for those who would like a clear, concise introduction to reading these cards.

The authors introduce several useful concepts and ideas, such as the concept of L-Space, which they contrast with T-Space.  All this means is that we get in a certain mental state to read the tarot, and a slightly different state to read the Lenormand.  They are not tarot cards, and that’s a useful thing to point out and reinforce.

Their discussion of meaning is also worthwhile, even though it seems to have annoyed some readers who demand not just “one card = one meaning” precision, but also that one meaning has to match the one they have decided is “traditional.”  The truth of the matter is, the Lenormand has a wide range of traditions, and the very earliest instructions that came with the Game of Hope (eventually renamed Lenormand) simply tell the reader to create  “a jocular tale”  (Katz & Tali, 253), with no precise instruction on how to do so.  Presumably, the card meanings were to be somewhat obvious (and, of course, as Katz & Tali point out, the penalties and rewards in the original game offer some clues, as they sometimes come with what we now call “flavor text,” such as with 21-Mountain:  “On these steep Alps, the player has to remain until another arrives to release him or he has to cast a double” (251)).

The authors do offer their own meanings and techniques, and are careful to mark them as such.  The reader is free to adopt to ignore those meanings.  I for one cannot make 2-Clover mean “identity” in my head no matter how hard I try, but the authors do not force me to.

The instructions for reading are designed in lesson form, to some degree, so that later work builds on earlier work in a clever way.  It’s worth doing the exercises in order because suddenly, toward the end of the book, you find that you already need all the skills necessary for the grand tableau, the traditional spread using all 36 cards.  The authors also invent some new ways to use the cards — again, no doubt annoying some hard-core traditionalists, but not me.

There are some errors in the discussion of metaphor, where they say that E-prime is a way of speaking that avoids “is,” but then give as an example a sentence containing a being-verb:  “As an example, I could have said, ‘the idea is straightforward,’ but I said ‘the idea can be considered . . . ‘” (44).  This isn’t actually E-prime, because “be” is a verb of being.  One way of stating this idea in E-prime would have been — well, probably not to say it at all, which is the point.  In E-prime, you wouldn’t even cast the judgment on the straightforwardness of the idea  . . . Anyway.  This error is minor and doesn’t undermine their point.  In addition, the distinction between metaphor and simile strikes me as important (ah, see, E-prime) but the authors leave it a bit muddy and don’t really elaborate as much as I might like.  But then, metaphor is one of my favorite areas of study.

There are a couple brief places (especially in the chapter on Houses) where the description or explanation might be a bit clearer, but those muddy bits clear up once you put a deck in your hand and play with it.  This is a book that requires actual practical practice with the cards.

The history section is absolutely excellent.

Overall, I recommend this book to add to your growing library of Lenormand books.  It is growing, right?  It’s an exciting time for those of us interested in this weird little deck!


Posted in Cartomancy, divination, Good Books, Lenormand on May 28, 2013 by Patrick

My next book is a bit of a departure for me, although not entirely.  As you know, I can’t stop thinking about the nature of symbols, and so divination systems are a natural area of interest for me.  One particular system, a set of thirty-six cards called the Lenormand, began interesting me several years ago.  I immediately began to learn all I could, which at the time wasn’t much, because most books were in German or French.  However, I did manage to find some resources in languages I could read and then, like a good ol’ American mutt, I rolled up my sleeves and started working with the cards.

Like most Americans, I’m more familiar with the tarot, so of course I tried to compare the cards to the tarot.  In doing so, I found a way in to the cards that I think is unique, and so — like all lunatics — when I find something unique I immediately want to write a book about it!

And I did, and it’s coming out in July.

I imagine it might raise a few hackles.  I know there are staunch traditionalists among Lenormand readers, and I know they may not like my approach — which bows to tradition but recognizes that those traditions are multiple.  I’m also a magician, so I look at this from the perspective of my magical practice, which might be a completely unique perspective on these fascinating cards.  I’m hoping those hackles don’t get too spiky, though, because I’m friendly to tradition and if anything, I think my book is about the willingness to learn and explore.

There are also several other books on the Lenormand coming out in coming months (or just come out!) and I will review them as I get my eager hands on them.  I’m very excited for the whole field of Lenormand in America now, and I hope you, like me, will snap up every darned book on the topic you can get.  Including mine.