‘How I Use the Cards To Describe: Symbols vs. “Archetypes” in Lenormand’ or ‘Shut Up and Look At It!’

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Today I want to address a very important issue that most readers don’t really go into. I want to talk about the symbols vs. the depiction of them in the artwork on the assorted decks. One of the most confusing things there is to learn about Lenormand is the pictures vs. the meanings. And the decks. And the differences in the decks and the pictures. And the direction they face. And which ones you pay attention to. And which ones you ignore…and, and…oh. You know what I mean.

There are a few cards in the deck that face a certain direction that I pay attention to, and they are:

HORSEMAN

CLOUDS

COFFIN

SCYTHE

MICE

BOOK

ROADS

And sometimes:

MAN

LADY

Now, I want to be very clear- I consider the images on the Lenormand deck to be timeless symbols, not Jungian archetypes as we know them from our first year at university. There is a place for Jung in mysticism, but please show him the door when studying Lenormand…a Fox is not a trick of one’s Anima. A Fox is a fox.

But you already know this because it is Lenormand101 and we are in our second and third years here on my blog. 🙂

I find reading the Lenormand images as symbols to be incredibly helpful. It doesn’t really matter what deck you choose if you read the symbol, in its ESSENCE, and ignore the way the symbol is depicted. Personally, I find it distracting to have a Moon that is yellow and a Dog that is lime green. My personal preference is for a deck that is true to the essence of each symbol because I find it adds to the clarity  of the reading. An example is that a Sun is always warm and yellow-white. It will always have a temperature and a color because that is the essence of the symbol! The Moon is never going to be hot and yellow like the Sun, and when I see a certain deck that has the yellow Moon on it, I want to throw it against the wall! I find the decks that depict the images unnaturally personally distracting and harder to read for descriptions because I am always having to remind myself that the innate essence and color of the card is a white moon in a variety of night-time sky colors, usually deep blue to purple. Yellow is the exact opposite of blue and purple on the freaking color wheel and it drives me crazy. Some readers aren’t bothered by it at all. (I’m not one of them).

These symbols were originally chosen because of their universal qualities- everyone over the age of five knows the nature and essence of each symbol, otherwise what would be the point of using images at all? OF COURSE THEY MATTER! A Garden will always be a gathering place that is landscaped and outdoors. A Dog is a loyal friend who has a wet nose and fur that is a shade of brown, black, or white. A Moon is always going to reflect the Sun and it will always be shades of white and blue in the night sky. It doesn’t matter which way the Crossroads go because when you come to them you always need to decide which one to take, even if it is to turn around and go home. You are always going to want to grab the Scythe by the handle, not the blade… These are essential qualities of the symbols that I think need to be understood. I believe a great many readers falter in not addressing them in their spreads. And new students to Lenormand fail when they pay too close attention to the depiction, not to the nature of the symbol itself…so they get confused about the direction the Dog faces or the way the Fox is sniffing. Been there- done that.

I also believe a Lenormand deck that is just black and white symbols or doodles is better than one that is in neon colors or has a lot of symbolic still-life imagery because it frees the reader from unnecessary distractions, in the same way a deck with natural color aids the reader in describing people and things. These are my two favorite kinds of decks. And the wonderful thing about Lenormand is that you can make a deck with a pencil and 36 index cards and it is going to be just as accurate as a deck that costs $50! You don’t even have to be good at drawing.

To prove my point, I pulled a reading I did last Spring for finding a notary in my neighborhood. My question was, “Please describe where I will find a notary who will help me nearby.”

RING FOX TOWER FISH CHILD

Reading the full five cards, it says there is a new bank that can help me, and buried within the reading is the term used for accounting and also the IRS- RING FOX TOWER; TOWER FISH is the classic term used for a bank. However, here is where the Lenormand gets very clever: the FISH are separated from the TOWER by what is on the left, meaning that the bank where I would find success is a bank which is currently being scrutinized. RING FOX TOWER means an agreement or official contract with commercial accounting, and FOX TOWER can be the IRS. (It has been in the press as having to undergo scrutinization as a result of lending practices). Also seen in this line of five is the physical description: RING FOX TOWER FISH CHILD=  a false fronted commercial bank (RING FOX TOWER FISH) that is very new (CHILD).

My second question was, “Please describe the notary who will be able to help me”:

RING MOON BEAR DOG SNAKE

The focus is the Bear, the key cards and answer is the Ring and Snake. Now right off the bat, the entire phrase simply says, “The official (BEAR) is a married older woman (RING+SNAKE). (RING+MOON) Successful contract manager who is friendly and shrewd (or an older woman).” This is where my intuition kicked in and the secondary meanings that can be gleaned from such a reading were very clear to me. RING MOON stood out to me as she would be wearing a noticeable piece of jewelry that was either a sapphire or diamond (blue or white); she would be friendly and have a nice smile (BEAR DOG); she would have brown hair and possibly tawny skin (BEAR DOG); her job is exclusively with contracts, meaning she would be the official notary or head manager at the bank (RING MOON BEAR= career in finance that deals with contracts).

The test came when I left my house and walked a few blocks away to the local business district. There I immediately found a certain bank close to the corner with a new marble front that was originally red brick. It fit the description perfectly so I walked in. I asked the gentleman who greeted me if there was a notary on duty who could assist me and he introduced me to his boss- a friendly, older Latino woman with tawny skin, brown hair and a bright smile who was wearing a wedding ring, as well as a large sapphire and diamond pendant!

I want to point out that when asking Lenormand to describe, you are inherently asking them to depict the appearance or details of something using their symbology. The cards will pull out all the stops for you if you pay close attention and realize what it is you are looking at and not what an artist has chosen to portray. These are very different things.

So, in my view, the Lenormand student who chooses to ignore the innate qualities of the symbol in question is really losing out on accuracy and detail.

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