I have had a lot of questions in the past about how I read Lenormand cards and comments from people saying, “You have a unique perspective” when they describe my style. Well, I don’t know if that is good or bad, coming from a traditional mindset! But let me first say, that I come to Lenormand with a lot of experience in art history and the depiction of symbols: I was once a muralist working for the Catholic Church. Being that I was raised Protestant, I had a huge learning curve to conquer. I was grateful for my art school training and my degree in Art History, yet none of it taught me anything about canon law and the highly defined, governed manner with which the church dictates the depiction of its saints and holy images. This I had to learn on the job at a time when the internet was not around to consult so readily, as we have it today. All my research was done with the help of Fathers and Monsignors, the local library, or Barnes and Noble. I learned that even a subtle variation in color of a garment impacts the recognition and depiction of one holy name from another. It certainly was not in my best interest to mess it up- I would have do it all over again, adding weeks to my project and a great deal of dollars to the budget. In fact, if any such thing happened, I would have been fired.
Well, that was twenty-some years ago and I have taken up a new practice of Lenormand. When I first saw the deck, I was struck by the images and knew immediately upon learning the basic meanings that these cards were not just “simple images from everyday life” that so many cartomancers assume them to be. Digging my way back into the cobwebs of my art history schooling meant digging into many pasts, not just my own learning, and into a project I really was not expecting to do. I have done it, and it is quite fascinating. But this is another story best left for another time…
Being that I knew a little something about the history of those images when I undertook learning Lenormand, I decided that reading diagonals never really made sense for me. Now, there are a multitude of other cartomancers, excellent Lenormand readers in fact, who do read diagonals. It is a given and somewhat standard practice from the Lenormand tradition and in no way am I saying it is not. It just isn’t the way I choose to do it. So, I do not read diagonals as a general rule when I look at a GT.
I do not use reversals, ever. Enough said.
If doing a GT, I will find the negative cards first and assess how near and far they are to the significator card. I will also look at predominance- that is, try to take notice if the fast cards are close together or the slow cards are all together. Maybe the cards for communication are all around the significator…telling me this person I am reading for will have a great deal of correspondence and dealings where he must hunker down and write, email, call and call again if he is to get through whatever situation is coming his way over the next year. It may be a tax audit if the FOX or the TOWER and the FISH are nearby, or if he works in HR, he might find the GARDEN and ANCHOR close by, telling me he will have a lot of applications and online resumes to sift through if he is ever going to find the right person to hire. If the significator is surrounded by all the familiar, familial cards, like HOUSE, DOG, CHILD, GARDEN, ROADS, then maybe he will be spending great deal of time fixing up, moving or redecorating his home, possibly throwing a housewarming party at the completion.
The other thing I do that is more PERSONALIZED to me as a reader, that other readers do NOT do, is consider the essence of the image to my understanding of it. Here I am not referring to the playing card inserts at all, just the symbol (HORSEMAN, CLOVER, etc.) I do this because particular images have innate, archetypal qualities and these qualities are carried through via their meanings. I am certainly NOT imparting a “the Woman is a Goddess card” kind of perspective. It is more of a “The SUN is by its very nature hot, and placed next to BEAR and after the SHIP, I can expect my client to travel to a hot climate. Since she is very pale, she needs to take her sunscreen, because WHIP and SCYTHE are very close to her, as is the TREE, so she could ruin the entire 2 week venture by getting a nasty burn.” Not everyone reads Lenormand like this, but I do.
Some could call it a “Purist” perspective, but that is really just in the eye of the beholder. I don’t believe Lenormand can be totally “pure” because of the research I have done on the images. The waters have been muddied over the years. IMHO, evidence indicates neither the accepted traditional view, nor the historic context by which the images originate can lend any credence to a view that traditional Lenormand as we know today is the way the images were, in their original inception, meant to be seen. However, there is plenty of room and historic evidence to read the images in their original form if the reader chooses to do so and the reader knows the form. And that is a tricky thing! It is best, now that the waters that were once muddied, stay muddied, and the images be read as know them today. Furthermore, evidence indicates that someone venturing into the Lenormand for the first time, ABSOLUTELY know the meanings of each symbol instead of trying to intuit them. In NO WAY am I proposing an intuitive response with the Lenormand on any level before knowing the meanings of the cards.
I use Lines of 5, 7, or 9 quite a lot, and the Lost Man method for many quick readings. I like Madame Seaqueen’s four card Reaction reading quite a lot, as it is simple, quick and lends itself to psychic fairs and fortunetelling parties.
People ask me frequently how to give quick, 15-20 minute readings with Lenormand or with single questions. These methods, for me, have proven effective. I also LOVE the relationship reading with the MAN and WOMAN cards that Chanah has outlined on her site. You can use numerology with it and it is a good reading for that single question on love. I highly recommend checking her out here:
I do use the Full Board style of throwing the entire entire deck, like a GT. If my intent is to do a GT, I use the 8×4+4 method. Full Boards are great for clarity on what surrounds the inquirer. I do NOT use a Full Board for single questions, however. When doing a question about the situation regarding a certain event, I see no problem throwing a full board to see what effects it. The last time I did a reading like this was to find out some missing information about a copy of a Will that had been lost, along with the inheritance. It was one of those HUGE questions that just a Line of Nine probably could not describe as accurately as a full board. Here was a specific line of inquiry with a specific question, yet the circumstances around it were complex. Throwing the board allowed me to see the condition of the Will as it related to the inquirer and did indeed relay specific information that was helpful which could not be gleaned otherwise. Mind you, I did NOT read ALL the cards, just the pertinent cards around the LETTER, the BOOK, the COFFIN, the TOWER, and the significator, along with the near/far of the negative cards.
I do not recommend using an entire Full Board or GT to answer a simple question that can be gleaned with just a Line of 5, 7, 9, or some other simpler method. GT’s are for big, life issues and often span a period of years or months in the person’s life. It is not meant to answer whether you will be meeting a new boyfriend this year. I have seen on certain websites of certain readers where they throw all 36 cards for one little, simple question. The answer is always muddled and ridiculous.
I use the Full Board set-up for mediumship, as well, when there is no specific person my client wants to contact. Within keeping with Lenormand limits, I could, in theory, connect with a specific person when it is desired, but I certainly wouldn’t use a Full Board to do so. When I do this, I only read certain cards and assess the cards in a certain way. There are a great deal of the cards that I do not read at all. Nor do I read the Full Board in its diagonals when I do this. It ends up being about 30 minutes in length for a client, which is a good length of time for a reading.
And there you have it.