Intent Isn’t Magic: The Appeal of Lenormand

The modern tarot world has been greatly influenced by New Age movements and concepts of spirituality, and one theme you’ll see pop up time and time again is the importance of intention, even amongst those that do not subscribe to the Theory of Attraction (myself included). There is the idea, also I believe in modern Wicca (feel free to correct me!) that intent is the bedrock of magic, that if we set our minds and will to something, it is achievable. While I don’t doubt at all that setting intent is a powerful motivator and influence in bringing things into – or banishing them from – our lives, I am also reminded of an oft-used phrase in social justice circles: intent isn’t magic. Which means to say that no, while you did not intend for your words or actions to be problematic, they in fact are, that despite your best-intent someone was harmed or affected by the things you did or said. Shit definitely did not go down as expected, and while intentions may have been good, or at least ignorant, recompense and apologies should be forthcoming without defensive reactions like, ‘But I didn’t mean it!’, because it doesn’t matter, you did it.

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While unrelated directly to cartomancy, mulling over these ideas of intent got me thinking about the differences between Tarot and Lenormand, two wonderful, beautiful card traditions that have the power – if you let them – to instigate change in your life and you perceptions. While Tarot can and frequently does reflect back the blatantly obvious, its power to me lies in its ability to push you head first into the sub-conscious waters of your expectations, motivations, hopes and baggage, it shows what things mean to you on a symbolic level and why, and it reveals your intentions and deepest held desires (especially the repressed ones, boy howdy).

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Lenormand on the other hand (in my admittedly limited experience) shows you where your motivations and intent aren’t so magical, it is a reflection of the ‘real world’, glaring back at you, with crystal clarity. It shows the actual obstacles you face, how life and external forces affect your intentions and the consequences, intended or unintended of your actions or inaction. It’s like the I-didn’t-mean-it-but-it-happened-anyway of cartomancy.

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Ultimately, I see Tarot as a mirror of what life and situations feel like on the inside, the cards show you how to affect positive change from within, purifying and honing your intent and intuitive instinct. Lenormand, conversely, shows a reflection of what life or any given circumstances look like, the essence of their appearance and being, their concrete reality, including all of those little things out of our immediate control. It can guide us in how to act and think with precision, while cleaning up the clutter of woulda, coulda, shoulda.

Any other Tarot reading Lenormand newbs out there? What are some of the differences you have experienced in working with these two deck styles so far?

 

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Lenormand Practice: Blending Pairs – Fish + Stork

Its official, I am obsessed with Lenormand.

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Every morning I’ve been drawing one or two pairs to mull over and practice with that day, exploring individual and blended meanings. I do hope you can read my writing, I get in the zone and my handwriting goes a bit haywire, but I am trying not to scribble too much so my Lenormand journal is still legible as I want to share all of the musings but don’t have the time to transcribe everything!

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Some of the standout blends for me at the moment are changing job/career, moving money, renewing resources – money/education/skills/capabilitieschanging finances and feeling drawn to a new career path. With the planned move, my thoughts have been dominated by how the move will affect our finances and what jobs/career I am going to go for once we go to the US. I have had my fill of NGO work and copy editing and I have always been interested in medical, but am completely new to the field, so I have been researching education and work opportunities and exploring which roles in the medical field I am most interested in, which, for the moment I have narrowed down to phlebotomy and respiratory therapy.

It’s still a ways off though, and I need to remain pragmatic about the financial reality of our move. Completely changing my career path may not be the most pressing thing to think about the minute we land, and I need to focus on pooling as many of our resources together for the transition by pretty much any means necessary, be that unappealing jobs or less than ideal accommodation. As limited as the use of directionality is in Lenormand compared to Tarot, I can’t help but notice that all of those little money and abundance Fish are swimming in the opposite direction to our Stork of change and transition…

Anyway, yet again, Lenormand pleasantly surprised me with its succinct cut right to heart of the issues and circumstances I am dealing with at the moment!

[There are a lot of difference amongst Lenormand schools and individual card readers about ‘work’ and ‘job’ cards. As Fish are intrinsically tied to wealth, accumulation and cash flow, they are what make sense to me, but it is not the same for everyone, and it isn’t the most traditional approach. This may change as I continue learning!]

Lenormand Practice: Blending Pairs – Mice + Dog

I’m getting into the swing of daily Lenormand practice and I’m really enjoying myself. I love words, words have immense power and beauty, so using a cartomantic system that is based around word play is like geek heaven for me. For now, as I play around with this system, I’ve been drawing the cards quite casually with very general and open ended questions. Yesterday I asked if there is anything I should be aware of and pulled Mice + Dog.

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Apparently, the importance of card order is given greater weight in modern versus traditional Lenormand reading styles, where the left card is the subject and subsequent cards represent adjectives, adverbs or modifiers. I haven’t decided which approach I am going to take, the modern style is certainly stricter, but also more precise whereas traditional styles seem to offer the freedom of more intuitive input, but far more variables and less precision.

Anyway, I had a little brainstorm in my Lenormand journal, I hope my scrawl is legible!

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Did I mention how much fun this is?

What resonated the most for me at the moment was the idea of depleting friendships. I live thousands of miles away from most of my closest friends and family and I’m not always great at keeping in contact. I think these cards are giving me a little nudge to do some maintenance and write those emails I’ve been putting off, so I don’t spoil relationships that are important to me.

Learning Lenormand – First Reading

It seems a number of tarot readers are jumping on the Lenormand bandwagon these days, and I’m no exception…

I love tarot and it will always be ‘home’ to me, but I am really keen to expand my cartomancy skills. For now I am just focusing on the card names but eventually I would like to understand and be able to incorporate the playing card inserts and perhaps even be able to read playing cards as well.

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Not entirely sure how to approach this first reading, I asked the deck to tell me about something going on in my life right now, and wow, did these cards ever get straight to the point: There is a heart, my heart, being cut by a transition, quite specifically, a trip overseas.

Well knock me over with a feather, the accuracy of this actually made my jaw drop. Maybe there is something to this growing Lenormand popularity after all!

My verbosity is usually allowed to come out and play with tarot readings, not so much with Lenormand, so I can see these cards helping me to be more of a succinct and direct reader. While I’m not sure how useful these cards will be for soul searching and self-development, it is refreshing to have such a snappy and precise answer without all the navel gazing of the multiple possibilities with tarot. There is no plunge into the depths of the shadows, just a clear reflection of the perfectly mundane.

I’m really looking forward to playing with these cards some more!

 

*Dreaming Way Lenormand by Kwon Shina and Lynn Araujo*

 

Dame Darcy Reading

I’ve been feeling in a bit of a funk recently. In the past month I’ve been hit by two viruses (cold or flu or a combination of both, I’m not sure) and the reality of our possible move to the US is really starting to sink in. I have so many mixed emotions I don’t even know what is going on anymore, so I decided to ask Dame Darcy for a bit of a check-up to put the main issues into size-manageable pieces. This is an open reading and the only card that has any sort of positional meaning is the last one.

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While my first instinct is to start off reading chronologically from left to right, the Empress feels like my significator card here. Her purview, like my concerns at the moment, is all about nurturing, comfort and abundance, and right now I feel caught in between all of the new possibilities, opportunities and encounters a move to the US could bring us and the very real knowledge that we will have very little money to live on. How will we survive? How much are we, and my kids particularly, going to go without as we scramble to find our feet? Will the whole thing fail?

This seems to be a pretty accurate representation of the situation at hand so I decided to pull one more card for advice. The Four of Pentacles – solid, practical, stable and my good ole reliable stalker card. It tells me to keep my shit together and find a balance between hopes and fears. No one ever grounded their feet in the air or water of cups and swords, so it’s time to come back to earth, to give the dreams a rest for a while and try and ease up on the anxiety by simply taking it one sensible, solid step at a time.

 

Pantheon of Your Life Spread

I took the outline of this spread from Barbara Moore’s Tarot Spreads book, which is packed with plenty of layouts that go well beyond your basic three-card and Celtic Cross.

This spread was originally designed as a seven card affair, with positions based upon the gods and goddesses of the ancient Greek pantheon. To increase its resonance with me I decided to use the gods from my own pantheon, adding two cards (the number 9 is highly significant in Norse myth) and amending some of the positional meanings to better represent the scope and character of the Northern gods.

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The spread is read clockwise from the top center card

Tyr – The role will and determination play in your life 

The High Priestess – My will and determination play an integral yet somewhat secret and hidden role in my life. For the outside, I am aware that I do not appear to be a particularly ambitious person, but it is there, quiety bubbling underneath, informing and driving my actions and desires. These things do not manifest loudly in what I say, but quietly in what I do and how I choose to live my life.

Odin – The role learning, knowledge and wisdom play in your life

The Fool – New beginnings, always new beginnings. I try to approach life as a perpetual student, always learning something new, something challenging. The Fool shows not only how unwanted ignorance plays a role in my quest for wisdom, it also reminds me that the things we do not know in life will always outweigh those that we do. Regardless of how stern or studious a face we put upon ourselves, there is always plenty of room for humility, humour and the ability to laugh at our own foolish ignorance with lightness rather than embarrassment. The Fool says, relinquish pride and never be afraid to admit what you do not know, it is only in this admission that you will ever be able to learn anything new.

Frigg – The role that sensitivity and intuition play in your life

King of Swords – My sensitivity and intuition shape how I plan my approach to life, events, challenges and people, they are the primary tools I use to make sense of the world. The mind and rationality are important to me, but it is my intuition that leads my thoughts to places where they then seek to create some semblance of structure of order. Furthermore, taken literally from the card image, my intuition and sensitivity inspire my desire to write and share my thoughts on the stranger, and often stigmatised, things in life like divination and alternative spirituality.

Freyja – The role spirit, mystery and magic play in your life

Eight of Wands – In any other deck this might be quite an odd card to pull here with it’s swiftness and speed, in Ceccoli however we see a doll like girl holding twinkling fireflies on strings like balloons that gently illuminate her face. She looks as though she’s listening to their messages and seeing them through her mind’s eye. It’s a beautiful image and I can see myself tethered to spirit and magic in such a way, letting it softly guide my thoughts and illuminate different mystical possibilities.

Freyr – The role that sensual experience, pleasure and joy play in your life

Page of Swords – Yep, totally inevitable that I should pull a Sword here. I often get so wrapped up in the pleasures of my mind, reading learning, thinking, playing with ideas and communicating them, that I feel quite out of touch with my body. My joy comes from acquiring new knowledge and playing in the mental realms of imagination and I often feel that were my character understood elementally, I would be all Water and Air with a dash of Fire, but very little Earth (do you see any Pentacles in this spread?). Much of my relationship with my body is perfunctory, treating it more as a vehicle for my mind and soul, and I am prone to neglecting its needs and pleasures. Freyr reminds me that I must make changes in this area and do more to enjoy and appreciate my body.

Thor – The role of friendship and family in your life

Seven of Wands – Quite a funny looking card to show up here, but what I think it is saying, quite simply, is that friendship and family keep me in check – they ground me in reality and challenge any tendencies towards selfishness, they give me a reason not to partake in destructive behaviours because I know the consequences will be swift and undesirable – I do not wish to disappoint or lose face in front of those I care about and have a responsibility to protect.

Heimdall – The role of observance, listening and receptivity in your life

Ten of Cups – I find this a really interesting and apt card here, as much as I like to write and create output, what gives me that Ten of Cups feeling of fulfilment is the opportunity to absorb. Spending time people-watching, reading, seeing films and generally observing all of the peculiarities of humanity helps me to feel like a part of it and emboldens me to explore even further.

Saga – The self-constructed narratives at play in your life.

Five of Wands – I think because of where I live and the difficulties I have faced to remain with my family, I have built a narrative of us against the world. I have dreamed of living a life of radical action, but there is no magic flaming sword to defeat this dragon of bureaucracy and violent state politics, so I begrudgingly appease it with my compliance to maintain the status quo. The narrative then is one, not of victimhood or rebellion, but pragmatism, and the knowledge that some dragons cannot be slain.

The Disir – A message from your ancestral mothers on how you can improve your approach to life.

The Magician – Don’t fear the unpredictable, wear the masks you need to wear, use your skills and know your worth. Have magic and be adaptable, know your surroundings and know your audience, these things will serve you well in life. Despite what they say, it is never too late for a leopard to change its spots.

 

Exploring the Divine Masculine – Part 2

*Warning – this post contains card images that portray full-frontal male nudity*

Here are the results of my own Divine Masculine Mjolnir spread (which can be found here).

[For anyone unfamiliar with the Mary-El Tarot, the creator Marie White’s card interpretations vary significantly from the established traditions of the Rider-Waite-Smith, Thoth and Marseille, and it is a deck that inspires intuition over wrote-learning, so if the meanings seem a little out there, that’s why!] Continue reading “Exploring the Divine Masculine – Part 2”

The Divine Masculine in a Time of Toxic Masculinity – A Norse Pagan’s Perspective + New Spread

*Trigger warning for mentions of misogyny and assault*

This isn’t the easiest time to talk about this topic and I keep putting it off. Laptop open, fingers poised at the keyboard and…nothing. Nothing that feels quite right. But I know that if I put it off one more day I’ll never get around to it.

With the floodgates opened by the Harvey Weistein revelations, the seemingly never-ending list of abusive men in power revealed, followed by this constant barrage of #metoo, and I’ve spent much of the past few weeks feeling sick and miserable for all of my sisters out there who have been raped, assaulted, abused, harassed, gaslighted, belittled, degraded, silenced, shamed and victimised at the hands of entitled, misogynistic men void of compassion, empathy, respect or even the most basic fundamentals of human decency. I’m hurting. And I’m fucking angry that our culture not only allows silence around abuse to hold for so long, but that it actively fosters it and seeks to humiliate those that break it.

I can’t say any of it has come as a surprise, if anything I’m surprised it is still getting any media airtime. And while every story shared breaks my heart that bit more, leaving my chest tight with a feeling of anger and bewilderment at the cruelty of people, it is almost a relief that they keep coming because each new testimony proves that no, we haven’t been “hysterical”, “delusional” or “overly sensitive” all this time, there really is a big fucking problem with masculinity. Continue reading “The Divine Masculine in a Time of Toxic Masculinity – A Norse Pagan’s Perspective + New Spread”

Walking the Path of the Major Arcana – The Journey Ends

This post is a continuation of a month-long challenge hosted on Tarot Rebels. As I can’t commit to daily draws at the moment, I am following along at my own snail’s pace here. The concept of the challenge is to see the ways in which the energies of the Major Arcana are affecting and manifesting in my life at the moment. *

Third Path Completed: What am I most grateful for this Fall season?

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One of the main areas I am currently working on in my Norse pagan path is learning about the spirit mothers and guardians that attend each person and ancestral line, the disir, nornshamingjur and fylgjur. In Norse lore, the term fylgjur was also used as a name for one’s animal spirits, and the roles of these creatures and beings often overlapped with one other. (These souls and soul-aspects share some common ground with old Irish folklore of fetches.) Continue reading “Walking the Path of the Major Arcana – The Journey Ends”

Walking the Path of the Major Arcana – The World

This post is a continuation of a month-long challenge hosted on Tarot Rebels. As I can’t commit to daily draws at the moment, I am following along at my own snail’s pace here. The concept of the challenge is to see the ways in which the energies of the Major Arcana are affecting and manifesting in my life at the moment. *

The World: What goal am I ready to achieve?

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I see the Prince of Swords’ appearance here as linked to one of the main messages of the ancestor reading I did for Halloween – I am ready to start chasing some ambition, to begin fighting and striving for my place in this world and proving I have something worthwhile to contribute.

If we do move to America, I am going to have to start earning an income, and I feel ready to cut through the old bonds of restriction I’ve sometimes felt after four years as a stay-at-home-mum. I don’t yet have a specific goal in mind that I wish – or am ready – to achieve, it is something broader than that, I am ready to step out of the same-ol’, same-ol’ and start setting goals I can pursue with the full force of my mind.