5 Card Lenormand Practice

I really enjoy general readings with Tarot but I am finding that a lack of clear direction or intent in consulting Lenormand doesn’t work so well, and without the context of a question the readings are confusing and unclear. I’m not used to asking cards super-mundane questions, but I have found it necessary to go to them with any old thing in order to get enough practice in.

Earlier this week some friends and I arranged to get together for lunch and the night before I asked the cards, ‘how will the meet-up go?’ and received Heart+Stars+Tower+Cross+Ship

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The Tower had me a bit stumped first because I wasn’t thinking literally enough and kept wondering what a coffee date could have to do with isolation or authorities. Until the morning of we still hadn’t settled on a place to go and my friends suggested a place I hadn’t been to before. The meaning of the Tower didn’t hit me until I sat down for a coffee in this newer cafe which is located in a large (by Palestine standards) multiplex. And there it is, simply a large building that houses a number of businesses and offices.

I expected to see Birds as there would be a lot of chatter, but I think Stars covered this instead. In addition to clarity and inspiration Stars can represent dissemination or something getting out there, and mirrored with Cross it showed us expressing and sharing the challenges and issues we are all facing at the moment. The friends were represented by Heart, and Ship added the detail that we are all foreigners here and each from a different country!

Not a hugely insightful or detailed reading, but then I didn’t have a particularly insightful question. I’m increasingly seeing that with Lenormand you get out exactly what you put in and not a hint more.

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Above and Below Lenormand Spread

I’m currently reading Caitlin Matthews’ The Complete Lenormand Oracle Handbook, which I highly recommend for fellow beginners, and what is really nice is that she includes spreads and exercises to practice your reading skills.

To lay the Above and Below spread you shuffle the cards while focusing on your question, next you cut the deck into 3 small piles, taking one card off of the top of each pile to make your first line of three, then one card from the bottom of each pile to make the second line of three underneath the first.

Because of complicated life/visa stuff I have to make a short trip back to the UK in a couple of weeks, so I asked the cards to give me a little snapshot of how the trip will be.

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It’s amazing that both the Ship and the Rider appeared and they are a nice confirmation that the journey will happen and I will arrive. The Ship and Snake also seem pretty spot on as the journey is complicated. What would for others in a less politically loaded situation be a 5-hour direct flight, for me involves 1 (deeply unpleasant) land border, an airport and a stop-over, totalling over 18 hours in transit. Snake indeed. Or perhaps there will be complications with my tickets or I’ll be sat next to a biter…. SNAKES ON A PLANE. Only time will tell!

A couple of the combos with Bear made me chuckle as I do intend to pretty much hibernate on this trip. Once I arrive at my mums I want to get into pyjamas and stay in them for four days while I sleep, laze about, catch up on movies and eat all of the foods I have been missing for the past 2 years. I also haven’t shaved my legs in about a gazillion years so the top line could also be speaking of a hairy person arriving from overseas…

I am really intrigued by the appearance of tree, other than a long journey, it could mean that my health will be impacted by the trip, but what resonates more with Birds+Snake+Tree is that I plan on chatting with my mum about our ancestors (a few of whom did range from difficult to toxic) and hopefully pick up some more pictures for an ancestor altar I’m trying to build.

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I combined the corner cards but missed a message about Bear+Birds before photographing my journal notes, where I also see ‘anxious mother’. This could be referencing my mum as she is worrier, but I have a strong feeling it is more about me. I certainly can be overwhelmed by stress, but I am not a worrier by nature, however this trip will be the first time I have ever been away from my children. The longest I’ve been away from my eldest was 3 nights while I was recovering from an emergency c-section delivering her brother, and even then she came for visits every day. One part of me can’t wait to have my first night’s uninterrupted sleep in 4 years, to be able to wake up and go to bed when I want, to shower, read and watch a film in peace, but whenever I look at them now and think about leaving my stomach clenches into a thousand knots.

Zigzagging Rider+Snake+Bear seems to hint that an overbearing woman will be arriving, and since I am the only one arriving, I guess the overbearing woman is me! Cheeky. And Birds+Ship+Tree suggests a long and stressful journey, which all sounds about right.

I’ve been continuing my pair and 3-card practices multiple times a day and this week I experimented with a few 5 card strings and had a crack at my first 3×3. I’m still trying to find the best approach with 5-card strings and, as every Lenormand expert says, consistency is key, so I need to dedicate some time to working out whether I want to go for a narrative, near-far, closest significator or central-card focus methodology when deciphering them.

I really enjoyed this spread though and found it gave detailed information without being quite as overwhelming as the 9 card (the thought of a Grand Tableau gives me brain  ache, but I’ll get there one day) and I definitely plan on using this spread more, maybe for month-ahead type readings or for any more specific questions I might have.

What to leave in 2017

One of the admins of the Lenormand Cards Study Group on Facebook asked members to post a short three-card reading asking what thoughts about ourselves we should leave in 2017. I pulled House+Mice+Book

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I ended up finding two relevant messages in these cards, the first, an idea about myself I need to drop (and something I have written about a couple of times here before) for 2018 is that being a stay-at-home mum somehow depletes my intelligence. I don’t actually believe that staying at home with my kids makes me dumb, but, as stupid as I know it is, I still worry that people look down on me and assume I must not be smart or driven because of it, and this can negatively impact how I feel about my home life.

Another message I see here more generally about something to ditch for 2018, is to stop letting anxiety about the unknown nibble away at my sense of safety and stability.

Shut Up, Cards

I tend to think of cards as divination tools rather than predictors or fortune telling. This seems to be pretty commonly shared in the modern tarot community (although not universal), while Lenormand on the other hand seems to be used much more for predicting future events. I haven’t been using Lenormand long enough to come to any solid personal conclusions about this, but what I can say now is that it is a sharp mirror for reflecting back at you what is going on right now.

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My potential move to the US is certainly dominating my thoughts right now, and my Lenormand deck keeps glaring it right back at me, even when I want to think about other things. We’ve had some issues with our application not appearing on the online system and we’ve heard no news or updates in over two months.

One of the first two-card draws I did for myself a couple of weeks ago was after a rather futile phone call with customer services for US immigration. I’d been on the line for 15 minutes, pressing 5 for x and 7 for y and 4 for z, I finally got through to an actual human who wished to transfer my call to a superior, the phone queue for this transfer was an hour. ‘To arrange a call back please enter your phone number’, the damn thing doesn’t accept a non-US number. Typical, an immigration service doesn’t recognise international phone numbers…. the line goes dead.

Anyway, after this exercise in futility (and a $20 phone bill) I slumped onto the sofa and reached for my Dreaming Way Lenormand perched on the arm.

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Damn right I’m waiting for news about documents.

The following day, I asked the deck what the situation is with our application at the moment. After the draw I decided to go off-book a little and practice reading it both as a situational statement and as advice.

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Complex documents are dead in the water. Pretty sound as it turns out. A family member in the US arranged an appointment with the center and when asked for an estimate on the processing time, he simply said, ‘we are still working on applications from January of this year’. Great.

Persevere with the documents and don’t lash out, sound advice too, as I tend to start sending sarcastic emails when faced with infuriating bureaucracy.

After receiving the news about potentially how long our application might take, I slumped down into the sofa once again and reached for my cards. This time however I wanted to practice a bit with Ship and sought it, and its preceding and following card, for a little escapism. Lesson learned. Never look to Lenormand to escape from the real-world because it will slap you in the face with it.

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Gah! I just want to play with my cards and not think about this anymore! One last try, clearing mind, shuffling, pull three cards:

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A major obstacle is dominating your life and depleting your energy reserves. OK, fine. How about you tarot, you want to give me anything else to think about for a while?

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Hanged Man. Surrender, suspended, waiting… Not you too Steampunk!

Right. Fine. I guess it’s time to put the cards away for a while.

 

Lenormand Practice: Blending Pairs – Lilies + Heart

I’ve been drawing cards daily for practice but I still have to approach the cards with a consciously different approach so I don’t fall back into Tarot habits. I look forward to a time when it comes more naturally to me, but that time isn’t yet!

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I still have strong tendencies to over-interpret and go a little too out there, researching all of the possible meanings of individual cards and pair combinations, but once I get into it it is hard to stop! I’m still going to play with pairs this week, but I think next week I need to really pare down all of the meanings I’ve discovered and go card by card through all of my brainstorms and pick maybe half a dozen keywords to focus on and really internalise them. While these exercises are so much fun, I do feel I am over complicating things for myself (not an unusual thing for me to do), it’s fine for pairs, but having so many meaning options when I try out larger spreads is giving me serious brain-ache.

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As you can (hopefully) see from these two journal entries I am still messing up card order, it drives me crazy, the second I’ve written it I know it is wrong, but I don’t want to fill my notes up with marked out phrases, so I am leaving them be and referencing them with a critical eye. I feel I might branch away from adhering to modern traditional methods that stress card order, but for now, I want to learn it and have a good foundation before tinkering with it, plus it gives my brain that extra bit of a workout, even if I do occasionally tear out my hair.

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There are quite a few Lenormand sites out there for individual card meanings and I have recently purchased the two most widely available books on Lenormand in English, Rana George’s The Essential Lenormand and Caitlin Matthews’ The Complete Lenormand. For less traditional meanings and combinations I have found Anna K’s free online Lenormand guide invaluable, and I hope to have the funds to buy her brand new Lenormand deck soon (as well as her Tarot deck, shhhh).

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). Continue reading “Intent Isn’t Magic: The Appeal of Lenormand”

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*