1890 German Len

19th century Lenormand based on a deck from 1854.

The 36-card Petit Lenormand cards have taken the divinatory world by storm. 

Russian Liliac Dream Lenormand

Dog-Liliac Dream Russian Lenormand

Two years ago only two classically-based Lenormand decks were available in the U.S. Since then there’s been a deluge of over 50 new decks (most with creative designs and self-published). Interest is supported by dozens of Facebook and forum study groups and websites in English, plus many more in other languages. Until this year, only two English-language books were available (compared to sixty or more in German, Dutch, French, Russian and Portuguese). By early next year there’ll be at least five or six new English-language books. 

Two things are essential to a Lenormand reading: 1) a set of cards containing the Lenormand numbers, names and/or pictures, and 2) learning the traditional Lenormand system. Certainly, a person can use Lenormand cards as oracles: making up their own meanings, projecting stories onto them, and reading the images as symbols, but that is not what is meant by a Lenormand reading. One can use any object or image for an oracle reading; Lenormand includes specific meanings and methods.

14 Reasons Why the Lenormand Deck and Traditional System Are So Special:

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House-Carta Mundi

House-Carta Mundi Lenormand

  1. The images or ‘emblems’ on each card are simple, everyday, iconic items: Dog, Fish, House, Path, Clover.
  2. The deck was first published in 1846 for fortune-telling and came with card meanings and reading instructions that were directly based on 18th century ‘emblem cards’ and coffee-ground meanings. For over 220 years decks have been published with nearly identical images, instructions and meanings.
  3. Since the late 20th century original meanings have been expanded and adapted to reflect modern life. Even though variations exist, they are minor, such that a traditional reader can understand the interpretation of someone else, even from another country. 
  4. Lenormand readings are extremely precise, mundane, concrete, blunt and accurate. 
  5. The pictures are not read symbolically! The narrow range of meanings, which are functional rather than symbolic, ensure there is little ambiguity about their significance. 
  6. Intuition plays a major role in reading the cards, enhanced by knowledge and experience.
  7. While a few cards are similar to Tarot (Moon, Stars, Tower, etc.), they have very different meanings.

    Kendra's Vintage Petit Lenormand

    Fish-Kendra’s Vintage Petit Lenormand

  8. All the cards are used in a standard layout, the Grand Tableau (“Big Picture”). Modern layouts provide shorter snapshots or portraits of a particular issue.
  9. In a reading, significance arises from card combinations: House+Book can be a school or library (a house of knowledge or secrets). Cards are not read individually but in pairs or larger groups.
  10. Lenormand cards work well for answering yes-or-no questions, describing past and present life situations, making short-term predictions, finding lost objects, and describing people and their condition. They can also address timing.
  11. 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.
  12. One has to learn the basic meanings and to practice combining cards and other interpretive techniques in order to develop one’s skill with Lenormand.
  13. There are many layers involved in learning the cards, such that one can learn enough to get started after only a workshop or presentation, yet it will take several years to gain proficiency and handle all the layers of significance.
  14. You can combine Lenormand with Tarot and other modalities, calling on each for its area of strength. For instance, Lenormand is great for describing the plot of a story or movie, whereas Tarot is generally better at describing theme, character conflict and motivations. See examples HERE (Virginia Woolf) and HERE (Beasts of the Southern Wild).

Bonus: Lenormand is fun!

Ciro Marchetti's Gilded Reverie Lenormand

Clover-Ciro Marchetti’s Gilded Reverie Lenormand

Foster+Paris Lenormand Revolution

Paths-Foster+Paris’ Lenormand Revolution

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